By Jude Zoho,
Unarguably, the recent rescue of hostages from the hideouts of Boko Haram insurgents in various parts of the north-eastern parts of the country is a proof that the country has demeaned the activities of insurgents in an exemplary way.
Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, announced recently that “in continuation of the clearance and mopping up operations of the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists, troops have rescued no fewer than 11,595 persons held hostage by the terrorists within the last one month’’.
He observed that between February and March, most of the persons were rescued at various areas and towns where remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists were hibernating by various formations and units in the theatre, while some were received from the neighbouring Cameroon.
According to him, the gallant troops in the course of clearance operations will continue to place high premium on respect for human right and dignity.
With this feat, analysts note that it is clear that the present administration has defeated insurgency in a spectacular way, advising security agencies to sustain the victory.
They recall that at the end of December 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari made a declaration that the Boko Haram insurgents had been defeated technically in consonance with the directive he gave to the Armed Forces.
They also observe that the declaration received mixed reactions from a cross section of Nigerians and foreigners with divided opinions over the veracity of government’s claim.
The skeptics’ argument gained more grounds with the attacks that followed the declaration, especially with an attack on a camp of Internally Displaced Persons at Dalori village, near Maiduguri, Borno and other pockets of bombings between January and February.
However, analysts insist that it is not normal to record such occurrence after defeat in the fight against insurgency.
To buttress this assertion, they observe that the resurfacing of the Boko Haram leader’s video calling for truce in March is an indication that the government has actually defeated the insurgents.
Concerned citizens, therefore, observe that there is the need for a speedy reconstruction of the region and immediate evacuation of victims of the conflict back to their original settlements after the victory as one of the measures of sustaining the victory.
In the light of this, retired Maj. Gen. Azagaku Umaru, Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee on the handover of liberated communities in the North-East to civil and law enforcement agencies, called for urgent action on resettling the victims.
According to him, there is an urgent need for government to begin the process of deploying civil authorities to liberated communities to complement the efforts of the military to sustain the victory.
In response to this call, Minister of Information Lai Mohammed had, at different fora, emphasised government’s commitment to beginning the process of rebuilding the region.
The minister identified education, health and shelter as some of the focal points of intervention in the initial plan of reconstructing the region.
Also, the Federal Government, in partnership with other stakeholders, has initiated activities for the post-insurgency programme to revitalise economic activities in the region.
Preparatory to that, the Minister of Defence, retired Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, has received the report on the return of civil authorities to liberated communities.
The minister restated the government’s commitment to ensuring that normal life returned to the affected communities.
Also, during the last visit of the South African defence delegation to Nigeria, the minister reaffirmed government’s plan to implement a post-insurgency plan that would satisfy the yearnings of people of the region.
One of such measures, according to the minister, is to collaborate with South African forces to embark on massive capacity building of Nigerian forces on counter-terrorism to consolidate on the gains of the won war against Boko Haram.
Further to this, the Defence Headquarters unveiled its post-insurgency programme known as the “Operation Safe Corridor’’ to sustain the victory over insurgency.
Also, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, recently announced the establishment of a rehabilitation camp for repentant members of Boko Haram.
He said the camp would be used as to train repentant insurgents on different vocational skills as part of the de-radicalisation programme.
In addition to the efforts of the Defence Headquarters, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, promised that the Nigerian Army would play active role in the revival of schools in the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency.
At the Army’s 2016 first quarter conference in Abuja recently, he said the Army’s contribution would be in the form of deployment of teachers and teaching aids in addition to its statutory security duties.
Irrespective of measures planned to sustain victory over insurgency, participants at a workshop on the ECOWAS counter-terrorism strategy and implementation plan in Abuja recently, recommended a long-term solution to terrorism.
The participants argued that the military option of tackling insurgency would only take care of 20 per cent of the problem posed by terrorism.
French Defence Attaché to Nigeria, Col. Marc Humbert, observed that the military action against terrorism could be limited by a multiplicity of factors, including the vague nature of terrorism itself.
He recalled that military action alone could not end terrorism in other countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, among others.
“Major aspect of the ECOWAS counter-terrorism framework emphasises 80 per cent of non-military action,’’ he said.
For sustainability of the recorded victory over insurgency, Dr Issac Armstrong, ECOWAS head of regional security division, observed that counter- terrorism strategy could still be implemented in Nigeria’s post-insurgency programme.
He said the core components of the strategy were prevention, reconstruction and pursuit of a viable military action.
Armstrong advised the Nigerian authorities to adopt the regional body’s counter-terrorism framework in the resolution of the security situation in the north-eastern part of the country.
Apart from this, observers solicit public support in identifying fleeing terrorists among other responsibilities as means of keeping terrorism away from the country.
They applaud the efforts of the Federal Government at reconstructing the region, noting that defeating the terrorists is only a phase in the process of restoring normalcy in the affected areas.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)