By Yusufu Shehu Usman
The burden is getting too much on the North. Boko Haram, Shiites, banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen. We must stop them before they stop us.
In the line up, the menace of Boko Haram is undoubtedly a national security issue of monumental dimension. The government has done a lot to confront insecurity in The North Eastern states of Nigeria.
It can not be denied that the Boko Haram has been seriously degraded at least in terms of scope and coverage
It would be recalled that before Buhari ascended the presidency, the Boko Haram terrorists had spread their heinous atrocity to all the states in the North. They were active, deadly and potent in Bornu, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Kano, Kogi and even the FCT.
They struck at will, unchallenged and unabated unleashing terror, death and destruction. They left tears, sorrow and blood as their regular trade mark
The PMB government confronted the terrorists frontally and decisively.
The effort of the government bore handsome fruits. It has succeeded in recovering from the Boko Haram the chunks of Nigerian territories they subjugated in Bornu
It is also instructive to note that the activities of the terrorists were curbed tremendously in Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Kano, Kogi and the FCT. There has hardly been a single Boko Haram attack in these states in the past three years.
The terrorists are now contained and consigned to the Bornu -Yobe axis.
I should not be misunderstood as saying that it is desirable or excusable that the Boko Haram should be allowed to over run or operate in even one ward of the Nigerian territory
It is the constitutional responsibility of the government to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians where ever they may be in the world
It is also the duty of the government through the Armed Forces to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty against external attack and aggression.
In fairness to the Buhari administration it has done very much to fight insurgency and it is not relenting in its efforts to bring the Boko Haram scourge under check.
However, the truth is that the terrorist may have been degraded in terms of operation and decimated in terms of number but certainly not defeated as a fighting force
It is to be observed that the Boko Haram has changed its strategies and modus operandi. They do not attack entire villages and communities with the intensity and regularity they did in the past
They are now taking the fight to the doorsteps of the military with devastating consequences. They have also resumed the abduction of sensitive and strategic targets like school girls and aid workers.
In my view, the terrorist have changed not only their objects but also the target of the insurgency
They no longer plant bombs and explosives in market places and motor parks nor do they despatch suicide killers to these areas to unleash mayhem on ordinary citizens
They now focus on military formations and facilities especially around the war zone. This is a test and challenge to the will and fighting capacity of our security agencies
It must be appreciated that the government is doing all that is necessary to confront the terrorists by inflicting heavy casualties on them on a daily basis. The Armed Forces have been recording a steam of success against Boko Haram on many fronts. They are decimating them in numbers and containing them in scope of coverage.
The war against terror is complicated and deepened by the international character the conflict has assumed.
The Boko Haram is no longer the local group it was at the beginning of the conflict. The group has over the years become more deadly and emboldened by the financial and logistic support it is drawing from other international terrorist organisations like the ISIS and their affiliates around the world
Our Armed Forces are now in war not with local insurgents but it is fighting international terrorism on a domestic turf which is not an easy task by any stretch of imagination.
This is the new character, dynamics and scope of the war against terror that our military is confronted with in the current dispensation
I am sure that the government is very much aware of the new challenges in the war against terror.
We must appreciate the massive efforts the government is putting in place to combat the scourge of terrorism especially in the North Eastern zone of Nigeria. It is a war against negative and evil ideology.
It is not an easy war to fight by any country including the powerful nations of the world.
The US, Europe and Asia have been in this kind of war for decades and none of these countries with their state of the art military and security infrastructure have completely conquered or subdued ideology based terror in their countries.
I am not citing these global examples to make excuses for our own government.
Rather, I am bringing it to the fore to under score the point that the issue of Boko Haram should be understood within the framework and dynamics of international terrorism
We should all understand the problem in the light of its global perspective.
The government should also address the challenge in the context of the new and emerging trend, scope dimension
This calls for the government to step up it’s strategies and deployment of men and material resources to meet the new face of terrorism in Nigeria
The government is not complacent or weak in its fight against the Boko Haram but it is the consensus of Nigerians that it had to do more than it is doing at the moment
It is also pertinent that we should lend our collective support, collaboration and cooperation to the government, the armed and the security forces in order to defeat terrorism and restore peace and tranquility in life land for development to thrive
The issues of kidnapping, armed banditry and herders activities are local and home grown acts of criminality. The government can and should crush them even by the use of maximum force.