Nigerian Security Architecture: The Missing Links

Gen Buratai & Zamfara Gov Bello Matawalle

In the past few months there have been strident calls for the replacement of the Service Chiefs as the solution to the insurgency and all manner of crimes and criminality in Nigeria . An appraisal of the security issues in Nigeria by many seems to be symptomatic. It’s akin to treating the symptoms instead of the cause of the problem. 

Channels Television Data Analyst, Babajide Ogunsanwo in his analysis of the security situation on August 9,2020 monitored in Osogbo raised two pertinent posers about the war against the insurgency: He says inadequate funding and lack of required manpower/personnel are two key issues affecting the operations of the Nigerian Army. Buttressing his position with facts and figures from the World Bank, Ogunsanwo posited that the funding and personnel were grossly inadequate. He drew a comparative analysis to when Nigeria was fighting a civil war, the amount spent in relation to our GDP then and what Nigeria is spending now. He also compared the ratio of the army personnel to the citizens 52 years ago during the civil war as regards to what we have now.

Ogunsanwo , therefore, concluded that removing the service Chiefs may not translate to success if the issues of funding with modern equipment and increased personnel are not taking into consideration. Also, a former director of the DSS, Mr Mike Ejiofor agrees with Ogunsanwo that changing the Service Chiefs without adequate funding may not achieve much in the fighting against the insurgency.

The chairman, Senate committee on the Army, Senator Ali Ndume has also clarified that the army is grossly underfunded. He said drones and other sophisticated equipment are needed to forge ahead in the battle against Boko Haram menace. He was quick to add that the intention of his motion on the floor of the senate recently was to draw the attention of his colleagues to the plight of the army and sympathize with them, but was hijacked after he went for prayers that the Service Chiefs should resign. Ndume said if the Nigerian Army is well equipped with drones and other modern equipment , it would have pre-empt  the ambush against some of its officers and men as they would have cleared the path before the troops set out.

A security expert, Dr. Ena Ekhomu while featuring on the Arise television recently on his new book that dwells On Boko Haram, commended the chief of army staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai for leading the army from the front. He said such effort will boost the morale of the officers and men.

According to Ekhomu, we need to look at our governance structure because of the level of poverty in the land. 

“ In 2009, when Boko Haram was at formative stage, I said if the governance structure is okay to compliment the effort of the military, it will take five years to get rid of the insurgents, but now, if we are serious about tackling the Boko Haram, it would take another ten years with the right political setting to complement the military.” He said. 

On Monday August 10, 2020, at the seminar titled, “ Civil—Military Relations:The Evolving Role Of The Social Media In Support Of The Nigerian Army’s Non Kinetic Line Of Operations”, Director of Psychological Training of the Nigerian Army, Brig Gen E A Aladeniyi during his introductory remarks listed several community relations efforts of the Nigerian Army. In Osogbo, there’s Kuta-Ede Bridge and another Cottage Hospital for the community. Also, last week, the army laid a foundation for an army Reference Hospital In Abakaliki. An elated Governor Dave Umahi instantly became an advocate of the army when he appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari that the army is doing its best in the present circumstances.

Gen. Aladeniyi  pointed out that the primary duty of the military includes protection of territorial integrity and protection against external aggression. Other internal operations embark upon by the army, he explained should be for other sister security agencies like police , NSCDC and other security groups across the country. 

Brig Gen. Aladeniyi also said the Nigerian Army is involved in operation codenamed ‘Op Mesa’ in 34 out of the 36 states of the federation. What this simply means is that the Army may have been overstretched. 

To Olowu of Kuta, HRM Oba Adekunle

Makama, the country needs political solution to the insurgency. The monarch believes that terrorism is an asymmetric warfare that requires both carrot and stick approach. 

The monarch who has been vociferous in his support for the Nigerian Army said getting rid of terrorism is not an easy task. He said it took the US about nine years of planning to take out the Al-Queda former leader, Osama Bin Ladin.

Oba Makama explains that the Army needs a message that will resonate with the masses and give them sense of belonging in the fight against Boko Haram.

The host, Governor Gboyega Oyetola said the state is delighted to host the program.

Ogbeni Oyetola maintained that the program is a well thought out one as it will stem the tide of fake news and create a robust relationship between the social media influencers and the Army.

He urged the social media influencers to always have at the back of their minds the interest of the nation and national security before publishing any information.

Ogbeni Oyetola counsels social media influencers to manage information with high sense of responsibility and the national and public interest in view.

The Director, Civil-Military Relations, Maj Gen. H I Bature said the issue of security is a collective responsibility of all the various security agencies. Gen. Bature emphasized that the security arm saddled with intelligence gathering should step up their effort so as to be able to nip all Security threat in the bud rather than reacting when the deed has been done. 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, speaking through his representative, Lt Gen. Lamidi Adeosun was unequivocal that contrary to the erroneous impression, the Nigerian Army is doing its best in the present circumstances. He maintains that the Nigerian Army is a disciplined one, subjecting itself to the Nigerian constitution and military laws.

Gen. Adeosun buttressing the issues raised by Gen Bature said the police should be strengthened in order to perform its primary function of maintaining law and order within the country. He also explained that the influx of hard and illicit drugs to the country is another problem. Most of the criminals indulge in hard drugs before carrying out deadly attacks on innocent Nigerians. 

The Immigration Department and Customs And Excise will do well according to Gen Adeosun by identifying illegal immigrants and check the incidence of arms and ammunition into the country through our borders and entry port into the country. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has a role to play here also.

Gen.Adeosun also counseled that the job of security is for everyone. He tasked the social media influencers and the civil society organizations to also share intelligence since they live among the people.

He also challenged the DSS to come up with the intelligence that will put an end to the insecurity in the country. 

Gen. Adeosun admonished the social Media Influencers and civil society organizations at the forum to be patriotic and support the Nigerian Army in the difficult task politics has unleashed on the country. 

The Talkshop which is the brainchild of Gen Buratai started in 2018 to forge relationship with social media practitioners/influencers to curb the incidence of fake news and to appeal to their sense of patriotism to always take the issue of national security and national interest seriously. 

On effective and efficient communication, Gen. Adeosun said the ministry of information and federal government owned radio and television need to do more. 

With the prognosis, it’s suffice to say that the problem bedeviled the Nigerian Army will require the support of all and sundry if we are to achieve any meaningful success. Using the service Chiefs as ‘whipping boys’ in the Insecurity plaguing Nigeria will only compound the problem. The situation will improve only when the country is ready to do the needful and the masses accept the Nigerian Army as her own as opposed to the present ‘army of occupation’s treatment towards the military.

Victor Oriola, a Representative of Citizens Liberation Advocacy International, CLAI, was at the Nigerian Army Civil-Military Relations with social media practitioners in Osogbo.

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