Immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has punctured claim that the terror gang, Boko Haram, has been technically defeated.
Answering questions from lawmakers who screened him along with other former Service Chiefs ahead of their confirmation as Non career ambassadors designates, the former Chief of Army Staff stunned the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs led by Mohammed Bulkachuwa as he told them that there was no end in sight to the insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country.
Buratai who told the lawmakers that insurgents would continue to constitute menace to security of the country in the next twenty years called for concerted efforts to surmount the Boko Haram terror group.
He identified lack of social infrastructures, poor access to Western education which he noted has fuelled poverty in the Northeast and ultimately, made the youth amenable to suicidal doctrines of Boko Haram.
He said:”Our troops are also collaborating with Chadian and Cameroonian troops. We recorded success, but the terrorists have permeated into the society.
“My state (Borno) is an epicentre, where this indoctrination has penetrated so deep. They (insurgents) have won the communities to their side. That is why they (communities) keep Boko Haram. So it is complex, it requires a whole of government approach to solve this. Military action or activity is just one aspect.
“One mistake that we have been making is that only the military can solve this. It is not. There are political, social, economic aspects that need to be addressed.
“Development should be progressive, there should be road everywhere, there should be employment, schools, hospitals all over.
“Yesterday, I counted five Local Government Areas in Borno State that do not have good access road to those places.
“In Noth-West, North-Central, there are so many ungovernable spaces, which the insurgents are penetrating. The places don’t have schools, hospitals and so on and education is very fundamental.
“Unless these things are done, this insecurity will continue.
“The truth must be told, because this thing cannot end soon. It may take another 20 years and that is the truth.”
Also responding to questions from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, former Chief of Defence Staff,
Abayomi Olonisakin, said approach to counter terrorism must be multi-pronged.
Olonisakin said he foresaw the illegal occupation of forests reserves by criminals and called the governors of the concerned states to a meeting to alert them to take proactive security measures.
He said: “I want to say that the solution to insecurity is multi-pronged. We talk about conventional warfare and asymmetric warfare. We are talking about hybrid warfare where every one is involved. It is not about kinetics.
“Kinetics gives only 35 percent success rate in any war we are fighting. It is a national approach that must be properly galvanized for us to actually surmount the insecurity. I will say three years ago, I conducted a research on the forests in the country. I realized we have over 1,000 forest reserves. I sent the team to Kenya.
“They went to Kenya and brought out a paper and I said then, three years ago that our next crisis will be in the forest.
“Some governors were invited and we told them because most of the forests are the prerogative of states. The states took over all the forest reserves. I told them that we have to protect the forests.
“We have to send troops to protect the forests. We did the research in 2018 for six months. I said that the next problem we are going to have is in the forests. But again, it is with us right now. It requires a multifaceted approach.
“Everyone has to come on board for us to be able to address the insecurity situation. You can never have enough weapons, personnel and so on but there there are issues we must address and then it has to be all about the nation.”
Apart from Buratai and Olonisakin also screened were former Navy Chief, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas and former Air Chief, Sadique Abubakar.