Boko Haram group which started in 2002 under the leadership of late Mohammed Yusuf, became a full-fledged terrorist group in 2009. With over 10 years of insurgency ravaging the Northeast, and spilling effects in nearby states, Boko Haram insurgency has remained the main achilles heel of past and present Nigerian governments.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been doing all it could at ending insurgent attacks, however, the re-emerging insurgency calls for worry by all Nigerians. The question then is, has Boko Haram insurgency become a cankerworm in the fabric of the nation that can not be exterminated? The answer is No! Boko Haram insurgency can be reduced to the barest minimum and totally wiped out if the real steps are taken and required solutions are applied.
1. Dealing with leadership issue at the war front
There is something currently happening to the Nigerian military in the war against Boko Haram insurgency. The law of diminishing return has set in. It is a natural law that when a person is asked to carry out a task over time, the person could later falter due to monotony and fatigue.
A good number of Nigerians and even stakeholders have advised the presidency to change the service chiefs in order to bring on board those with fresh ideas. There is a saying that you can not be doing the same thing everyday and expect new results.
In addition, the morale of the troops at the war front is becoming low. There should be a rotating system for combatants because many of the soldiers fighting the counter-insurgency war have stayed for over one year. The minimum duration should be six months as they should be replaced with new troops.
2. Bringing both internal and external saboteurs to book
Nigeria’s late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha was reported to have stated during his regime that if insurgency goes beyond two weeks, then the government has a knowledge about it. The theory of internal conspiracy has been put forward by security experts. In order to further buttress this, former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan during his tenure as the country’s number one citizen stated that Boko Haram had infiltrated his government.
It is the duty of the president to know how to fish out the internal saboteurs in the war against Boko Haram and let them face the full weight of the law. This is because it is a treasonable offence for a citizen to wage war against his own country.
Innocent troops can not continue to be killed at the battlefield just because of sabotage by some powerful Nigerians who milk the country via the Boko Haram insurgency. All measures have to be put in place to arrest and fully prosecute these saboteurs.
Also, a strong mechanism must be used in order to know who the external saboteurs are and how they can be checkmated. There are opinions on the fact that some powerful countries of the world are sabotaging the war against insurgency in the Northeast region of Nigeria. The onus lies on the federal government to set machineries in motion to wade off these external saboteurs.
3. Blocking all funding sources
There is nothing done without the use of money. From the purchase of arms and ammunition to food and so on used by Boko Haram insurgents, everything involves money. If the Nigerian government sincerely wants to end the insurgent attacks, it should find out who the sponsors and financiers are.
Getting to know how money moves from one place to another in the world is very simple due to various automated systems used in the banking and financial sector. There are various technological inventions that allow movement of money to be traced. The government of Nigeria can not feign ignorance of this.
4. Massive economic and educational empowerment
The twin evils that helped in the spread of Boko Haram insurgency were poverty and ignorance. There is no society that has high level of poverty and ignorance, that crimes and vices will not flourish. The Northeast with over 70% poor people easily fell to insurgent attacks as some persons in the region joined Boko Haram group due to economic reasons.
A security expert on a morning TV programme recently stated that 90% of those who joined the Boko Haram group in the Northeast region did so because of economic benefits.
The Nigerian government although has set up a new ministry on humanitarian and disaster as well as the Northeast Development Commission, which are all welcomed ideas, a lot more should be done to ensure people are educated and empowered to prevent them from being recruited by Boko Haram insurgents.
In life, every man firstly wants to have something to eat and would sometimes go to any length to feed himself.
Security and welfare are the two main responsibilties of the government, in which the citizens expect the government not to be found wanting.
The government should buckle up and ensure that the Northeast region is empowered educationally and economically. If this is done, in a few years to come, Boko Haram insurgency will become a thing of the past.