From Molly Kilete, Abuja
A one day seminar on spiritual warfare organized by the Nigerian army has opened in Abuja with a call on army clerics to come up with stronger ideologies to counter the religious beliefs of terrorists groups ravaging the peace of the country.
The seminar which is the second to be organized by the army which has as its theme “Insecurity in Nigeria: Repositioning Authentic Religious Narratives in the Information Spectrum”, took place at the Nigerian Army Resource Center, and attended by officers and soldiers of both the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Islamic chaplaincy of the Nigerian army.
Declaring the seminar open, Chief Of Army Staff(COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, said the seminar is aimed at evolving narratives to defeat the ideologies of religious based terrorist groups operating in the Country.
Represented by the Chief Of Policy and Plans(COPP), Lieutenant-General Lamidi Adeosun, Buratai, while noting that ongoing military operations to wipe out terrorism and other criminal groups across the country was driven by the desire to keep the nation safe, however pointed out that the operations has not recorded one hundred percent success because of the the ideological beliefs of the terrorists.
According to him, “It is important to state that the ongoing military perations against the Boko Haram and the slamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) Terrorists as well as other criminal groups is driven by the desire to keep Nigeria safe great successes in these fights by applying all forms of kinetic operations. However, these successes are not without some challenges which include the ideological beliefs of the
“Like we all know, ideology is a system of concepts and views which serves tob make sense of the world while obscuring the social interests that are expressed therein. This has remained the driving force for these terrorists.
He said “In the case of Boko Haram, its ideology is classifying western education as a sin, which hinders the pursuit and attainment of self acclaimed puritan Islam. The ISWAP ideology on other hand is one which challenges the legitimacy of democratically elected government.
“By its nature, ideology has the power to manipulate what people think, how they form their opinions and of course direct their attitudes as well as actions. This often results in controlling people’s minds to the extent that they accept social conditions that equal denial of rights and suffering.
He said “The terrorists’ groups believe strongly that their ideologies have enhanced their generation of resources and the recruitment of new fighters to their folds. As such, we need to come up with positive and authentic narratives that can kill the ideology of the terrorists and of course wither out the inspired groups.
“This therefore underscores the importance of this Seminar as clerics play key roles in producing appropriate narratives required to counter the ideologies of these religious based terrorists groups.
Like earlier mentioned, the theme “Insecurity in Nigeria: Repositioning Authentic Religious Narratives in the Information Spectrum” was carefully crafted to ensure that authentic narratives are always available in the Information Spectrum.
Speaking further, Buratai, said: “Communities and the states need to be joined with the common purpose of rejecting the ideologies of these groups and challenge those who espouse them.
“This can be better achieved through the provision of authentic counter narratives targeted at the ideologies of the terrorist groups. Religious leaders and clerics who regularly interface with people at the grassroots, families and local communities have very important role to play candid opinion that this Seminar provides you the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the Nigerian Army’s efforts at ensuring a secured Nation.
“Let me also use this opportunity to reassure you that the
welfare of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army as well as their families has always been my priority and will continue to receive attention.”
Also speaking, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Obadiah Mailafiya who attributed the insecurity ravaging the country to some powerful global powerful interests, said are those interest were responsible for the resurgence of violent attacks against the Nigerian troops with the view to driving Nigeria into chaos.
He said “I don’t believe that what is happening in the Northeast is just a local phenomenon. There are global powers involved using satellite technologies to direct the insurgents so that our men are sabotaged when they are going on secret operations they are ambushed. It has happened countless times.
“I believe some people want to use it to destroy our country. They want Nigeria to become as comatose as the Democratic Republic of Congo which is a huge elephant lying on its back.
“Some people want to turn our country into a comatose economy because they are afraid of the potentials of Nigeria.”
He called on Nigerians to support the armed forces in its quest to rid the nation of terrorism and other violent crimes by providing credible intelligence while stemming the tides with positive narratives.