A leading security expert in Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu has called on the military to implement a troop surge strategy that will require taking the fight to the terrorists rather than adopting a defensive strategy which involves waiting for the insurgents to attack before calling in air strikes.
Ekhomu made the statement in a reaction to the Christmas day execution of 11 Christians by the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram, describing the reprehensible act as an attempt to explore the nation’s faulty lines in order to start a religious war.
He urged Nigerians to ignore the new strategy of Boko Haram which is to set Christians against Muslims, pointing out that after fighting unsuccessfully for ten years to overthrow Nigeria’s secular government, “the terrorists are now trying to cause an implosion by setting Christians against Muslims. This sick strategy must not be allowed to prosper.”
Dr. Ekhomu said that the barbaric beheading of the Christians and the release of the video images to coincide with Christmas festivities was intentional. “It was meant to make the cruel terrorist acts rankle more and create animus between various religious communities.”
He contended that “Boko Haram is an equal opportunity killer. They have killed more Muslims than Christians. If you don’t belong to their demented brand of Islam then you are fair game”.
Ekhomu, who is President of the Association of Industrial Security of Safety Operators of Nigerian (AISSON), said that set against the background of ongoing Muslim/Christian issues in the country, the terrorists are trying to attack the nation’s fault lines and start a religious war.
He advised the military to ratchet up and re-engineer its strategy for combating terror in the northeast, noting that the ungoverned spaces are a vulnerability that the terrorists are exploiting. He said the loopholes must be closed.
He said the security vulnerabilities in the northeast are both observable and exploitable by the terrorists hence the frequent attacks, abductions and atrocities.
He said that ISWAP leader Abu Musab Al Barnawi in August 2016 declared that he would target and kill Christians and aid workers.
“So, it should not surprise anyone that he is doing just that. The important thing is to implement a troop surge strategy that will take the fight to the terrorists rather than adopting a defensive strategy which involves waiting for them to attack and then calling in air strikes”. He said that in military strategy you must control the ground to win.
He urged the Federal Government to seek greater international cooperation with the West. Said he: “after all, ISWAP said that beheading the eleven Christians was a retaliation for the death of ISIS leader Abubakar El Baghdadi in Syria. Since Nigeria is dealing with the backlash of a successful US operation in Syria, Nigeria deserves help to confront the crisis here.”
Ekhomu condoled the relations of the murdered individuals and asked God to grant repose to the souls of the departed.