Emma Emeozor, [email protected], @Emekaili
•Continued from Monday, Nov 18, 2019
MOU believes that Muslims in regions where Islamic extremists have unleashed the reign of terror on the people are not doing enough to halt their activities. For him, it is not enough for Islamic leaders to say the Islam does not approve killings of innocent members of the public or ‘non believers.’ He wants them to act appropriately.
“And that is why I think our fellow Muslims at home and globally are not doing enough, it should be their responsibility to discredit the terrorists . . . the Islamic State, the Boko Haram, etc and let them know that the version of Islam they want to spread is very different from the original Islam which Prophet Mohammed taught. It is them (the leaders) that will help to dilute that ideological and religious confu-sion. But our Muslims do not focus so much on this aspect.
“In fact, if you look at the case of Nigeria, you will observe that even some of our state governors have introduced Sharia law and many of them passed it in their state assem-blies. When examined, there seems to be similarity between what Boko Haram is asking for and what they (the governors) did, because if you are saying we are running a neutral state, then there shouldn’t be a state religion. And when you now say your state is running Sharia law, in the ultimate analysis, the governors and the extremists are on the same page. So, it will not be easy to control Boko Haram.”
The sudden exit of al-Baghdadi is likely to create a lull in the camp of Boko Haram’s splinter group, the Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP). But Mou don’t see the Nigerian army taking advan-tage of the situation to launch a surprise attack on the insurgents? Hear him.
“You see, the Nigerian army as at present has certain problems confronting them that will make it very difficult for them to react so immediately to this kind of situation. Let me just mention four of them:
1. The first problem is that they are involved in the 36 states of the federation.
“We have an army that has an active force of 150,000 and if they have to fight battle and are also involved in operations in 36 states, then you will realise that it will be very difficult for there to be a united force against the insur-gents. There are some of these operations that are supposed to be carried out by the police, for instance the checking of identity of people.
“2. When you are sending the army to war, they should have superior weapons than the terrorists they are fighting. Boko Haram and their supporters, the IS have been displaying the kind of superior weapons they are using. Imagine the officers and men of the Nige-rian army confronting them with weapons of less quality. That alone is discouraging. The Nigerian army needs satellite equipment to monitor the movement of the terrorists.
“3. Problem of organisational strategy: There are three different approaches to look at when assessing a fighting force and you will know whether they can tackle terrorists’ challenge. The first one is the ‘segmentary approach’, the second one is the ‘coordinated approach’ and the third one and the best one is the ‘integrated approach.’
Mou highlighted how the three approaches work, apparently to ensure he was understood correctly. “The segmen-tary approach is where the different units fight independent of one another. In Nigeria, we have been using the segmentary approach.
“Whenever the army wants to go to war, they will ask the police to withdraw, they will ask the civilian taskforce to withdraw . . . they go on their own. Also, there is no proper co-ordination between the airforce and the army. When the airforce was bombing the Sambisa forest for instance, that was the time the army should have coordinated and the ground troops moving in. That didn’t happen because of the segmentary approach.
“In a coordinated approach, you have operations organized jointly, where all the operations are coordinated by a joint taskforce com-mander. You will notice that when there was a joint operation among the forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and other countries, they were succeeding more because there was coordination. But the very moment the task-force was disbanded, terrorism intensified.
“That was why in 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, he recovered all the territories Boko Haram had taken and the insurgents were pushed back into the Sambisa forest. But the lack of a joint command and the non coordination among the military and other security agencies has made Boko Haram to become stronger since 2018. So, it is the methodology of command that has made Boko Haram to be stronger today.
“And the final one is the integrated ap-proach where every operation is such that when the military, the police, the civilian taskforce . . . all going in one direction and working as a unit, the fighting becomes more effective. So, the problem with Nigeria is the segmentary approach which needs to be ad-dressed quickly.
“Anybody who is an expert in national security policy will look at any country with the segmentary approach and predict that they will never succeed. American security agen-cies say Nigeria will never succeed, also that is why the French security intelligence says Nigeria will never succeed. That is why they have predicted that Nigeria will collapse. The segmentary approach is not comprehensive enough and until Nigeria do away with it, we shall not succeed.”
Mou was confident when he suggested what the Nige-rian government should do to overcome the challenge of insecurity.
“There are three things to be done: 1. The government should adopt the ‘coordinated approach,’ the way we did during the Maitatsine crisis when President Ibrahim Babangida was in power. Maitatsine crisis came just the way Boko Haram did.
“At the time, I was Special Adviser on National Security Affairs to Alhaji Moham-madu Gambo who was the National Security Advisor. At least, we were able to use the co-ordinated approach and it took us only three months to crush the Maitatsine group.”
“For reasons that were better known to the United States, it was reluctant to send the cor-rect weapons to Nigeria. Even when President Buhari paid for 12 helicopters, they were not delivered up till now. I’m so glad that when Buhari went to Russia recently, he also negoti-ated the issue of helicopters and weapons. Until Nigeria can get the right and superior weapons than the terrorists they are fight-ing, it will be very difficult to eradicate them, because it is psychologically damaging to our troops to be going to battle, knowing well that the terrorists have weapons superior to theirs. It is like telling them to go and commit suicide. And that is very discouraging.
“Secondly, the government should address the issue of poor funding. Government has been voting a lot of money for security. Much money was voted under President Goodluck Jonathan. The accusation is that most of the money released under former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, was diverted to different groups for political rea-sons, that is common knowledge now and the EFCC is already investigating those cases. If the money allocated is not being used to buy weapons for the fighting force, then the country will continue to face the problem of insurgency.
“The third problem is that the Federal Government as of today has no National Security Policy. All that we have is National Security Strategy. Early this year, I was a member of a committee appointed to revive the National Security Strategy and we recommended in our report that you cannot really have an effective National Security Strategy without a National Security Policy. Where a country doesn’t have a National Security Policy, it is a big problem and we don’t have it.”
It was a startling revelation when Mou said that “the Nigerian armed forces did not have a National Defence Policy until 2004. “In 2004, I was appointed the director of defense in charge of the Nigerian Air force and Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso was the minister of defense. I noticed that there was no defence policy, Nigeria had never had one since inde-pendence, so, I went to the minister and told him I’m a policy man, my Ph.D is in National Security Policy and how can the Nigerian defense not have a National Defence Policy. Under Kwankwanso, a committee was set up and the Chief of Defense Staff at the time was the chairman while I was the secretary.
“A National Defence Policy was produced that former President Olusegun Obasanjo signed in 2004. That was the first policy that the Nigerian Armed Forces had since independence. As I’m talk-ing to you now, the National Security has no National Security Policy. All they have is the National Security Strategy.”
Mou was quick to give reasons for the failure of Nigeria to have a National Security Policy. “But there are critical issues that are making it difficult, why it has not been possible to have a National Security Policy. Because there are certain ideological issues, if we have to have a National Security Policy, then it must be the type that is accepted by everyone, accepted by every part of the country.
“When the security system is not seen by all as being designed in the interest of everybody … you know it is a big problem … there have been accusations by different people that most of the people, most of the leaders of the security agencies in Nigeria come from the northern part of the country. That kind of perception, whether it is right or wrong, is not good for the effective performance of the agencies. These are issues that must be looked into. There are certain nation building issues . . . governance issues that must first be addressed before we can even expect good results.”