Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
The Defence Headquarters has dismissed insinuations that the solution to insecurity in the country rests on removal and replacement of the incumbent leadership of the armed forces, describing the suggestion as uninformed.
It declared that, contrary to claims in some quarters that the current leadership of the armed forces has run out of ideas on how to handle the multiple security challenges facing the nation, the leadership is recording successes in security operations against bandits in Zamfara, insurgents and pirates.
Acting director, defence information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said it was strange that some people would accuse the leadership of the armed forces of running out of ideas when the same leadership has introduced unique tactical measures that have helped and are still aiding the fight against insurgents and bandits. Nwachukwu spoke when he paid a visit to Daily Sun.
He said: “Talking about running out of ideas, strategy is a dynamic thing, it is not fixated. The same leadership we are talking about created what we call the charter command that never existed in the whole of the armed forces of Nigeria since inception. The same leadership of the armed forces created task force divisions that never existed to tackle insurgency, realising the strength of the terrorists as at that time and taking the battle to their doorstep. They created these task force within the hinterland.
“So we cannot say that the leadership is bereft of ideas. What we should be talking about is the fact that strategy is not fixated, it is dynamic. If you apply a strategy, it does not work out well, you go back to the drawing board. That is exactly what we are doing.”
The Defence spokesman argued that the anti-terrorism fight lasts for a long time, citing situations in some other countries.
He said, “There is nowhere in the world that terrorism is wiped out completely. In Pakistan, it is happening, same in Siri Lanka. The good thing is that major issues have been addressed. What was the situation before? What was Boko Haram before? Boko Haram was spreading everywhere before, including Kogi. It was advancing to Lagos. FCT was on edge, there was a lot of insecurity in FCT. People could not sleep, they could not leave their homes to socialise. You close from office and run down to your house and lock up your door. You are in the market, shopping complex, you are suspecting everybody carrying bags. Today, the story is not the same. Today, people can freely socialise.
“The three states in the North East, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, were almost ungovernable. Boko Haram held territories, they declared a phantom caliphate in Gwoza, killed the emir there. They had spiritual headquarters and held almost more than 14 local governments.
“We just conducted general election in the North East, was it not successful? They came with an attack, we repelled and defeated them. We ensured that elections were conducted there. We were able to preserve our democracy. Our troops are doing well, we cannot compare what the situation is now to what used to be in place.”
Lauding military operations in Zamfara, Nwachukwu, who lamented some challenges of the military, said that breakthrough was being made in the hunt for the bandits: “If I want to do any evaluation or comparative analysis of what it used to be and what it is today, I would say there is a lot of improvement. A lot of arrests have been made, apart from many that were killed in encounters with the joint military team.
“A lot of weapons have been mopped up and our troops are engaging in robust fighting patrols. We have carried out raids. I said earlier that the challenge is the long belt of forest. But despite the challenge, our troops are not resting on their oars.”
He noted that drones were helping the joint military teams to gather intelligence on the bandits.
“We are taking due advantage of it . The drones are there , they are providing the requisite intelligence . But also note that the adversary have the leverage of mobility .