Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd)
The Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd), has called for comprehensive measures with all stakeholders playing key roles, if Nigeria was to effectively tackle insecurity and restore peace and order.
Nigeria currently faces various forms of insecurity in different parts of the country such as insurgency in the North East, banditry and kidnapping in the North West, agitations for secession in the South East and crude oil bunkering in the South South leading to loss of thousands of lives, billions of dollars on economic losses, billions of naira in ransom payment, destruction of properties in millions, jeorpadizing children’s education among others.
According to the former Chief of Army staff, Nigeria needs to apply 66.67% non-kinetic approach to banditry by engaging bandits in dialogue using traditional leaders in the various communities. He also called for the creation of border security to tackle the migration of foreign bandits and other foreign criminals into the country, noting that everybody needs to participate in achieving a peaceful nation.
Addressing one day symposium on National Security with the theme: ‘Politics and Insecurity in Nigeria; the Way Forward’, organised by Arewa House on Saturday in Kaduna, Buratai tasked the National Security Adviser to collaborate with foreign security chiefs of neighbouring countries to fish out sponsors of insurgency and banditry in Nigeria with a view to curtailing their nefarious activities.
Buratai suggested the adoption of comprehensive and integrated approach to enable the entire society play key roles in tackling the country’s security challenges.
He explained that the approach should entail the involvement of critical stakeholders from the society, such as religious leaders, youths, teachers, women, civil society, media, law enforcement as well as the security and intelligence agencies.
“There is a need for the public to be constantly sensitised and enlightened on their roles as stakeholders in the security architecture of the country through agencies such as the National Orientation Agency, among others. Nigeria needs to revitalise the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to mitigate the challenge of lack of specialised equipment and platforms for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to curb insecurity.
“This is crucial in meeting the increasing equipment requirements of AFN to confront current and emerging security threats. To achieve this, the Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with stakeholders, could put structures in place for adequate manpower training for DICON staff. This would further enhance their specialised manpower and increase their capacity for production of military hardware for the AFN,” he said.
The former Army chief noted that the ongoing reforms of the Nigerian Police Force, procurement of modern platforms for intelligence gathering, and effective control of Nigeria’s porous borders would go a long way in achieving the desired security in the country.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, assured the symposium of traditional and religious institutions’ commitment in ensuring they play their strategic roles in achieving a peaceful Nigeria.
The Sultan, who was represented by Dr. Bello Lafiagi, urged Nigerians to be prayerful and be each other’s brothers’ keepers, by exhibiting a high level of trust and compassion.
For Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, the non-kinetic approach is best in tackling banditry in the country.
He said the bandits are ready to lay down their arms if they will be provided the nesesary succour, adding that federal government should dialogue with them now as they are vulnerable to ISWAP and Boko Haram who are already attempting to recruit them.
“After my discussion with the bandits, I realised that they are ready to lay down their arms the only problem is we the people in the towns. They want a genuine peace process. They are only aggrieved that we left them unattended without education, without amenities. Their agitation is not ideological.
“But now I found it hard labelling these people as terrorists, killing them at sight, killing their families and their children. Then they would embrace the terrorism, they would give terrorism passage instead of using them to repel terrorism. Let’s go in, let’s talk to these people, let’s hear their demands and use intelligence to resolve them. That is what Boko Haram is doing now, taking to them and trying to recruit them,” Dr. Gumi said.
The symposium was attended by representatives of heads of military and paramilitary organisations, religious and traditional rulers, academics, among others.