Government of Afterthought



THE resurgence of Boko Haram terrorism in the country is a source of concern to many Nigerians. This is because many lives are being lost to senseless bombings by terrorists on suicide mission in several parts of the Northern States of Nigeria. At the last count, about 600 people have been killed there by suicide bombers in the past one month. This has made many people wonder what is happening because the Nigerian troops appeared to be on top of the game between April/May 2015 when they bombarded the dreaded Sambisa forest filled with landmines, dislodged the terrorists and rescued many women and children who were held hostage.

Thereafter, the army also warned Nigerians to be vigilant because there was a grand plan by the insurgents to start attacking soft target through suicide bombers. Precisely, on Wednesday, May 28, Major General Chris Olukolade, director, Defence Information, issued a statement, saying the army arrested three bomb makers for Boko Haram and would continue to cordon and search in certain localities and intensify mopping up operations in locations where offensive operations were being conducted.  “The essence is to apprehend the terrorists who have been dislodged from their sanctuaries and are in search of escape routes or resorting to attacking soft targets.”

With the resurgence of Boko Haram, the question that readily comes to mind is whether the troops failed in their mission to apprehend the terrorists. If they did, Why?

There are no easy explanations as to what could have happened. But the obvious facts are that the military must have been distracted by President Muhammadu Buhari’s order for them to relocate the command headquarters of the war against Boko Haram to Maidugiri, Borno state, the hotbed of the insurgency. Ever since that time the security chiefs appeared disoriented and Boko Haram suicide mission escalated.

This was made worse by the order and counter order on the dismantling of all checkpoints manned by the army in the country. The confusion this created could have given the terrorists ample time to escape, regroup and restrategise.

There is also the problem of rivalry amongst the security organisations which led to the chasing away and recall of the officials of the Department of State Security, DSS, from the Aso Villa. This was followed by the open confrontation between the chief security officer and the aide de camp, ADC, of the president which ultimately led to sacking of the ADC.

Suffice it to state that these are not healthy developments that will enhance the security of the country. There is an apparent display of after thoughts in the handling of security affairs of the country at a time it mattered most. This must cease forthwith. The presidency must think through its actions and show decisiveness in implementing them. This is not the time for a government of afterthought especially in security matters because of its disastrous consequences.

This is also not the time for the military and security agencies to be distracted. They need maximum concentration in order to wage the new gorilla or terrorism warfare effectively and be able to eliminate security threats in the country. It also means that whatever changes the president wants to do with regards to changing his security chiefs must be done swiftly to reduce the uncertainty in the system. All these are also of major concern to the Realnews and explain why after much debate on the issues the editorial team decided to dedicate this week’s cover story to the increasing spate of suicide bombing in the country and how it can be dealt with. The story entitled: Boko Haram: The Return of Terror was written by Olu Ojewale, our general editor. Enjoy it.

Maureen Chigbo


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— Jul 20, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT


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