Guns, bullets alone cannot end insurgency – Expert

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

Dr Sani Abubakar, National Patron, Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism, Insurgency and Terrorism (BRAVE-IT), says the fight against security challenges in Nigeria will not end with guns and bullets.

Abubakar, a scholar in Military Studies, said this at a Breakfast Meeting on National Security organised by the group on Friday in Abuja.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Exploits of the Armed Forces in Countering Insurgency, Insecurity, and Terrorism in Nigeria Through Non-kinetic Operation’.

He said that the military option alone, using guns and bombs, must be complemented with efforts to address the root causes of the insurgency and other security challenges in the country.

Abubakar identified bad governance, which leads to poverty, deprivation and discontent, as a major cause of insecurity in the country.

He commended the leadership of the military for the successes being recorded through the combination of kinetic and non-kinetic operations, specially in the North East.

The patron also identified ignorance, religious extremism, revenge, exclusion as other factors precipitating the security threats.

“All these are things that we, as civilians, need to begin to speak about. We need to add our own voices so that we could play our own part to make the systems work.

“We are trying to use this platform to speak to either bandits or Boko Haram or whatever name they call themselves, that we condemn their act, that we. as Nigerians, do not support them and we are not with them.

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“We are calling on them to release people being held in captivity, without condition, without any receptor or transfer of any money in the name of ransom,” he said.

Abubakar expressed optimism that the military and other security agencies could win the war with the support of the people through timely and accurate information on the criminal elements in their midst

The National Coordinator of BRAVE-IT, Aysha Rabo, said the event  was a call to discuss the current security landscape of the nation and to laud the commendable efforts of the armed forces.

Rabo said that BRAVEIT had always advocated for the non-kinetic strategy employed by the military in combating insurgency and addressing many security challenges, saying that the strategy had proven to be highly effective.

She urged the military to enhance its non-kinetic operations, adding that the group envisioned a future where people would recognise and value the sacrifices made by servicemen and women, and motivate them to continue such dedication and professionalism.

In his remarks, the Director of Campaign Planning, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Albert Lebo, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa, commended BRAVE-IT for the feedback on the military operations across the country.

He said the ideas to include the non-kinetic approach into military operations was borne out of the need to win the hearts and minds of the populace in their areas of operation.

According to him, what military men understand as combatants is go, destroy, eliminate, annihilate and capture.

“But, as you know, the military has been evolving  in operations across the country.

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“To be frank, in the Nigerian Defense Academy, where we were trained, there is no aspect of non-kinetic operations that is in the syllabus.

“But, because of the challenges that we have had and the gaps that we have identified on the need for non kinetic approach to be exploited, we in the military decided to take it upon ourselves.

“Accordingly, the Department of Civil Military Cooperation was created in the defence headquarters and also across the services.

“So, the task is to coordinate or collaborate with the field commanders, the formations and units to carry out some intervention projects.

“It is just a minor aspect to close up the gap in the field, but the main aspect of what you call non-kinetic aspect is that of the civil authority.

“I assure you that the chief of defence staff and members of the armed forces will not relent in our effort towards fighting insecurity and insurgency.

“Also, I want to assure you that we will continue to collaborate with organisations such as yours, and other well meaning members of the society, to ensure that we stamp out this menace from our society,” he said.

Deputy Coordinator, BRAVE-IT, Dr AK Peters, announced that the organisation had acknowledged the contribution of the Nigerian Air Force to the fight against insurgency in the country.

Peters said the Air Force was rated high in its activities in combating insurgency, banditry and oil theft with precision in air bombardments of criminal enclaves across the country.

He said that NAF had been awarded the Force of the Year by BRAVE-IT, adding that the award would be presented through the Chief of Defence Staff. (NAN) (www.nannnews.ng)

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