Anti-Terrorism Campaigns: From Battlefields To Sponsors of Terrorism
By: Charles Ibekwe
The indulgence into criminality by some Nigerians is really strange and awful. The rapidity and magnitude Boko Haram Terrorisms expanded its viciousness in Nigeria stunned infinitely.
The existence of caves in some forests in Kogi state and other parts of Nigeria, which served as factories for the manufacture of terrorists lethal weapons or Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), which were freely circulated melted the heart. It became business for some criminal-minded Nigerians, as it blossomed incredibly, until security agents were able to discover and dislodged the evil factories.
A few days ago, the Nigerian Army reported the arrest of a Local Government Council chairman and suspects of BHTs, in Nigeria’s Northeastern state of Borno. Against all good conscience, the embattled council boss harboured, fed and nourished fleeing insurgents, who could no longer withstand the superior fire power of the Nigerian military in the jungles and forests. And the reason was simple! It was to re-energize them to again begin to unleash terror on Nigerians.
Therefore, anti-terrorism campaigns are not easy wars to fight anywhere it erupts. The tactics of terrorists in engaging an innocent humanity is scary and comes in dozens. Terrorists operate on the fields; boast of a dozen sponsors or financiers and have thousands of veiled agents and sympathisers, who act in various ways to sustain the evil. The Nigerian Army is not oblivious of these colours and manifestations of terrorists.
To this end, even though troops have eventually conquered terrorists in the Northeast and Nigeria, with the final demolition and demystification of the Sambisa forest, a Boko Haram Terrorist’s enclave in Borno state, where scores were killed; security experts know, it is just the beginning of the final end.
And since the collapse of Sambisa forest, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai has churned out series of warnings to the public, alerting them of the fusion of some fleeing remnants of Boko Haram terrorists into Nigerian cities and communities.
But most importantly, Buratai knows that despite the defeat of terrorists in Nigeria, terrorists do not dissipate in a jiffy, as insurgents contrive more insidious ways to fight back. And the fusion of the residues of fleeing terrorists into the wider society is one of the several strategies insurgents have devised to occasionally hit back to an unsuspecting society that has suffocated its survival. In the past weeks, scores of bolting insurgents have been arrested in Lagos, Abuja, towns and villages around Nigeria.
The Army Chief has also placed soldiers on red alert in order to rise to the occasion when the need arises. Consequently, the arrest of a council boss in Borno, who housed terrorists, is the effect of this vigilance by Nigerian soldiers, which is variously symbolic to the essence of the counter-terrorism war.
Before now, Nigerians were inundated with campaigns of the existence of several wings of Boko Haram terrorists operating in the country. But many never considered it a point to ponder. But indisputably, there is the business wing, political wing, Cyber Space wing and the religious wing of Boko Haram terrorists, who were domiciled in the caves and forests of the Northeast.
The Nigerian Army has meticulously trailed, assailed, battled and defeated the religious, business and cyber space wings of Boko Haram terrorists. The present terrorism torment of Nigerians is rooted in the political wing, which is cleverly and neatly concealed in some dubious Nigerians, who are unfortunately in the corridors of power. The arrest of the council chairman in Borno state, who shielded fleeing terrorists, is proof of this bludgeoning mess within the political class, who are determined to ensure Nigeria is never freed, but manacled under insurgency.
The incident has opened a fresh vista in Nigeria’s counter-terrorism campaigns. It means, Nigeria’s intelligence community must necessarily expand its dragnet and pulsates its searchlight to fish out actors and sponsors of terrorism within the political class. The actors are in multitude, and they also, secretly exhibits sympathy and sponsorship of terrorism multifariously. The anti-terrorism campaigns became prolonged and difficult because of their involvements at different layers.
Therefore, the political promoters, supporters or those who covertly connive with terrorists to destabilize Nigeria, must not be allowed to go scot-free, but identified and made to pay for their sins against the nation state.
The Nigerian Army has a daunting task to perform in this regard, by finally purging Nigeria of the virus of political terrorism, now prevalent in government circles. They provide the essential nourishment by funding and preserving insurgency to thrive.
The initiative of the Nigerian Army to now scout for sponsors and promoters of terrorism cannot be extricated from holistic anti-terrorism campaigns in Nigeria. The approach is extremely timely and rewarding. And all Nigerians should rise up in support of this cause. It will not only practically eliminate terrorism in all forms, but also obliterate its shadows in government circles and the political life of Nigeria.
It is therefore germane to advocate that the Nigerian Army and other security agencies should be encouraged and given the necessary support, especially in intelligence gathering in the onerous task of fishing out these hideous, unpatriotic and devilish terrorists elements. It is imperative now before they summon courage and energy to regroup to begin another round of mindless orgy of violence on innocent Nigerians.
International human rights organizations’ must have to give Nigeria a breathing space. The Nigerian Army under Buratai is professionally oriented and records indicate that its interface with the civilian population in Nigeria has so far not shown any evidence of human rights abuses or violations. So, there is no cause to be afraid by allowing them defend public interest to whatever extent.
Therefore, when the military intensify the haunt of suspected sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists in the country to face trial in court, the first outcry of the suspects to the international community would be unfounded allegations of political persecution. No one is in doubt of the tricks.
Years back, some political bigwigs in the country were fingered in sponsorship of terrorism in the country, but the matter silenced after a few months of media hype. It is the deliberate refusal of Nigerians to tackle such issues frontally that festered terrorism in the country.
So, Nigerians would be angered if these international human rights groups rise in defence of such criminals, by preferring to forget their criminality to drum human rights violations against the Nigerian Army and the administration of President Muhammedu Buhari.
Nigerians have suffered enough in the claws of terrorists and it is time terrorism is uprooted in all its forms and ramifications. Certainly, time has come for soldiers’ blisters on terrorists to go beyond the frontiers of field battles, by confronting the last segment and vestigesk of terrorism as concealed in the personality and offices of some dubious politicians.
Ibekwe, a public affairs commentator writes from Enugu State.