As fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the North East rages on, former chief of Army staff, Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau rtd has said the insurgents and terrorism can not be dealt with by military operations alone.
He said that the country need to adopt a multi dimensional approach and persuade the Economic Community of West African states,ECOWAS and African Union AU
to be actively involved in tackling the insurgents and its associate problems.
General Dambazau, who was the Army boss when the insurgents broke out after the killing of the sect leader Mohammed Yusuf by the police in 2009, told journalists in Abuja that during his time they dealt with home grown terror Boko Haram but “from his present assessment, we are now dealing with complex security situation worse than that.” He said the state of insecurity has been complicated by the involvement of foreign elements who invaded villages and schools to kill anybody at site.
He said that the insurgents in the North East of the country is unacceptable and urged everybody to rise against it.
“We are now dealing with people who killed our citizens, destroyed property and violate our country’s territorial integrity. If we ignore this threat and allow it to continue it will get out of hand” he warned.
General Dambazau said he believed Nigeria as a country can not resolve the crisis alone because of our porous borders. Beside, he said that the environment of the North East, poverty, drugs, unemployment and prolification of small arms and light weapon were aiding the insurgents and added that these problems need to be addressed.
According to him, the country must as a matter of urgency clean up the ground that promotes drugs by blocking the corridor through which they move. He said he has no doubt that drugs and arm cartels under severe attacks in some part of the World are trying to gain ground in the region, like they did sometime ago in Guinea Bussau.
Asked whether he subscribed to suggestion that some foreign powers are behind the insurgent in the country, Lt Gen Dambazau said that there are several interests all over the World and it is possible to pursue any, but added that the question is really something the intelligence agencies should pursue if the perception of it is strong.
He noted that insurgents have displaced so many Nigerians and the issues involved goes beyond blaming a particular part of the country, religion or tribe adding that instability in any part of the country should not be allowed.
On the capability of Nigerian army to deal with the insurgents, the former army boss said yes but noted that the army operates under certain rules and regulations which are different from those used by the terrorists.
He maintained that military conventional approach would not solve the problem but specialized operation which takes the form of counter- insurgent. He admits that the military is equipped but added that as much as military operations are important the country should adopt multi dimensional approach.