Olaleye Idowu

 The Recently Nominated Ambassador-designate and immediate Past service chiefs had hinted at factors that are challenging the war against anti-insurgency as it said forest reserve was identified as another security challenges in near future and that military alone cannot end the current war essentially on banditry, insurgency and other nefarious activities

The retired military chiefs stated this while answering questions from members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, led by Senator Mohammed Bulkachuwa, who screened them as ambassadorial nominees.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had on February 10 directed the committee to screen General Abayomi Olonisakin; Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd); Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas (retd); Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd); and Air Vice Marshal Muhammad S. Usman (retd) as non-career ambassadors-designate.

The military generals enumerated their challenges and their inabilities to win the war against terror and banditry during their 66-months tenure in office.

Olonisakin, while defending his efforts at waging war against terror, said he later realised that the solution to insecurity was multi-pronged.

He said, “We talk about conventional warfare and asymmetric warfare. We are talking about hybrid warfare where everyone is involved. It is not about kinetics.

“Kinetics give only a 35 per cent success rate in any war we are fighting. It is a national approach that must be properly galvanized for us to actually surmount insecurity.”

Olonisakin also told the lawmakers that the issue of banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities being witnessed in the various forest reserves across the country would not have occurred if state governors had listened to him.

He said, “Three years ago, I conducted research on the forests in the country. I realised that we have over 1,000 forest reserves. I sent a team to Kenya.

“Members of the team went to Kenya and brought out a paper and I said then that our next crisis would be in the forests.

“Some governors were invited and we told them, because most of the forests are the prerogative of states.

“The states took over all the forest reserves. I told them that we have to protect the forests. We have to send troops to protect the forests. We did the research in 2018 for six months.

“I said that the next problem we were going to have was in the forests. It is with us right now. It requires a multifaceted approach.

“Everyone has to come on board for us to be able to address the insecurity.

“You can never have enough weapons, personnel and so on, but there are issues we must address and then it has to be all about the nation.”

Buratai said despite efforts being made to end the insurgency, many Nigerians were still harbouring terrorists and criminals in their domains and shielding them from security operatives.

He stated, “As far as diplomatic aspect is concerned, in the Lake Chad Basin Commission we have recorded tremendous success, but the frustration is that of the asymmetric profile; it is a complex operation; it has permeated the society in Libya, Cameroon and Chad.

“It is something that started more than 30 to 40 years ago. They have won the communities to their side; that is why they keep Boko Haram insurgents in their communities.

“So, it is a complex situation that requires a whole government approach to solve; military action is just one aspect.

“One mistake that we have been making is that we believe that only the military can solve this. It is not. The military cannot solve this; in the first place, it wasn’t the military that started it. There were political, social and economic aspects that needed to be addressed before it.”

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