The Northeast Governors on Wednesday said that Boko Haram insurgency and insecurity in Nigeria seems to be defying known solution, even as they demand new strategies from Service Chiefs to combat the challenges.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fourth meeting of the Northeast Governors’ Forum in Bauchi, the Chairman of the Forum and Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum said: “In our previous meetings, we have been able to identify most of the daunting challenges facing us, individually and collectively, and the possible courses of action which we would pursue through shared responsibility and commonality of purpose, in order to arrive at the desired outcomes.”
The governors also revealed the possibility of establishing a joint security outfit among the states of the Northeast to combat the prevailing security challenges.
He said: “These challenges range from the seemingly unending issue of insecurity to deep-seated and pervasive poverty, from banditry and kidnapping to cattle rustling, from gender-based violence to youth restiveness.”
Zulum while lamenting that challenges seem to be endless, said the possibilities of overcoming them equally is endless buy the very fact that they have been identified is an indication that the region was on the right track to overcoming them.
He however said: “The most formidable and by far the most daunting challenge we, in the North East and indeed Nigeria as a whole, is the current security situation which seems to be defying solutions and which has a telling effect on virtually all aspects of our lives.”
He however said with the appointment of the new Service Chiefs, a new set of strategic initiatives is expected to be deployed to combat the security challenges.
Zulum while lamenting that the insurgency was now taking a new turn for the worse with renewed spate of attacks on soft targets and innocent civilians, said “we shall be expecting a significant improvement in the security situation in the sub region and the country at large.”
He added that: “As it is now, especially in Borno State, violence, being perpetrated by the insurgents, seems to be on the increase, both in scope and viciousness; and it has become a matter of tactical necessity for the new Service Chiefs to devise new and offensive strategies to counter the current attacks and forestall any future attacks.”
He however acknowledged that the commitment of the military to the war against the insurgency remained unquestionable and “their determination to succeed is undeniable, as they have considered and acted upon a full range of options to deal with the insurgency.”
He said: “However with the current escalation of deadly attacks by the terrorists, the various courses of action being pursued seem to have some limitations in terms of the expected impact; hence the need for a new set of pragmatic and result oriented initiatives to completely subdue the terrorists and ultimately end the insurgency.”
He said: “On our part, in addition to the logistical and financial support we have been rendering to the armed forces in their fight against general insecurity in the sub-region, we should also look into the possibility of forming a security outfit, within the ambit of constitutional precedent and operational feasibility, as has been done in other parts of the country. If and when we decide on a regional security outfit, the vigilante groups and civilian JTFs in our respective States may form the basis for the outfit.”
He added that: “Whatever the case, we must make efforts to bridge whatever gaps that exist in our respective States in collectively addressing the security challenges.”
He however lamented that the issue of de-radicalization of Boko Haram terrorists or Safe Corridor Initiative have not worked in line with expectation.
He said: “Quite often those who have passed through the Safe Corridor Initiative or have been de-radicalized, usually go back and rejoin the terror group, after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process. In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on, usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been de-radicalized, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past.
“So the idea of de- radicalization, as currently being implemented needs to be reviewed, because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative, are not being achieved. The best option is to immediately prosecute the terrorists, in accordance with the Terrorism Act.”