Insecurity: Nigeria On The Brink – Defence Minister

The federal government said on Monday that arrangements have been concluded to confront “merchants of violence” threatening to tear the country apart.

It said it will use kinetic approach to stop those planning to destabilise the country.

The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, stated this in Abuja at a one-day National Defence and Security summit with theme ‘Promoting Kinetic Operations as a Major Plank for Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency in Nigeria’.

By definition, kinetic approach is military action involving active warfare, including lethal force. The phrase is used to contrast between conventional military force and “soft” force, including diplomacy and sanctions.

General Magashi lamented that Nigeria was in a critical situation occasioned by terrorist attacks, banditry and kidnappings.

This is as the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the military will neutralise non-state actors and other agents of violence in communities, forests and countryside to stabilise the security situation across the nation.

According to Magashi, the federal government was committed to ensuring safety of lives and property of the citizenry in line with the presidential directive to the service chiefs to nip the challenges in the bud.

He said: “This summit is coming at a sobering time in the life of our dear nation. A time when merchants of violence are threatening to tear the very foundations of our nation; a time when diverse manifestations of security threats dot the landscape and impact individuals, communities and almost all subnational entities in disconcerting ways; a time when fear and uncertainty pervades the land; and a time when global indicators of national insecurity give room for serious concern.”

The minister added that the presidential directive to the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies underscored the use of all the instruments of power to stabilise the security situation in the nation and provide good governance as well as promote peace, stability and development.

“The focus and objective use of kinetic operations therefore become very obvious.

“The armed forces and other security agencies in league with strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are critical to this security initiative.

“We are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task.

“This is important to minimise distractions and maximise civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes,” the minister said.

He added that the insecurity manifesting in different shades was aggravating political instability, economic under-development, social inequalities, food insecurity and cumulative environmental degradation.

General Magashi said the federal government had over the years applied a multilateral approach, working closely with its neighbours and multi-dimensional efforts at home.

He said: “In Southern Nigeria, the security approach includes, but not limited to: the convening of various stakeholder dialogues in the Niger Delta; mounting of Single-Service, Joint and Special Task Forces; establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta; declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for repentant Niger Delta militants; proscription of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); and the establishment of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre Zone E in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Speaking at the summit, Gen. Irabor said the military will ensure peace, and that peace returned to the country through the use of kinetic operations in dealing with the prevailing security challenges.

He specifically said the military has concluded arrangements to neutralise non-state actors and other agents of violence in communities across the nation.

“Our strategic objectives are manifold and imbued to neutralise non-state actors and other agents of violence in our communities, forests and countryside to stabilise the security situation across the nation, to facilitate law and order; and lastly to provide the enabling environment for peace and development.

“These presuppose that the military would need support from other security agencies during the operations and would be required to give support to others at different stages of the internal security effort,” he stated.

The Guest Speaker, Amb. Abdullahi Omaki, who presented a paper titled ‘Kinetic Operations as a Major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria’, said the current challenges could only be addressed through all-government and all-society approaches.

Omaki, who is the Director-General, Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, said there was the need to assess kinetic operation for redressing the dislocation of the nation’s security.

He said it was time for the military to engage in full kinetic approach in tackling insurgency and banditry, adding that public engagement and enlightenment were needed for the kinetic operations to be successful.

According to him, kinetic operations were often associated with collateral damage, especially on the side of the civilian population owing to the fact that war against terrorism is not a conventional warfare.

“In the case of Nigeria, experience shows that the military, with its air power and specialised weaponry, is best equipped to handle counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency roles to secure the country,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that the ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio and Petroleum Resources, Chief Diorite Silva, as well as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, among others attended the summit.

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