• Security council admits Nigerians seeking self-help
• Nigeria has a lazy, uncaring C-in-C – Odinkalu
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, David Arin
DAILY COURIER – Terrorits are fast winning the war where it matters, in the hearts of the average Nigerian through a ill sustained narrative by foreign media and social media our Correspondents revealed.
“Fundamentally, terrorism tends to pick up during times of instability” says Palladium Managing Partner Rhys Morris. “There are economic indicators such as joblessness, recession, and people losing careers and family, that tend to drive an uptick in recruitment and a hardening of resolve around terrorist groups.”
It goes without saying that the economic downturn in Nigeria has exacerbated these issues, creating a sense of hopelessness among some of the most vulnerable populations in Nigeria, and in some areas, putting them squarely in the sights of terrorist propaganda and recruitment.
Our random survey in the nation’s capital, Abuja shows that six in ten residents are scared of terror in one form or the other bringing memories of the nadir of terror in the country when most government infrastructures were garrisoned by fierce looking soldiers.
Digging into what exacerbated the fear among the populace, Our Correspondents uncovered the ingenious roles of foreign media organization which help at propagating terror in Nigeria together with the hazy and fuzzy narratives on social media of the subject matter.
A former Senior Producer at the BBC in London, who is now the CEO of Radio Now 95.3FM Lagos, Kadaria Ahmed, said: “Journalists and now a global media organisation of repute, the BBC, which should know better, are becoming a tool for terrorists, even if unwittingly, by amplifying the faces, voices and stories of killers and marauders who are still operating with impunity across Nigeria.
The public interest argument seems to have been misunderstood, some may even say misrepresented, to enable sensationalist reporting that is very unlikely to be allowed on screens in the United Kingdom. By not upholding the same standards as they would in the UK, in their work in Nigeria, the BBC Africa Eye producers in their latest documentary titled ‘The Bandits Warlords of Zamfara’ have provided a global platform to terrorists and can be accused of becoming an accomplice to terror in the name of reporting it.
Most respondents have one toxic and scary SMS forwarded through WhatsApp or other social media app on terrorists activities in the last 72 hours.
Security council admits Nigerians seeking self-help
Nigerians are close to seeking self-help to combat insecurity, the National Security Council (NSC) said yesterday.
It described the worsening insecurity as a “very difficult situation,” which may not be resolved by “straight, cut-and-dried method”.
However, the council assured that the Armed Forces would soon restore normalcy by deploying new strategies against terrorists and other criminal elements.
National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno hinted on the new strategies in Abuja, shortly after the Northeast elders called for his sack.
Monguno, who briefed reporters after the five-hour meeting at the Presidential Villa, said: “a whole of society approach” was needed to effectively overcome “asymmetric conflict “ in the nation.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to help security, intelligence and armed agencies with useful information.
Monguno said: “The council has seen it necessary to inform the general public that fight in this type of asymmetric conflict is a collective effort, it’s not something that should be confined to only the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. When we keep saying the whole of society approach, the whole of government approach, to get a whole of nation approach, what it means is that everybody has to partake in this enterprise.
“We are in a very difficult situation and the council understands. Mr President (Muhammadu) understands people’s concerns about the growing insecurity, but I can assure you that there’s no straight, cut-and-dried method of dealing with this thing unless all of us embrace each other.
“I know people are wary, people are tired, people are beginning to gravitate to other places for self-help. The truth is that help is rooted in everyone working for the other person.
“The truth is that no country can ever overcome the difficulties of an asymmetric conflict by virtue of the fact that the enemy of the state is embedded within the population, within the wider society. It is true that the local people are averse, they’re scared, they’re worried and there’s no confidence. That is understandable.
“But without their support, without their cooperation in terms of giving information, it makes it very hard for the operational elements.”.
Monguno also made references to the Kuje Medium Custodial Centre and the killing of Guards’ Brigade personnel in Bwari in the Federal Capital Territory. He said the attacks would have been averted, if civilians had alerted security agencies.
His words: “A few days ago, troops of the Guards Brigade were ambushed and decimated. Had there been a collective effort by way of just snippets of information, we might have averted that incident. That is not to say that the responsibility is for those outside the security domain, it’s a collective responsibility.”
Monguno urged the media and politicians to be sensitive in their utterances, noting that some reports have elements that could aggravate the already volatile situation in the country.
He added: “Equally, the political elite is also urged to take into account the consequences of utterances, especially from people who have established a reputation, people who are considered leaders of thought, and people who are considered to have some kind of influence in society. Whatever goes out may be harmful, not just to the government, if that is the intention, which I doubt may not be a deliberate thing, but at the end of the day, it will affect the wider society.”
The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema; Police Affairs Minister Mohammed Dingyadi and Defence Minister Bashir Magashi.
Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff Awwal Gambo; Chief of Air Staff, Isiaka Amao; and Chief of Defence Intelligence Samuel Adebayo were also in attendance.
Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ahmed Abubakar also attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, former chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as a “lazy and uncaring Commander-in-Chief.” The human rights lawyer disclosed this while speaking on the state of insecurity on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme yesterday.
He berated him for jetting out of the country a few hours after operatives of the Guard Brigade were ambushed and gunned down by terrorists in Abuja.
Odinkalu said it was more frustrating that the President travelled to Liberia to speak on security while leaving an insecure country behind. He countered the argument that state governors should also be blamed for the security challenges faced by the country, insisting that: “Security cannot be outsourced to the state, all the security services have only one operational chief and that is the President.
“If you are talking about the police, the army, the navy, the SSS, the NIA, the Directorate of Military Intelligence, National Security Adviser, everyone reports through one channel to one person. The President is not just a Commander-in-Chief, he is the operational head of all of these agencies, they report to him.
“A president who is present will contain that security damage. The tragedy of our current crisis is that President Buhari is neither present nor capable of providing leadership. Even worst, he does not care.”
The lawyer also warned that elections may not take place in many parts of Nigeria in 2023 unless something is done urgently to tackle insecurity.
The fight against terrorism continues
Nigerians, especially residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of their safety, saying the security situation in the nation’s capital is under control.
The assurance is coming after the attack on Guards Brigade soldiers by suspected terrorists in Bwari Area Council.
The DHQ, said the armed forces working in synergy with the various security agencies are committed to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians and urged them to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of attack.
Director, Defence Media Operations(DMO), Major General Bernard Onyeuko, gave the assurance at the media briefing on update of military operations conducted between July 14-28.
He said, “The hierarchy of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies wishes to re-assure Nigerians of its commitment and pact with all Nigerians.
“With the recent operations carried out from 23 July, we wish to assure residents of FCT Abuja in particular that we are undaunted and unrelenting in our efforts to ensure the safety of lives and properties. People should go about their normal business as their safety is guaranteed.
“The support and cooperation of all Nigerians is hereby solicited as security is everybody’s business. Citizens are encouraged to report any unusual persons in your community to security agencies. If you see something, say something.”
Gen Onyeuko, said over 30 terrorists were killed during the Bwari attack by the soldiers, who recovered several weapons, just as military offensive operations in the entire FCT is yielding positive result.
Giving an insight into the Bwari attack, he said, “Troops of 7 Guards Battalion and 167 Special Force Battalion, in conjunction with the air component of Operation WHIRL PUNCH, conducted a clearance patrol around Bwari general area between 24 – 26 July, 2022. Troops successfully cleared Kawu and Ido villages. Consequently, about 30 terrorists were neutralised and their enclave and hide out destroyed. Ground troops also recovered 6 x motorcycles, 2 x AK47 rifles, 1 x fully loaded LMG magazine. amongst others, during mob up.”