By Oluwagbemileke Takuro
On Tuesday, the 11th of August 2020, in a three-hour meeting that comprised of President Buhari, Vice President Osibajo, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) Security Committee, head of the council chambers and other stakeholders of Nigeria security forces, it was discussed extensively the measures to be in place to help ward off and tackle any terrorist attack.
This meeting was prompted by the warning from Major General Davin Anderson, the Commander of United states Special Operations Command Africa, about a week ago informing the Nigerian government of two groups of Violent Extremists Organization (VEO) – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda that have started to penetrate the Northwestern part of Nigeria.
Did you guys read the US special operations intelligence command briefing that ISIS and Al-Qaeda have now set their sights on southern Nigeria with intent to approach through the shorelines??
Do you care or Is it still Big Brother and vibes??
— Man of Letters. (@Letter_to_Jack) August 5, 2020
He warned Nigeria that these VEOs were leveraging on Africa’s weakness in the aspect of managing the coronavirus pandemic in order to carry out their plans to attack. The US has also stated that they will continue to be in touch with Nigerian government to provide us with more understanding of the plans these terrorist have and made it clear that these terrorist groups use various media tools including social media to have an outsized voice and recruit more members into their organization.
Based on these vital information, the meeting that held on Thursday among federal government officials including President Buhari was focused on identifying issues with our current security state and coming up with effective measures to handle these terrorist actions. The discussions during the meeting revolved around our nation’s security policies and the deficiencies in our nation’s current state of security.
Two important factors that were agreed upon by important stakeholders at the meeting as contributions to the nationwide security issues were high unemployment rate among youth and poverty. More efforts were to be put in place to address these issues at local, state and federal government levels. One other problem highlighted was faulty coordination among military and security chiefs with them being queried about how the insurgents operating within the country still have access to arms and ammunition despite the closure of the country’s borders.
President Buhari mentioned that contrary to popular opinions, our nation possesses more resources in terms of finances and weapons to tackle insurgents, particularly Boko Haram that are operating within the country, with all that’s left of the insurgents in the North east being scavengers that raid shops and markets to hunt for food, and in the process kill innocent civilians. Though we have weapons to fight against these insurgents, more will still be acquired from China and America even though this may be delayed because who will make use of the weapons have to go through rigorous training first on how to use these weapons if the terrorists attack.
We are working very hard to ensure the security situation in every part of Nigeria improves very soon. As part of our efforts, we are investing heavily in acquiring modern equipment. Some have arrived, some are being cleared at the Ports, and we have others still on their way.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) August 10, 2020
The President expressed his satisfaction about the naval activities especially with their use of newly acquired equipment in the Gulf of Guinea. He also urged them to put measures in place in order to have access to Boko Haram’s newly found place of residence in areas around the Lake Chad and the forests occupied by bandits, so these people who threaten the peace and security of our nations can be gotten rid of.
Just like Major General Anderson suggested, it was agreed that the link between the US and Nigeria will be fixed to enable intelligence-gathering which is one of the major techniques to be employed in fighting terrorists.
While all these measures may prove effective in fighting the terrorists, should we wait until ISIS and Al-Qaeda invade Nigeria fully before they are put in place? How about we start with the Southern Kaduna killings that have plagued the nation for a while now.
While many hope that the VEOs do not find their way into the country, our government recognizes that we have to face reality and prepare for the worst. Hence, the reason for the three hours meeting where it was concluded that loopholes in the nation’s security should be dealt with. These include reduction of employment rate among youth, intelligence sharing, acquisition of more arms from foreign countries and training of fighters to use these arms. Hopefully Nigeria will be equipped with all it needs to fight if the terrorists strike.