BOKO HARAM: DECEMBER DEADLINE NOT TENABLE- CCC.
***Cautions MASSOB, IPOB on secessionist agitations
As the December deadline given by President Muhammadu Buhari for the military to end Boko Haram insurgency increasingly looks untenable, going by the recalcitrance of the terrorists’ group to surrender, the Center for Crisis Communication (CCC) has posited that the deadline for the defeat of Boko Haram is not feasible.
Security sources earlier hinted that one reason why the task may be difficult to attain is the fact that the military operations was still having issues with acquisition of arms and ammunition needed to prosecute the war even as it was gathered that it is the arms and ammunition procured by the former administration that are still trickling into the military’s armoury
Speaking on the fight against insurgency and the need to look beyond the December 2015 deadline, Executive Secretary of CCC, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd) said “It is perhaps not out of place to have another look at the current December deadline date to end Boko Haram terrorism. The time line on when to stop the insurgents from activating sleeper cells and detonating bombs into soft targets in any part of the country, especially in the frontline states should therefore, not be sacrosanct”.
While agreeing that there was nothing wrong in setting targets for military operations as was done by President Muhammadu Buhari when he gave the directive, the executive Secretary noted “It must also be stated that this target date might be unrealistic. This submission is predicated on the fact that asymmetric warfare which the Boko Haram is prosecuting against the Nigeria is not such that can be easily be stamped out by the Armed Forces.”
Giving reasons to back up the argument, Commodore Anas quoted the just concluded United Nations General Assembly deliberations of terrorism which concluded, “That terrorism as an ideology is largely emotive because it has to do with the mind. Force has never been known to combat, in a precise manner, any issue that has to do with the mind.”
“What the UN is inferring is that other methods or approaches to ending terrorism and putting them out of relevance need to be explained alongside the military campaign. These include addressing such issues as youth unemployment, education opportunities and infrastructural development among others” he said.
The Centre therefore urged Nigerians not to see the December target as the tenable date when all suicide bombings and attacks on soft targets will end.
“Similarly, we should also not trade blame with the military over the issue. Nigerians should rather continue to cooperate with the government and support the security forces to ensure that the enemies do not continue to have an opportunity to unleash terror in our country.”
Concerning the millions already displaced by the insurgency especially in the north eastern parts of the country, the Centre expressed concern about their plight, which it described as precarious and needing urgent attention.
“The Centre is strongly suggesting the establishment of a lead government agency that will develop a Marshall plan for the rehabilitation of all the displaced people in the North East.
“This could also be in the form of Inter- Ministerial Plan with an administrative office with a similar scope as the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta Youths.
“This will oversee the data capturing, profiling and rehabilitation of all the displaced people in the frontline states and other affected states of Nigeria. The plan will identify the priority areas of needs, skills and challenges with a view to settling them productively to avoid recourse to crimes or antisocial behaviour.”
The Centre for Crisis Communication equally noted the serious threats of secession in the past several months by some individuals and groups in parts of Nigeria including some Yoruba elders and other Igbo groups.
“The Centre views this development as not only grossly uncharitable to the entire nation but unwarranted coming at a time the country is not only consolidating its nascent democracy but also celebrated its 100 years centenary and its fifty-first anniversary.
“These unfortunate secessionist agitations are also coming on the heels of the widely acclaimed free and fair elections that brought about a new government in Nigeria.”
Buttressing his point with video clips of leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Daniel Kanu on his radio broadcast threatening to burn down Nigeria which he described as “Zoo”, Anas declared recent disruptive protests in some South East and South- South are condemnable.
He said “the Centre strongly believes that the issue of the State of Biafra was historically rested in 1970 following the end of the civil war.
“Therefore, secession should not be an option for any individual or group in Nigeria especially after the 30 months war that killed, maimed millions of lives and destroyed unquantifiable property and infrastructure.
“Unguarded statements and violent demonstrations are therefore unhelpful and capable of escalating unnecessary crisis.”
After monitoring activities of Radio Biafra, “it is the Centre’s conclusion that several contents broadcasted were seditious and even bordering on treason against the Nigerian state.
“This is akin to similar hate messages by a radio station during the Rwandan genocide against sections of the country and the government.
“Indeed, at an earlier media briefing in August, the Centre highlighted the menacing broadcast of the pirate Radio Biafra which no doubt could be described as being on a mission to orchestrate disunity in Nigeria.”
He then urged the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and IPOB to seek legitimate avenues of channeling their grievances or injustices on any perceived socio-economic and political issues in their region within the current democratic space.
The Centre then commended efforts of the governors of the South East and other leaders in the region to broker peace and observed that “true leaders in any society always quickly wade into a crisis before it get out of hand.”
CCC however, asked the Federal government to engage the MASSOB, IPOB and indeed any group in a meaningful dialogue within the laws of Nigeria with a view to resolving current or emerging crisis. This is no time to stroke new crisis in the country, but rather a period to cement our unity as one, strong, indivisible and progressive nation.
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