Army Chief, Gen Yahaya Appears at Senate; Urges FG to Identify, Track Sources of Funding Terrorists; Wants interventions to address Root Causes of Current Challenges. 

The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk has said there is need to enhance ongoing measures to identify and track the sources of funding of insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements with a view to stifling the flow of funds.

This is just as he emphasized that an enduring solution to a number of current challenges requires a wholistic assessment of their root causes and emplacing multi-dimensional interventions to address them. 

 

General Yahaya disclosed this on Thursday at the National Assembly Abuja while briefing the Senate Committee on an overview of the Nigerian Army Ongoing efforts in the Geo-Political Zones, for the overall interest of enhancing the national security.

“The Nigerian Army considers it expedient that enhanced efforts be targeted at identifying and addressing the root causes of the various security challenges across the country as the current security situation across the country remains fluid and requires a whole of society approach” he said.

The COAS urged the Federal Government to sustain efforts at improving the manpower challenges and equipment shortfalls in the Nigerian Army while also improving the capacity of the primary responders such as the Nigerian Police.

According to him, the Nigerian Army is far stretched beyond any other time in our history.

“The plethora of security challenges imply that our troops are largely committed to operations in one theatre or the other with little respite to recuperate. It is therefore increasingly becoming clear that a systematic and fast tracked surge in the manpower strength of the Nigerian Army is imperative for the Army to be able to maintain presence and adequately support the police as required”.

Gen Yahaya stressed that, in spite of the modest achievements through army interventions, the security situation across the country remains fluid as Nigerian Army continues to confront transmuting threat scenarios, many of which beg for far reaching efforts at tools, other than the military, to sufficiently address them.

General Yahaya said it is important to emphasise that an enduring solution to a number of current challenges requires a wholistic assessment of their root causes and emplacing multi-dimensional interventions to address them. 

While highlighting some challenges, the COAS gave hint on the way forward saying remarkable strides have been recorded in the North East Theatre since the beginning of the year.

“The offensive operations being carried out across the Theatre and in conjunction with the Multinational Joint Task Force have stabilized the sduation in the Region.

“Our troops have cleared and are dominating most of the terronsts’ hideouts in the Timbuktu Trengle, Sambisa Forest as well as other locations in Northem Borno. There have also been a lot of recoveries in terms of arms and ammunitions as well as various equipment from the terrorists.

“The operations were complemented by a well-crafted non-kinetic line of efforts and other enabling activities which ensured the sustained surrender of Boko Haran/ISWAP crimmals. Thus, over 51,000 of the criminals and their familes have so far surrendered.

He added that, a number of theatre-wide mission spectic trainings for the troops as well as targeted welfare initiatives including the replacement of routine welfare fights to boost troops’ morale were also emplaced, All these efforts have contributed to the successes being recorded in the North East Theatre.

“Thus, it is hoped that by the end of the ongoing operations, greater normalcy would have retumed to the North East leading to the retum of more internally displaced persons and restoration of civil authority across the area.

“There are concerted efforts and interventions in Zamfara and Katsina States which were earlier identified as hotbeds for the criminals as armed banditry manifesting in the forms of terrorism, cattle rustling and abduction for ransom are the main security issues in the North West Region.

General Yahaya confirmed that, these trans-boundary movements of the terrorists have unfortunately led to the surge in incidents recorded in Kaduna and Niger states including the recent attacks on the Abuja — Kaduna Train Service on 28 Mar 22, Bimin Gwari LGA as well as those on isolated villages particularly in Kachia and Zangon Kataf LGAs.

“Expectedly, efforts are ongoing with other agencies, to expand our operations to clear the terrorists from their hideouts and rescue the abductees. There are also ongoing efforts at improving synergy and collaboration with other Services and security agencies for wholistic and enduring interventions against the criminals.

He said in North Central there is the operationalization of a new army unit at Bida as interventions especially in Plateau and Benue States, a deft combination of kinetic and non-kinetic efforts driven by Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE have curtailed the farmers/herders crises in Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa States though one off incidents are still recorded.

“On the other hand, Niger State witnessed a surge in banditry activities particularly in the months of January and February 2022 largely due to the southward movement of the criminals to evade operations in Zamfara and Katsina States.

Furthermore, the COAS said contingency plans in South West are undergoing the much needed reviews to support the Police, as the electioneering period kicks in with the gubematonial elections for Ekiti and Osun and States scheduled for 18 Jun 22 and 26 Jul 22 respectively.

“In South-East, intelligence driven operations have led to the arrest and neutralization of a substantial number of the criminals and domination of their hideouts and camps and deliberate operations have continued to decimate their ranks leading to substantial recoveries and improvements in the security situation.

“In spite of the gains made, the criminals have shown some resilience with IPOB/ESN preying on piece-meal deployment of security agencies albeit with very limited success. The criminals have also continued to invest in the development and deployment of IEDs with a number of such IEDs having been recovered since the beginning of the year”, COAS said.

“The  South-South Geo-political Zone has remained largely calm albeit with limited incidents of kidnapping, cultism and militancy being the main security threats. Significantly, oil theft in the region continues to constitute enablers as well as further development of the capacity of primary security agencies such as the Nigerian Police, is imperative.

General Yahaya lamented that there are challenges in securing adequate buy-in of all the stakeholders to come to the understanding that security is a whole of nation effort.

According to him this has for instance, limited the flow of information necessary to promptly identify threats and deal decisively with them.

He said that there is therefore the need for sustained advocacy by the respective national institutions such as this distinguished committee and the National Assembly, in order to awaken the various stakeholders to their responsibilities

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