The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, has assured that the military would enhance its kinetic operations in dealing with the prevailing security challenges confronting the nation. Irabor gave the assurance at a One-Day National Defence and Security Summit with the theme: “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria” on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria were committed to ensuring the return of peace to different parts of the country being confronted by insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of security challenge.
Irabor said that defence and security were universally considered as common, but existential values that affect the entire nation. He said the summit would seek to discuss how to promote kinetic operations by leaders and eminent personalities in the Nigerian society who would contribute their narratives towards addressing the security challenges.
According to him, it is no longer news that the nation experiences a wide range of national security threats including terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflict, ethno-religious conflicts, kidnapping and banditry.
He said that the threats had posed immediate and present danger to the corporate existence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, stability and sustainable development of the nation.
The CDS said that the military had re-strategized to implement the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, for action to immediately stabilize the situation.
“Our strategic objectives are manifold and imbued to neutralize non-state-actors and other agents of violence in our communities, forests and countryside to stabilize 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.
“On behalf of the officers and men/women of the armed forces, I pledge our unalloyed loyalty to C-in-C and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “The mandate shall be delivered; fear and despair shall be extinguished from our land. Nigeria will have peace again,” he said
Irabor said that the use of military force, particularly in the homeland, had been the most fiercely debated topic in public discourse, adding that people often took extreme and sometimes diametrically opposed positions.
According to him, it is important, therefore, that the kinetic efforts enjoy the understanding and sustained support of stakeholders, key players, the public and other significant stakeholders.
He said that the specific objectives of the Summit were to create functional awareness of the rationale for the kinetic efforts, promote buy-in and support of critical stakeholders and the polity. He said that it was also to promote viable Civil Military Relations (CMR) structures in support of the kinetic effort.
He said that the summit was also expected to promote possible deterrence from violent non-state actors, facilitate strategic communications and promote a cohesive information strategy on the kinetic approach adding that the summit also seek to promote resource support for the kinetic approach, create awareness of the imperatives for past kinetic action, consolidate security and lastly consider other relevant measures to sustain security and stabilize the polity.
“The Summit is designed to quicken, support and consolidate the kinetic effort. “I, therefore, appeal to all participants to speak freely and candidly in the national security interest.”
Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) in his address, declared that the Federal Government is single-mindedly committed to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security of the nation noting, “We will therefore leave no stone unturned to deliver on these national aspirations and values.
Disclosing that the Summit is coming at a sobering time in the life of our dear nation, Magashi said, “This is at 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 sub-national 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”.
He told the audience that included the National Security Adviser, Maj General Babagana Monguno (rtd), Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, that, “Physical insecurity in Nigeria expectedly has both forward and backward linkages to different shades and forms of national security.
“Indeed, it is linked to political instability, economic under-development, and social inequalities. Others are food insecurity and cumulative environmental degradation. These indicate the multi-dimensional nature of national insecurity.
“In view of these realities, the Federal Government of Nigeria has over the years applied a multi-lateral approach with our contiguous neighbours and multi-dimensional efforts domestically.
“In Southern Nigeria, the security approach include, 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.
“In Northern Nigeria, the security instruments applied include, but also not limited to: the mounting of different Single Service, Joint and Special Task Forces such as Operations Lafiya Dole, Safe Haven and Hadarin Daji; the mounting of the Multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) with neighbouring nations and operational collaboration with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
“Other areas of intervention are the establishment of the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative on humanitarian interventions, transformational and development efforts; the establishment of the North East Development Commission as well as strategic and operational collaboration with the Safe Schools Initiative; a global coalition to protect schools. These efforts have been backed by enormous resource provisions through budgetary appropriations and special interventions.
Continuing he said, “I wish to state with a sense of responsibility and without any exaggeration that the results of these efforts have been mixed.
“Although the territories of the Niger Delta have recorded relative peace in recent times, there are manifest threats in the littorals and the prognosis show potential threats of resurgent militancy.
“In all other areas, there are causes for serious national security concerns, ranging from terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflicts, ethno/religious conflicts and lately kidnapping and banditry.
“The Federal Government has inalienable responsibilities to provide security to the people and territories of Nigeria and would not shirk on these responsibilities.
“Admittedly, the Presidential directive to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Security Agencies underscores the use of all the instruments of power to stabilize the security situation in the nation and provide good governance as well as promote peace, stability and development.
“The focused and objective use of kinetic operations therefore becomes very obvious. The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in league with strategic Ministries Departments and Agencies 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 minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes. It is in this light that I consider this National Defence and Security Summit organized by the DHQ as both apt and timely. Therefore, I affirm and declare my support for it.”