The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) has called on the Federal Government and United Nations to step up efforts to apprehend sponsors of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist groups.
In a statement signed by its convener, Princess Ajibola on Thursday, the centre tasked the pair to beam searchlight towards saboteurs jeopardizing the military’s remarkable gains.
CALSER, though, acknowledged the efforts of the gallant troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, which it said has “pushed back the terrorists, denied them any capacity to hold territory and hoist flags as they did in the past”.
However, the only obstacles, the centre reckoned are individuals and groups covertly sponsoring and promoting the insurgents’ agenda.
According to CALSER, among others, some foreign and indigenous NGOs, local politicians, foreign governments as well as certain self-acclaimed activists and media personalities are fuelling insurgency for their personal gains.
For the military to finally put an end to the fleeing jihadists, CALSER reckoned that these conspirators and sponsors must first be tamed.
The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights, therefore, tasked the United Nations, the international community and well spirited individuals to support the FG in the apprehension of the sponsors of the fighters in the Lake Chad region.
It further charged the “ International Criminal Court (ICC) to commerce immediate trail of all sponsors of these terrorist groups identified by the Nigerian government”.
The full statement reads:
It has been over a decade now that the war against Boko Haram insurgency has been on in the country.
In that period tens of thousands of lives have been lost, communities sacked, billions of dollars spent on prosecuting the war.
This is definitely heavy toll on the nation and everyone.
The Nigeria army which has been at the fore front of fighting this battle against insurgency has equally paid dearly.
In many instances while we sleep cosy in our bedrooms they are at the theatre of the war taking on the Boko haram terrorists.
Many times they have had to pay with their lives just to see that these terrorist are defeated and eradicated.
Unfortunately this has not been achieved yet.
There may be divergent opinions on why Boko haram/ISWAP has not been totally eradicated despite the efforts and sacrifices by our armed forces.
We at the Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic rights (CALSER) believe that the government needs to turn their searchlight towards saboteurs in this war.
The government now has to go for the sponsors of these terror groups.
A group of thugs and miscreants cannot sustain a war against the whole nation Nigeria for over a decade without them having collaborators and sponsors both internally and externally.
No matter the efforts of the Nigeria military, so long as these sponsors and collaborators of Boko Haram/ISWAP are allowed to fester, we do not think this war will end anytime soon.
Remember sometimes in 2019 when army spokesperson Col Sagir Musa raised alarm that some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the North eastern region of the country were breaching security protocols and sabotaging ongoing counter terrorism operations in the zone?
Of course these facts were established after the arrest of a top Boko Haram commander Mohammed Modu.
The army also made similar accusations in 2018.
The truth is the military have done their best in addressing the kinetic component of the war against insurgency as was entrusted to them by Mr President.
They have pushed back the terrorists, denied them any capacity to hold territory and hoist flags as they have done in the past.
They have decimated their strongholds.
However for the battle against insurgency to be done and over, the government has to go for the sponsors of this war.
Otherwise if left unchecked they will continue to provide the required lifeline for a group already decimated and about to be finished off.
Let us not imagine that the sponsors will be uniform or perhaps just one entity. Such operations normally have multiple and diverse sponsors.
They could include Foreign or Local NGOs, local politicians, some foreign governments, including even some of our Neighbours.
Remember when a top politician in Borno State , Shettima Lawan was arrested by the army.
Shettima was the chairman of Mafa local government council, Borno State at the time.
In the words of the then Theatre Commander of operation Lafia Dole, Major General Leo Irabor described Shettima Lawan as a “big supporter” of Boko Haram in a press conference where his arrest was confirmed.
So while the army diligently works towards rounding up Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters, some local politicians are aiding their operations.
In such situations it will be herculean for the military to make headway in such situations.
There are also the international collaborators or sponsors.
If we recall CBN news channel reporting that Turkey was a major supplier of weapons to Boko Haram insurgents.
This news was later confirmed by AFP a French news agency to be from leaked audio recording between a Turkish government adviser and a top Turkish airline official.
If we now link this story with the September 2017 seizure of arms and rifles loaded in a container shipped from Turkey at the Lagos ports.
We may begin to get the link or clue to some of these issues.
What is certain is this, there are definitely organizations and countries collaborating and sponsoring the activities of the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist in Nigeria.
The government now needs to go after them otherwise the war against terrorism may remain compromised.
Whilst we cannot give all the details in this briefing, you all with agree with us that our military has a swell of information that the government can act on to track and deal with these sponsors.
We are largely surrounded by neighbours who may look friendly but revelations of some activities of these countries in their dealings with the terrorist organizations sometimes leaves us in doubt as to what their real intentions may be.
Nigeria being surrounded mainly by Francophone countries must be cautious in its dealings with this nations.
There has been reports of some of these countries providing safe passage for the terrorist and in many cases after launching attacks here in Nigeria, they retreat back into this neighbouring countries.
In some cases, we even hear they get their arms transported and supplied through these countries.
Then we have their collaborators in the media, these group are no less dangerous as other collaborators.
In fact they could even be termed more dangerous because they are quite subtle in their approach.
Whenever the army is making advances and successes in the war, they hit the news space with fake stories of abuse of right and many times report attacks that did not even occur.
They try all sort of tactics to demoralize the troops who are in the forefront of the war.
It is quite tough for the army whilst prosecuting the war against insurgency and diligently running with the mandate given it by Mr President to also be engaging the collaborators and sponsors on the sides.
We call on the United Nations, the international community and well spirited individuals to help in the apprehension of the sponsors of the Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters in the lake chad region.
Without apprehending the sponsors their activities may not come to an end soon.
Their savagely behaviour must be seen as what it is “crime against humanity”, and so their collaborators must be seen as perpetuators of the crime as well.
In that light we call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to commerce immediate trail of all sponsors of these terrorist groups identified by the Nigerian government.
It has become imperative for this to be done to stop the continued slaughter of innocent souls by these terrorist groups and their collaborators.
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