Sunday, May 11, 2014 3:33 pm
The All Progressives Congress, APC, this afternoon asked President Goodluck Jonathan to stop blaming the opposition for the insecurity in the country and earn his epaulet as the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces by developing a successful counter-insurgency to tackle the Boko Haram menace.
Addressing journalists this afternoon in Lagos, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, warned President Jonathan to stop passing the buck and come out with a counter terrorism strategy to tackle the insurgency in the Northeast.
Akande explained that since 2009 when Boko Haram launched its terror campaign, thousands of Nigerians, mostly civilians, have either been killed or maimed while the economic and social activities in a section of the country have been paralysed.
“Nigeria is at war and Nigerians are asking: How did we get to this sorry pass? Could we have averted the situation in which we have now found ourselves, a situation in which Africa’s most populous nation, and one said to have the largest economy on the continent, is now lying prostate, begging the world for help? How did a country that has been at the vanguard of maintaining peace in other countries since 1960 now become something of a panhandler? How can we restore peace to our country and provide safety and security for our people?” he asked
The APC chairman appealed to the President to build a new intelligence gathering infrastructure to tackle terror in the country.
“In 2012, Nigeria announced plans for a new intelligence fusion centre to coordinate, improve and integrate intelligence gathering and sharing across agencies. We need to obtain more timely and actionable intelligence from local sources in the areas affected by Boko Haram. We should also establish an office of the Special Anti-Terrorism Coordinator,” he stated.
He said the solution to preventing, limiting and responding to Boko Haram does not lie in deploying more troops but in improving intelligence and increasing force enablers.
He also called for improved contingency planning, adding that there is need to begin to create plans and conduct training exercises for challenges that the country will likely face.
Akande advised President Jonathan to pursue and align military with political (negotiated) solutions.
“Governmnent must develop a strategy along the lines of the policy followed by President Yar’Adua (over the MEND insurgency in the Niger Delta) at least to the extent that we use employment and other rehabilitative incentives to separate the rank and file from Boko Haram’s leadeship,” Akande added.
The APC chairman appealed to the Jonathan administration to deradicalise the North to prevent many young people (illiterate and unemployed) from being radicalised.
“Such strategies would require initiatives to counter violent extremist ideology and create positive incentives against radicalisation,” he stressed.
Akande further urged the Jonathan administration to solicit the operational involvement and assistance of ECOWAS and AU, including deploying multinational security operations across the sahel to track and hunt down Boko Haram operational chain.
“It is clear that Boko Haram is no longer a Nigeria-only problem, but now a regional security menace that requires regional responses,” he added.
APC further proposed an effective economic development plan for Northern Nigeria, describing the proposed recovery fund for the North East as grossly inadequate window dressing.
“A real and massive effort is needed,” Akande stated.