Some of the reasons responsible for the string of successes being recorded by insurgents of the Boko Haram sect in parts of the North against Nigerian security agencies, despite the declaration of state of emergency in Admawa, Borno and Yobe states, all hotbeds of the group’s campaign of violence, are beginning to emerge. The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Sambo Dasuki, says the country’s security operatives are finding it difficult to give the insurgents a good fight because of poor funding. Speaking through Colonel Bello Fadile, the Director of Special Duties in the Office of the NSA in Abuja penultimate Wednesday at a presentation before the House of Representatives, Dasuki said his office was not only being poorly funded, but that it receives its budgetary allocations late. “As I speak, the office of the NSA has not received its third quarter allocation. Last year, over N7 billion was not paid to the agency to do its function”, he said.
President Goodluck Jonathan on May 14, 2013, declared state of emergency in the aforementioned states for six months in the first instance; and in a letter dated November 5, 2013 to the Senate President, David Mark, he sought approval for the extension of the emergency period for another six months because “some security challenges still exist in a few parts”. Indeed, President Jonathan polished the reality when he said security challenges still exist in few parts. The security challenges in the entire North East are still monumental; and the task of containing same very daunting for the nation’s security agencies. Worse still, the daring insurgents are taking the battle to the corridors of the military instead of soldiers taking the fight to the inner recesses of their enclaves.
Shortly before the President clamped emergency on the states last May, about 50 people were killed in various terror attacks in parts of Adamawa State between January and May; 185 others died and 2,000 houses were razed when insurgents unleashed mayhem on Baga (Borno State) on April 20. On May 7, about 55 people, including 22 policemen, 14 prison officials, two soldiers and four others were killed in Bama in the same state in another attack. Between February and April, three North Korean doctors, six policemen, an army officer and seven others were killed in parts of Yobe State. Sadly, however, it will be dishonest to suggest that a major respite has come the way of Nigerians trapped in the axis of terror, even with the state of emergency in place.
Between May and now, the violent sect killed hundreds of people in very gory attacks. They go to schools, line up students and open fire on them, among other atrocities. The latest major success the group pulled through was the attack on a Nigeria Air Force (NAF) base and another military formation right in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital a fortnight ago. One account reported that 22 soldiers lost their lives; and civilian casualties were yet to be determined. Official reports said, however, that 24 of the insurgents were felled, while two NAF personnel were injured. The sect members reportedly stormed their targets with 23 Hilux vehicles and were armed to the teeth. Houses in the NAF base and military barracks attacked were razed, including three military helicopters. More perplexing was the report that both the NAF base and military formation involved were caught napping, as usual, in spite of an intelligence report three days earlier about the attack, when a member of the Boko Haram sect was arrested in Maiduguri. Not too long ago, it may be recalled, Yobe State governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, literally suggested that the security agencies fighting the insurgency could be more or less a rag-tag army. Gaidam said in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, that members of the Boko Haram sect were better armed than the Nigerian military, a remark that correlates with the complain of poor funding of the security agencies, as well as the successes the sect has been recording on daily basis.
In his emergency declaration speech last May, President Jonathan did say: “I want to assure you all that those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state or their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down, we will fish them out and will bring them to justice. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror”. Inherent in the reassuring statement is government’s preparedness to provide the resources needed to fight the insurgents.
But if after six months into the war against terrorism in the North East, members of the sect are bold enough to sack the NAF base and another military formation in the heart of Maiduguri, it follows that NSA Dasuki’s claim of poor funding of his office and the security agencies; as well as Governor Gaidam’s insistence that members of the Boko Haram sect are better armed than the Nigerian military, are not far from the truth. It is obvious that the security forces are failing in intelligence and weaponry. And if the failure stems from the Federal Government’s inability to provide funds to enable them frontally tackle the insurgence, like Dasuki suggested, it means the Jonathan government has been paying mere lip service to solving the problem. There is no way “those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state or their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives”, can be contained if the trend is not reversed immediately.
Source: National Mirror Newspaper