…Defence chief says counter-insurgency strategy changing

…ISIS/Boko Haram anticipate renewed military offensive

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu held a first meeting with service chiefs at State House Abuja, on Thursday.

The meeting generates special interest, given the president’s declaration at his inauguration that security would be his top priority in office.

“Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence,” the president had said at his inauguration Monday.

“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security doctrine and its architecture,” he added.

“We shall invest more in our security personnel and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better training, equipment, pay, and firepower,” he further avowed.

At the meeting with the president, were Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

Also present were Director-General of the Department of State Service(DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

The agenda and outcome of the meeting were not immediately disclosed.

There would however be much to talk about.

In a recent statement, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor listed the country’s security challenges as including, “terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, communal clashes, oil theft, piracy, drug and human trafficking, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and cybercrimes, among others.”

Irabor further said Nigeria requires much more than military intervention to deal with the complex forms of insecurity it is faced with and that the transition has started.

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He advocated an “All Of Society Approach” comprising multi-sectoral and specialised efforts and involving all of society.

He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) have reviewed their strategies and policies and given prominence to the whole of society approach, to ensure effective attainment of military goals and national development objectives.

“The approach involves the participation of the government, security agencies, civil organisations, religious leaders, traditional leaders, the press and the general public,” he added.

“Recently, the FGN adopted a non-kinetic approach by developing a policy framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (NAPPCVE).

Irabor explained that the Non-Kinetic military operations involved the use of psychological, diplomatic negotiations and economic sanctions to achieve military objectives.

He added that it included civil military operations, cyber warfare, covert intelligence operations and media operations, among others.

“These operations can be used in combination with each other or with traditional military action to achieve specific objectives,” he said.

“They are often used in situations where traditional military activities are either not feasible or not appropriate,” Irabor added.

Meanwhile, insurgent groups, Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) and Boko Haram, are anticipating renewed and more vigorous attacks from the Nigerian military, following the change of government in the country.

To this end, there have been armed skirmishes between ISWAP and Boko Haram in the north of Nigeria, especially in the north-west, from January up till a few weeks back.

Our sources say the fighting between ISWAP and Boko Haram is for strategic territory, in anticipation of escalated and sustained attacks from the Nigerian military, against both groups, which typically occurs every time there is a change of government at Federal level.

It is said that the ongoing fighting between ISWAP and Boko Haram is specifically a contest for territory close to the borders between Nigeria, Niger Republic, Cameroun and Chad, from where they can make quick escapes into foreign territory in the face of major onslaughts from the Nigerian military.

The insurgents are also keen to hold borderline territory’s because from there, they are able to access arms and ammunition which reportedly flow in from a black market in Libya.