Memo To Nigeria Minister Of Defence On Challenges Of Insecurity – By Abba Dukawa

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All eyes are now on Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi to consolidate the technical victory against Boko Haram insurgency and other insecurities challenges before the country.

in a wave of attacks by various militants groups spanning a ten year period,families have lost their loved ones. Many women are now widows. Children become orphans with no hope of the future. Many lives and properties have been lost and a large number of citizens rendered homeless. The latest insecurity challenge facing the country and scares Nigerians is Kidnapping and also the attacks carried out by Fulani Herdsmen on some communities in the North and South.

In the early stage of Buhari’s administration Boko Haram suffered one loss after another until the authority boldly declared on National Television that the militants had been “technically defeated”. That “technical victory”, it is apparent, is fast becoming a pyrrhic victory with the renewed wave of attacks by the insurgents on soft targets.

During your ministerial screening in the Senate when reacting to a question by the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu on insurgency in the country, you have said the relationship among the service chiefs was not cordial , “Regarding the issue of the service chiefs, in my own view, we are caught in a situation where you find out that each commander or service chief tries to please the nation.

“Anytime the service chiefs conduct operations, you find radio coverage that the Air Force has done this, the Army has done this; thank God we are not near the ports where we can see that the Navy is also involved.

“If the Navy was around here, then the three services would have been on the same collision course. In an ideal situation where I served as an ECOMOG commander, it was a single unit that was overseeing the needs, the aspirations, welfare of our troops in combat zones.”
Also elaborated that , “In Nigeria today, what we call command structure is now being seen as weakness. We have almost disseminated all our forces and I do not think the current structure is a true reflection of the manpower requirement in this country. We only have divisions probably by name but I do not think we have the required manpower to man them.

You added that to fight an insurgency war or general insecurity, the Army, Air Force and the Navy should have a common troop working together and should not operate independent of one another with need for a single commander should take care of reinforcement, operations, change of troops, among other needs.


General you had wealth of experience in warfare being one time served as chief of staff ECOMOG in Liberia. What Nigerians effected is military victory not technical victory.

The only actions will curb insecurity in the country is need for services chiefs to relocates to the hotspot of insecurities areas like Chief of Army Staff alleged that Nigerian soldiers are not committed so he should permanently be in Borno, where he will coordinate his troops. The Chief of Defence Staff should have an annexe office in Zamfara, where he would spend more time than sit in his comfort office in Abuja. The Chief of the Air Force needs to also be on his toes. We need a new paradigm in terms of methods and personnel to fit into the sophistication of these crimes.
Nigerians need to see a different approach in terms of choosing the right personnel to dispense with the responsibilities of safeguarding the country.the present Chiefs, seem to have reached their nadir and the motivation to deliver the right modules for effective security is tellingly missing.

Some Nigerians have been saying that it is about time the President rejig his services chiefs. Let these tired legs leave the scene for a more robust and result-driven younger minds that will come up with a new perspective on how to combat our insecurity challenges.

The army should be trained in Counter-terrorism strategies and tactics, asymmetric warfare, and desert warfare. Nigeria militaries lost morale due to overstaying in the war nettle and lack of proper medical attention and poor salary and allowances. Those within the ranks of the military who give controversial orders that impede efforts to crush the insurgency should be court-martialled and punished appropriately. There is need to reduces the shortage of security personnel by creating a National Guard and a Special Forces Unit with tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian state from internal and external aggressors.

It is about time the President goes beyond mere sloganeering, and sprouts to action. We are tired of weather-beaten rhetoric that has become so repetitive and boring.For about ten years the country had its own bitter taste of the many different kind of insecurities which practically stalled development in many areas that have direct impact on human capital development indices.

In 1992, Major General Bashir Magashi was nominated to attend the Senior Executive Course 14 (SEC 14) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies. His research topic was “Insulating the Nigerian Military for Government”

Magashi subsequently served as Commander of the Brigade of Guards, GOC 2 Mechanised Infantry Division,Ibadan, in 1996 and thereafter served as the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy. He was retired in 1999. On his political activetism Major-General Bashir Magashi was legal advisor to the All Nigeria People’s Party ANPP In 2002, National Chairman Democratic Peoples Party. Later APC member in Kano. Finally

Beyond the insurgency in the North-East, security threats, previously alien to our country, such as kidnapping, cattle rustling, farmers/herders clashes and banditry have now more than ever before threatened the peaceful coexistence of our country. This situation needs for proactive actions and increased inter-security-agency collaboration and engagement with the civilian populace to turn the tide against criminals. Both security agencies should be recognised and treated as full citizens with the same rights and obligations as any other citizens. Militants of all kind should be boxed into a corner where they will be forced to negotiate peace terms which should be devoid of exchange of cash. Wishing you Allah’s guidance to witness real victory against all kind of insecurities facing the country not technical victory.

Dukawa can be reached at [email protected]


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