A Vote for Kinetic Approach in Internal Security Operations
By Jude Ede-Attah
A curious headline in one of the dailies last week read: “We Will Kill All Non-State-Actors in the Forest, Says CDS”. The story behind the headline was that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Iraboh, stated in a Security Summit he organized in Abuja that the military has concluded arrangements to neutralize non-state-actors and other agents of violence in the country.
The Defence Headquarters had a fortnight ago, invited stakeholders to brainstorm on ways to strengthen and promote kinetic option in dealing with the rising internal security challenges across the country. Themed “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a Major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria”, the workshop was essentially to solicit the “understanding and buy-in, support and collaboration of relevant stakeholders and key players in the preservation of national security”.
The whole idea was to minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to enhance operational success and mission outcomes. The strategic objectives, according to the CDS, are “manifold and imbued to neutralize non-state-actors and other agents of violence in our communities, forests and countryside, to stabilize the security situation across the nation, to facilitate law and order; and lastly to provide the enabling environment for peace and development to thrive in the country”. It was an opportunity for the Defence Headquarters to promote resource support for the kinetic approach, create awareness of the imperatives for past kinetic action, consolidate security and lastly consider other relevant measures to sustain security and stabilize the polity.
In clear terms, what that meeting was all about is to sound a very loud and clear warning to those spearheading or orchestrating violent crimes in Nigeria that their time is up. The CDS is simply saying that the military will henceforth put more booths on the ground and eyes in the sky to stamp out terrorism and banditry in the country. And in plain language, they are implying that the hard way might just be the only way in dealing with any violent group intent on compromising Nigeria’s national security interest.
Of a truth, the security summit was auspicious at this time considering that for a while now, the Federal Government had leveraged on a multi-lateral approach including the soft approach as well as other multi-dimensional efforts domestically to address what is described as multi-dimensional contemporary security challenges. The result of these efforts remains largely unsatisfactory as the multiplicity of internal security challenges has continued to assail the country, unabated. Perhaps, time is now for more emphasis to be paid on hard core kinetic operations if that will save the country from imminent collapse occasioned by unbridled internal security challenges.
The incontestable fact is that the degenerating insecurity in the land today poses immediate and present danger to the corporate existence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, stability and sustainable development of our dear country. It is therefore incumbent on the Nigerian Armed Forces at this tempestuous period to weigh in on the situation and say it loud and clear that enough is enough! The constitutional remit of defending the country from external aggression and internal insurrection compels the need to canvas and promote kinetic operations which are expected to offer effective deterrence to violent non-state actors, facilitate strategic communications and promote a cohesive information strategy on military efforts.
To underscore the synergy of thoughts and actions between the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs, the DHQ’s security summit and its outcomes are in tandem with the pronouncements and operational outlook of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao.
For instance, in several fora where he had spoken since assuming office as the COAS, Lt Gen Attahiru had always sounded it very clear and unambiguous that as the linchpin in internal security operations, the Nigerian Army is determined to put a final stop to the activities of violent adversaries in the country.
While on an operational visit to Maiduguri, Borno State, the Army Chief told his listeners that “The next phase of our operation in the theatre will be massive and brutal against all elements of the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists. What we are doing in this theatre will be replicated in other operations across the country in order to give a final and decisive knock to the insurgents and other forms of criminality in the country”. By this declaration, violent criminals and other conflict entrepreneurs in any part of the country have been put on notice that the heavy boots reserved for insurgents in north east will be served any agent provocateur or conflict entrepreneur anywhere in the country.
But the argument and position of the military chiefs are not only understandable but quite compelling. Which government or military in any part of the world will sit by and watch all manner of violent individuals and groups destroy the peace and stability of the country? Which military worth its name will condone the willful threat to the corporate existence of the country in the manner we have seen in many parts of the country today?
As a matter of fact, many Nigerians have long expected this momentum in the push back against the forces working assiduously and persistently to destroy peace, security and stability of the country. Many have wondered if this is the same Nigerian military that they grew up to know. The Nigerian Armed Forces remains just about the only indispensable and unifying institution that has held the country together since independence. Nigerians look up to their military to rescue the country from iron grips of insecurity and if it will take a concerted kinetic operation to save the country from the precipice, so be it.
*Jude Ede-Attah, a military enthusiast and journalist wrote in from Nsukka