A former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau has described the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as the next “major event” for security agencies to contain ahead of the 2023 elections.
This comes on the heels of the recent abduction of a female soldier, Lieutenant PP Johnson by gunmen suspected to be IPOB members. Earlier in December, the Ebonyi State Police Command also uncovered the “biggest bomb factory in the South-East,” recovering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Gen. Dambazau spoke during a live appearance on 2022 In Retrospect, Channels Television’s year-end special on Saturday, while giving his assessment of national security in the past year.
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“When you look at 2022, we have other security challenges in the North-West – the banditry, kidnappings, and so on. We also have challenges in the South-East: the IPOB issue which is threatening elections in the South-East, which is the next major event that this country is going through in 2023 – that is, (leading up) to the elections,” he said.
Speaking on security efforts in the North-East, the former COAS described insurgency in the area as a regional problem which affects all the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
“It even extends to other countries in the Sahel. So, it’s a regional issue beyond Nigeria and this is why Nigeria has been leading in the consolidating the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force, which is based in Chad.
“In the North Central, we have challenges of the herders-farmers conflict and also some issues of banditry activities. So, almost every geopolitical zone has something to contribute towards insecurity. As I said, it was a challenging year and we do hope 2023 will be better,” he said.
The former minister of interior noted that in discussing issues of security, it is important to look beyond the physical aspects. According to him, there is also a human aspect of the security issues.
“It is not the use of force that can solve it but good governance. The issue of education, health care services, environment, poverty, employment or unemployment – these are issues that require good governance and they are fundamental issues when you talk of security.
“I’m not implying, for instance, that poverty causes insecurity, but it’s a factor. So, if you’re able to reduce poverty (and) unemployment, raise the standard of education, the quality and also accessibility of education, then you will by implication be able to reduce these insecurity challenges,” he said.