Security experts, Ona Ekhomu, Dare Ogunlana and Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), on Saturday discussed the issues surrounding terrorism in Nigeria, examining the agitations concerning the capability of the Nigerian military to rescue 234 abducted schoolgirls, combat and overcome the Boko Haram insurgency, the suspicions over foreign aid provided by America and other countries and alleged corruption in the Army.
Mr Ona Ekhomu, who commended the on-going search and high level investigation, said the Army should be assessed based on progress made since the foreign experts arrived, noting that there was no progress made before then.
“The security problem is the unknown location of the girls. You have to find them first making rescue a secondary activity,” he said, adding that technical help from foreign assistance will help locate the before the soldiers are sent in for the rescue.
On suspicions that the foreign assistance given by the international community, especially America was an excuse to take over the country’s military apparatus, Ekhomu said the Americans are not to take control of the security apparatus and the Nigerian military is in the driver’s seat.
He stressed that the foreign experts were offering technical help which Nigeria lacked.
On his part, Dare Ogunlana, said “we have everything, that capability of stopping the insurgency and conducting the search” for the missing girls but regarded it as unwise to reject the offer of the international community.
He insisted that the nation had failed, for so long a time, to put the right peg in the right hole, question the Army on how it spends the security vote and deal with alleged corruption within the Army.
He however maintained that the various issues concerning the Army would not affect the search but added that some level of dialogue with the insurgents would be needed for the rescue mission to succeed.
“If we want to get these girls alive, it is important also to use diplomacy,” he said.
He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to be mature in tackling the issue of terrorism. “As a Commander In Chief, you have to be able to motivate your men”.
Meanwhile, Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), commented on the shooting of a General Officer Commanding by his subordinates, disclosing that the incident did happen.
According to him, there were internal battles in the Army that the Americans cannot fight, an example of which is the act of mutiny by the soldiers.
Contrary to Ekhomu’s belief that shooting was an emotional outburst from the soldiers and was not as a result of corruption and ill-treatment in the military, Aliyu said the foot soldiers, who are at the end of the event chain, made a statement by shooting at their commander.
“The soldiers may be tried for mutiny but the commander has questions to answer,” he stated, noting that the soldiers were being shortchanged and their welfare not taken care of adequately.
“Those boys need to have better toys to fight with but they don’t.” he said, maintaining that the government may keep running away from the issues, but there are a lot of things that need to be in order at the Defence Ministry level.
On the attacks by villagers against Boko Haram members, Aliyu said it was evidence of citizens losing trust in the government and warned that such a trend has its downside.