Show Political Will To Tackle Boko Haram, Analyst Tells Government

Lack of political will to tackle the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been identified as the major problem hampering the fight against insurgency in the north eastern part of Nigeria.

The National Coordinator, Initiative for Public Safety, Security and Educational Development, Mr Emaka Nwanevu, on Tuesday stressed the need for the Nigerian government to show more commitment and willingness to tackling the activities of the Islamic sect, emphasising the comments by the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, on the persistent insurgency.

Governor Shettima had on Monday, stressed the need for the government to show more commitment to tackling the activities of the terrorist group, insisting that what is currently being done is not enough to win the war on terror.

“The leaders should be held responsible for the failure of leadership,” he told reporters in Abuja after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue.

Unimplemented Recommendations

Commending the governor for accepting that there is leadership failure in Nigeria, Mr Nwanevu insisted that the insurgency had continued because the government had failed to do the right things at the right time.

He also pointed out that the insurgency had persisted because of the failure of the government to implement recommendations and reports by various committees that had been set up to proffer solutions to challenges.

“They set up committees that will come up with recommendations and they will not implement it. There are lots of recommendations.

“The political will to ensure that the police become functional and efficient is not there,” Mr Nwanevu, who was a former member of a Presidential Committee on Police Reforms, set up in 2009, said.

He explained how the predecessor of Governor Shettima contributed to the increase in insurgency in the region.

“My organisation in 2009 went to Borno State, conducted a research and got statements from some people about this group. One of the very top officers of the police then, we got to know, had intelligence information about the group and gave it to the governor and nothing happened.

“Our own report, we submitted to the National Assembly, which was to conduct a public hearing on the report but nothing happened.

“This shows lack of political will to tackle the challenge,” Mr Nwanevu insisted.

Need To Review Military Programme

He stressed that the governor’s comments should be taken seriously, as they bear credence to the fact that the ‘war on terror’ was failing.

“If a governor leaves his state to go to the president to make this comment, he must have seen beyond what the ordinary people may have seen. I take him very seriously on his choice of words.

“If it is what it takes for the Federal Government to review the programme of the military, the Joint Task Force, the police formation within the north-east and the zonal command, I think it is time.

“I insist that if those comments are what we require as a nation to go deeper into our response to insurgency, I think it is timely,” he stated.

He believes that politicians, especially from the north, have privileged information that they can provide that will help to solve the problem.

He recommended a review of security heads’ activities and results it had yielded within a specific period of time.

“I recommend a situation where the governor or Borno will hold a meeting with the governors of the north-east and some political leaders of the north who can provide the needed information and strong advice.

Motivation Of Security Agencies

Poor motivation of security agencies was also mentioned by Governor Shettima as one of the reasons the agencies could not defeat the Boko Haram, an opinion Mr Nwanevu also supported and called for a consideration of the welfare of the agencies.

“Up till now there has been nothing about the police pension scam. And this has become a source of worry for police officers that are not sure of what the future holds after service.

“I have met several police officers and they say, ‘we don’t know how to access our pension and we do not know how it is done’,” he said.

Mr Nwanevu also suggested that the government should be proactive and involve more in intelligence gathering which is very vital in fighting terrorism.

He urged the Nigerian president to give a timeline to security chiefs in the country and evaluate their performance within a specific period.

“If the person fails, he should be removed,” he said.

The Boko Haram terrorist group has continued to carry out strategic attacks in Nigeria’s north-east states, leading to slow pace of development in the region that had seen huge migration of its citizens to other parts of the country where they can find peace.