A trans-border military operations conference between Nigeria and Cameroon is holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.
The Wednesday’s meeting is coming a few days after the Minister of the Lake Chad Basin met to fashion out a legal framework for the Multinational Task Force to tackle insurgency in the north eastern part of Nigeria.
Northern Cameroon and the Lake Chad Basin, are looking to develop a common operational strategy for troops of member countries in preparations for the November 20 launch of the Multinational Task Force.
Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Alex Bardeh, said it was imperative to work out and agree on the operational details that would guide the conducts of the troops to be deployed by each country
The military chiefs had, at an earlier meeting in in July held in Niamey, the capital of Niger republic, agreed to conduct coordinated patrols along common borders in other to crack down on the Boko Haram insurgents.
They also agreed to set up an information sharing mechanism on intelligence, smuggling and protection of military hardware of both countries.
The Nigerian military has dismissed claims by an extremist group, Boko Haram, that a north-east town seized by the insurgents earlier this month has been placed under an Islamic caliphate.
The leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, had, in a new video, claimed that the group had formed a caliphate in Gwoza, a town in Borno State.
“Thanks be to Allah who has given us victory in Gwoza and made us part of the Islamic caliphate. Thanks be to Allah. We are in an Islamic caliphate and we have nothing to do with Nigeria,” Shekau, who spoke in arabic, said in the video published on Youtube by AFP.
“Claim Is Empty”
But in a tweet on its twitter handle, the Defence Headquarters stated that “the claim is empty”.
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact.
“Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with the expression of delusion and crime.
“Appropriate military operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits is still ongoing,” the tweet read.
The terrorist group had attacked a training camp of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force (PMF) in Gwoza few days ago and 35 officials of the police were said to have been taken away after the attack.
In response to the attack, the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, ordered the tightening of security around police facilities in addition to efforts to further protect lives and property.
A police spokesman, Emmanuel Ojukwu, told reporters that an attack on the camp on August 7 was repelled by the Police, but that a fresh offensive was launched on August 20 in which the policemen on duty engaged them in a fierce battle.
“The search and rescue party launched immediately has located and brought to safety all Police officers in the Training College at the time of attack.
“So far, 35 policemen, who are still missing from the facility as a result of the latest attack, are being searched for with very promising prospect of locating them,” he said.
The IGP urged all Nigerians to remain calm and join hands with the security forces in the collective fight against insurgency, restating his determination to work closely with other security agencies to stem the tide of terror.
The Boko Haram sect has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches, schools, mosques and public places in some states in the north.
Three states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – in the north-east have been placed under a state of emergency that has lasted for over one year to enable the military tackle insurgency in the region.
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.
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.