In a recent discussion on combating the security challenges in Nigeria, some retired generals of the Nigerian military gave their advice to President Bola Tinubu on what should be done to tackle the insecurity in Six Months.
One retired Airforce Generals said: “One of the reasons insecurity is not going away is because since 1999 when democracy was re-birthed, no President, no commander in chief has given a direct, definitive order for terrorists or bandits to be decisively dealt with. What we usually get is open-ended directives. No timeline to get things done and no consequences for not getting things done.
“What President Bola Tinubu should do as C in C is to give a definitive order to the Minister of Defence, the CDS, the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, that this insecurity should end in three or four or six months. If after the time frame given, the criminals are not cleared out, the Minister, CDS and Service Chiefs should be asked to go. I bet you, you will see a change”.
A retired army general said alternatively, “President Tinubu and the Chief of Defence Staff/Army Chief can direct a ‘Scotch Egg Approach’ operation where the adversaries, criminal elements will be boxed into a dead end and taken out. In the military, from the rank of the highest general to the least personnel, everybody is a soldier.
“Take Birnin Gwari forest for example, in one division area of responsibility, which is infested with terrorists, bandits/kidnappers. It stretches from Kaduna to Niger and parts of Plateau state. The government can order everybody in 1 division, Kaduna to close the office, give them arms and enough ammunition, led by the GOC to move from the Kaduna axis, the GOC of 3 division, Jos will also move with everybody from the Jos axis, any terrorists or whatever they call themselves within sight should be taken out since they would have been circled from all angles.
“This is because it is unacceptable that these terrorists and bandits are not only killing innocent Nigerians in droves, our officers and soldiers are being killed with little or no consequences. Since the terrorists have said they are mad, our men should be enabled to clear their doubts. If the President takes such steps, I give you six months, insecurity will go away.”
Speaking on kinetic efforts, an Airforce general said: “A mistake was made a long time ago and we keep making the same mistake with the military. Originally, the role of the military is to defend the territorial integrity of the country. The police are meant to handle law and order. It is not true that the police and other para-military agencies can’t handle internal security, law and order. What we need is a comprehensive reorientation of the police.
“The word ‘Force’ should be removed, it should be called Nigerian Police Service like their counterpart all over the world because they are there to serve the people. There should be joint combat training for the lower cadre of the police, the military, NSCDC, Immigration, Customs and others for them to know themselves and to be able to work together.
“A Joint Counter Terrorism Training Centre for all Para-Military personnel can be established in the country for this purpose. This is because the officers of the military, police and para-military have always had joint training sessions at their levels beginning from the armed forces command and staff college and other senior institutions, so the officers can easily work together but it is not the same for lower ranked personnel. Moreover, right now, the military is very weak because of too much involvement in internal crises and taking over police duties. Consequently, discipline is going down every day.”