By Stephen Ubanna
Barely two weeks after the Islamic Fundamentalists Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Insurgents , made attempt to take over the Agricultural Community of Damasak , Capital of Mobar Local Government Area in Borno state state, north east Nigeria, but failed, may have forced them to target Dikwa and the alternate town, Gulumba –Gana, described as a very strategic town in Dikwa Local government Area of the state.
The Insurgents may have made known their strategic war plan to take over the entire Borno state, with their attack on Damasak, which was quickly followed by the attack on Dikwa town on Sunday, April 18, 2021. The Abubakar Shekau, led Bokokaram and the splinter Group, ISWAP, which had occupied the Lake Chad region , bordering Nigeria, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon, had initially attacked Gulumba Gana, an alternate Headquarters of Dikwa Local Local government. Their target may have been to take over the Nigerian military base at Dikwa and loot their armoury.
The insurgents planed attack at the Dikwa military base, may have leaked out to the roops of Operation Lafiya Dole, currently carrying out Operation Takaibango stationed at Dikwa and Gulumma Gana, to resist them. Muhammed Yerima, a Brigadier General and army spokesperson, had said that the insurgents who had invaded the Gulumba Gana, in their large numbers mounted on 12 gun fitted trucks.
The question on the lips of most people was how an untrained terrorists which President Muhammadu Buhari and Commander In-Chief, C-In-C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces, had repeatedly said had been ‘’technically defeated’’ could muster such large number of fighters to attack Communities and military bases in Borno and Yobe states in the recent time.
Security experts believe that this is possible because the rebels, armed with stolen weapons from the neighbouring Libya that had been expelled by the AQIM,AAD, and MUJAO, Islamist Groups from the Northern Mali,, Somalia al-shababaab terrorsts, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, rebels,may have collapsed into the Nigerian terrorist Groups which may have emboldened them to sustain the attack in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
Brigadier General Yerima, had confirmed that the insurgents had taken over Dikwa town, in their recent attack in Borno state. The take over of the Borno town may have informed why Ibrahim Attahiru, a Lt.General and Chief of Army Staff, COAS, gave a matching order to the Operation Lafiya Dole troops, to andthe Air Wing of theatre, to mobilise and force the insurgents out from Gulumba Gana town to be able to reclaim Dikwa. The troops may have followed the instruction of the COAS to force out the BokoHaram and ISWAP , fighters from the Gulumba Town.
This may have encouraged the air component of the theatre to engage the insurgents gun trucks and their other technical in the vicinity of the attack to prvent blood bath, thus facilitating the Troops counter-attack on Monday, April 19, 2021, to reclaim Dikwa town .
An eyewitness account confirmed that the Nigerian troops are currently Patrolling the Dikwa town and its environs to fish out the remnants of the insurgents in their hideouts . The Operation Lafiya Dole troops , may have sent a signal to the insurgents that is no longer going to be business as usual as they were said to have suffered major casualty and the destruction of their gun fitted trucks and other equipment during the counter-attacks.
In spite of the fact that insurgents have the continuoued to attack Communities in the north east state which had caused sleepless nights for Bagana Zulum, a Professor, and the governor. Atthahiru, an army Lt. General and the COAS, has assured Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm. He has told those that cares to listen that the Army, under his Leadership ,’’ remains Committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment throughout the north east theatre’’.
Many believe that the insurgency war may have dragged on this long because of the activities of informants who are benefiting from it. Only recently, one Modu Ari, a notable BokoHaram informant from Yobe state was arrested by the Operation Lafiye Dole troops. Ari and his accomplices spying activities, of the movement and positions of the troops were said to have been responsible for the insurgents attack on the troops’position in the Kamuya area of Yobe state.The alleged informants were said to have been arrested by troops of the 27 Task Force Brigade , and currently assisting the troops to unravel other local informants in the state.
The deteriorating insecurity in the north east state Geopolitical region and other parts of the country is so worrisome that Adebayo Adeleke, a one -time Major in the North American country of the United states, US, Army has warned that’’ if nothing is not done urgently to address the situation, Nigerians might wake up one day without having a country of their own because of the agitation of the various regions across the country for their own automy. But Garba Shehu, a Senior Special Assistant to the Katsina state born Nigerian President has said that cannot be bullied by the calls for session. He said the government is working assiduously ‘’to address the challenges being faced in the country’’, stressing that that ‘’those calling for session and national conference are unelectable people who do not care for the nation’s democracy’’. Hear him: Buhari cannot be intimidated. You can’t bully him.
Mike Ejiofor, a former Director General, Directorate of State Services, DSS, may have lent a voice to the worrisome insecurity situation in the country. The security expert had raised alarm that the 2023 election, which is about 24 months away may not hold.
Ejiofor, who could not hide his feelings has told those that cares to listen that ‘the current insecurity situation in different parts of the country may lead to anarchy and crisis if not tackled’. An aggrieved Ejiofor, had repeatedly said that ‘’if the various security challenges facing the country are not sorted out, the 2023 general elections may not hold. ‘’I can assure you that’’ there won’t be any elections in 2023, he had said.
The Nigerian President , who has just returned from his over two weeks Medical Vacation in the United Kingdom, UK, has told Mohamed Bazoun, the Niger President who was in the country in what people describe as a thank you visit for facilitating his victory in the West African land locked country , that the two countries which share a 1,500Km, border boundary , have the same insecurity problems which must be tackled headlong. This is evident as people from Communities attacked by BokoHaram and ISWAP, insirgents cross over to Niger for refuge.
Isiaka Oladayo Amao, an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Staff, CAS, may have set a machinery in motion to tap from the abundant skills and compentencies that abound within Nigerians in diaspora to end the insurgency in the country. The CAS, may have spoken his mind when he reieved Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Ngerians In Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, in his office.
He may have taken advantage of the NiDCOM, CEO, visit, to express his support for the proposed Diaspora Defence and security Conference. The Air Force Chief who may have seen the Conference as an opportunity for the NAF, particular ,and other government agencies to synergise and exploit the enormous resource base of Nigerians plying their trades overseas for national development.
The NiDCOM, boss may have gladdened the heart of the CAS, when she disclosed that the Commission is’’ looking forward to synergising and collaborating with the NAF, particular, in the areas of of defence and security, human capacity development as well as any other area of interest to the NAF’’.
She had r said that Nigerians in diaspora worldwide are excelling in various fields , including military-related fields , and who have expressed their willingness to contribute their own quota towards national development. An elated Dabiri-Erewa, had said that that the planned Diaspora Security Conference should be seen as a perfect medium for cross –fertiisation of ideas and strategies towards tackling the current insecurity challenges facing the nation. This is bad news for the insurgents and Bandits operating in the north east and north west states of the country respectively.
Given the complaints of inadequate manpower to tackle the insurgency in the north east and Banditry in the north west as well as kidnapping across the country, Bashir Magashi, a retired Major General and minister of Defence had said that the military will soon embark on massive recruitment of the country’s Youthful population to improve the numerical strength of the Nigerian armed Forces in an effort ‘’to end the insecurity’’.
The trio, Attahiru, Amao, both service Chiefs, and the minister , had said that that he security situation of the country had been studied and the conclusion had been that ‘’ new strategies had to be evolved to end the insurgency in the north east and other insecurity challenges across the country.
The minister may have gladdened the soldiers when he said that new equipment, new skills will be introduced and that both the older soldiers and fresh recruits will benefit from them ‘’so that they can be more effective and more efficient in the counter-insurgency assignment in the north east.
There are fears in both official and unofficial circles that the security challenges facing the troubled Sahel region in the may be worse , with the death of the 68 year-old Marshall Idriss Deby Itno, President of Chad, and Buhari, ally, in the anti-Jihadist Campaign .
Even the Nigerian President who could not hid his feelings had said that the death of the ex-Chadian Leader ‘’will surely ‘’create a big vacuum in the efforts to jointly confront the BokoHaram and ISWAP, insurgents’’ .
The worry of many is that Mahamat Idris, the 37 year-old, four –star General and Head of a Military Council that had been constituted by the army to rule the country for the next 18 months, who has stepped into the late President’s shoes, who incidentally is his father may not have the Charisma of his father to work at the same pace with the Nigerian President. This may affect the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, Operations in the north east.
The rebels in the north of the Sahel region of the country who are armed with stolen weapons from the neighbouring Libya , who were said to have constituted the bulk of the ISWAP insurgents operating from the Lake Chad region, and the Opposition parties in the country, may not give him a breather. Even within the officers ranks in the military who are opposed to the late Chadian President may pose a threat to him to be able o address the insecurity challenges facing the Sahel region alongside the Nigerian President.
Already the Military Council, may have sent a signal to the people that it was a Coup’, to cover the Leadership vacuum that has been created in the country. The borders with the neighbouring countries of Nigeria, Libya, and Mali, have been closed to forestall movement of goods and services. Also,political gatherings and demonstrations within the country were said to have been banned which are signs that the country is back to military rule.
Political Observers see the political development as a set back to the rentier state and a bad influence to Nigeria and other West African countries.