It has been observed by the Defence Headquarters that, Nigerians and the general public is being misinformed on the “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” released by the United States of America (USA) Department of State.
The misinformation cuts across sensational headlines in some print and electronic media to prejudiced comments and analysis of the report among others, which are detrimental to Nigeria’s national security and interest. Therefore, it is instructive to present the report in the right and objective perspective to Nigerians.
Country reports on terrorism is submitted on annual basis in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”) by the Department of State to Congress. It is aimed at providing report on those countries and groups that meet the criteria of the Act. The report used to be published as “Patterns of Global Terrorism” up till 2003, but was changed to the present title beginning from 2004. Thus, against the contrary picture given to Nigerians and the general public on the report in question, it did not cover only Nigeria but covered; Niger, Cameroon and Chad. That is , all the countries affected by Boko Haram Terrorists menace.
It is necessary to point out that, the USA does not publish this report with the objective of causing restiveness among the populace, but to draw governments attention to areas that could be improved upon to tackle global terrorism.
Thus, credit must be given to the USA for its strategic global effort towards ensuring a more secure world. As such, Nigeria and the general public should not believe the misinformants whose intentions are to pitch the Nigerian Military negatively against the USA. At this point, it is necessary to let Nigerians and the general public know that the USA and other international partners have been supporting the Armed Forces Of Nigeria in the fight against insurgency and terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin region.
The report is not being objectively analysed by the misinformers because of their ulterior motive.
Thus, it behoves on the Defence Headquarters to clarify the particular sentence that was capitalized upon, which is “The Nigerian Military was unable to hold and rebuild civilian Structures and Institutions in those areas it had cleared”. The simple and objective interpretation is as follows:
a. The report was for 2016 and not January to July 2017. Hence, attributing the assertion to be current is rather wicked and should be disregarded.
b. To clear an area in this context is a military task while to hold is the task of para-military and other security agencies. In this regard, after the decimation of the Terrorist strongholds in the North East, other security agencies such as the Nigeria Police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps have been taking hold of areas cleared by the Military. That is why Adamawa and Yobe states have virtually little incidents of terrorist acts in the recent past.
c. Furthermore, rebuilding of civilian structures and institutions is not a military task. It is purely the responsibility of government of which a lot is being done. The efforts of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states are evident in this regard. Equally, are the visible positive deliberate efforts of Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI) under the “Buhari Plan” which is akin to the Marshall Plan of Europe after the Second World War. In addition, there are Non Governmental Organizations and good spirited individuals and private organizations contributing to rebuilding civilian structures and institutions in the North East.
The above notwithstanding, the Nigerian Army has all along been involved in the restoration and construction of roads and bridges demolished by the terrorists, to open up transportation routes in the North East.
As laudable as this effort amongst other quick impact projects executed, by the Nigerian Army and Airforce, even in 2016, it was not captured in the report. Thus, it is educative for Nigerians and the general public to be aware of this corporate social responsibility by the Military in the North East.
It is worthy to let Nigerians know that, the report highly commended Nigerian Government of which the Nigerian Military is a part.
Clearly without ambiguity, it stated “the Nigerian Government actively cooperated with the United States and other international partners to prevent further acts of terrorism in Nigeria against U.S citizens, citizens of third countries, and Nigerian citizens”.
From this therefore, is it possible for the report to contradict itself? Obviously no. Thus the misinformers deliberately decided to hide this commendation from Nigerians and the general public, to cause disaffection for the Nigerian Military among the populace, which should not be accepted.
From the objective analysis and interpretation of the report, the Defence Headquarters hereby appeal to Nigerians and the general public to remain confident in the ability of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to tackle the Country’s security challenges. Be rest assured that, the Nigerian Military is committed to eliminating terrorism from the North East.