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Let us look beyond the military to tackle insurgency and banditry



By Umar Ardo, Ph.D

Looking at the key variables in the Nigerian security challenges, its seems practically and strategically impossible to expect a quick and decisive resolution of these challenges militarily. And this is why. First, the factors that made the Customs to fail in its duty of stopping contraband weapons from entering the country; that made Immigration to fail in its duty of stopping illegal aliens from entering the country; that made DSS to fail in its duty of detecting, filtering and stopping evil men from conspiring, plotting and executing their evil plots in society; that made NIA to fail in its duty of halting and neutralizing foreign agencies from collaborating with the local evils in our country; and that made police to fail in its duty of arresting and prosecuting perpetrators of such crimes – all building up to the violent state where military actions became needed – these same factors will likewise make the military to also fail in its duty of defeating and submerging insurgency and banditry because the military is also operating under the same environment as its sister security agencies. Already, it’s 12 years since military action is unleashed in fighting Boko Haram and the problem is still very much with us.

Second, with regards to herdsmen banditry, the military must have to be tinned out almost to a soldier over a widespread area to engage them in action since the herdsmen bandits are all nomads and are virtually everywhere spread across. Such bandits can provoke and sustain a long drawn guerrilla warfare for decades. As a country, we don’t need it as it will be both a serious debilitating political, social, economic and diplomatic destabilizer and a huge resource draining adventure on the nation. We therefore need a political rather than military solution to the problem where possible (not that we have no trust or confidence in our military men and women; we do, but the solution to the issues is far beyond conventional military approach). Engaging in a *National Dialogue* to create a *New National Rebirth* is by far more guaranteeing and rewarding than applied military actions.

That is what the *Gumi-Obasanjo Initiative* as agreed to in Abeokuta on Sunday, 4th April, seeks to achieve. It seeks to end herdsmen banditry and engender peace by engagement. And I think this also fits well into the recurrent national restructuring resonance the way l understand it.

The Nigerian government is thus most advised to key into it, adopt, refine and expand it into a comprehensive National Dialogue for the resolution of violent insecurity and all other contentious fundamental national issues in a New National Rebirth platform. And no one is most fit to lead this platform than President Olusegun Obasanjo himself. I believe this is the way to go if Nigeria must cross the threshold of conducting a credible transitional elections in 2023 and remain steadfast as a single nation state, avoiding chaos and more bloodshed.

Dr. Ardo, a chieftain of PDP sent in the piece from Abuja.