BY: IFEANYI IZEZE
As said by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur
Yusuf Buratai, the Nigerian Army will be undertaking a unique one month
military operations nationwide to tackle banditry, kidnapping,
insurgency and other security threats.
Buratai at the Army Headquarters in Abuja, also disclosed that
“Operation Positive Identification (OPI) which is ongoing in the North
East theatre of operation, will be extended to cover the entire
As said, “The various exercises, which the Army will conduct in
conjunction with other security agencies to boost synergy and
inter-agency cooperation among the services and security agencies, will
take place between November 1 and December 23, 2019”.
On Operation Positive Identification, Buratai explained that it was to
curtail the movement of bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic
militia, cattle rustlers and other criminal elements to other relatively
peaceful states to perpetrate their crimes.
“Operation Positive Identification will run concurrently with these
other routine exercises during the period,” the army chief disclosed.
Now, as the Nigerian Army announced the commencement of this
simultaneous routine military exercises in all the geo-political zones
of Nigeria, the first thing that comes to mind is to ask: Is Nigeria at
war with itself since we are not being invaded by external forces?
How did we get to this point that the military has taken over our civil
space in matters that could have ordinarily been tackled by the Police
Force and Department of State Security Service? So what is actually the
duty of the Police and the Department of State’s Service if the
military can take over as small as the responsibilities of fighting
armed robbery and kidnap gangs?
Aside the huge cost of these military operations in terms of funds, and
human resources, we should actually re-examine if we are really not
overstretching our military.
Despite how good and well-intended the stated missions seemed, the
frequency at which these operations are coming these days should
actually worry our leaders, more so when curiously none of these
military operations has ever been decisive in their missions.
As announced by the Nigerian Army, the exercises running concurrently
include: Exercise Ayem Akpatuma II in the North Central and parts of
North Western States including Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi and Taraba as well
as Kaduna and Niger States in Nigerian Army’s 1 and 3 Divisions Area
of Responsibilities (AOR) including Headquarters Command Army Records,
Guards Brigade and 707 Special Forces Brigade
Exercise Python Dance (Egwu Eke) IV which will be carried out in the
South Eastern part of Nigeria comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu
and Imo States in Nigerian Army’s 82 Division Area of Responsibility;
while Exercise Crocodile Smile IV will as usual take place in the South
South and parts of South Western States including, Cross River, Akwa
Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Lagos, and Ogun in Nigerian Army’s
2, 6, 81 and 82 Divisions’ Area of Responsibility.
Also, the Nigerian Army Women Corps will stage a robust show of
force/confidence building patrols in some selected locations in Nigeria.
Is it not mind-blowing that at the last count, Nigeria, a country that
is not under attack from outside has over 14 full -scale joint military
operations all geared towards internal security – maintaining law and
order, peace and security?
The Police and DSS were supposed to be our internal security first
responders but these two agencies have been degraded that both seem to
have lost the reasons for their existence. The DSS in addition to
hanging around politicians and political office holders, is now more
interested in doing EFCC’s job in fighting corruption and raiding
Bureau d’ Change markets rather than engaging in generating timely and
quality intelligence to aid in the nation’s internal security efforts.
Two things easily come to mind: We failed over the years to upgrade the
capability of our police force to cope with internal problems. Also, we
more than ever before, prefer military solutions to solving problems
even where mere dialogue would have worked. These are failures of our
government (s) for which steps should be taken to correct.
Is it not shameful that we have a well-funded and fully equipped secret
police service agency in this country and we had groups like the Boko
Haram, Niger Delta militants, bandits, and rampaging Fulani herdsmen
metamorphosed from village criminal gangs to the present well-organised
international syndicates without being spotted and checkmated at the
What happened to our intelligence gathering in this country or those who
were to check these miscreants actually looked the other way for
whatever reasons while the different groups garnered strengths to
inconvenience everybody? How do you explain that a group of people (not
spirits) would gather and plan to execute heinous attacks on
individuals, schools, and even communities and dastardly implement such
acts without our security agencies (Police, DSS and even the DMI)
picking an iota of early-warning intelligence at the pre-planning,
planning, and execution stages? They only know about such attacks and
other crimes only when it has been successfully executed and someone
would tell me there is no complicity. We need to be more serious with
ourselves as a nation of peoples.
Whether anyone wants to hear this or not, the Nigerian military may be
doing a good job today in getting involved in internal security
operations but this is not without some serious consequences to the
future of our armed forces and the Police also. If the military
completely takes over our civil security management, the police will
sooner than later become irrelevant and thus also metamorphose to become
part of the security challenges that we have to deal with as a nation of
people, that’s if this scenario is not already playing out.
The federal government should honestly look at this issue with a view
to re-inventing and re-engineering our Police and State Security
departments to effectively take over majority of the internal security
operations and freeing our military from the encumbrance of chasing
armed robbers, kidnappers, and cattle rustlers. This is my point. God
(IFEANYI IZEZE WRITES FROM ABUJA: IIZEZE@YAHOO.COM; 234-8033043009)