Presidential deadline on Boko Haram
In about two weeks, the deadline set by President Mohammadu Buhari for the defeat of Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has inflicted so much harm in the North East of Nigeria in particular, and other parts of the country, will lapse. The boldness of President’s pronouncement should be commended by all well-meaning Nigerians.
It is heart-warming to note that though there is hardly a timeframe for such military operations, the directive by the president to the military to rout the insurgents has yielded significant results.
On May 29, 2015 when he assumed office, many communities, particularly in Northern Nigeria, were under the influence and control of the Islamists whose reign of terror has left thousands dead and millions of others displaced.
But with the presidential deadline, the vigour and efficiency of the military on the frontlines was renewed so much so that most of these villages have been reclaimed and efforts put in place for displaced residents to return to their homes.
Besides, schools that were closed for over 18 months in Borno State have all reopened except for a handful, while electricity supply has been restored to some parts of the state capital. But more than all these, is the hope that has been rekindled that the insurgents can actually be defeated.
What needs to be done now is for the political authorities in partnership with the military hierarchy to keep the momentum, galvanise the troops by ensuring that they are motivated through the provision and use of modern weapons and up-to-date payment of their allowances.
It is also imperative that a proper deradicalisation roadmap is put in place so that areas that have been liberated are equipped ideologically and materially to resist the hate teachings of Boko Haram and similar groups.
The federal government will do well to take advantage of the victories to not only strengthen relationships with our foreign neighbours of Chad, Niger, Cameroon but also develop a mechanism to properly police the vast stretch of the country’s borders.
To ignore exploring robust relationships and effective border patrols can easily allow the terrorists to find their way back. No doubt, pockets of wolf attacks cannot be totally stopped, but this can be seriously downgraded with proper intelligence and patrols.