Boko Haram’s consistent attacksON Wednesday, the Nigerian Army announced that it had recovered the corpses of an officer and 15 soldiers earlier declared missing during the operation to dislodge Boko Haram terrorists from Gashigar area of Borno State on October 16 last year. The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Lucky Irabor, speaking during a weekly review of ‘Operation Rescue Final’ at the Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri, Borno State, said the departed had since been buried at the Maimalari Cantonment cemetery with full military honours. Sadly, two soldiers were killed by Boko Haram terrorists on Tuesday in Mate in Borno State, during an engagement with the Army, although the terror group suffered heavy casualties.
As we noted in our previous comment on the fall of Boko Haram’s stronghold, Sambisa forest, in Borno State last month, the terror group was bound to be more deadly after the dispersal of its members by the armed forces while launching the operation to capture the stronghold. While many in Nigeria and abroad justly celebrated the capture of the dreaded Sambisa forest, the Nigerian military, fully apprised of that reality, had indeed cautioned Nigerians last month to be wary of Boko Haram members who were fleeing the North-East in droves after losing territory and personnel to Nigerian soldiers. Sadly, developments since December have confirmed our, and the military’s, worst fears, as the terror group has mounted a series of devastating attacks in the North-East while carrying out surveillance activities in other parts of the country with a view to unleashing terror on them in the nearest possible time. Happily, however, the security agencies would appear to have been on top of their game, smoking out the terrorists from their hideouts and giving the nation regular updates.
On Tuesday, the Borno State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) gave the cheering news that it had discovered the ‘countdown timer’ used by Boko Haram terrorists to detonate explosives, while the Department of State Security (DSS) announced that its operatives had arrested13 Boko Haram suspects in various parts of Nigeria, including Lagos State. According to the DSS, four members of the sect suspected to have fled to Lagos to evade arrest in the ongoing military offensive in the North-East were arrested in the Oko Oba area of Lagos, while nine others were picked up in various parts of the country. Indeed, DSS Operatives had captured two fleeing Boko Haram terrorists at Mutum Biyu in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State on New Year day.
Given the foregoing, we call on the security agencies to scale up their intelligence gathering mechanisms and ensure a more active collaboration, with a view to defeating the ignoble objectives of the terror group, however carefully worked out. We also call on state governments across the country to take more than a passing interest in the activities of the security agencies as they strive hard to safeguard the security of lives and property of the citizenry. The security agencies should be provided with all the logistic and moral support that they need to succeed in the effort to defeat terror.
In the same vein, we call on the military authorities to ensure that the labour of the fallen men and officers of the armed forces is amply rewarded through the payment of their entitlements to the devastated families they left behind. In the same vein, the families of DSS operatives, policemen and men of the paramilitary agencies who paid the supreme price during the various counter-terrorism operations should be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. It would certainly be inhuman to subject the members of the grieving families to harrowing experiences while trying to claim the entitlements of their departed breadwinners. In this connection, we urge that the process be stripped of undue bureaucracy.
Finally, we call on the security agencies to ensure that the lessons learnt during the various operations in which they have lost officers and men are borne in mind in future battle plans, and that the counter-terrorism mechanisms are always subjected to periodic and timely review. We salute the sacrifices of the nation’s security agencies in the effort to defeat terror. May the souls of the departed gallant officers and men rest in sweet repose.