When Nigeria’s Civil War officially ended on 15 January 1970, many Nigerians at that time would have thought that it was the end to bloodbath. Men and women including families who lost their sons, daughters, and friends to the War must have thought that Nigeria would never plunge into such darkness again. But here we are fighting the war on terror for almost eleven years. The recent attack on the military formation in Metele, Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno, by insurgents brought dashed hope to our soldiers and citizens of this country. It was very shocking to hear such a bad news especially when we thought that terrorists have been “technically defeated”.
Plato’s remarks that “Only the dead have seen the end of the War” is highly emotional. Permit me to dilate upon Plato’s quote by stating that, our soldiers who have lost their lives in all wars and military operations are the only ones who do not need to fight a war anymore. Everyone else is destined, either to take part in a war or to be an observer as long as we are alive. Why? We live in an era of globalization. One of the contradictions of globalization is pervasive insecurity where terrorism and internal conflicts have greatly interrupted the process of development in Africa and other parts of the world. We are in an era where terrorist groups network with one another globally. It’s equally an era where children-male and female without formal education are trained on how to strap bombs to their bodies, and also, taught how to operateand advance with weapons. These children are being trained to die fighting while our military is trained to conquer in addition to protecting lives of citizens. We look forward to the day when Nigerians will see the end of the war on terror.
One can say with deep sense of responsibilitythat those soldiers who lost their lives are patriots whose blood is the seed of our freedom. The freedom we have today as Nigerians would not have been possible without the blood, sweat, and courage of these gallant patriots. One of the most famous generals in military history, General George S Patton, spoke of giving thanks and celebrating the lives of dead soldiers rather than just mourning their losses. In Patton’s words, heroes shouldn’t just be remembered; they should be used as an example to inspire us all. Nigeria owes a debt of gratitude to all her fallen heroes that she can never fully repay. May the gentle souls of those brave soldiers who lost their lives for our freedom and democracy Rest in Peace. We equally, commiserate with those families who have lost loved ones.
We are a nation at war. War in itself is defined by Clausewitz as “an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will,” directed by political motives and morality. Nigeria has been managing violence for several decades. Managing violence is very expensive. It’s better to manage peace. Today, what we’re witnessing in Nigeria is asymmetric warfare. This is one of the negative effects of globalization. National security has been compromised by terrorist organizations operating within borders of countries in the Lake Chad region.
War has both military and political objectives. The military objective in any war is easily realized but the political objective is always a challenge to accomplish. You will recall that the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) was a protracted armed conflict that spanned almost nine years (20 Mar2003-18 Dec 2011). The conflict lingered for a longtime because an insurgency emerged which was opposed to the US-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The emergence of insurgency did not allow the coalition forces to restore peace to Iraq within a short period of time. It was when “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq” was crafted with a reduced role for the US troops in the operation that Iraq started having a semblance of peace and security.
Boko Haram (BH) is no more occupying any territory in Nigeria. That is an indication that the military objective of the operation in that area is successful. Restoring peace in the North East goes beyond the military in an era of globalization. In fact, the military cannot do it alone. Since 1999, two Chinese Colonels have argued that today’s war is not about using armed forces to compel the enemy to submit to one’s will in the classic Clausewitzian sense. The war on terror in the North East of Nigeria will be won by using the armed forces and other components of national power- diplomacy, economic, information and intelligence gathering amongst others. The security challenge has consumed the country’s lean resources to the extent that analysts see “FG’s declining military spending limits chances of defeating Boko Haram.” The truth is that wars are won through adequate logistics. The feeding of an army is of vital importance. The troops must be equipped and armed while the sick and wounded are given medical attention they deserve.
The battlefield has fundamentally shifted to the society. The country cannot fight asymmetric warfare perpetually as it will have negative impact on development. If some government officials or those close to the corridor of power are benefitting from the war on terror, then there will be no end to the violence. The plan to recover and ensure there is peace in the North East Region of Nigeria must be well executed. Our policy makers must put more efforts to addressing refugee issues and funding of education in the North East to improve the status of children. The growing and boundless threat in the North East requires better deterrent capabilities and far more developed defenses. Above all, good governance to our citizens is vital to lasting peace and security in the entire country. We need to apply care and caution so that the nation is not left with a disaster of monumental dimension capable of rendering the entire West African sub-region unstable.