At the recent round table on US-Nigeria military cooperation with journalists in Abuja, the Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard stated that her country was willing to partner with Nigeria on identifying sponsors of the Boko Haram terrorists.
This is no doubt a positive development that will go a long way in assisting the government’s efforts at battling insecurity in the country.
Only about a year ago, Information Minister lamented that Nigeria was not getting the desired assistance and cooperation from foreign powers in the war against Boko Haram. This had greatly hampered the prosecution of the war by the Nigerian government.
Boko Haram has been without a doubt the greatest security challenge that Nigeria has faced since the civil war that raged between 1967 and 1970. For Boko Haram to have lasted this long since the terrorist outfit first started its activities, it must have sponsors from both within and outside Nigeria.
The weapons at the disposal of Boko Haram which it had deployed in its murderous activities and the coordination of operations against the Nigerian military and civilian population, gives a clear indication that the outfit is being supported by powerful forces against Nigeria.
In this regard, it is a matter of regret that all while that Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram none of its sponsors local or foreign have been uncovered. This would have enabled Nigeria to determine the scope and magnitude of the sponsorship and to deploy resources towards curtailing and eventually defeating Boko Haram within the shortest possible time thereby minimizing the loss of lives and livelihood that the war has so far claimed.
Nigerians would no doubt welcome the news of the US offer to help in identifying the sponsors of Boko Haram. We note that the US has recently delivered as promised some new platforms most notably the Tucano ground attack aircraft which will certainly provide our fighting forces with the decisive edge in the war against Boko Haram.
Although the latest US offer is coming late, it is nevertheless a salutary development which we urge the Federal Government to not only accept but cooperate with the US authorities.
We need not emphasize that no country can fight terror alone. Even the United States which is a superpower with all the assets at its disposal to fight and defeat terrorism has had to seek the assistance and cooperation of willing partners. The synergy is very important in leveraging the strength and specific capabilities of individual countries towards prosecuting the war.
Cooperating with the US on this offer will enable Nigeria not only to know who the sponsors of Boko Haram are but also to glean valuable information on how to tackle such occurrences in the future. It will also help Nigeria to acquire the technical capabilities it desperately needs to cope with some of the present security challenges facing the country like banditry, kidnapping, and secessionist tendencies which also seem to have sponsors.
The advantage of partnering with the US can also help secure the cooperation of other countries who have been working with the US on the fight against terror around the world. This is very critical as the terror network has gone global with local collaborators and affiliate bodies. It is common knowledge that Boko Haram has some collaborative arrangement with the deadly terror group ISWAP which itself is affiliated with other terror groups around the world.
Accordingly, we call on the Nigerian government to ensure that all the agencies of government involved in the fight against Boko Haram and insecurity in the country cooperate with the US authorities to get full value on this offer. And we also call on Nigerian authorities to promptly profile and prosecute those Nigerians found to have sponsored Boko Haram. Nigeria should also seek the support of the US and its allies in prosecuting the foreign collaborators and sponsors of the group per International law. Doing this will surely convince the US that we are ready and willing to decisively defeat the terror group and help open vistas of further cooperation with the US. Failure to do that will result in the US withdrawing its offer and closing all avenues of support for our war against Boko Haram and other manifestations of insecurity in the country. This will greatly be a setback in our efforts to tackle the issue.
As the war on Boko Haram in the and banditry and kidnapping in the Northeast and Northwest reaches its decisive stage with the recent successes by our military forces against the insurgents, Nigeria needs to sustain the tempo until the scourge of insecurity which has brought so much trauma to our land is comprehensively defeated.