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We Need To Come Together As A Country To Tackle Insecurity — CDS

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, on Wednesday, shared insights about the challenges facing the military and police and what it would take to secure the country.

General Musa, who battled insurgents in the North-East for months before becoming Chief of Defence Staff, believes understanding, cooperation, and good governance were critical to securing the nation.

“As Nigerians, we need to take ownership of what is going on. And when I say ownership, this is not the time to trade blame,” General Musa said at Channels TV’s Town Hall on Security.

“We are dealing with asymmetric warfare, which is a new kind of warfare,” he added, explaining that understanding was crucial to winning the war.

“Conventional warfare is between countries. Now, (with) asymmetric warfare, you are dealing with non-state actors; people you don’t know. Your own (people).”

As a result, the military is in a bind over who is an innocent civilian and who is a terrorist.

For example, he said, “Sometimes when we go for cordon and search operations, the same village you get into, they (the people) hide the weapons, you search them, they don’t have any weapons and you proceed, then they dig up their weapons and fire at you from the rear.

“It is difficult because you don’t even know who your enemy is.”

To overcome this challenge, the military had to work towards solving one of its biggest challenges, reversing a lack of understanding by the people.

“I am happy it is changing and if you see what the armed forces and the police are doing now, we are being very people-centric in our approach because we understand that asymmetric has to do with the people.

“Wherever we are guiding, wherever we are protecting, wherever we are operating, if we don’t have the buy-in of the people, then there is a big challenge and that is the problem.”

The military has also had to contend with deep-rooted ideology.

“My advice always is no country should allow asymmetric warfare to commence. It is difficult to eradicate. Why? You are dealing with ideology.

“And once you have that idealogy built in, it is difficult because (when) you see the person, you don’t know what he is thinking about.

“We have seen people that we have told them (they are wrong), they are still telling us that we are wrong and they are right. So, we need to come together as a country to be able to tackle this.”

Has the war been won?

Although General Musa believes significant progress has been made and major wins recorded in the battle to secure Nigeria, he believes there is some way to go before it is over.

“The only time you know that you’ve won the war is when there is total restoration of civilian authority,” he said.

“For us to know that it is total (victory), one of the areas where we have challenges is the issue of good governance.
Asymmetric warfare has a direct flux to good governance.”

This, he explained, is because if the people can’t eat and have no jobs, they become easy recruits or support for insurgents.


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