The statement that “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well”, is a universally accepted aphorism. Another saying that shares same connotation with the above is that associated with the legendary Socrates who said, “Man know thyself; the unexamined life is not worth living”.
The above sayings are central to the roles expected of every Nigerian in the current war on terror. We must recall the coincidence of this reflection with the news about the killing of one of the World’s terror masterminds and indeed the most prized terrorist after Osama Bin Ladin, Abubakar Al Baghdadi who presided over the murderous caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Al Baghdadi was killed by the United States Special anti-terror somewhere near the Syrian/Turkish borders. Recall too that ISIS has in the last two years assisted the Nigerian based boko haram terrorists who pledged allegiance to the now killed terror kingpin.
The question that calls for introspection and immediate actionable plan is what is the logical rationale of “starving” the military of operational fund in the 2019 budget with the allocation of a paltry N100 billion in the budget presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari who has an illustrious military background as a former General in the Army who led troops to fight off insurgents that invaded a part of Nigeria has not set out to undermine the war on terror.
President Muhammadu Buhari has made it clear that he is determined to clinically ensure a quick end to the war and the eventual defeat of the terrorists. Even with his best of intentions, the presentation of a budgetary allocation of N100 billion has understandably triggered debate on the necessity of doing what is most critical to ensure that the war on terror is not undermined.
It is pertinent to state that Mr. President and the National Assembly should think out of the box and work out a healthy budgetary package for the Nigerian Military which must be transparently deployed in combating once and for all, the war on terror.
It is instructive to note that the institution which is suffering the heat of the terror due to the approach being deployed in tackling it is the Nigerian military. While it is agreed that one special role of the military is to support the State’s internal security apparatus in quelling internal insurrection, its traditional role remains protection of the nation from external aggression in defense of sovereignty. The implications of over utilizing the military internally are diverse including grave consequences.
Illegality, human rights violations, lack of popular support by the people and even the likelihood its mode of operation robbing off on other civil security agencies in the light of inter-agency collaboration.
This association has ability to influence the police to become brutal or increase the sophistication and aggression of the terrorists or terror groups who ordinarily should be weakened by intelligence of the police or other trained civil organizations in collaboration with the people with whom the criminals ordinarily associate and sometimes live among.
This, however, can be corrected by return to the legal foundations and basis for these organizations and legality in operation; only intelligence with the public support and not use of brute force and brutality, can win the war on terror. There is urgent need to demilitarize the domestic counter-terrorist approaches.
If the public is terrorized in the war on terror, the government will lose support in the war and that will complicate matters. The objective of the war should be well defined to be the people’s interest for the security and safety of the public. Often times the essentials to the success of the war are lost in the heat of emotion and stress occasioned by the havoc of the menace resulting in callous raids, arbitrary arrests due to lack of credible intelligence.
One option available to the USA during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was to bomb his hide out at Abbottabad in Pakistan but it was not utilized to avoid casualties of other occupants of the building. The lesson is very clear.
Even the attack on the world’s terror leader and most wanted man was not callous or reckless to avoid hurting the innocent.
Although a system founded on might has propensity for abuse, the root cause or aggravating factor of criminality is inequality which largely stems from government irresponsibility and in responsiveness. No nation can successfully win a war on terror when its most active class are either unemployed or grossly underemployed and underpaid.
A youthful unemployed population is a threat to peace, stability and security. There is therefore a need for urgent steps to reduce cost of governance and increase employment.
Peaceful co-existence and security are the desire of all; this fact is evident in the communal nature of man. Crime is an alternative that some members adopt in response to the social malfunctions of the systems of society. It presupposes that any program meant to ensure the safety of that society would always be supported. The vulnerable percentage will also support the scheme if well implemented.
This is why it is disturbing that the budgetary allocation given to the military in the new budget circle is grossly insufficient. Already diverse sections of the news media are running with the news that there is disquiet in the horizon about this paltry allocation.
Understandably, the National Assembly Joint Committee on Army met with the leadership of the Army to discuss ways of improving the figure before the Budget is finally passed by the end of the year. The delegation led by the Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume met with the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai and other senior Army officers behind closed doors.
Although details of the meeting were not disclosed, it was gathered that how to source funds for the Armed Forces topped the discussion. However, before the commencement of the closed session, Senator Ndume, said the visit was in continuation of the oversight functions of the Committee.
Ndume, who had condemned the N100 billion budget proposal for the Armed Forces as insufficient, stated further that following the leading role played by the Nigerian Army in the war against insurgency, “the Committee embarked on a fact finding mission and NEEDS assessment across military units and formations to know what is going on. “After our tour, we decided to come to the center so that we can talk especially now that the budget of the Nigerian Army is out for consideration”
It is expected that President Muhammadu Buhari who loves his primary constituency which (military) will hearken to the calls and upgrade the funding portfolio of the military just as the National Assembly should support this worthy call.
A less peaceful environment cannot produce economic progress and may continue to suffer retrogression and underdevelopment. One sure way out is for the government to channel more resources to ensure the military is adequately funded to counter insurgency.
Also, it is important for the military to cleanse its house and ensure the effective utilization of its funds and provide security to Nigerians. Too much consumption of office and procurement funds cannot help the Nigerian military win the battle. It is important to state that military budget and procurement must be more transparent as the Boko Haram insurgency seem to be eating deep into the finances of our nation and the country cannot watch or raise their hand in submission.