Sunday, 4 November 2012

BOKO HARAM: Why Gen. Buhari should lead the talk.

Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
Let us respect the diverse opinions from the people, saying the government should not dialogue with the terrorist. Unfortunately, some of them are just politicians and not the authorities when it comes to the issue of counterterrorism policy. Most of them are fun of reminding us of the cliché "don't negotiate with the terrorists."

President Goodluck Jonathan understands better that the adversaries are unconventional, and so the approach for defeating them must be unconventional as well. We cannot defeat Boko Haram solely by force; there must be a blend of political, informational, military, economic, and socio-cultural approaches, in combination with foreign governments’ assistance, security forces, and populations.

There is no government dealing with terrorism that would not engage the rebels in a sort of direct or indirect talk to find a lasting solution.  If the American government could hold discussion with the Taliban in London, nobody should discourage the Nigerian government from talking to the Boko Haram. 

In addition, it is obvious that the government has weakened the Boko Haram sect and the federal government will be speaking at the discussion table from the point of strength.

For a country like Nigeria, where politicians never speak in one voice against terrorism; a country where Boko Haram has infiltrated most of our security apparatus as confirmed by the president; a nation with a porous border and poorly motivated security personnel; a country where corruption, poverty, injustice, extra-judicial killing and poor governance have been identified as part of the issues that ignited the rebellion.
There is no doubt in the fact that one of the immediate tactics to end the violence is dialogue while the long term strategy should be the building of strong security institutions and intelligence gathering capability to mitigate against the future occurrence.

Furthermore, the research has shown that conciliatory approach is more effective and potent as compare to the use of brute force against the terrorist. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism published this finding, using the Israel/Palestine crisis as a case study.
The START reasoned that conciliatory tactics are more effective than punishment in reducing terrorism. In a research titled: “Moving beyond Deterrence: The Effectiveness of Raising the Expected Utility of Abstaining from Terrorism in Israel.” The researchers pointed out “that only conciliatory policy seems to reduce terrorism and that repression can sometime lead to more violence, the authors is not completely opposed to the use of repressive and punishment based strategies.”

In conclusion, as a retired senior military officer, Gen. Mohammad Buhari is a reservist of which the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria can call upon him anytime for a national assignment. He is one of the living civil war hero and former military Head of State. I am sure Gen. Buhari will not want to see this country disintegrated as a result of Boko Haram insurgency. 
I strongly appeal to Gen. Buhari to show leadership and lead the discussion. It is high time to say no; enough of playing politics with the blood of the innocent Nigerians.


Oludare Ogunlana

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