The army has made so many gains in the war against the insurgents, Ahmad Sajoh believes

Nigeria seems saturated with so much activity that many have not noticed the military’s recent gains against insurgents. Recently, Major General Edward Buba, Director of Defense Media Operations, provided an analysis: “We deployed significant firepower in the first quarter of 2024 to neutralize several terrorists and disrupt their activities. Key terrorist commanders killed include and are not limited to the following: Abu Bilal Minuki (alias Abubakar Mainok) – Head of Is-Al Furqan Province (ISGS and ISWAP) and Haruna Isiya Boderi, who was described as “a notorious terrorist who operated along Birnin Gwari Forest in Kaduna State and along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.”

This decapitation of the insurgents’ operational command also extended to Kachallah Damina, Kachallah Alhaji Dayi, Kachallah Idi (Namaidaro), Kachallah Ubangida, Alhaji Balsu and 50 otters who terrorized the northwestern part of the country. Since then, further victories have been achieved, with Damana Hanun Giwa, Ali Kawaje, Yallo Nagashi, Maikusa Katsina, Sai Dangote and others eliminated by the troops in what was hailed as a major victory. Between January and March 2024, 2,351 terrorists were killed, 2,308 people arrested and 1,241 hostages rescued. It is also significant that a significant amount of arsenal has been seized from the insurgents, including 2,847 weapons and 58,492 ammunition.

The military also showed gains in the fight against bunkers and economic saboteurs, resulting in the recovery of millions of stolen crude oil, diesel, kerosene and gasoline.

Considering that the current political and military leadership has been in power for less than a year, the results are indeed heartening as Nigeria may soon see the backbone of its insecurity problems. The credit for this certainly goes to President Bola Tinubu, who has appointed a focused defense team, so to speak, led by Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Minister of Defense. In this role, he also serves as coordinating minister of national security, along with a new class of service and intelligence chiefs. Badaru-Abubakar has handed over the presidential mandate to the security forces and, in a quiet, unobtrusive manner, has led a turnaround that has delivered results.

When he and his counterpart, the Foreign Minister, resumed their work at the ministry headquarters barely eight months ago, on August 22, Badaru told his audience, the military’s top brass during his inaugural meeting with them, that the days of waging military campaigns without The fixed timelines had disappeared, reflecting the concerns of Nigerians in recent years since the upsurge of insurgency that there had to be a clear timeline to restore the few remaining places that are still plagued by terrorists back to normal.

The minister directed the service chiefs to provide him with a timeline and their requirements to resolve Nigeria’s security challenges, emphatically stating: “This timeline and target will be communicated to the President. The President is ready to give us all the necessary support to achieve success because he is an achiever and does not have the patience for failure. For the sake of our country, we know that without security there will be no investment, and without investment there will be no economic growth.”

He promised to change the story and the evidence seems to bear him out. Apart from the supply of equipment and the motivation of the troops, it appears that there is more cooperation between the armed forces, a point that Buba, the head of the army’s media operations, made in his press statement. According to the Report on Quarterly Review of Joint Task Force Operational Activity, the victories were due to the effective synergy of joint operations of the country’s security assets. According to Buba, these “were accomplished through synchronized attacks between ground and air forces on terrorist enclaves.”

The emphasis on joint operations and effective cooperation between the armed forces is one that Badaru-Abubakar has emphasized since he took over as head of the defense portfolio. He recently re-emphasized this point at the Air Power Consult Senior Leadership Forum on Emerging Trends and Threats in the Battle Space and their impact on Airpower employment.

According to the minister, no modern conflict can be successfully prosecuted using only one element of national power. or expect to successfully overcome modern hydra-led complex conflicts. That’s why we need to move away from mere lip service to something as fundamental to our success as a sector like Jointness. We use it in our training; we must apply it in our activities. The Ministry of Defense will continue to strengthen cohesion within the Armed Forces, building on the existing cooperation and cooperation that has been a hallmark since the beginning of the current administration.”

The new verve he has brought to defense operations is reminiscent of the essential Badaru-Abubakar. When he was appointed Secretary of Defense, some firmly believed that having a civilian in that portfolio was a bad choice. Yet his security record as governor of Jigawa State is outstanding. Although not much known for its self-effacing attitude towards its public duties, it is important to state that Jigawa, a state in the North-Western region challenged by banditry and terrorism, was one of the most peaceful compared to its neighbors . negligible reports of bandit activities as a result of Governor Badaru-Abubakar’s proactive steps during his tenure. Badaru has taken this low-key approach to his work, preferring to let the successes speak for his leadership behind the scenes, where he meets with top military officials and other allied defense agencies to draw up and follow up on plans to achieve the objective of the government, namely that no branch of the government will hold the country captive by insurgents and bandits.

Nigeria is certainly not out of the woods yet, but the signs are good and encouraging.

Mallam Sajoh writes from Abuja and can be reached at [email protected]