By Sunday Attah
There is no such thing as crisis of confidence in the current war against insurgency in Nigeria. If there is, it wouldn’t have been confined to the hush tones of conspirators but would have been evident in reports of the operations of troops.
When Nigerian troops suffered defeat in the hands of insurgents in the previous administration and retreated to other countries for tactical maneuver, the whole world knew that there was a problem on ground that even the military command could not hide.
The contrary is the case with reports coming from the theatres of war and other locations where Nigerian troops have battled the insurgents in recent time.
Unlike in the past where military camps and fortresses were being attacked and subdued at will and communities decimated in the twinkle of an eye, the narrative has changed to reports where troops have constantly repelled insurgents based on intelligence reports, destroyed their bases and sending them fleeing in all directions by taking the war to their bases.
This was the case in Biu, Michika, Maiduguri and other places where the insurgents had attempted to launch attacks.
The effectiveness of military operations at the moment is such that there is no room for the slightest form of compromise to be accommodated, not to talk of engendering a crisis of confidence. Such thoughts exist only in the imagination of naysayers.
People have forgotten so soon that Nigerian troops have recorded tremendous success in the fight against insurgency compared to what was obtainable in the past.
This they have done by changing tactics and strategies and taking the fight to the theatre of war, deployment of intelligence in the face of challenges and by boosting the morale of troops.
The Nigerian Army as well as the Chief of Army Staff, have received awards and recognition from governments and reputable organizations the world over.
The gallantry of the Nigerian troops is to such an extent that neighouring countries which were relied upon to lead in the fight against insurgency after having withdrawn the bulk of their troops from Nigerian soil have been awed by the renewed efficiency, professionalism and determination of the Nigerian troops which has seen them succeeding in the fight unlike in the past where they have to rely on such countries.
Time there was when Nigeria invested heavily on the participation of other countries as a stimulus for fighting the insurgents. But with the success being recorded now, Nigeria has taken back its leadership position in the fight and has paved the way for the success of the much onslaught against troops.
The Chief of Army Staff explained recently that the narrative changed because changes were introduced in tactics deployed by Nigerian troops from a wholly defensive posture to one where the army defend in numbers and conduct offensive operations in smaller packets but simultaneously in different fronts.
People have also forgotten so soon how the terrorists had seized parts of Nigerian territories and proclaim with glee that they are severing it from other parts while hoisting their flags to drive him the point.
It was such a low period for Nigeria that in Borno State alone, 14 local government came under the authority of the insurgents with the sacking of every form of authority of the Nigerian government, such things no longer exists as all the captured local governments and territories have been liberated and there is now an effective local government administration in those places.
Many would recall that Sambisa Forest used to be the most dreaded place in Nigeria where even troops dare not tread.
Insurgents had captured the military training facility as well as the armory and were deploying it to their use as they wished. The area was a no go area for troops then even when it was suspected to be where they kept the terrorists kept their abductees.
The effrontery of the insurgents then was such that they even penetrated military bases like Monguno and Gwoza and seized the training facilities as well as armoury and sent troops and other trainees fleeing for dear lives.
But the Nigeria army under Buratai has confined such experiences to the dustbin of history by retrieving such captured military bases and the dreaded Sambisa Forest from the hold of the insurgents and established a base at Camp Zero.
More than that, the hitherto usual invasion of military facilities by the insurgents have been stopped as the remnants of the terrorists have been so pummeled that they have been reduced to launching attacks on only soft targets.
This has led to an improvement on internal security as many roads that were declared impassable due to the activities of insurgents on such routes have been liberated by Nigerian troops such that many can now travel freely to their destinations without fear of being killed or attacked.
The barricading of major roads by organizations and in worship centers in state capitals has also reduced as people no longer fear conducting business within their premises.
From complaints about lack of sufficient and modern weapons the army has been able to equip personnel with modern fighting equipments as well as encouraged and supported all NA officers and soldiers who have innovative ideas and competencies that it is now partnering with several companies in Nigeria including Innoson Motors, Proforce Limited and Nigeria Machine Tools, among others, towards the production of light and heavy armoured vehicles, critical equipment as well as protective clothing for NA troops which has led to the development of the TYB Rover, Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV) and the Bionbion Helicopter, among several other equipment.
Many also forget there was time when the activities of insurgents had begun to penetrate the hinterlands leaving the fringes of Bor and Yobe and extending to Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna and even to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Those that peddle the idea of a crisis of confidence rely heavily on the restraint deployed when measures that extend beyond Nigeria are involved.
But this is misleading because they do not seem to realize that there are various dimensions to the insurgency which Nigeria has no power over. The interests of nations come into play when certain measures are taken which impact extends beyond a particular border. In such an instance, nations have to observe restraint in order not to be seen as infringing on the territorial integrity of others.
Issues concerning prisoner swap especially when it has to do with international terrorists organisations like ISWAP cannot be determined by the interest of one country alone due to the effect it is bound to have on the global war against insurgency.
Nations have to fight to defeat both internal enemies and those coming from outside and the Nigeria army have done great so far showing that it has learnt from history.
In Romans 13 the bible enjoins all to respect constituted authority. It says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.”
It is also recorded that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received his first divine revelations for the purpose of legal warfare to repel aggression and protect human rights in Mecca where he peacefully preached the message of Islam to the Meccans for thirteen years until an intolerable level of persecution forced him and his followers to flee to the nearby town of Yathrib (later known as Medina and despite emigrating outside of Mecca, the Meccans headed by the Quraish aristocracy vowed to exterminate the newly formed religious community.
In all aspects therefore the Nigerian army has giving a good account of itself while defending the people and the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
There is therefore no such thing as crisis of confidence as far the war against insurgency in Nigeria is concerned.
*Evangelist Attah is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.