War Against Terrorism: Experts laud Nigerian Army’s adherence to rules of engagements

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Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai

A group of international experts have scored the Nigerian military very high in the ongoing war against terrorism in the country.

Human rights experts and activists have lauded men of the Nigerian Army on their strict adherence to the rules of engagement in the course of fighting insurgents in the country.

The experts who scored the Nigerian Army very high in its efforts to stop the Boko Haram sect from destroying the country, noted that the military might have achieved more if it were not distracted in the discharge of its responsibility.

The experts made this submission at the just concluded two-day seminar on humanitarian issues, human rights and the war against insurgency in Nigeria held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

ALSO READ: "Terrorism War: 'Attempts to blackmail the military will continue to fail' - Group insists"

The event which was organized by the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre [SHAC], had the theme 'Global War Against Terrorism: For Nigeria, A Choice Between Law and Life'.

During the workshop, the continental experts discussed how best to tackle the humanitarian and human rights issues around Nigeria's war against Boko Haram, terrorism and other violent groups.

The experts, drawn from various groups and organizations, however, faulted a growing trend of international non-governmental organizations being used to diminish Nigeria's ability to effectively use its military to fight terrorism with a note of caution that the rights of citizens to life and freedom from terror have been subjugated to the rights of terrorists.

 

A resource person at the event, Professor Kenneth Amaeshi, noted:

"Afri-capitalism is not capitalism with an African twist; it is a rallying cry for empowering the private sector to drive Africa's economic and social growth.

A socio-mental awareness of Africa and her people first, as a continent and human beings, with genuine needs, before being a market with viable consumers," Professor Amaeshi stressed.

As the economy of Nigeria is taking a hit from terrorism, some of the experts opined that some countries are making economic gains out of the crisis.

Another speaker at the seminar, Professor Sam Smah said:

"Nigeria's war on terror reveals several internal and external threat landscapes, such as global market-driven arms diplomacy, human insecurity, national corruption, socio-cultural beliefs and eco-political complexes.

Thus, the proliferation of ethnic or religious organisations and groups/militias in Nigeria, like MASSOB, MEND, OPC, IPOB, IMN, cattle herders and Boko Haram; these are illustrations of terrorist or terror oriented organisations." 

Dr Daniel Agbiboa, Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington, United States, spoke on the role of non-state actors in mitigating or escalating humanitarian crisis using the cover of human rights to clip on the state actors from taking decisive steps that could tame terrorism.

Dr Agbiboa, who has authored over 50 scholarly articles in the field of terrorism, political violence, and urban warfare, with a regional focus on the Lake Chad Basin and the horn of Africas, said the assessment of the war on terrorism is more complex than some interests paint the picture. 

 

"The picture, however, is more multi-coloured than the 'black and white' often painted by global civil rights organisations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Since 2010, the 'excesses of the Nigerian security forces' are often the subject of many human rights reports, from AI to HRW and ICG.

Most discourses about human rights abuses in north-eastern Nigeria are skewed towards the stories of the abuse of 'the so-called victims' while the perspectives of the military 'the so-called perpetrators' are all too often overlooked."

Dr Agbiboa pointed out as he noted that on March 2017, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai inaugurated a special board of inquiry to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged violations and abuses of human rights but that those desirous of criminalizing the military and the Federal Government always ignore such. 

Other participants like Professor Danfulani, Paul Cobaugh, Dr Christopher d’Orsi, Dr Arkad, Dr Udenta O. Udenta and others, all expressed concerns that the successes being recorded by the Nigerian military and other security operatives against Boko Haram and other terrorists grouped were being undermined by cyber terrorism.

ALSO READ: "Human Rights Abuse: Group says Amnesty International lied against Nigerian Army"

They decried the situation where persons that secretly support Boko Haram or other violent groups hide behind the unanimity of online and social media to misinform the public to the advantage of terrorists.

A communiqué issued at the end of the seminar called for the creation of a strong legal framework that protects members of the military who participate in quelling insurgency to entitle them to legal aid, immunity against prosecution and strict tribunals headed by people with war experiences and should be backed with a hybrid Justice system.



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