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The military alone cannot defeat insurgency, may last 20 years, says Buratai

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Ambassadorial nominee and immediate past Army chief, Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has thrown a worrisome dampened into the war against insurgency: it may not be won as promised in the political lifetime of President Muhammadu Buhari!

And it is not the military alone that can stop the insurgency because political, economic and social factors were responsible for fuelling the security challenge over the years. Those factors must be addressed, he said in his usual firm and gentle tone.

His chilling prognosis: “Our troops are also collaborating with Chadian and Cameroonian troops. We recorded successes. But the terrorists have permeated into the society.

“My state (Borno) is an epicentre where this indoctrination has penetrated so deep. It is not something you can get right over night.

“Only the military cannot solve this problem. There were socio-economic factors that need to be addressed. There should be basic amenities, but they are missing.

“I can count five local government areas in Borno without good road. The same thing is in Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto. In other northern states there are so many ungovernable spaces, because of lack of access road and other basic amenities.

“This crisis might not end in 20 years time. We have achieved a lot of successes but we cannot continue to use the same tactics and achieve different results.”

It is not clear whether he was asked why he failed to deliver on his promise to snuff out Boko Haram.

But the recently retired army general says it will take at least 20 years if the issue of funding for equipment is not addressed. There has been a a cry for details of how and what quality of war equipment were purchased in the last four years.

At his screening before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for screening on Thursday in Abuja, Buratai said “One mistake that we have been making is that only the military can solve this. It is not. Military can not solve this, you know in the first place it wasn’t the military that started it.

“There were political, social, economic aspects that needed to be addressed before we can be sure to end the insurgency.

“Development should be progressive, there should be road everywhere, there should be employment, there should also be schools, hospitals all over.

“This security challenge is something that started more than 30, or 40 years ago.

“It had penetrated the communities. The terrorists have won the communities to their side. That is why you see a small hamlet keeping Boko Haram in those locations, so it is a complex issue.

“So it requires the whole government approach to deal with this the military action is just one aspect.

His former boss, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, was also using the right words to regal the Senate committee.

His words: ”We are talking about hybrid warfare where everyone is involved. It is a national approach that is needed, for us to surmount insecurity.

“Three years ago I conducted a research on the forests in the country, I realised that we have about 1,000 forest reserves.

“And I said to them three years ago; that our next crisis will be in the forest, some Nigerian governors were invited, we told them because most of the forests are the prerogatives of the states, the states took over all the forest reserves.

“And I said to them we have to protect the forest, that the next programme will be the forest

“So it is a multi-faceted approach, that will require everyone to come on board for us to be able to address insecurity.

“You can never have enough, either weapons, personnel, but there are issues we have to address as a nation.

“We have developed a lot of capacities and initiatives; we can begin to look at all the operations using national approach to address the issues of insecurity.”

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