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More Intelligence Needed To Unmask Sponsors Of Insurgency – IBB



Former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), yesterday, reflected on the fight against insurgency in Nigeria and urged the federal government to deploy more intelligence to unmask those “thinking and supplying weapons to the terrorists.”

Babangida, however, faulted the resort to regional security outfits by some state governors to tackle insecurity in their domains, which he described as unviable.

He spoke last night on a current affairs programme on Channels Television, Newsnight, hosted by Ladi Akeredolu Ale.

The former military president spoke against the backdrop of the 50th anniversary of the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, which began in 1967 and ended in 1970

Babangida said that if what he reads in the media was true, a lot still needs to be done to end insurgency in the Northeast zone, stressing that unmasking those sponsoring the insurgents is key to the defeating them.

He said: ”I think a lot needs to be done quite frankly because if what we read in the papers and hear on radio is true, in most of those areas that we assumed that the security situation has been stabilised; I read in the papers that the young governor of Borno State telling the defence minister that there are still a few places that people can’t go in the state. He said so because that, at least, will give the military high command some way of thinking. The governor is the security officer of the state and he knows the people.

”There are a lot of challenges, what they need to do is to get a lot of intelligence information. It looks to me that there are people who are thinking for the insurgents. There are people who think for them. And the thinking is we need to find out who are the people thinking for them, who are leading them and who are even supplying them with weapons and ammunition and put a stop to that. That is probably the way I access it,” he said.

While reiterating his earlier position that the military is overstretched, he opined that for the police to take over the internal security they should be well trained and equipped.

On the recently launched “Operation Amotekun” by the Southwest governors, Gen. Babangida doubted the viability of the initiative, hinging his position on the inability of the states to properly equip the outfits.

Asked whether he thinks the security outfit will be viable, Babangida replied that ”I will say no. Now the governors are quarrelling over minimum wage and creating another force that is going to be a problem for the state governors in terms of the welfare of those to be engaged and the materials except if they can convince the federal government to provide the resources, I can understand.”

Babangida maintained that there was a need to take a closer look at the various security outfits in the country by ”assigning specific responsibility, so that the military will not be overstretched.”

Reminiscing on the 50th anniversary of the civil war, he said that measures and programmes such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the unity schools have helped to substantially strengthen the integration of the country. He also said that some Nigerians have laid down their lives for the oneness of Nigeria while others still carry the wounds.

He said: ”I can recall one of my very good colleagues, we faced each other and I saw one of them die, it was a very horrible experience for a young officer.

”My generation will always insist that this country should remain one. We fought for it, we knew the consequences of the war and the pains people went through.

”It (civil war) showed us how things could go wrong in running a country. There were some civil disturbances which began to manifest themselves at that time,” he said.

The former Nigerian leader noted that strong leadership was needed to strengthen country’s unity and deepened national cohesion, noting that ”our selection of leadership is more important, being it political, military, and economic leadership, when it is strong, we will not have problems.”

Commenting on policies/principles such as the federal character to strengthen the unity of Nigeria, he said that “it is good to balance up but it should not be taken to a ridiculous level by sacrificing quality or merit for federal character. He added that almost every part of Nigeria now has quality and educated hands.