The collapse of the government of Afghanistan led by the US-backed Ashraf Ghani following persistent assault by the Taliban two weeks ago, has prompted warnings from Nigerian experts in international affairs and security.
Nigerian authorities have been advised to take proactive measures and restructure its security institutions to secure the country’s borders and tackle the growing menace of terrorism and banditry in the country as these may pose significant danger to Nigeria as the insurgent groups in Nigeria may have found a new and potent ally in the Taliban known for their rabid jihadist pursuits.
The fall of Afghanistan to Taliban considered as a terrorist organisation by many countries of the world could open new vista of extremism from the beleaguered country and the influx of extremists, determined to spread Jihadist ideology into North, East and West Africa, especially Nigeria, where the Boko Haram, ISWAP and other militant groups have unleashed a campaign of violence for over 10 years.
Speaking to LEADESHIP on the issues, public Affairs analyst, Dr. Katch Ononuju, accused the President Muhammadu Buhari government of allegedly reintegrating the ‘repentant’ Boko Haram into the Nigerian security forces and employing measures to undermine the nation’s security forces similar to the Afghan army that allowed repentant Taliban into the Afghan security forces and when it was time to fight the army simply melted away.
“Buhari and his Fulani kinsmen are bringing repentant Boko Haram into the army the same mistake the Pashtun deceived the Americans to bring in the Taliban to the Afghan Army. An army of 300,000 men with over 80 Billion dollar equipment simply dissolved when a ragtag Taliban army of 75,000 people challenged them. How can an army of 75,000 defeat a well-equipped army of 300,000 people in nine days? America was paying them money and they simply pretended and the very month American pulled out they stopped fighting,” he said.
He added that the war against terrorism in Nigeria has become protracted because there in an apparent sabotage in Nigeria’ security, where weapons meant to fight Boko Haram, allegedly end up in the hands of the Boko Haram. He alleged that President Buhari is pursuing a far more dangerous strategy than the Taliban is pursuing in Afghanistan, by bringing Fulani militia from Mali, Niger, Cote d’ Ivoire and Central Africa, to come in and kill Nigerians especially in the middle Belt to grab land. He warned that if the killings do not stop, Nigerians might rise to defend themselves which might result in a worse situation than Afghanistan.
International Affairs analyst and columnist, Majeed Dahiru told LEADERHIP that Nigeria is lready having the Afghan experience even as he called for concerted efforts to curb it, warning that if the Nigerian security collapsed, the Boko Haram might as well attempt to take over parts of the country where they are holding sway.
“Nigeria might go the way of Afghanistan. If you ask me Afghanistan is already unfolding in Nigeria. You need to understand the reason behind the fall of Kabul to know that there are similarities between Nigeria and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a history of religious extremism and Nigeria is also having that problem especially in the northern parts.
“The dysfunctional state of Afghanistan made it very vulnerable to collapse from time to time because it is split along tribal lines which weaken the state and governance structure. The state also became very corrupt.
“So, corruption made the state so weak that the moment America withdrew, Afghanistan fell to Taliban because the people are not loyal to the state but to their tribes. If you look at Nigeria, we are going to that direction where Nigerians are no longer feeling attached to the state, corruption has become so widespread and the state can no longer provide security.”
He said further that with extremist violence in the north, the region may fall to the 100, 000 strong armed killer herdsmen operating in the north West and an unknown number of Islamists, who may wish to impose their authority over that region.
“The ideology that is driving Taliban was one that enjoyed legitimacy of the ordinary Afghan people. So, the people actually desired a Muslim theocracy within the framework of the Taliban insurgent group and so in 20 years little or nothing was done to carry out a national reorientation or deradicalistion. So, the Afghan people are always attached to the cause of the Taliban.
“This is the same with Boko Haram in Nigeria. The ideology that is driving Boko Haram is the one that is mainstream in Muslim theology in Nigeria and I can assure you that the seeds of radicalization were actually sown in mainstream Muslim theology in Nigeria and it is still being nurtured and watered to fruition by mainstream authorities. If you look at what is happening in Kano today, the Hisbah in Kano is not different from the Taliban in Afghanistan, so already Afghanistan is happening in Kano.
“So, any day the state is no longer able to discharge its responsibility of fostering law and order, such a region will fall under the control of Boko Haram, the same way Afghanistan has fallen into the hands f Taliban with the absence of American forces,” Majeed said.
He called for a new security strategy that would use intelligence to curb the scourge even as he urged more concerted effort to give all Nigerians a sense of belonging to avert future disaster, which he said could be more fractious.
Also Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the Director of Centre For China Studies, Charles Onunaiju, said although Nigerian security situation is serious, it may not lead to Taliban outcome even as he maintained that chaos stares Nigeria in the face if the current leadership of Buhari continues in their exclusionist policies.
“We are coming close to Afghanistan because the current ruling elite is insensitive, aloof, arrogant and not willing to work out an inclusive political process. But whether we will see something like Taliban overrunning Nigeria as swiftly as Taliban did in Afghanistan is not likely to happen. We might have a meltdown but certainly is not going to be anything close to Afghanistan,” he said.