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Nigeria is hungry for peace

The country is insecure and urgently needs help to stop the violence, killings, kidnappings and abductions − and the escalating vicious attacks by insurgents.

This week Nigeria’s parliament called on the presidency, armed forces and police to address the country’s mounting security crisis.

The National Assembly had gone as far as urging President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency.

Other politicians and civilians had called for foreign aid, saying it was the only way to end the crisis.

Bukola Saraki, the former president of the senate, called on the federal government to seek foreign aid to help stop the escalating insecurity in the country.

Saraki said asking for help was “not a sign of weakness”.

In the past month, there had been acts of violence in many parts of the country, including in the states of Anambra, Kaduna, Yobe, Niger and Lagos. Some areas had been attacked two or three times in one week.

Mohammed Ali Ndume, the chairman of the senate committee on security, told BBC Hausa on Sunday that the military needed manpower, adding that more soldiers needed to be recruited to fight the insurgency.

Hajja Bawaye Umar, a resident of Maiduguri, said Nigeria was “hungry for peace” and it was the responsibility of the government to pave the way to achieve it so that all sectors of the country could thrive.

But professor Khalifa Dikwa, a public affairs analyst, was opposed to the country asking for foreign aid.

He said Nigeria had the military capability and capacity to quash insurgents, although he conceded that there was a need for more sophisticated weapons to enable the military to face the country’s enemies fearlessly.

“People don’t like Western soldiers because they don’t trust them and their safety cannot be guaranteed. Soldiers from the West often end up staying in the place where they were assigned even after their mission ends. There are soldiers from the West in almost all francophone countries and they face security challenges. I don’t support seeking military support from the Western world,” he said.

Dikwa said the government should liaise with more-experienced, retired soldiers to develop new workable war tactics and strategies that would help soldiers and other sections of the military in the fight against the insurgents.

He said if the government needed outside help, it should seek support only from African countries.

“The federal government must avoid seeking military support from the West.  African countries have fought similar wars in their own countries and know the right strategies that Nigeria can follow.”

He said Nigeria’s soldiers were champions in combat war but they were not able to crush the insurgents because their fighting was undercover and no one could tell where they were hiding, or where or when they might attack.

“The military needs modern weapons and technology to fight against the insurgents. It does not need to hire soldiers from the Western world,” he said.

Dikwa said getting foreign help from African countries would take time and he cautioned the government to take action as soon as it was able.

Tijjani Jibrin Yerwa, a resident of Maiduguri, said the government and public needed to join hands and fight the insurgency until it ended.

“The public thinks that the government is not serious about the fight against terror, especially by members of the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād [more commonly known as Boko Haram] and the Islamic State in West Africa Province [ISWAP] across the northeast of the country. We face attacks almost daily,” he said.

Amina Mala, also from Maiduguri, told RNI reporter Amina Abbagana that the country, especially the northeast, had been devastated after numerous attacks by insurgents.

“We have to live with escalating violence, killings, kidnappings and abductions and attacks on a regular basis. Most civilians in the country – especially the northeast – live with fear and insecurity. We can’t go one like this.”

She said the insurgents had become more dangerous and had even started attacking other areas of Nigeria.

“We need external support. That’s the only way we, as a country, will be able to confront and overcome the insurgents,” she said. “The insurgents are beginning to infiltrate all areas, it’s not just the northeast any more.”

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