One year on: Tinubu defeating terrorism, building hopes of secure Nigeria

By Zagazola Makama

It is platitudinous to say that various forms of insecurity have devastated the country in all sectors heating up the polity with the most frustrating intractability since the last three decades. 

The epochal menace has ravaged the Nigerian economy to a point in worsening the management scale of sustaining the country's immense human and natural resources. This also has affected Nigeria's leading -economy position in Africa, and its status as a country of enviable reckoning in global affairs.

Insecurity has no doubt on the verge of eroding the country's cherished socio-political norms and values which had painstakingly created an enviable collective identity for its diverse peoples, empowering them to walk with shoulders held high across the globe as Nigerians. 

The Boko Haram insurgency and, in recent years, Islamic State of the West African Province(ISWAP) terror campaigns in the North-East; the twin crimes of banditry and kidnapping in the North-West, as well as the North-Central, and sections of the South-West, South-East and South-South; farmer-herder clashes; and various other forms of gunmen menace, have continued to create a seemingly intractable criminalities threatening to the Country's existence as a nation.

The country has, for the past two decades, been languishing and gasping for breath under this massive weight of a global-scale security crisis. This apparently appalling situation has underscored the robust provision of security as the topmost cardinal objective of every administration in the current decades of Nigeria's democratic governance. 

On assumption of duty on May 29, 2023, as the elected leader and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in line with his electioneering campaign mantra: 'Renewed Hope', promised to prioritize security as the bedrock of the country's development. 

This is evident with his promise to adopt a new doctrine, strategies and suitable profound arrangement of well-knit architecture to combat insecurity, thereby renewing the hope of Nigerians.

President Tinubu, as the first and foremost decisive step at combating insecurity, rejigged the country's security architecture with new service chiefs and the desired gusto, whom he gave the matching order to immediately assume the work of re-strategizing and fine-tuning strategies to combat the country's recalcitrant insecurity. 

This move has applausively prevented the insecurity situation from intricately imploding into larger security challenges.

To reconcile this in line with the C-in-C objectives for a stable and prosperous Nigeria, the appointment of General Christopher Musa, as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), ever-readily profoundly assisted by other service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, in compliance with President Tinubu's directive for robust synergy among top security and intelligence services in the fight against insecurity, the terror war in the Lake Chad Basin and the expansive North-East region has recorded an undisputed phenomenal achievements.

Notably; the military under the Tinubu led-administration has experienced significant enhancement in its operational capabilities, marking a notable period in its efforts to maintain national security and peace. 

In the last one year, the administration has procured an additional five aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), which include 2 Diamond 62 surveillance aircraft; 2 T-129 ATAK helicopters, and a number King Air 360 ER, with plans to integrate 46 more by the end of 2024. These strategic acquisitions have bolstered the military's capacity to conduct precise and impactful operations against various security threats across the country.

The rapid degradation of terror in the North-East is a gladdening testament to the fact that President Tinubu is keeping his promise of a 'Renewed Hope'  to Nigerians in character, credibility and commitment to genuinely overturn the country's insecurity to a stable and peaceful Nigeria. 

This feat has been immensely achieved with the sheer commitment and competence of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, savoring sufficient support and impetus from his sister services, especially the Nigerian Air Force under the  Joint Task Force North-East Operation Hadin Kai, Theater Command of the Nigerian Army; and the sheer patriotism, commitment and determination of the frontline troops. 

To mention a few is the imposing catalog of accomplishments in the North-East terror war portrays an elating success story of the preceding one year. 

The observable and most -spectacular moment of achievements include the neutralization of 555 terrorists; destruction of 461 terrorists’ enclaves across the theartre. They include;  Gaizuwa, otherwise known as Mantari, Gabchari, Kashimiri, and Maimusari, Ukuba, Arra, Farisu, Sabil Huda,  in Sambisa Forest, Lake Chad region, Yuwe and the Mandara Mountains;Markas Kauwa, Chiralia, Abirma, Buk 1, 2 and 3, Abulam, Dusula, and Abbagajiri in Timbuktu Triangle among others as well as the and the recovery of arms, armored vehicles and catch of equipment as well as the destruction of large quantity of other belongings to the terrorists in Sambisa Forest and Timbuktu Triangle. 

Through a robust synergy with the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai in the troubled North-East,  NAF has also been instrumental in depleting terrorist ranks and disrupting their operations. 

Notable strikes include the elimination of key terrorists in the Mandara Mountains and the neutralization of multiple insurgents in the Timbuktu Triangle, Sambisa Forest, Krenowa, and Kafiya  Fulatari, Kwaleram, Kirta,  Wulgo, Bukar Mairam and the Tumbums among others. These actions have significantly weakened terrorist capabilities, contributing to the restoration of peace in the region.

Most gladdening of all is perhaps, the military's aggressive kinetic and non-kinetic operations led to the surrender of more than 160,000 Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists and their families to the troops of Operation Hadin Kai,  out of which 42,189 have been handed over to Borno State Government; as well as the rescue of about 81 abducted Chibok girls.

The military, by sufficiently clearing terrorists enclaves across the region, has also, over the last one year, been able to create the enabling environment for the restoration of civil administration as well as relocation/resettlement of over 2 million IDPs to their ancestral homes; as well as guaranteed sufficient security in MMC, Mafa, Gubio, Konduga, Bama, Banki, Monguno, Dikwa, Gamborun Ngala, Kukawa, Gwoza and other LGAs, for farming and other socio-economic activities.   

The military guarantees the restoration of law and order in several returnee communities; conducted kinetic and non-kinetic operations against terrorists which have strangulated the logistics supplies as well as halted recruitment, sympathizers and collaborators activities, leading to the surrender of several terrorist top Commanders and secured the rescue of victims in terrorists preoccupied areas. 

Also, the 7 Div of the Nigerian Army which has covered the most areas  prone to terrorist attacks suffered a large percentage of terrorist campaigns. "The division’s AOR (Area Of Responsibility) is relatively calm but unpredictable due to activities of some remnant of these so-called BHT/ISWAP insurgents who scamper for safe havens in the general area of Sambisa Forest, Gezuwa, Gargash and Mandara Mountains, by taking advantage of the geography of these areas to evade troops’ operational activities," as observed by Brig.-Gen Abubakar Haruna, the General Officer Commanding 7 Division  and Commander Sector 1 of the Nigeria Army. 

He was, until his recent elevation to the rank of  the General Officer Commanding the 7 Division, the Garrison Commander 7 Division of the army. 

"Nevertheless, normal activities have resumed in most towns and villages that are located within the Sector’s AOR due to troops engagement in aggressive patrols and clearance operations," he stated, adding, delightedly, "To further consolidate the successes, the Borno Government has been returning the locals who were displaced due to the insurgency back to their ancestral homes." Gen Haruna shed more light on the restoration of peace and security across the region. "Restoration of peace, security and the attainment of sustainable socio-economic activities in the North-East is the overall objective of Operation Hadin Kai," he stated, explaining, "The attainment of the military objective which is primarily the obliteration of the terrorists in the region requires the restoration of socio-economic activities."

The GOC said that: "It is in line with this that the Division has been working tirelessly under the mentorship and the Supervision  of the Theartre Commander North East Operation Hadin Kai Joint Task Force, Maj.-Gen. Waidi Shuaibu to ensure that the local communities within our Area of responsibility go about their legitimate daily activities through sustained operational activities like patrols, escort duties, ambushes and other offensive operations to deny the terrorists freedom of action and ensure the safety of the people."  

General Shuaibu, Theater, Commander Joint Task Force North East Operation Hadin Kai acknowledged the unquantifiable and invaluable contributions of the COAS, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja to the Theater Command that enabled it to achieve its enviable successes in the last one year.  


As stated, "First of all, you need to understand that it is the COAS who gives the direction, guidance, leadership and all the human and material resources required for us to carry out our mandate," he acknowledged, maintaining, "So, what the COAS provides is more than ‘help’." He emphasised  that the COAS ``provides excellent leadership to us and hence the successes recorded so far," advising, "Please take a close look at his Command Philosophy which is ‘To Transform the NA into a Well-Trained, Equipped and Highly Motivated Force towards Achieving our Constitutional Responsibilities within a Joint Environment’." 


The TC maintained further: "There is a strong nexus between the Command Philosophy and what we are doing here," saying, "Without troops that are well-trained, equipped and motivated, we cannot achieve our mandate here which is part of our constitutional responsibility."    

“We have achieved tremendous successes in our various operations within the Theater under Operation Desert Sanity III undertaken by 7 Division,  Sector 2 as well as Sector 3 MNJTF. Similar operations were  also undertaken in the Tumbums by the troops of the MNJTF forces, with gladdening feedback. 

Gen Shuaibu reviewed the effect of the insurgency in Borno State and  praised the state government for supporting the Theater Command to achieve its mandate. "One of the priorities in addressing insecurity is the restoration of civilian administration and services to conflict-affected communities," he stated, recalling, "The years of insurgency have devastated the social infrastructures and services in the North-East region including health, education and policing among others." He also observed: "The dysfunctional state of such services made the communities more vulnerable to extremist recruitment and other vices".


 He further praised Governor Babagana Umara Zulum: "The Governor has made distinct efforts to address these immense challenges and foster greater citizens’ trust in government by rebuilding police stations and creating a conducive environment to bring back civil servants (including judges, healthcare givers and security agencies).

The TC praised the governor for tackling pervasive sense of insecurity through the provision of low-cost housing; road construction and other infrastructural development in rural areas; provision of agricultural supports like seeds and fertilizer at subsidized rate to enable the locals return to their farms; provision of affordable transport system like the electric taxis; as well as maintaining the periodic provision of palliatives to affected communities.   

Gen Shuaibu remarked: "The general public is beginning to understand and appreciate the efforts of the Nigerian Army in restoring peace and security in the North-East region and to the country as a whole." The TC assured: "We will continue to sustain the feat achieved by intensifying our efforts in the clearance of remnants of terrorists from their camps and enclaves so that durable peace would be restored finally in the North-East region.

The onus for maintaining peace and security lies with everyone."  He called on the general public to remain vigilant and cooperate with the military and other security agencies in their efforts at restoring peace and security in the region. 

"The public should always remember that the soldiers are out there denying themselves all comforts to ensure that the rest of the citizens sleep with their two eyes closed," he advised.


Zagazola Makama is a Counter Insurgency Expert and Security Analyst in the Lake Chad region.

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