Former Minister of Internal Affairs during the military regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, Major General Mohammed Magoro, retd, said weekend there was no reason the federal government should not end Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in six months.
Magoro spoke as the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, decried the spate of killings going on across the country, due to the activities of kidnappers, terrorists and bandits, saying the country was in a state of war.
He said: “In 1983, during President Shehu Shagari’s time, rebels were terrorising our people on the Nigerian Islands in Lake Chad. Mr. President was the General Officer Commanding ( GOC),3 Armoured Division in Jos.
‘’At that time, he moved his headquarters to Maiduguri and dealt decisively with all those rebels, cleaned all the islands. Now,today, he is not a General Officer Commanding, he is a Commander in Chief !We do not expect anything less from him.’’
Magoro, who spoke in a viral video, also recommended that a Traditional Rulers Intelligence Consultative Forum be formed by the federal government to help in checking rising state of insecurity in the country.
He said: “ Traditional rulers hold the key to the success or failure in security administration in Nigeria .They are all at grassroots level, interact closely, daily, with the people, with traditional rulers bordering our neighboring countries. They see borders purely as artificial.
“In all our boundaries, from Benin Republic to Cameron, the people along the boundaries are one people, they speak the same language, same traditions and same customs. The traditional rulers, therefore, need to be recognised and assigned tasks in our fight against insecurity in the our nation.
“I am, therefore, suggesting the setting up of our Traditional Rulers Intelligence Consultative Forum by law.”
Continuing, he said one of the major potent security challenges facing this nation was the large number of unemployed youths all over the country.
“ The fastest way of addressing this problem is by providing a conducive environment for the private sector to come in, establish industries where they can employ a lot of the unemployed..
“This will only happen when there is peace and security. This should be followed by uninterrupted power supply. The ways and means of evacuating whatever products which is produced, i. e railways, roads and by our waterways should be developed.
“As we look forward to achieving this, we would also have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Implementation has been epileptic on the Mambila Hydro electric project. However, of recent in the social media, there was a shocking disclosure that legal issues were the major causes,stalling its take off.
“This project was given a little bite as far back as during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure. On the side, there were just some bungalows built to accommodate those who are supposed to come and work there.
“General Obasanjo, being the President at the time the project was conceoved, left many years ago. Nothing, nothing, I say again nothing, was added on that site! Governments have come and gone, and budgets have always been put up against this project. Nothing has been done.
“But of recent, we have been made to understand that there are legal issues. What are the legal issues that are above Nigeria? None! It is my belief that Mr. President has to take a decisive action on this, so that Mambila project should be brought back on stream.
“The second project is Ajaokuta project which is similarly stalled by alleged legal issues. We were all living witnesses when Ajaokuta was producing. It provided several job opportunities and its products covered the West African sub region.
“Mr. President should pay an unscheduled visit to Ajaokuta and bring that project back to life. Thousands and millions of people were provided job opportunities there. This is our own recommendation,’’ Magoro said.
He, however, decried the role of collaborators and saboteurs in the fight against Boko Haram and banditry, saying: “ Indeed, we’ve to accept the fact that there are collaborators in our midst who pass information to Boko Haram and bandits. The National Assembly should pass a law to deal with collaborators and saboteurs .
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‘One of the high act of saboteurs of recent was the blowing off of a railway line between Abuja and Kaduna when a train was in motion. The train was in motion when this act happened. The aim was to create maximum damage and kill as many lives as possible. We should not allow this to continue.
“What is the way forward to enhance our national security? In my own view, we’ve the following challenges: Number one, as at today, we do not have the required manpower, particularly in the Nigerian Army.
‘’That is why many of you will say,there are bandits here, some units of the Army are here. We told them (Army), they refused to go. Not that they refused to go, they carried out their own assessment of the situation. They discovered the bandits are about three times their number.
‘’How can they commit suicide just because they are soldiers? Would you take the rsi? The answer is no.
“We want the National Assembly to pass a resolution, asking Mr. President to officially declare war on Boko Haram and banditry in Nigeria. Officially! And when that is done, Mr. President should recall all the discharged soldiers.
‘’This was what General Gowon did in 1967. At the beginning of civil war, Nigeria had only five battalions., That was in our own time, I was a 2nd Lieutenant at that time. Five battalions for the whole of Nigeria. General Gowon recalled all the ex service men of Second World War and we gained a lot from their experiences.
“I am not asking for the recall of Second World War veterans. I am asking for the recall of the discharged soldiers of UNIFIL operations, ECOWAS operations (ECOMOG) and the ones that had served in the Sudan. We should raise thousands and hundreds of battalions.
“Similarly, Mr. President should recall all the retired officers from the rank of Lieutenant to Brigadier General to be the commanders in the field for this operation. There is the need for massive deployment of soldiers across the nation.
“In his broadcast, Mr. President should give Boko Haram and any bandit in this country, a time frame to lay down their arms unconditionally. By then, all these discharged soldiers, everybody should report to the nearest barracks to his area for screening and taken back to service.
“The next issue is that the President should embark on diplomatic shuttle, starting with our neighboring countries, to tell them enough is enough. We would not take it anymore.
“From there, he should move to France. All the neighboring countries to Nigeria are French speaking. They owe allegiance to France. I’ve seen in the social media C130 aircraft or aircraft of that equivalent, loaded with nothing but motorcycles, that are being brought in and freighted to operate in Nigeria. I’ve seen that myself.
“The President should sit with the French President, let him him know this is what has been happening, and it should stop. France, as a nation, has a lot of investments in Nigeria. If he does not do that, the government should take action against France. As I’ve said, enough is really enough.
“Next to that, the President should go to Russia. Why do I say Russia? During Nigeria’s unfortunate civil war ,Russia worked very closely with Nigeria. They provided all our requirements.
‘’The President should go to Russia, meet President Putin with our requirements, so that air bridges should be built between Moscow and Nigeria to paveway for freighting all the required military equipment and hardware for the operations.
“Similarly, the President should go to China and do the same thing. Put down our requirements ,what we need between Beijing and Nigeria. Air bridges should be built to air freight military hardware required for the operations.
“He should also go to Turkey. One of the military jihadist organisations is alleged to be supported by Turkey. I know Turkey, particularly the President, has been here,at least twice. They are ahead in whatever way we look at it, even Israel. I’m sure the Turkish President accede to our request.
“He should also go to Morocco. The Moroccan monarch has a lot of influence within the Arab world. As of now, what we discuss and deal with, with Morocco is provision of fertilisers. Most of the fertilisers we use here, a lot of it comes from Morocco.
“But how can you farm where there are bandits? Now you have to pay before you plant, you’ve to pay before you harvest. So for you to use that fertiliser, there has to be peace. Let him sit down with the monarch of Morocco, I’m sure with his influence in the Arab World, we are going to achieve a lot.
“Let him now go to America. America,yes. They provided one or two things. But was it provided timely? To me, the answer is no. From what I read in the social media, the aircraft they even gave us, there are conditions, when and where we can use them. I don’t see why I can pay you for something, then you tell me how I can use it.
‘Lastly, the President should go to the United Kingdom for international support. Now the soldiers, I said, should be recalled ,anyone of them with outstanding pension, both the officers and men, should be paid.
‘’Thousands of units should be raised. This was what was done,during the Nigerian civil war. Many sectors were created for operations.
“ If we do these, I will guarantee that within six months, banditry will disappear. Boko Haram will also disappear,because there is no forest we did not entered during the Nigerian civil war.
“Sambisa forest is open, it is not as thick as Mangrove forest. So they’ve been given enough time to do what they want. I think enough is enough.
“Now,when the operations commence, the rule of engagement should be no prisoner of war should be taken. This is because these people have humiliated and dehumanised our people. You all know the stories where families, when taken away, their women were being abused in front of their husbands, or daughters abused in front of their parents.
“As I’ve said, enough is enough. We don’t even need any prisoner of war. Lay down your arm, you are free. If you don’t, then you’re dead. We should use all the means of our national power at our disposal to subdue these terrorists.
“When I say use our national power, I mean our national power.. As at now, it is the Army operating with the Air Force. I’m yet to know if supporting units are involved in the operations of the Army.. That is, the Artillery. Because the locations of these bandits are known, bring artillery fire there,.no matter how far they are.
‘’As they are dispersing, the Air Force comes in. That’s why I said maximum six months, this thing will be over. I want to tell the .President not to hand over the issue of containment of Boko Haram and bandits to the next administration. He took it over from President Jonathan, he should not hand it over to the next administration.
‘’A number of things happen in parades, people do not know the significance. Anytime the President is on parade, when the Parade Commander says ‘Presidential salute, present arms’, all soldiers on parade present arms, those carrying regimental colors and national colours lower the colours down until they touch the Nigerian soil.
“This is to remind the President of his oath of office to protect the Nigerian territory, its security and everything that is within Nigeria. We are asking him to do the same thing.’’
Meanwhile, the National chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday decried the spate of killings going on across the country, noting that Nigeria was in a state of war.
He said the PDP succeeded in securing Nigeria while it was in power and called on citizens to team up with the party to oust the All Progressives Congress, APC , from power in 2023.
Sen. Ayu, who stated this at the party’s headquarters, Abuja during the Annual General Meeting of the PDP Press Corps, in Abuja, said: “We are virtually in a war situation in Nigeria today. We are fighting bandits. We are fighting kidnappers, we are fighting all sorts of bandits and extremists who are killing, raping our mothers and daughters.
‘’None of you can sleep with your eyes closed because you are always wondering whether you are going to make it to the next day. You have to keep on highlighting these problems because government has the fundamental responsibility of protecting lives and properties.
“We have a retired General as President and we taught these things will improve. We don’t need to talk as a political party or as an opposition, but you know exactly what is happening in our country is threatening even the very unity and existence of our country. I think you need accurate reporting of the events, which are not very glorious” he said
Accompanied by members of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, Ayu recalled practicing journalism at a younger age and challenged journalists not to be deterred by the risks the noble profession faces, particularly in this part of the world.