New CDS Badeh's deadline for insurgency – Leadership
The recent statement made by the new chief of defence staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh, that the military would end the Boko Haram insurgency by April this year came as a shock to many Nigerians. Those who understand the enormity of the Boko Haram threat considered it somewhat rash. Former inspector-general of police Hafiz Ringim once lived under that illusion but was eventually swept away by the force of the insurgent group. He now lives quietly in London on self-imposed exile, after several attempts on his life by this violent extremist group.
For four years now, the country has been under siege due to the activities of this terrorist group. The north-eastern part of Nigeria has since been turned into a war zone. Air Marshal Badeh should well know this, because he is from Adamawa State, one of the hard-hit areas, and he was chief of air staff for more than a year before he took over as CDS. He was in a key command position when Bama Military Barracks was sacked by the sect in December 2013. He should therefore be the last person to make such a bold statement so quickly, except he has a secret weapon that will swiftly bring an end to the Boko Haram threat.
When the sect's activities escalated to insurgency level after the killing of its leader Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009, many security experts believed that the group would soon collapse, due to the crackdown on its members by the military. But it has been proven that the group has links to similar terrorist organisations operating internationally such as Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab. From Borno State where it first emerged, its area of operation now spans five countries - Niger, Mali, Chad, Cameroon and the Sudan. It is possible that it has links in the Central African Republic too. Also, it has become more apparent that it is well funded, armed and organised. We are sure the New CDS must have been aware of all these before he made that very optimistic declaration.
It is hoped that the CDS has more than mere words to offer at this critical time. We must learn from the Al-Qaeda threat in south-west Asia and the Middle East. We must also seriously consider collaborating with neighbouring countries to tackle this very grievous matter.
For now, the CDS has raised our hopes. We look forward to the month of April and wait for the warm winds of peace to chase away the dark clouds of insecurity from over the north-east region and the entire nation for good.