RE: BOKO HARAM AND THE MILITARY

By NBF News
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President Jonathan
Although crises are not always dysfunctional, they sometimes threaten national interests and states must of a necessity, respond to them or stand the risk of being engulfed by their disruptive effects. Theories on crisis management postulate ways of controlling or reducing crises. In this regard, Phil Williams stated that:

Crisis management is concerned on one hand with the procedure for controlling and regulating a crisis so that it does not get out of hand (either through miscalculations and mistakes by the participants, or because events take on a logic and momentum of their own) and lead to war, and on the other with ensuring that the crisis is resolved on a satisfactory basis in which the vital interests of the state are secured and protected.

Crisis management could therefore be seen as actions taken to avoid or control violent conflicts in the pursuit of national interests.

It also includes actions taken to arrive at satisfactory resolution of crises when they become unavoidable.  However, when a crisis has arisen, measures could be taken to remove its source by some form of settlement or resolution. Each type of crisis requires a different solution. Reychler has identified crisis prevention, crisis avoidance and crisis settlement/resolution as strategies for crisis management.

Crisis response could thus be defined as any course of action designed to manage (by controlling and regulating) a crisis and provide solutions favourable to the actors in order to avoid its disruptive effects. As a result of the unpredictable and violent nature of crises, time is of the essence in any action taken to manage a crisis. However whether the response involves diplomatic or military effort, the sooner action is taken, the more effective it is likely to be.

The 1990 constitution states the duties of the military as follows Defending the country from external aggression  Maintaining its borders from violation  Suppressing insurgency and acting in aid of civil authorities to resolves order and Performing any other functions as may be determined by the national assembly.

As you can see, the military intervention in Borno state is in line with the constitution, The Nigerian constitution has clearly spelled out the role of the military in such matters. The military option may not be more than a show of force, which seeks to remind the adversary of the possibility of the physical application of force if the need arises.

Richard Haass argues that military interventions can be classified by other purposes than offensive or defensive; these are deterrence, coercion, punishment, peacekeeping, war fighting, humanitarian goals and rescue missions.

On the other hand, John Stuart justifies forcible intervention in two cases. One is the case in which one of the parties is of high, and the other of very low grade of social improvement. The other case is that of a people struggling against a foreign yoke, or against a native tyranny upheld by foreign arms. Outside intervention by force is therefore advocated on the basis of self-determination, but not for self-government.

The first precautionary principle that could justify military intervention is 'right intention' which requires that the primary purpose of any intervention must be to halt or avert human suffering. This is regardless of all other motives an intervening state may have. The second principle is the 'last resort', which demands that all non-military options for the prevention or peaceful resolution of crisis be exhausted before intervening.

Nigeria army is regarded all over the world as a conventional force to reckon with, a force that adheres to military discipline and rule of law to the highest standard. attest to these claims is the number of United Nations missions the force undertook. This professionalism earns her 4th position on United Nations ranking. All these will not come easy handed, if all the allegations people made were true, in all her missions abroad no one particular incidence where the force is indicted, either on rape or looting as claimed by the people of Borno state.

Here,  one is not exonerating the military completely, some of them may not control they emotions seeing their fallen comrade in pool of blood, this may lead to excessive use of force, bearing in mind, all soldiers on any type of mission  must carry with them AIDE-MEMOIRE (SOLDIERS CARD) therein enshrine Roles of Engagement (ROE) which clearly state that.

Any force used must be limited in its intensity and duration to    what is necessary to achieve the authorized objective and must be commensurate with the level of the threat. In some cases, operational urgency may dictate the immediate use of deadly force. Use force only when absolutely necessary to achieve your immediate aim, to protect yourself, it further states.

The use of force, including deadly force, shall only be resorted to  if all other means to control the situation have failed or do not hold any promise of achieving the authorized objective.

The decision to open fire shall be made only on the order and under the control of the on-scene Commander, unless there is insufficient time to obtain such an order. Before opening fire, give a final warning at least three times, either in Hausa, Kanuri or Arabic, which is the widely spoken national language in the mission area, or in English which is also an official language of the National Government

In addition to above mentioned roles, the principles of minimum force and proportionality are applied at all times and in all circumstances.

Calling on Nigerian military to emulate NATO or American troops as a reference point for setting the standard is misrepresentation; the Nigeria military has set the standard beyond any doubts, better than all the aforementioned forces. It is only here people don't appreciate the Nigerian Armed Forces, just as the saying goes: prophets are not honored at home. Space will not permit me here to explain more on this.

Conflict comes from incompatibility of goals, a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power and resources in which the aims of the opponent are to neutralise, injure or eliminate their rivals.

Conflict in most African countries including Nigeria, arises from problems basic to all populations, the tug and pulls of different identities, the different distribution of resources, access to power and conflicting deductions of when individuals and groups turn to violence to solve problems, conflict takes a second dimension; security and survival. Conflict resolution becomes as multifaceted as conflict itself' what is just, fair and right.

The situation in Maiduguri requires a surgical solution, as the Commander-in-Chief, President Goodluck Jonathan has to apply what in principles of conflict we call Economy of Effort, Flexibility, and Surprise. The corollary of concentration of force is economy of effort. It is impossible to be strong everywhere and if decisive strength is to be concentrated at the critical time and place there must be no wasteful expenditure of effort where it cannot significantly affect the issue. In order to gain a substantial advantage, a commander will have to take a calculated risk in a less vital area.

No plan of operations can look with any certainty beyond the first meeting with the major forces of the adversary. The commander is compelled to reach decisions on the basis of situations which cannot be predicted. The potency of surprise as a psychological weapon at all levels should not be underestimated. It causes confusion and paralysis in the enemy's chain of command and destroys the cohesion and morale of  troops and sympathizers alike.

As a result of this, the heat is on Boko Haram hence complains and the calls to withdraw soldiers from the streets of Maiduguri and its environs. Although the aim may not alter, a commander will be required to exercise judgment and flexibility in modifying his plans to meet changed circumstances, taking advantage of fleeting chances or shifting a point of emphasis. Flexibility depends upon the mental component of openness of mind on the one hand, and simple plans which can easily be modified in other to achieve his objectives. And that what you find in person of Gen Jack Nwachukwu nwaogbo, openness of mind an officer with the tactical  knowhow on conflict management and resolution,  an officer that once asserted, impossible means I'm possible.

The Chief of Army Staff in line with the Commander-in-Chief's agenda for finding lasting solution to Borno crisis, decided to bring this fine officer and a gentleman to arrest the situation.

Gen. Jack is one officer that is well known in the military circle as a fine officer. With patience he will surprise many. All he requires is cooperation and understanding. If any of the soldiers is found wanting, he is the type of officer that can parade them for the whole world to see and make sure they face justice, no matter their rank or status.

Garba writes from HQ United Nations Mission in Liberia.