Authorities of the Nigerian military are optimistic that the raging insurgency may be over before May 29, 2023.
The optimism is fuelled by the increasing number of mass surrender by terrorists, intense air raids and ground attacks by troops and other measures taken by the federal government to end the decade-long menace.
The theatre commander of “Operation Hadin Kai”, Major General Chris Musa, who spoke on the progress the military is making in the anti-insurgency war, however, blamed the setbacks recorded in the war in the North-East on bad roads and connivance with terrorists.
He lamented that the sad acts had slowed down military operations against Boko Haram Terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
In an interview with Metrowatch online, Gen Musa lamented that lack of modern anti Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) has also hampered clearance operations.
Responding to question on the assertion that insurgency would become history by May 29, 2023, Gen. Musa said, “Sure, but remember that this is asymmetric warfare. And they are fighting a cause with their minds. We cannot say for sure 100 percent. We believe that by that time, God keeping us, they will not pose any serious challenge to us.
“To further answer your questions, what were the causative factors that led to this war? The government needs to begin to address some of those factors that led to this strife. Like poverty, illiteracy, hunger and all that,” he said.
He said at least 98 IEDs have been removed in Borno State. Musa attributed recent successes against insurgents to improved synergy among the services and support from the locals which he rated at 75 percent.
He said more than 51,000 terrorists have surrendered comprising 11,000 fighters, more than 20,000 kids fathered by them and the women.
Gen Musa therefore called on the government to address the root causes of insurgency which he listed as: poverty, hunger and illiteracy.
He said the ill-gotten money from illegal markets fuel terrorists’ activities.
Musa explained, “Cattle rustling is one way they are making money. How do they make money? When they get like 200 cows, they take them to the market. A big bull may cost about N200,000. But he is telling you to pay just N50,000 and take all of it away. How many people will really say no to that? A business man who knows he is having N50,000 per cow, knows how much is involved. He or she is ready to take the risk and because it’s free, the criminals are getting it at N50,000 which is good price to them. These are some of the issues we are dealing with.
“People are also selling fuel to the insurgents. They take full tank of fuel and off load for the criminals. This is simply because if you have 20 litres, you will get N150,000 cash from Boko Haram. And that was the deal before the last scarcity of fuel. So, you can imagine how much it goes for now. And this is why we are having sympathizers.
“And the evil continues because some business people are making money. Now we have adequate intel to indicate that some NGOs are paying as much as 10 years for accommodation. So, what is their plan? Before now, how much did it cost to rent a house in Maiduguri? For them to want to pay ten times the amount. If the people selling fuel are getting N150,000 for just 20 litres. How many sympathizers would want to say no to the deal? Let me tell you, anything you take to them, they are ready to pay over 100, 200 percent of the market price to get it. People don’t care anymore and that is the danger of monetizing the society. Everyone is after the money. Yahoo, cultists, all of them, what are they fighting for? It’s the cash, nothing more. The society doesn’t seem to care how you get it, just make the money and that is all.”