* Irabor seeks new approach to tackle security crises in Africa
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The African Bar Association (AfBA) yesterday declared that bad governance, sabotage within security circle and religious bigotry were fueling terrorism in Nigeria and other African countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Maiden Armed Forces and Other Security Agencies Law Conference in Abuja, the Chairman of the body, Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, said conflicts were complicated by bad governance and religious bigotry which made it difficult for the Armed Forces and security agencies to bring the situation under control.
The position of the continental bar association came just as the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the asymmetric nature of conflicts in Nigeria and Africa required a new approach in containing security crises on the continent.
Also, a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Alexander Ogomudia (rtd), lamented the insecurity bedeviling the continent especially the West of the Sahel, which he said was, “becoming something else.”
He also pointed the way forward in averting collateral damage in war situations by war commanders, saying that such commanders should be guided by the Rules of Engagement (RoE).
Uwaifo, who spoke at the conference in Abuja with the theme: “Enhancing the Operational Capacities of African Armed Forces and other Security Agencies: Law as a Vital Instrument,” said, “sabotage from within, inadequate intelligence gatherings, lack of synergy amongst security agencies are also factors contributing to the deteriorating security situation. Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Libya, Cameroun, CAR, the DRC, Somalia, Mali, Niger, Chad and so on are some of the worst hit where hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost including those of our armed forces and security personnel, while the military and security agencies continue to suffer these heavy casualties in defence of the territorial integrity and security of our borders, public perception of their actions and inactions appears very poor.”
He said the volatile situation was, “largely due to the activities of politicians, lack of information, acts of criminals within and inter-security agencies rivalry. There have also been largely no frequent interactions with civil groups who are largely the vocal voice of the civil populace.
“The high casualty rate of our security forces arising from these conflicts and the lack of popular support for the military and other security agencies has become a source of concern for the African Bar Association and its leadership.”
Speaking further, he said, “in Nigeria, terrorists, bandits, and other criminal gangs have been terrorising towns and villages in the northern part of the country for over a decade.
“Most of these criminals are fueled by political activities and religious extremism. The Nigerian Military and other security agencies saddled with the responsibility of tackling them are either lacking in equipment or morale.
“While it is clear that they are doing their best in the circumstance, their inability to secure full public support and the activities of civilian saboteurs is making the job difficult.”