The Minister of Defence, retired Major General Bashir Magashi, on Monday called for increased public support for the armed forces in tackling security challenges facing the nation.
Magashi made the call at a one-day National Defence and Security Summit with the theme: “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria.”
He said the Federal Government is committed to ensuring safety of lives and property of the citizenry in line with the presidential directive to the service chiefs to nip the challenges in the bud.
Magashi described the summit as timely considering the current spate of threats to the nation’s territorial integrity including banditry, terrorism and kidnapping.
He called on stakeholders to ensure that all hands were on deck to support the current efforts to promote peace and stability, adding that several operations were on going in different parts to address the challenges.
According to him, the presidential directive to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies underscore the use of all the instruments of power to stabilise the security situation in the nation and provide good governance as well as promote peace, stability and development.
Magashi said: “The focused and objective use of kinetic operations therefore becomes very obvious.
“The armed forces and other security agencies in league with strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies are critical to this security initiative.
“We are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task.
“This is important to minimise distractions and maximise civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.
“It is in this light that I consider this National Defence and Security Summit organised by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) as both apt and timely.”
The Guest Speaker, Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki, who presented a paper, titled: “Kinetic Operations as a major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria,” said the current challenges could only be addressed through an all-government and all-society approaches.
Omaki said it was time for the military to engage in full kinetic approach in tackling insurgency and banditry, adding that public engagement and enlightenment was needed for the kinetic operations to be successful.
He said the country had the capacity to end the multiple challenges of insecurity, saying it must start with the comment of all stakeholders.
Omaki, who is the Director General, Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, said there was the need to assess kinetic operation as a major plank for redressing the dislocation of the nation’s security.
According to him, kinetic operations are often associated with collateral damage especially on the side of the civilian population owing to the fact that war against terrorism is not a conventional warfare.
Magashi said: “In the case of Nigeria, experience shows that the military, with its air power and specialised weaponry, is best equipped to handle counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency roles to secure the country.
“The tactics used by terrorists and insurgents, which involve extreme brutality against unarmed civilians and hit-and-run attacks on soft targets, have made it imperative and indeed urgent for the Nigerian military to adopt kinetic action in their counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts.
“One of the lessons from the Philippines and Indonesia is that kinetic action can be successfully employed to neutralise terrorists and insurgents.
“It should, however, be part of a strategy that is intelligence driven.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and Petroleum Resources, Chief Diorite Silva, as well as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, among others attended the summit.