What Government Must Do To Sambisa Forest – Colonel

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Colonel Umar Aliyu remains one of the very best produced by the Nigerian military. His thoughts and ideas reflect his versatility as well as professionalism.

In a live interview monitored by our correspondent, he again comes up with vital ideas to help the security needs of the country at a time Nigerians are anxiously waiting for an end to insurgency.

Umar Aliyu

Colonel Umar Aliyu (Rtd)


Q: The Nigerian military has a December deadline to end insurgency. Are we achieving this?

It depends on how you look at it, but generally on bombings, suicide bombings, it is not feasible. On the issue of territorial attacks on villages, claiming enclaves, taking over part of our nation’s soil, it is feasible.


I say that because if you look back from the point when the President Muhammadu Buhari administration came in, there was some kind of improvement, there was a reclamation of our territories. In fact, if you looks at the nature of what we have on ground, you will see that we have an asymmetric situation.

Asymmetric situation is a situation where you have conventional forces fighting unconventional forces. There is no symmetry per se. The conventional forces have confronted the insurgents with what we call attrition warfare. Attrition warfare is a sustained depletion of the personnel, materials and ranks of the belligerent over a period of time.

If you look at the indices on ground as they concern the recovery of our land spaces, if you look at the ratio involved, you can say the attrition rate is favourable to us. Knowing the attrition rate is simply putting your figures and the indices together and doing some divisions; the average number of Boko Haram attacks.

Their armies often came in hundreds sacking police barracks and towns, but if you put this side by side what we have been able to do…

Q: What would you be saying about that?

If in 100, we have gotten five, I don’t think that is encouraging, though it is a step in the right direction. But I want to believe that if in 100 of like-minded people who are in a particular line of activity, I have five, depending on the method of research and what you know, each of those five can actually give you a hype, the chances are high.

The intelligence agencies can work on those five; there are many ways to do that, especially if you have the know-how and the resources.

Q: There are still pockets of bombings. Is this the way to go?

No, it is not the way to go and I will tell you why; terrorism has been with us for mankind; particularly social bombings and we really need mafias to end it by the 31st of December.

If you talk about reclaiming our territories and enclaves where they have hoisted those black flags, it is an operation that can be closed by midnight of 31st December.

From, I think September, when the deadline was issued, effectively we are looking at three months (90 days). If you were to actually split Borno to equal squares and you isolated the areas affected, the hotspots, I’m telling you that you have the resources and the capacity to act. But then, post-sweeping through them, you must hold them. So if we actually clear every enclave where they hide and we do not occupy it, before long, they will fill it back.

Q: We were told that some of them surrendered. What can be done to ensure that they do not fo back?

What we need to do is ensure a concerted military presence along those areas, that is our boarders. I am particularly looking at turning Sambisa into the Nigerian Army first Desert Warfare School.

That is a place where our military is having it tough, so it becomes a school. The mobile police has such a place in Gwoza. When you go to Gwoza, you actually go there to train and get attuned to extreme of temperatures. If you pass through Gwoza and all the scorpions there, then you are ready to do police work.

Q: But there is this fear of attacks in Abuja and some other places. Should we still say the military is gaining ground?

When it comes to armed engagement with the soldiers and their combatants, we’ve gained some grounds. When it comes to bombings, it is still a bit curious. I once spoke to a particular medium and in sync with that line of thinking, I actually was trying to see if we could bring a blue-print for markets.

There must be a thresh-hold, a blueprint for markets where you have more than five hundred people at any given time. The blue-print, the way we have drawn it with my team, is actually all-inclusive. We want to begin to see markets encouraged to have chief security officers.

The chief security officers should be regulated by our security forces and where the chief security officer does not measure up to what is recommended, a regulatory audit can slam a security alert on the market.

So if you call Nigerians and the audit says based on security lapses at the XYZ market, we are placing on a yellow alert and that the general public is advised about going to do business there, it is all-inclusive because the stakeholders who pay for their shops in these markets would breathe down the necks of their security officers who would rather bring it to par or look for jobs elsewhere.

That way, someone is being responsible, taking ownership and this decomposes down to the last and you begin to see markets aligned on order, markets aligned on safety, and markets aligned on security.

Everybody would have to be accounted for. Now, we don’t have that in the market, anybody can just come now, park anywhere and drop anything anywhere.

Q: But people still need enlightenment especially in these markets, worship places and others.

There should be go-to options. Go-to options are places you can knock on now, now and get hints. I want to see those beautiful female officers in the police and wherever become the face of public relations of the police who people can talk to.


They should be telling you if you are going to the market, these are some things to look out for. There are some things I don’t want to say here because really do not want to get the insurgents wiser.

We also have the “see something, say something option. People see something and keep quiet not because they don’t want to say but because they feel insecure to actually pass the information. So we need to actually see protals where people can say something because they see something.

I don’t need to go and drop something in the suggestion boxes, they are outdated. They don’t work anymore, not with the kind of generation we have now.

Q: One major issue has to do with the Chibok girls...

You can recall the trend of events when it occurred. The first threat that was imminent on those girls post-kidnapping was that they were going to be married. 


The post What Government Must Do To Sambisa Forest – Colonel appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

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