Tribal, Religious Sentiments Fuel Boko Haram Crisis – Former Army Chief

A man stands outside his destroyed home in Baga, Borno State, Nigeria, following heavy fighting between military forces from Nigeria, Niger and Chad, and Boko Haram (file photo).

Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah has blamed the escalation of Boko Haram terrorism on its use to advance sectional, tribal, religious and political interests.

Minimah made this known yesterday in his valedictory speech during a pulling out parade in his honour at the Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment Abuja.

He argued that we won’t have been where we found ourselves today: “perhaps if we had all stood against the terrorists at the onset through public condemnation of their activities and active collaboration with the military to confront them.”

“Rather than use it as a tool to advance sectional, tribal, religious and political interests… we must therefore support our government and security forces to tackle the current security challenges,” he stated.

He said his appointment came when the nation was going through one of the worse crisis in its history and Boko Haram terrorism reaching unprecedented heights in the country, with the army and security agencies helpless to address the situation.

“I was confronted with the decay in the service due to long periods of neglect the army had suffered,” he said.

“I am happy to state that the story is different today, and the situation is better than I met it. Today, the country is more secure and stable. The ability of Boko Haram terrorists to confront our security forces in open combat is virtually non-existent,” he stated.

Minimah said for long the nation has toyed with the health and vitality of its military, urging that this is the time to invest in the armed forces by providing the necessary resources and political environment to recruit, train, equip, kit and remunerate its service men.

Last week former chief of defence staff Alex Badeh also spoke in the same vein during his pull out, emphasizing that the insurgency festered due to poor renumeration and equipment of the military.

About a year ago, the two security chiefs have severally refuted claims by Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima, Borno Elders, disgruntled military personnel, among others that the military is demoralised, underfunded and ill-equipped.

By Ronald Mutum

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Source: Daily Trust

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