Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has said that former President Goodluck Jonthan could not rout the Boko Haram terrorists, not because the administration was weak or not determined to do so, but because fighting the sect required more technicalities different from conventional war which Nigerian soldiers are well familiar with.
Babangida therefore described as a step in the right direction the discovery of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of the two most prominent problems confronting Nigeria, security and corruption, as well as the preparedness to tackle the twin cankerworm headlong.
Babangida spoke to journalists as he turned 74 on Sunday at his Hilltop mansion in Minna, Niger State.
According to him, President Buhari is on course with his government.
“Buhari is not doing badly trying to change the stereotype impression foreigners have about the country and her citizenry – always ascribed with negativity,” he said.
“I believe he will try to be resolute in trying to stamp out this mess you talk about – oil thefts,” he further stated.
Babangida pointed out that the country almost grounded due to the antics of some corrupt individuals during previous administrations as identified by the current dispensation, and therefore solicited for support and co-operation of all Nigerians towards achieving the set objectives.
With new technique and modern warfare at its disposal, Babangida said the renewed onslaught would definitely bring about hope on issues of insecurity particularly that Boko Haram would soon be a thing of the past while efforts in trying to stamp out corruption, including bringing to book all those stealing our oil, would lead to the desired change that Nigerians are yearning for.
“I think there is a general misunderstanding on the whole concept of insurgency; you can call it anything but one thing you will realise is that we are not fighting a regular army where you can confront yourselves by sheer use of force weapons to overwhelm the enemy.
“You have to get a small trained army, the tactics of which must include ‘maximum casualty’ on the so- called enemy, inflict casualty on him where he lands when he least expect it. We are not fighting a conventional war and that makes it exceptionally difficult.
“They will blow up bridges; they will go and blow up barracks and so forth and so on. So, this is unconventional warfare. It is in order that the soldiers are trained for it and they know that this is the sort of things they do. The public should be educated about this conventional war – that fighting Boko Haram required different tactics from conventional war,” he said.
Babangida said he was happy that the Nigerian government was being assisted by the United States in the renewed onslaught not only in training and retraining of the Nigerian Army, but also in weapons and the technical know-how to end insurgency.
Babangida commended the media for remaining neutral and allowing the voices of Nigerians to be heard when they clamoured for a change to end the 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party’s reign.
“I think the media has been fair by my rating. Very unusual but you are fair. You didn’t show partisanship. You saw it the way it is; I have seen the media during a lot of other elections but this particular one you are very, very fair and I hope that will be the trend.
“A lot of things must have gone wrong somewhere and the right judges are the people and the people spoke. I think it is natural they needed a change after 16 years and they did what is right. They did not go wild; they did not fight anybody; they used their ballot papers to change the government. I think this is the beauty of what happened. I look forward to such practices in the next 50 years of democratic practice in this country,” he said.