The President-elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), on Tuesday said his administration would restore military cooperation with the United States of America.
In the Tuesday edition of an article published by the New York Times, Buhari promised among other things to reform the military.
Outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan had cancelled the training component of its military cooperation with the US citing a lack of sincerity on the part of the Americans for its decision.
But Buhari said,
“My administration would welcome the resumption of a military training agreement with the United States, which was halted during the previous administration. We must, of course, have better coordination with the military campaigns with our African allies, like Chad and Niger, in waging the struggle against Boko Haram. But, in the end, the answer to this threat must come from within Nigeria.”
Buhari also said he would deploy additional troops in the battle foul away from civilian areas in the south and the north central parts of the country.
In the article, the President-elect said, in the fight to end the Boko Haram insurgency,
“We must start by deploying more troops to the front and away from civilian areas in central and southern Nigeria where for too long they have been used by successive governments to quell dissent.”
“We must work closer with our neighbours in coordinating our military efforts so an offensive by one army does not see their country’s rid of Boko Haram only to push it across the border onto their neighbour’s territory.”
A member of the Buhari team, who pleaded for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media said,
“Without being told, you should know that what he (Muhammadu Buhari) is simply saying is that under his administration, the military will revert to their constitutional role of defending the nation against external aggression QED.”
It was also gathered that the military would be overhauled and professionalised while the police would be better empowered to take the leading role in internal security.
According to the New York Times article, which carried Buhari’s byline, the incoming administration will pay greater attention to counter-terrorism initiatives aside from using the military to deal with the terrorists’ threat.
Buhari noted that his administration would seek to address the issue of young people being attracted to sect. He identified some of the reasons to include poverty and ignorance.
“Indeed Boko Haram – which translates in English, roughly, as “western education is sinful” – preys on the perverted belief that the opportunities that education brings are sinful.
“If you are starving and young, and in search of answers as to why your life is so difficult, fundamentalism can be alluring. We know this for a fact because former members of Boko Haram have admitted it: They offer impressionable young people money and the promise of food, while the group’s mentors twist their minds with fanaticism.
“So, we must be ready to offer the parts of our country affected by this group an alternative. Boosting education will be a direct counter-balance to Boko Haram’s appeal.
“In particular we must educate more young girls, ensuring they will grow up to be empowered through learning to play their full part as citizens of Nigeria and pull themselves up and out of poverty. Indeed, we owe it to the schoolgirls of Chibok to provide as best an education as possible for our fellow young citizens.”
His observation shows that Boko Haram feeds off despair, lack of hope that things can improve. The former Head-of State also argued that, by attacking a school and kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls, it sought to strike at the very place where hope for the future was being nurtured, and the promise of a better Nigeria.
“It is our intention to show Boko Haram that it will not succeed,” he said.
The retired army general also promised that his administration would not only defeat the sect militarily, it would ensure that it provides the very education the sect despises to help our people help themselves.
Quoting the late Nelson Mandela, Buhari said the sect would soon learn that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”