In a groundbreaking discussion with Saturday Vanguard, numerous retired generals from the Nigerian military, including counterparts from the Navy and Air Force, have shared their valuable insights on the persisting challenges of killings and kidnappings afflicting the country.
Opting to remain anonymous, these high-ranking former officers, each with extensive experience in Nigeria’s defense and security sectors, voiced shared concerns about the increasing violence and criminal activities across the nation.
Emphasizing a need for a comprehensive approach to tackle these deeply rooted issues, the veterans underscored the necessity for strategic reforms in national security policies, enhanced intelligence gathering, and improved coordination among various security agencies.
In addition to calling for addressing socio-economic factors contributing to the surge in criminal activities, such as unemployment and poverty, the retired generals urged for increased collaboration between the military and local communities to foster trust and gather vital intelligence.
They highlighted the importance of modernizing the armed forces with advanced technology and training to effectively combat the sophisticated tactics employed by kidnappers and terrorists.
Expressing discontent with the current approach to insecurity, a retired Airforce General emphasized the need for decisive and time-bound directives from leadership. He suggested that setting a clear timeline and consequences for failure would bring about positive change.
In another proposed strategy, a retired army general recommended a “Scotch Egg Approach” operation, involving joint efforts to surround and neutralize criminal elements. He stressed the urgency of eliminating terrorists and bandits within a specified timeframe.
Addressing the role of the military, an Airforce general suggested a comprehensive reorientation of the police, removing the term ‘Force’ from their name, and establishing joint combat training for lower-ranking personnel across various security agencies.
Drawing inspiration from past successes, another retired Airforce general advocated for implementing the “Operation Sweep Strategy” employed in Lagos by Brigadier General Mohammed Marwa. This strategy involved reaching every corner of the state to root out criminals through joint security operations.
The discussion also touched upon the need for a total overhaul of the country’s security architecture, with one retired general emphasizing that non-state actors have studied and understood security operatives’ modus operandi, requiring a return to the drawing board.
Offering a solution to address the root cause, a retired Navy Rear Admiral suggested recruiting more personnel, removing duplication of duties and equipment, and establishing joint counter-terrorism training centers for all para-military personnel.
In evaluating the foundation of Nigeria’s democracy, another retired Air Vice Marshal highlighted structural flaws and called for a shift toward meritocracy. He critiqued the adoption of the American Constitution without considering the country’s diverse social and cultural environment.
Proposing a soft approach, one retired general recommended the deliberate provision of sporting facilities to engage the energy and intelligence of the youth, citing Morocco’s success with a similar strategy.
These valuable insights and recommendations from retired generals shed light on multifaceted approaches to address Nigeria’s security challenges, offering a comprehensive perspective on the complex issues at hand.