The Boko Haram Siege in Magumeri

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Ring True with Yemi Adebowale; yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; 07013940521 (text only)

Last week Saturday was a very bad one for the residents of Magumeri town in Borno State. Boko Haram militants were in the town for several hours, ransacking and killing people. The attack came few days after a Boko Haram suicide bomber killed at least 50 people in a mosque in Mubi, one of the deadliest attacks since President Buhari came to power in 2015. Magumeri is just about 50km from Maiduguri. The terrorists strolled in with ease/unhindered and seized the town for several hours. This is the same Boko Haram the Buhari administration claims to have defeated. What a country. As at press time, many residents of this town were still hiding in the surrounding forests.

Army authorities confirmed that three soldiers were killed and six others wounded while fighting to repel the insurgents in Magumeri. Col. Timothy Antigha, Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 8 Task Force Division, said that the insurgents attacked and damaged military formations in the area. Wakil Malam-Tawu, the Secretary to the Magumeri Council, added that a clinic, mosque and shops were also razed in the attack. For how long must this continue? The ability of the terrorists to launch deadly attacks has clearly not been degraded by the military. This war can’t be won with deceit and propaganda. If we are going to make any progress, this administration has to be honest in all ramifications.

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins was apt when he remarked in January last year that the federal government must not give the populace a false sense of assurance that all was well, “when indeed there was still much to be done in safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians.” He added: “It is obvious that the government needs to take more proactive steps in ensuring that these sect members are completely decimated and rendered incapable of causing more havoc in the land.”

Buhari should be prepared to answer pertinent questions regarding this faltering war: How much equipment has he procured for the military in the last seven months? What have we achieved with the Multi-National Joint Task Force arrangement? Why are we not hiring foreign military experts? The President and his security team must be honest enough to admit that they are not doing well in this war. It is pertinent for them to meet and reappraise their strategies. The MNJTF is obviously not working. The terrorists are still moving across borders with ease as seen from the damages done. So, we should be thinking about prosecuting the war without MNJTF. We should be investing more in technology and intelligence gathering. Above all, we should be thinking about hiring the best brains from anywhere in the world to prosecute this war. The ultimate aim is to decapitate Boko Haram.