The Nigerian National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt-Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired) was spoke at Chatham House in London last week, in much publicised comments. Although Dasuki usually keeps a low profile he spoke frankly about many issues relating to Nigeria’s upcoming elections next month and the security threat posed by Boko Haram. Highlights from the NSA’s talk and answers to questions from the audience:
- He said that Nigeria will develop a new civil-military relations doctrine; to redefine how the military relates to the public – especially in areas where it conducts counter-insurgency operations. The military needs to move doctrinally from conventional warfare to asymmetric warfare. Nigeria has created a National Counter-Terrorism Center.
- He admitted that there have been “historical deficits” in the military; including the fact that the last significant weapons procurement for the Nigerian military was over two decades ago.
- He said his office will present a counter-insurgency narrative to undermine Boko Haram’s credibility and narrative by presenting “the true face of Islam” – counter to the message being presented by Boko Haram.
- The Nigerian government is open to negotiated solution to the Boko Haram insurgency, should Boko Haram be willing to dialogue.
- On allegations of sabotage in the army: Dasuki said the army has “a few cowards”.
- Boko Haram financing: he said Boko Haram obtains financing from bank and market robberies, kidnapping and ransom, and get fuel by staging fuel heists.
- The Baga attack: Chad and Niger troops withdrew from the military base in Baga, leaving only Nigerian troops there. Dasuki said the way the base was overrun was “not something anyone would be proud of”.
- Chibok girls: Dasuki thinks they have been dispersed, “some of them have been sold out…that is all we know”. United States officers are still conducting surveillance 24 hours a day. Nigeria has aerial surveillance footage, but he is “very hopeful but not very optimistic”.
- On the botched ceasefire announcement with Boko Haram: Chad’s President Idriss Deby received two letters purportedly sent to him by Boko Haram leaders who wanted to negotiate a ceasefire. Chad acted as an intermediary between Nigeria and Boko Haram. Dasuki stated his belief that there are “links” between the Chad government and Boko Haram’s leadership.
- Equipment of Nigerian Soldiers: Dasuki denied allegations that Nigerian soldiers are poorly armed/equipped. He reeled off a list of military equipment that Boko Haram captured from the Nigerian army in Baga, including: 6 armoured personnel carriers (each with at least 4000 rounds of ammunition each), and 4 artillery guns. He said lack of equipment is not the issue, but that there are “a lot cowards” among soldiers and that some of them “do not want to fight”.
- More than 70-80% of Boko Haram members are of Kanuri ethnicity.
Text of the NSA’s speech: Full text and video of Dasuki’s speech at Chatham House in London – DailyPost Nigeria
Interesting articles on how Emmanuel Ifeajuna (the first black African to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal in high jumping) has been erased from Nigeria’s history due to his involvement in the January 15, 1966 coup and civil war in Nigeria.
Video of former head of state Major-General Muhammadu Buhari emerging after a bomb and shooting assassination attempt on him n Kaduna yesterday:
Great interview with former Abia State Governor Uzor Orji Kalu, who is also also a billionaire and one of Nigeria’s richest men. Kalu is a friend of other Nigerian billionaires such as Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga. Kalu has offered to negotiate with Boko Haram and claims the security challenge of Boko Haram could result in Goodluck Jonathan being Nigeria’s last ever president:
“There was a time when news of bombing and terrorism was synonymous to countries like Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. Nigeria is now at that point. We are now like those countries. This is what we have become. If care is not taken, Goodluck Jonathan would be the last president we’ve had in this country.”
This is the most detailed profile of the mysterious Shekau that I have seen. Key points:
Shekau was born in a remote village in Yobe State near Nigeria’s border with Niger
When he was a young boy he was taken by his father for Quranic studies by a Mallam. The Mallam’s son Baba Fanani described Shekau as “the most troublesome of all of his students” and that “He was arguing with the mallam all the time”.
After 11 years of study, the Mallam (Baba Fanani’s father told) Shekau to leave after Shekau’s aggressive disposition troubled the Mallam.
Shekau’s parents never visited him throughout his 11 years with the Mallam.
- Shekau then became an itinerant street preacher. He preached hostile rhetoric against the government, telling his followers that the government was not doing anything for them.
- He supported himself by selling perfume bottles in the market.
- Stories of his aggression and anger are legion. One of his followers described him as “very harsh as a teacher” and recalled that “Nobody wanted to argue with him.” A nurse who treated his followers said Shekau was cold, unsmiling, and feared by his own followers: “I’ve seen him shouting and insulting his followers. He will shout at the top of his voice and insult people.”