New Telegraph

Fight against terrorism not for military alone – Gen. Farouk Yahaya

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, has said that the synergy among the services is at its highest in recent history. He also emphasised the need for collaboration to tackle insurgency and other crimes in this chat with editors recently. Excerpts…

The military is involved in several operations across the country? What will be a fair assessment of the results achieved so far?

Depending on who you ask, the answers may be different. First, I share in the unbearable pain of those who have lost family members and friends due to activities of criminals and terrorists. I have also felt the heartbeat of the thousands rescued and joy on the faces of the free. This makes the goal of our military operations across the country so important – every member of Nigeria’s 50 million families must be safe from external and internal aggression. The recent report from the 2022 global terrorism index reveals a decline in the prevalence of terrorism in Nigeria. Based on our assessment, the military is using all within its capacity and capabilities to achieve this goal. In all, let us never forget that security is not a destination, it is a journey, and we are on the right path.

What are the biggest obstacles to ending the war on terrorism?

There are several perspectives; especially on the debate on which should be prioritized – kinetic or the non-kinetic approach. One thing that most stakeholders agree on is that the high rate of population growth has been a double edged sword. Ordinarily, higher population means there is a larger talent pool for economic growth activities, but this larger talent pool has also led to a significant growth in the number of those who are being lured to use their energies negatively.

What role will fake news play in the fight against terrorism in 2022?

Terrorists and terrorism thrive on publicity. In 2022, many news consumers may even find it more difficult to differentiate between true and fake security stories. For instance, a while ago, we intercepted communication from a criminal gang who were part of an incident. This criminal gang was highly dissatisfied that the incident was not reported in the press. Terrorism thrives on the promotion of fear; especially the continuous coverage of terror incidents. More than ever before, it has become necessary for journalists not to unintentionally align with the strategy of the terrorists. It is not the military alone that is fighting terrorism; it is the country; so the solution should not be limited to only the military. Citizens can also assist by sharing information before incidents happen.

We are gradually getting to the end of the first quarter of 2022, how you will rate the performance of the army with regards to national security?

Military operations have improved this year because of the tough choices and decisions the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces made in the last 12 months especially regarding defense related investments. However, national security and defense should not be the responsibility of only the military. Research has proven that the military line of operation is less than 20% of what is required to achieve complete peace. For instance, the military is sometimes called when there are cult-related threats and attacks; but let us not forget that the causes and sources of cultism should also be identified. It is an all of society approach that is required to achieve peace in our nation.

What are the new strategies in place to improve operational synergy among the Army, Navy and Air Force?

Synergy is presently at its highest. There is no time in recent history that it has been better than this. Every day, we raise our standards. President (Ronald) Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Getting people to do the greatest things is what the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, has done differently.

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