Access the role of arm forces in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
Insurgency is a rebellion against a constituted authority (for example, an authority recognized as such by the United Nations) when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents. An insurgency can be fought via counter-insurgency warfare, and may also be opposed by measures to protect the population, and by political and economic actions of various kinds aimed at undermining the insurgents' claims against the incumbent regime. The nature of insurgencies is an ambiguous concept.
There has been an upsurge in insurgent activities in Nigeria since 1999 when the country returned to democratic governance. The police which are the primary institution responsible for law enforcement and internal security have been overwhelmed by the rising waves of insurgency, and this has resulted in an increasing internal security role for the military. Apparently, government has come to rely on incessant deployment of military-dominated Joint Task Forces (JTFs) to perform internal security duties across the country.
Over the years various joint military and security task forces have been established and mandated to perform counter-insurgency operations across the country. The Army, Navy, Air Force and paramilitary Police are regularly deployed for internal security roles. But regrettably, the military often respond to insurgent activities primarily with a brutal show of force that often results in high civilian casualties.
INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
The rising wave of insurgency has assumed a crisis dimension in Nigeria –resource-based and sectarian insurgency have claimed many lives, destroyed sources of livelihood, and created a climate of perpetual fear and insecurity across the country. In the Niger Delta, resource-based insurgency has intensified since the 1990s when series of protests by environmental activists and resource control agitators were violently repressed by security forces. These cycles of protests started in December 1998 when a group of youth activists in the Niger Delta held a conference to strategise for the survival of their ethnic nationality. From the conference which was held in the town of Kaiama in Bayelsa state, the participants, who were mainly ethnic Ijaw, came up with the ‘Kaiama Declaration’ in which they affirmed their right over natural resource control and land ownership. The Federal Government perceived this as a threat to its authority and responded with considerable force through the military, resulting in violent confrontations between youth activists and security forces. In the ensuing confrontations, numerous youth activist movements emerged and later transformed into ethnic militia organisations (Forest 2012, p.47). Between late 2005 and early 2006, leaders of several militia groups in the region came together and formed a number of umbrella resistance organisations in an attempt to combine their efforts to more effectively match the capabilities of the security forces, especially the Nigerian Army.
Notable among these umbrella militant groups were the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) led by Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) whose operations was coordinated by its spokesperson who goes by the stage name, ‘Jomo Gbomo’. The emergence of these umbrella militia organisations resulted in an armed resistance which later degenerated into hostage taking, bombing of oil facilities and kidnapping for ransoms (Chiluwa 2011, p.197-208). As usual, Government responded with massive deployment of special military and security task forces in the region. Attempts by security forces to curtail militant activities however led to increased violent clashes between government forces and militant groups (Malina, n.d.).
The continuous deployment of special military forces and regular violent clashes between these security forces and armed insurgents eventually militarised the Niger Delta región –insurgents responded with large scale violence through the accumulation and use of sophisticated weapons with which they engaged security forces in bloody clashes that often results in many cases of human rights violations and high civilian casualties. However, the rate of human rights violations resulting from insurgency and counter-insurgency operations in the Niger Delta has subsided since October 2009 (Malina, n.d.), when the Federal Government launched the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-insurgents.
While insurgents’ activities have relatively subsided in the Niger Delta, there is an ongoing sectarian insurgency in parts of northern Nigeria, especially in the North-East, where escalation in violent confrontations between security forces and sectarian insurgents have resulted in high civilian fatalities and the destruction of many human habitations and livelihoods. Specifically, violent confrontations between state security forces and the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihadl group, also known as Boko Haram, have increased since 2009 with high civilian casualties and many incidences of human rights abuses. Although Boko Haram emerged around 2002, violent confrontations between the group and security forces began in June 2009 when an encounter between members of the sect and a joint police and military unit known as ‘Operation Flush’ over the enforcement of a government law that requires the mandatory use of helmets by all motorcyclists, turned violent. During the confrontation, about 17 members of sect were shot and injured by security operatives (Forest 2012, p.63). Angered by what they considered as police brutality against its members, the sect resorted to sporadic violent attacks against the police and other Government institutions across the north-eastern states of Nigeria. Subsequent clashes between members of the sect and security forces left more than 800 people dead, including the extra-judicial execution of the leader of the sect, Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009 (Forest 2012, p.64). The extra-judicial killing of its leader marked a turning point in the radicalisation of the leadership and operations of the group; after a short period of inactivity following the death of its leader, members of the sect regrouped under a more radical leader, Abubakar Shekau, who was formerly Mohammed Yusuf’s deputy. Since then, the sect has carried out more violent attacks, including targeted killings and suicide bombings across the North-East and North-Central parts of the country (see IRIN News, 2013), causing Government to deploy joint military and security task forces to the affected States.
NIGERIAN Armed Forces comprises of the Army, the Navy, and the Nigeria Air force. It is without doubt that every country’s Armed Forces are the pillars and foundation of the national security and peace. All the forces are embedded and reserved with the Armed Forces. It is the responsibility of the Armed Forces to forestall peace and safety in the country. Most of the country’s arms, especially those used for wars and peace keeping are kept by the Armed Forces.
The Nigeria Armed Forces is headed by the Chief of Defence Staff. The Chief of Defence Staff oversees every operations and activities of the Armed Forces in Nigeria. There are different roles played by the Armed Forces in Nigeria and here are few that seem to be very importance and sometimes pose challenges in the country’s security.
One of the most important roles played by the Armed Forces is to protect and guide its territorial integrity. Just as integrity matters to humans, that is how it matters to a nation and everything that dwell in the nation. A man’s integrity can sometimes be seen in the integrity of a nation. In this our present world, people are carried and respected due to where they are from and the nation they represent.
The Armed Forces, through their hard work and skills foster the status and integrity of a nation. For example, the United States of America always show courage and good sense of leadership during any peace-keeping campaign. They are known for their confidents and skills in fighting their enemies.
The Nigeria Armed Forces, that is, the Army, the Navy, and the Air force can improve and promote our territorial integrity by representing Nigeria in any peace keeping and also to guide that integrity which they have gained over the years.
Another role is to protect the lives of the people in different government offices. This is because they are also known and referred to as security operatives when it comes to protection of lives especially the lives of the leaders of a state or a country.
The Army are suppose to be the forces that fight on ground or land, so whenever there is anywhere that needs to be attended by the government officials. The Army makes sure of the safety of the person or the leader they are guiding. While the Navy watch over the government officials while on water, especially when monitoring is being done by those in charge. The Naval officers stay around the water while some will be inside the water just in case of emergency.
The Nigerian airforce performs and show great skills in the discharge of their duties to the nation. Their performances therefore increase and booster its territorial integrity and ego. If they perform poorly, it will therefore put the nation at a limiting and a vulnerable state to other nations.
The Armed Forces of every nation therefore maintain peace and order in the society. In the case of Nigeria, the Armed Forces has tried over the years to for stall peace, Nigeria Navy helped in the fight against the militants that give or posed as great challenges to Nigeria economy during the Obasanjo administration. Even the work performed by the Nigeria Army was extremely superb because they fought relentless and use every breath they had. That is the same with the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika is fighting a good fight against the insurgency that threatens the economy and the lives of Nigerians. Though he has been accused of aiding the Boko Haram by supplying arms and other supports. Army has tried in his own possible way to forestall peace in the country until recent times.
The emergency of the demonic sect who called themselves Boko Haram, limit the respect people have for the military and this is because they have not being able to destroy all the insurgents, reasons being that some members of the public and some government official have not tried in anyway to help but they rather remain neutral or fight against them by helping and hiding some Boko Haram members in the homes, towns and villages.
Their role is to protect the lives of the citizens against any internal conflict that may arise. The Armed Forces helps to safe guard the lives of very citizens against riot or brawl that may come up doing a protest against any government plans and campaigns.
Since the Armed Forces has taken charge of any violence and riots that tends to threaten the lives of citizens in the country.
They protect the nation against any external aggression. In every nation, the Armed Forces are always the ones on the battle field. There has never been any wars that were fought by civilians who are inexperience. The wars were rather fought by the Armed Forces. Like in the case of United States of America and Iraq soldiers are always deployed to the field of fight and these fights usually take place where there are less residents, especially women and children who are always victims of war.
No matter how small a nation might be, the soldiers or the nation’s Armed Forces will be ready to fight and defend its citizens and the nation against any external aggression and violence. Example is United States of America versus Iraq.
They promote and maintain civil military relations. The issue of civil military relations has become a major subject of discussion since the global resurgence of democracy from about 1990s. And the military relation therefore strengthens the military forces of a nation.
The Nigeria Armed Forces help in lightening and promoting the relationship she has with neighbouring countries. Even they develop the skills and improve on their own way of handling violence and new fighting skills. Over the years Nigeria Armed Forces has gained a lot from the United States of America Armed Forces because of the relationship between these two nations.
The Armed Forces serves as a security agents and guides over National properties.
A nation like Nigeria that placed higher value on crude oil, because 75% of the administration running comes from the money generated from the sales of crude oil. So the government always deploy the Army and Navy to every areas that has oil wells, huge pipelines carrying oil Nigeria to other countries, and as well as refineries.
Every year the JIF (Joint Task Force) always catch oil thieves and if not for the help of the JIF’s and the Navy the amount of oil that is looted will increase and the nation can hardly make sense with what would be generated from the crude.
Finally, the Nigerian Armed Forces help other countries in peace process because this work or contribution is required of them as a member of the United Nation (UN). This process hereby strengthens the position and enhancing the security and the economic status of nation.
1. African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, 1986, viewed 22 May 2014, http://www.humanrights.se/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/African-Charter-on-Human-and-Peoples-Rights.