Despite the humongous amount of resources so far devoted to Security and counter-terrorism effforts in Nigeria, the wanton loss of lives and property continues unabated. In fact, the bandits and terrorists seem to get bolder and become more daringly emboldened after every other attack. 

Although tax payers may never know the real financial and social cost of the war, as the Federal Government and the Military seem to be understandably discreet with data, it is quite disturbing that there is no clear cut strategy or an ideologically sound consensus on the causes, symptoms or remedies to the menace. 

According to Statisense's Nigeria Security Tracker report, there were 5,800 deaths and 2,944 kidnap cases recorded between January and June, 2021. That represents an approximate of 32 deaths and 17 kidnapp cases per day. The victims include innocent citizens from all strata of society, including the highs and the lows. 

Consequently, there have been calls from various quarters on the need to address the hydra headed twin issues of banditary and terrorisms by other means. This school of thought suggests that the status quo is not only counter productive but also ineffective. They opine that the fight against terrorism should be more intellectual, ideological, socio-economic and more demographically based. 

A former Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai (Rtd), recently supported this shift in ideology. Although he commended the Military in the fight against banditry and terrorism in the Country, he said there is a need to apply more non-kinetic and less combative efforts in the fight. He dropped this hint In a Channels Television programme monitored by Eons Intelligence, recently. 

Other security experts like General Sani Usman (Rtd) and a former Director General, Operations, Nigeria Police Headquarters also shared their thoughts on the successses and legacies of the anti-terrorism efforts, in the last and new year, respectively. They both called for citizens and all stakeholders to fully co-operate with the Federal Government, as security is the responsibility of all.

The retired General rated the Nigerian Forces high, judging by the number of the criminals being neutralised from time to time. He also said it is commendable that a lot of these bandits and terrorists are dropping their weapons and surrendering to the military's superior fire powers. 

That's the part where General Buratai's submissions were quite deeper than the other participants. Without a doubt, Nigeria Military has done tremendously well in this campaign, but since the challenge seems to be unabating in recent times, it is high time the whole issues are addressed from other perspectives.

For instance, it has been widely reported how these extremists lure and recruit under age children, economically disadvantaged and some ideologically radicalised people into their groups. That naturally opens up some new but valid humanitarian concerns. 

General Buratai said: "The Military must employ more non-kinetic approach in 2022. There should be further intelligence gathering and sharing among the forces. The bandits must be disconnected from the people. There is always a religious affinity between the villagers and the bandits. 

"There should be more efforts to de-radicalise and sensitise the locals on the dangers in banditary and terrorism so that there can be a shift in ideology. There should also be a technical intelligence and collaboration between the Military and the traditional institutions to facilitate the fishing out out bandits informants in the villagers", he said. 

However, there seems to be one area anti-terrorism theorists in Nigeria either intentionally shy away from or conspicuously miss for more than a decade now. Humans are said to be the only active parts of societies. All other factors are basically inactive. They require humans for activation. Having said that, it is high time the fight against terrorism is taken to the very root. 

The supply chain of the bandits and terrorists must be cut short. These elements have for so long taken advantage of the poverty and lack of education in the hinterlands. There are too many able bodied young men out of school in the country. That alone is a demographic time bomb waiting to explode. The Federal Government must set up a think tank whose responsibility it is to empower the citizens, especially in the North.

That empowerment is in the same western education the bandits and terrorists are against. Military expeditions, just like banditary itself are known to brutally displace local farmers and general reduce production. This reduction in farming activities have sent the cost of basic food items off the hinges in recent times and just because The Federal Government is not admitting this fact does not mean it is not there or valid. 

As a country, Nigeria seem to constantly enjoy sleepwalking into avoidable crisis. But it must be said here for all who care to know. Out of all the insecurities in the world, food insecurity is the worst. No person, irrespective of class, creed, affiliation or geography, behaves more aggressively and more anti-socially than a hungry man. Banditary and terrorism are gravely undermining agricultural production and consequently, food security in the country. That straw has the capacity to break the camel's back.

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