Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Use Of Force will not stop Boko Haram — ACF


The National Publicity Secretary of the apex socio-political group of the North, Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, tells LEKE BAIYEWU, why the region rejects the state of emergency declared by the President

Why does the ACF think the state of emergency in the northern states might not work?
The state of emergency might not work because of our past experiences when state of emergency was applied in Plateau State, and later in some local government areas in the North-East that never worked.

Moreover, what happened in Baga was actually the use of force, which did not go down well with many Nigerians and the international community because they thought excessive use of force tends to inspire more extremism than solve the problems of insurgency. ACF thinks that since state of emergency amounts to mere increase in the use of force, it may not work concurrently with dialogue. The forum prefers that the committee in place be given a chance by both governments and Nigerians.

But many believe military intervention is the best solution to the recurrent terrorists’ attacks in those areas?
Those who believe military option can work are too quick to forget the fact that military was used in 2009 and 700 members including the leader of the sect were killed. Yet, the sect has remained unbowed.

They also forget the experiences of Baga and the controversy that has come with it. But since the government, which has more facts than those of us in the ring side, believes the fight against terrorism is multidimensional and has gone ahead to declare state of emergency amid dialogue, I think Nigerians have no choice but to support government’s efforts to succeed in both the state of emergency and the dialogue that now exist side by side. This is more so, if it is true that the sect has overrun some local government areas in those states, thereby making the situation a conventional conflict with the state. This may be easier to confront formally by the authority.

Do you see abuse of human rights by military personnel during their operations in the states?
There are rules of engagements for all military interventions across the globe. Nigeria cannot be an exception to the rules of the game, considering the recent outcry against the manner force was applied in Baga. I believe the military is too intelligent not to know the negative effects of operating outside the rules of the game.

Do you think military involvement in national assignments such as elections and security is a threat to Nigerian democracy?
Military involvement in national assignments does not promote democratic culture and attitudes. But what do you want them to do in situations where democratic institutions are overwhelmed? If Nigerians do not want military in national assignment, then they should strengthen the democratic institutions for performance, as well as make judicious use of their democratic rights as a way of promoting purposeful leadership.

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