Atiku Abubakar who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has revealed part of his plans on how he intends to defeat Boko Haram, if elected into office.
According to the former Vice President, since terrorists are themselves human beings, and recruit their members from the local populace, he would make it tough for them to replenish their ranks by working for and with local communities.
He, however, stressed that for whatever anti-terror plan to work, it must have the buy-in of the people “because terror can only thrive where there is local support. Take that local support structure away and the terror architecture will collapse like a pack of cards.
“Terrorists are themselves human beings. Terror groups depend on recruiting from the local communities to replenish their ranks or they cannot grow. The members of Boko Haram are not spirits and while there definitely is some foreign influence, the overwhelming number of their leadership and followers are members of the local population.”
The former Vice President said that central to his team’s plans “for defeating terror therefore must be to find out why young men in those communities are aggrieved enough to be alienated from Nigeria and attracted to the radical philosophy of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
When we find out, we must prevent this alienation from occurring.”
Atiku, who established a nexus between the distribution of wealth and the alienation effect said:
“within Nigeria, the heartland of the terror insurgency is the Northeast, with Borno and Yobe states being the hardest hit. Surely, it cannot be a coincidence that the Northeast is also the most economically backward part of Nigeria with Borno and Yobe states worst affected.”
The PDP flag bearer regretted that when the leadership of a nation fails to provide positive avenues for the young to assert their intelligence positively, they will always find other ways to deploy or express their innate abilities negatively.
“To defeat terrorism therefore, we need to arm our military and motivate them with good working conditions and terms of services, especially for the lower ranks, who face the greatest risks and are the least paid. We need to demonstrate that when you fight for Nigeria, Nigeria will fight for you, but even more importantly, we must show that when you die in the services of Nigeria, your name and your survivors will be celebrated by the society that you died for.
“We must also help our military win the hearts and minds of the people of the Northeast by empowering them to open soup kitchens where they give food to the hungry. We must encourage them to set up field hospitals where they treat the local population free of charge. Even something as giving each soldier a pocketful of sweets to handout to little children on the streets will help the military win the love and affection of the local population and turn their allegiance to our armed forces,” Atiku submitted.