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INSECURITY: Nigerian Army holds Seminar on Spiritual Warfare

Set to Tackle Insurgency through Spiritual Warfare

The Nigerian military has taken another unique alternative to solving the incessant problem of insurgency and terrorism in the country. Believing that the war against Boko Haram and other insurgents should not be limited to open field combat, the military leaders in the country have identified the need to address the psychology of Nigerians and to discourage many Nigerians from taking to banditry.

 To this effect, a one day seminar on Spiritual Warfare has been organized by the Nigerian army in Abuja with a call on army clerics to come up with stronger ideologies to counter the religious beliefs of terrorist groups ravaging the peace of the country.

The seminar which is the second to be organized by the army has as its theme “Insecurity in Nigeria: Repositioning Authentic Religious Narratives in the Information Spectrum”. It took place at the Nigerian Army Resource Center, Abuja and was attended by officers and soldiers of both the Christian and Islamic Chaplaincy of the Nigerian army.

Declaring the seminar open, the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, said the seminar was aimed at evolving narratives to defeat the ideologies of religious based terrorist groups operating in the country.

Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP), Lieutenant-General Lamidi Adeosun, Buratai, while noting that ongoing military operations to wipe out terrorism and other criminal groups across the country was driven by the desire to keep the nation safe, however pointed out that the operations have not recorded one hundred percent success because of the ideological beliefs of the terrorists.

According to him, “It is important to state that the ongoing military operations against the Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) Terrorists as well as other criminal groups, is driven by the desire to keep Nigeria safe, and there would be great successes in these fights if all forms of kinetic operations were applied. However, these successes are not without some challenges which include the ideological beliefs of the terrorists.

“Like we all know, ideology is a system of concepts and views which serves to make sense of the world while obscuring the social interests that are expressed therein. This has remained the driving force for these terrorists.

He said “In the case of Boko Haram, its ideology is classifying western education as a sin, which hinders the pursuit and attainment of self acclaimed puritan Islam. The ISWAP ideology on the other hand is one which challenges the legitimacy of democratically elected government.

“By its nature, ideology has the power to manipulate what people think, how they form their opinions and of course direct their attitudes as well as actions. This often results in controlling people’s minds to the extent that they accept social conditions that equal denial of rights and suffering.

The Army Chief noted that “The terrorists’ groups believe strongly that their ideologies have enhanced their generation of resources and the recruitment of new fighters to their folds.” He therefore suggested the need to come up with positive and authentic narratives that could kill the ideology of the terrorists and wither out the inspired groups.

This, he emphasised would underscore the importance of the seminar “as clerics play key roles in producing appropriate narratives required to counter the ideologies of these religious based terrorists groups.”

He explained further that the theme “Insecurity in Nigeria: Repositioning Authentic Religious Narratives in the Information Spectrum” was carefully crafted to ensure that authentic narratives were always available in the Information Spectrum.

He advised that “Communities and the states need to be joined with the common purpose of rejecting the ideologies of these groups and challenge those who espouse them.

“This can be better achieved through the provision of authentic counter narratives targeted at the ideologies of the terrorist groups. Religious leaders and clerics who regularly interface with people at the grassroots, families and local communities have very important role to play candid opinion that this Seminar provides you the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the Nigerian Army’s efforts at ensuring a secured Nation.

The Chief of Army Staff who restated his interest in the welfare of his men in the Army also assured them of his attention.

He said, “Let me also use this opportunity to reassure you that the welfare of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army as well as their families has always been my priority and will continue to receive attention.”

Also speaking, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Obadiah Mailafiya who attributed the insecurity ravaging the country to some powerful global powerful interests, said those interests were responsible for the resurgence of violent attacks against the Nigerian troops with the view to driving Nigeria into chaos.

He said “I don’t believe that what is happening in the Northeast is just a local phenomenon. There are global powers involved using satellite technologies to direct the insurgents so that our men are sabotaged when they are going on secret operations they are ambushed. It has happened countless times.

“I believe some people want to use it to destroy our country. They want Nigeria to become as comatose as the Democratic Republic of Congo which is a huge elephant lying on its back.

“Some people want to turn our country into a comatose economy because they are afraid of the potentials of Nigeria.”

He called on Nigerians to support the armed forces in its quest to rid the nation of terrorism and other violent crimes by providing credible intelligence while stemming the tides with positive narratives.

In recent times, Nigeria has been rattled with security problems across the country with killings, kidnappings and destruction of life  and property. In Bornu State, about 47 rice farmers were murdered in their farms, as a traditional Ruler, the Olufon of Ifon was also murdered in cold blood by men suspected to be bandits and herdsmen in Ondo State.

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