WE are absolutely overjoyed at the announcement by the world’s foremost military power – the United States of America – of an offer for a coalition against terrorism in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region.
The State Department, which broke this cheery news on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, said the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, ISIS, decided through a virtual conference to deploy the strategies and experiences they used in flushing ISIS out of Iraq and Syria to also annihilate Boko Haram and other jihadist vermin from the African Sahel (and, of course, Nigeria).
It is heart-warming that the Lake Chad Basin countries – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroun, and Chad – which have borne the brunt of Boko Haram terror for the past eleven years were fully involved with Nigeria co-hosting the session. The 82-member Global Coalition with 14 new members from Africa and Asia recently coming on board, is committed to systematically dislodging jihadist cells in all parts of the globe.
We have, on several occasions, called for this manner of universal effort as the only antidote against Boko Haram and other jihadist networks which have made West Africa their new home after being flushed out of the Arab world and South East Asia.
Nigeria and other affected Lake Chad countries have failed to cope with the Boko Haram terror because the latter is no longer the ragtag rebel outfit left behind by its founder, the late Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf. It has now proliferated into several groups of well-funded, armed and trained experienced jihadist fighters, some of which are engaged in banditry and land-grabbing.
The West African Sahel is a very attractive terrorist convergence zone due to pre-existing conditions such as age-old Islamic culture, corrupt governments, weak armies, porous borders, endemic poverty, sabotage and the tendency for sections of the local populace to be ideologically attracted to jihadist missionaries.
A global coalition of this sort is the only antidote to this problem. This problem can be removed very quickly, as the jihadist networks do not yet have the extensive capacities of ISIS in the Middle East under the late Sheikh Abubakar Al Baghdadi. With superior weapons and intelligence support, the war against terror (particularly in Nigeria) will change for the better. It will go beyond the grip of our leadership which has all along been perceived as handling the terrorists (especially armed herders) with kid gloves.
It will help us to finally identify those collaborating with or enhancing the activities of the terrorists and bring them to book, no matter how highly placed. It will help in the better governance of our porous borders. We welcome the Global Coalition to Nigeria and West Africa. We are ready to go!