Boko Haram is a threat to ECOWAS sub-regional security
Accra, Jan 25, GNA – A security expert on Wednesday said the terror campaign of Boko Haram in Nigeria poses a major security threat to West Africa and called on ECOWAS to intervene to deal with the insurgency.
“The potential threat of Boko Haram is not only to Nigeria but to the whole of the West African sub-region,” he said.
“Sadly ECOWAS is a joke. Its response to political crisis in West Africa is awful, our sub-regional leaders are quick to sign conventions and pass resolution but inept in implementation,” Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, Director of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.
He said the ECOWAS protocol relating to the mechanism for conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace-keeping and security’s objectives was among other things to prevent, manage and resolve internal and inter-state conflicts.
He said Article 25 clearly states that in cases of aggression or conflict in any member state or threat thereof, in case of internal conflict that threatens to trigger a humanitarian disaster or that poses a serious threat to peace and security in the sub-region the Mediation and Security Council shall intervene.
Dr Aning said in spite of these articles ECOWAS is still waiting at the fringes without any direction and mechanism to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency.
He ruled out military options to suppress the uprising and said “Boko Haram does not require military response, it should be the last recourse. It immediately demands a swift socio-political response to deal with the growing social vices especially corruption which is deep rooted among Nigerian elite class”.
Dr Aning traced the genesis of Boko Haram to 1986 radical religious rebellion led by a fundamentalist preacher which exploited the Maitatsinb riots but was brutally surprised.
He said the group went underground growing steadily to emerge again in the last five years as a force to reckon with. It has a multifaceted approach joining forces with allied groups to peruse their objective.
Its hallmark is the ability to shift its operational movement and forming ad hock alliance to achieve its mission, he said.
He said: “Targets for bombing are carefully selected to achieve operational objective, as well as sending operational message to the rest of the world”.
Dr Aning suggested that the Nigerian government adopt combination of strategies of which the military option should be the very last and that there should be no short term solutions.
He said Nigeria should deal with issues of corruption, provision of the needs of the greater majority whilst the elite community must face the economic realities of their actions on the masses.
He also expressed reservation about the recent removal of oil subsidy in Nigeria and said it was an unfavourable economic policy which the Boko Haram and allied forces are exploiting to advance their cause.
More than 935 people have been killed in some 164 suspected attacks by the group during the period.
The group has claimed responsibility for bombing churches, police stations, military facilities, banks, and beer parlors, in northern Nigeria, as well as the United Nations building and police headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Suspected Boko Haram members, often riding motorcycles and carrying Kalashnikov rifles under their robes, have gunned down numerous Christian worshipers, police officers, and soldiers, and assassinated local politicians, community leaders and Islamic clerics who oppose the group.