Buhari will contain Boko Haram, says U.S. ex-envoy
Former United States ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, has said President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s policy thrust gives hope for containment of the Boko Haram insurgency, but his successes will have to be measured in terms of containment and sustainability of recaptured territories.
She observed that Buhari moving Nigerian security operations headquarters to Maiduguri; supporting a Command Center in Chad, although Command and Control will be under the Nigerian Army; and recommitting $100 million pledged by former president, Goodluck Jonathan, to the anti-Boko Haram fight are moves in the right direction.
Sander stated this at the Wole Soyinka lecture series with the theme: Imperatives of Building Strong Africa Democracies and Spurring Economic Development: “Frameworks in the New African Security Context”, organised by the National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity, at Greenbelt, Washington DC, United States at the weekend.
The former ambassador said the fact that Buhairi has made education, agriculture/food security, improving energy and health systems, and assisting internally displaced persons as top priority development issues with fighting corruption being “pivotal-center” of his administration, there seems to be a chance now to contain Boko Haram.
Sander observed that development or lack of it, better said, are probably Nigeria’s biggest challenge that is feeding her security challenges. She argued that there are other things at play – intangibles that are hard to address such as a “clash of civilizations,” on how groups like Boko Haram see the world.
According to the former envoy, the best way to counter groups like Boko Haram would be to make the current global context better with a focus on combating poverty and its elements (hunger, climate smart food security, education), particularly for at-risk groups such as women, girls, youth, the disabled, and elderly; as well as the use of information technology to develop “work around solutions” to advance social change entrepreneurial and vocational opportunities as well as financial literacy.
Sander said efforts must be made by the new government and Nigerians to assist with smart climate/energy (renewables) to bring electricity/power to the nearly 120 million Nigerians without it today; and tackle the housing deficit.
According to her, government must see infrastructure as a development issue. She noted that Nigeria has begun her initial move into a new “league of democratic nations,” with the success of the last general elections and the peaceful transition of power in May. She however insisted that efforts must be made to deliver good governance, as it remains the baseline from which to build and move forward.