Army, ISS partner on Lake Chad, Sahel region security challenges



The Nigerian Army and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) have expressed willingness to collaborate to find solutions to the prevailing security situation in the Lake Chad Basin Sahel and West African region.

The Deputy Director and Regional Head of ISS for West Africa, Sahel and Lake Chad Basin, Dr Fonteh Akum, solicited for the collaboration during a visit to Army Headquarters on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Chief of Policy and Plans, Maj.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, received the delegation on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

Akum, said that the institute had been mandated to conduct research on the prevailing security situation in the region with a view to addressing it.

He said that the purpose of the visit was part of the effort of the institute to visit the critical stakeholders to introduce the activities of the think tank organisation to them.

Akum said it was important to work with the army in order to understand how the institute could contribute to the effort of the army in combating the menace of Boko Haram and other security challenges in the region.

“The purpose of our visit is two folds; the first is to present ISS for those who don’t know and the second is to solicit your attention as well as to understand exactly if there is any kind of research that could be useful for the Nigerian army as a key stakeholder.

“That is the purpose of our visit and we hope to exchange with you on this several points,” he said.

Responding, Buratai said that the research aspect of counter terrorism operation was key to unravelling the root cause of the conflict.

He said that while the kinetic aspect of fighting constituted about 20 per cent, the remaining 80 per cent involved other issues that bother on so many groups in terms of stakeholders.

According to him, while we are doing the military aspect, the research aspect is very useful both on the military side and the civil side which is the main side of the coin of insecurity, terrorism and whatever security challenge that any country may be having.

“The military is not the only stakeholder, religious leaders, the locals themselves, the government, nongovernmental organisations.

“It is a whole combination of all stakeholders that are actually involved in either resolving the conflict, expanding or prolonging the conflict depending on which side of the coin that one finds himself.

“I want to believe that with what you have been doing you will discover that there is a lot that we can do together.

“Your research can be very useful to assist us in also unraveling some non-kinetic issues as regard fighting insecurity either insurgency or terrorism as it were,” he said.

Buratai said that research was important to unravelling issues in terms of the financiers of terrorism, adding that the military might not have the time and the wherewithal to go into the needed research in that regard.

According to hum, it is organisations like yours that can delve into that, go underneath and come up with some issues that will assist not only the military but even the government and other stakeholders involved.

“Aside from that, you also have the capacity in terms of research to actually delve into what are the real causes of this conflict and how can we address it.

“So, it is a win-win situation for us to collaborate, it is a win-win to relate, continue to cooperate together to jointly find solutions to myriad of security situation that is bedeviling the Lake Chad Basin, Sahel, Greater Sahel as the case may be,” he said.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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