Since the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the scourge of terrorism has spread rapidly across the globe with bombings of Bali, Madrid and London in 2002, 2004 and 2005 respectively thereby presenting new security challenges for the world. The Force Commander Multinational Joint Task Force, Major General Chikezie Ude made this remark when he delivered a lecture titled “Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin: Perspective of the Multinational Joint Task Force.” to participants of course 27 National Defence College Nigeria. He reiterated that the emerging threats posed by the menace of terrorism led to the evolution of counter terrorism strategies at global and regional levels. He however, emphasized that as countries in other continents of the world strengthened their counter terrorism measures, vulnerable states in Africa with weak institutions and under governed spaces where insurgency thrived, became attractive sanctuaries that facilitate recruitment, training and funding for terrorist groups with global networks in transnational organized crimes.
General Ude analyzed that the Lake Chad Basin falls within the Sahel belts and spreads beyond any single Regional Economic Community in Africa to accommodate countries in West, Central and North Africa. He added that the Lake Chad transcends the geographical boundaries of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon which are littoral states to the Lake Chad to accommodate countries which do not share contiguous border or access to the Lake Chad such as Central African Republic and Libya. Relatively, the Joint Task Force Commander said that the primary mandate of the Lake Chad Basin Commission is to ensure equitable and sustainable management of the Lake Chad while preserving the ecosystem and promoting Sub-Regional integration, peace and security.
In another development, the Joint Task Force Commander identified two important aspects of counter terrorism. He analyzed the first as preventive measures to make citizens safer from terrorist threats through screening, monitoring, surveillance and random patrols by bomb-sniffing dogs among others. He added that the second aspect of counter terrorism is the active response which involves the neutralization of terrorist facilities, military actions amongst others. General Ude reiterated that military operations conducted by the Multinational Joint Task Force have reduced Boko Haram’s nuisance capacity as several villages formerly occupied by Boko Haram have been liberated and secured.
The Commandant National Defence College, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadiri used the opportunity to commend the Multinational Joint Task Force Commander for being an hero of the nation in the discharge of the constitutional mandate of securing the territorial integrity of the country, Nigeria. He reiterated that the scourge of terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin has resulted in far reaching consequences for security and development of the sub region. He added that core among these is the accompanying humanitarian consequences associated with deaths, human displacements and destruction of critical infrastructure. The Commandant concluded that importantly is the government’s effort in intensifying the counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in the Lake Chad Basin which has greatly reduced attacks in the North East.