In a long awaited announcement, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday announced his national security team, appointing new service chiefs, a new Chief of Defence Intelligence and a National Security Adviser.
What got most observers talking is the fact that the Chief of Army Staff, and the National Security Adviser hail from Borno State. The significance of the two appointments is in the fact that Borno is the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency, and both men may have the local knowledge and contacts to put a stop to the problem.
Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai until now the commander of Multi-National Joint Task Force, is a counter terrorism expert and a very disciplined officer. He is going to bring his wealth of command experience to bear on the army and the over all strategy and doctrine of the army.
Major General Monguno was a former commander of the Brigade of Guards and also directed the Doctrine Command based in Niger state. He was also former Defence Intelligence chief, and is seen in many circles as an incorruptible officer and a military intellectual.
Boko Haram are experiencing a resurgence with person-borne IEDS and remote controlled IEDS killing and maiming hundreds of Nigerian citizens. The Defence Intelligence Agency and the NSA have a responsibility to lead efforts at developing a robust counter terrorism intelligence based on human sources of information across the area of operation and identified theatres. The job of intelligence gathering is complex and expensive, but the new appointees are no strangers to intelligence sourcing and analysis. This is the most daunting task they are going to confront: gathering actionable intelligence and analysis.
The army under Major General Buratai is going to undergo structural and doctrinal reforms as a result of the shame that Nigeria has had to bear in going to private military contractors for the assistance in tactics and strategy. He has the unenviable task of building a modern army capable of defending the territorial integrity of the country. He is going to also spearhead the continuous purchase of equipment and weapons for the the current war in the North East, He also has to keep in mind the Niger Delta situation.
The NSA is to also confront the ongoing slaughter of innocent citizens of the North Central by alleged Fulani herdsmen, and develop a blue print to halt the massacre.
The task of protecting the oil pipelines, countering energy insecurity and a blueprint for security of the power assets, rest squarely with the office of the National Security Adviser, and he will be held to account in the coming months, along with the new Chief of Naval Staff who is to coordinate the protection of the water ways and territorial coast, and fight to stop oil bunkering.
The new Chief of Air Staff will have to take stock of air assets in his arsenal, support the deployment of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets in the sky for the war in the North East and also assist with the Niger Delta security situation. He is to build a modern Air Force, and make efforts to develop the national air defence systems. All of these in conjunction with the Chief of Defence Staff who is to over see the programme of the services.
The euphoria of the appointments needs to pave way for the job at hand. Our national security is at stake and they have a short time to demonstrate they can get the job done.