Foremost researcher on human rights and author of several books, Mr. Terrence Kuanum, has described recent victories by Nigerian troops led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai in the Lake Chad Region, as a positive sign that the victory of troops over the insurgents will be permanent.
Kuanum made the observation in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
He said the last two months have seen the steady progression in the offensive being led by General Buratai against the terrorists and insisted that the winnings all point to the direction of permanent victory as the terrorists are now in disarray .
“I had the opportunity of following recent happenings in the Northeast and I must say this is an opportunity for Nigerians to feel proud as there is every indication that the war against the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists would soon be over permanently,” he said.
Reviewing the steps taken by the Chief of Army Staff in recent operations, Kuanum said for the 11 years he has been following the activities of Boko Haram terrorists and the efforts of the Nigerian and other governments to stop them, he has not seen a better coordinated and result yielding efforts like the current one.
He said from what he knows about military operations and counter insurgency efforts, having a back-to-back victory as is being recorded recently by Nigerian troops, is a clear indication that the terrorists have been overwhelmed and are on the verge of surrendering.
“What you normally get from this type of asymmetric warfare is a tit-for- tat kind of battle where one side strikes the other at a time it was least expecting and the other side tries to take its pound of flesh by launching a counter-offensive.
“But what we now have in the Northeast is the consistency in shelling and decimation of the Boko Haram terrorists by troops exposing the terrorists’ lack of capacity to reply and confirming that their earlier boasts as not only empty but vacuous,” Kuanum said.
The foremost researcher and authority in military history, said he is sure that at the end of the operation which he said would be over soon, other countries would be coming to Nigeria to learn how to defeat insurgency and terrorism because according to him, that has been the toughest and complicated type of warfare the world over due to its asymmetric nature.
He said for Nigeria to have been able to find a solution to the scourge where even military super powers like Russia and the US have failed in the past years, would surely come as a thing of pride for the entire nation.
The researcher said in the past countries like the US and Russia could not put their acts together by thinking that they can subdue terrorism through the decapitation of its leadership and top commanders alone.
He said that approach which was borrowed from anti- criminal operations especially in drugs and narcotics where once the Don is taken out and the other foot soldiers run for cover, however did not work in the fight against terrorism and insurgency.
“That was why when the US took out Osama Bin Ladin and other commanders of the Alquaida groups, the activities of the terrorists did not stop,” he pointed out.
He said Nigeria made the same mistake when it assumed that with the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the terrorism of Boko Haram would stop saying it rather evolved into a more dangerous outfit under the leadership of Abu Shekau.
“In the same way, the killing of Muhammad Marwa did not stop the Maitatsine sect until a wholesome operation that included the liquidation of the ground troops, destruction of their armoury and reorientation of their members took place,” Kuanum explained.
This, he said are some of the strategies he noticed with the Buratai leadership where no stone is left unturned to bring an end to the activities of the terrorists.
He said: “General Buratai is known to be one of the serious thinkers and sound intellectuals within military cycles and he must have taken all these into cognisance and is applying them to achieve the winning formula we are witnessing.”
Kuanum asked: “When was the last time you saw a Shekau releasing a video bragging that he would capture Nigeria as he is wont to do in the past? When was the last time you saw terrorists invading military barracks, seizing weapons and making shows of them?”
All these, he said, “have become history and the end of Shekau is near I tell you, so I believe the security reports which suggest that Shekau is begging to surrender are true.”
When asked to give his opinion on whether the federal government should accept Shekau if he surrenders, Kwuanum said he believes accepting the surrender would have greater impact on Nigerians and would serve to discourage other terrorists more than killing him in the battle field.
He said this is because the military has claimed several times that it has killed Shekau after which he would resurface and dismiss their claims.
The researcher said if the military finally takes Shekau out this time, many would doubt if it is true saying if on the other hand Shekau surrenders and he is presented to the public, people would be convinced and many of his men would follow suit and surrender.
Kuanum called on the Chief of Army Staff not to relent saying many Nigerians are praying for him and the troops to succeed.