Advocacy for Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative (ADAPHAI), an NGO, has cautioned the Federal Government and the military to be more vigilant in the face of the capture of Sambisa forest.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday in Osogbo, the Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Olaniyi Ajibola, said that the fall of Sambisa forest, which had been the headquarters of Book Haram, did not signify the end of terrorism in Nigeria.
Ajibola said the feat was “a means to an end” and not an end itself.
He argued that the capture of Camp Zero had only dislodged and dispersed them from their “safe haven,” but did not really incapacitate them.
According to him, terrorism is an ideological struggle that is rooted in the minds of the proponents, saying the defeat of that mindset goes beyond change of base or location, but a conscious de-radicalisation and demilitarisation efforts.
Ajibola explained that the “conviction for action” which revolved around the ideologies instilled in the insurgents, and which propelled them to action must be tackled.
He stated that the Nigerian Army has yet to explain the cache of arms at the disposal of the terrorists and that the capture of an empty camp could not be termed as a huge success against terrorism.
Ajibola advised Nigerians to be more vigilant and careful now than never before, because “the fall of Sambisa forest might turn out to be the rise of terrorists’ incursion” in many of Nigerian communities.
He advised security agencies in the country to go back to the drawing board and re-strategise against internal security threat that the fall of Sambisa forest could generate.
“Terrorism is an asymmetrical war, it is not a front-line or conventional warfare, with calculated moves and predicted steps, it is indeed ideologically driven and an action of conviction.
‘’So, change in location of convergence might not significantly deter terrorists from carrying out their deeds.
“I am not convinced to join the bandwagon of celebrants, on the fall of Camp Zero, because the dislodgement might turn out to be a serious threat to internal security because of desperate infiltration of many communities by fleeing insurgents.
“Of course, the foiled suicide bomb attacks at the Maiduguri cow market on Monday, and the arrest of Boko Haram Commander in Lagos after the fall of the forest are pointers to the fact that it is not yet Uhuru,’’ Ajibola said.
He added that the total capture of terrorists and their weapons was the only reassurance that Nigerians could go back to sleep with their two eyes closed.
“Sincerely, this is the time for more vigilance and profound security consciousness among Nigerians; we should not be caught unawares. We have to quickly learn from the past and stay alert and alive,” he said.
Ajibola, however, called on security agencies to pay more attentions to border strips, rural settlements and slums, where fleeing terrorists could consider as comfortable hideouts.