General Irabor: Scaling Down The Scourge Of Insecurity
By Ola Opeyemi
Prior to 26th January 2021 when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed General Lucky IRABOR as the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), the nation had to contend with unpalatable lexicons such as bandits, unknown gunmen, ungoverned spaces, kidnappers, ISWAP and many others.
Recurrent attacks in North Eastern Nigeria forced the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the embattled states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa at one point. The morale of the military was fast dwindling amidst terrorist activities which continued unabated across the country. Aside the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB became another daring violent group in the South Eastern part of the country where economic marginalization and agitation for a Nigerian president of eastern descent is said to have inspired a separatist agitation; attacks on institutions like prisons and police stations became the order of the day. In the wake of this terrifying situation was a bewildered population admitting hopelessly the disintegration of a once fortified security architecture. However, the turn of events shortly after the appointment of General Lucky Irabor as the 17th Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) was the beginning of the somewhat relative peaceful ambience in the North East and other parts of the country presently.
The security situation in the North East and South East has greatly improved. Recall that as at the time General Lucky Irabor was appointed, Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole about 15 local government areas in Nigeria were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents. Terrorist groups were attacking everywhere and taking control of territories within Nigeria, a complicated situation resulting in the displacement of people from their ancestral homes.
Today, no piece of Nigerian soil is under the control of Boko Haram insurgents or ISWAP. Terrorist activities have been drastically reduced owing to the firm and resolute approach of General Leo Irabor who is today the Chief of Defence Staff. The multi-pronged approach initiated by the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) is yielding positive results as Boko Haram insurgents and its splinter group ISWAP were routed from many of their previous enclaves. Also, thousands of IDPs have been returned to their ancestral homes in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states following successful clearance operations carried out by troops. To ensure a lasting peace in the insurgent ravaged communities, the CDS had ensured that the non-kinetic approach by the Nigerian armed forces was intensified with collaboration of other security agencies and the locals. As a former theater commander of operation “Lafya Dole”, General Leo Irabor has distinguished himself as an honest officer by taking responsibility for the actions of his troops. His tenure as theater commander was a watershed and has remain a reference point in security circles. General Leo Irabor has shown commitment to finding a lasting solution to Nigeria’s security situation through convening security and intelligent summits and workshops since assumption of office as the CDS. Issues bothering on gender policy for Armed forces, and forging collaboration between other nation’s Armed forces and Nigerian Armed forces are some of his hallmarks. More importantly, General Lucky Irabor has nutured a Nigerian Armed forces committed to the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities professionally and diligently. This feat was achieved through creating a formidable synergy between the trio of the Nigerian Army, Air force and the Navy. Evidently, General Lucky Irabor has exceeded expectations in the war against insurgency in Nigeria. He has done much to improve on the performance of his predecessors. Before him, sixteen Nigerian military General served as Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and have tried to end the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria. However, General Lucky Irabor’s current tenure is acknowledged as very significant because he assumed duties at a very critical period of the Boko Haram insurgency. After the rough and tumble of the previous years, what is uppermost in the Nigeria security situation now is the ultimate clearance of the remnants of the insurgents, resettlement of IDPs and re-intergration of repented Boko Haram insurgents, a project General Lucky Irabor has shown dogged commitment and passion
Strictly speaking, General Irabor must have unwittingly exhibited a special attributes, especially a depth of talent, courage and professionalism in the fight against insurgency across Nigeria. Ever exuding the tough aura of a General, the Chief of Defense Staff believes that whatever achievement recorded in the war against insurgency in the last couple of years was due to the commitments and dedication of troops of the Nigerian Armed forces.
Opeyemi wrote this article from Abuja.