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Matawalle’s Excellent Scorecard at Nigerian Defense Ministry

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By Bashir Aliyu 

When President Bola Tinubu clocked a year in office, there are a lot of observations in regard to how the president has managed to confront the dynamic insecurity challenges in Nigeria, and given the ever evolving phase of Nigeria’s battle against terrorists and organized criminals, Nigeria has largely recovered from the brink, tilting the scale of the war to its favour.

As a former governor Zamfara State whose state had been besieged by marauding terrorists for years, mass kidnapping of school children, mass murder and destruction of remote villages were some of the most significant challenges that the Nigerian government had to grapple with for years.

No Ransom Policy 

Since he was made a minister of state for defense, Dr. Bello Matawalle, made it a priority to starve the terrorists of cash in order to inevitably make them understand that Nigeria will no longer be able to play a mind game with Nigeria. Ransom payment may provide temporary respite for the victims, but the reality of the matter is, it breeds more trouble for the country as more and more potential terrorists would be made to think the business of kidnapping pays off as evidenced by many tragic stories of civilians colluding with terrorists to kidnap people in return for a cut from the jackpot.

The ransom, as many security experts cautioned, only enabled the terrorists to rearm and return to wreak havoc on the defenseless villages, heaping more pressure on the government to do more and tackle terrorism. 

Matawalle was one of the few individuals to conclude that paying ransom has never made Nigeria safer. It has instead only emboldened the terrorists militarily and economically. It is against this backdrop that the federal government outlawed the practice, and instead created a Counter-terrorism Center to coordinate rapid action against kidnapping and terrorist hideouts that are scattered across the northwestern part of Nigeria. 

It is not worthy that the Nigerian army has successfully driven terrorists out of Northeast, and intermittent attacks which meant to sow panic among Nigeria, the terrorists/Boko Haram and ISWAP have degraded so much that they no longer have the manpower and logistic capacity to occupy in any part of the region. 

This is a huge success achieved by our gallant troops, and they deserve the supports of all patriotic Nigerians particularly the residents of Borno and Yobe. 

Military Industrial Complex 

Nigeria’s policy-makers have for long concluded that Nigeria posseses the industrial capacity to produce some of the weapons suitable for Nigerian terrains. 

T stem the tide of ammunition shortage and delay in purchasing weapons from superpowers who are busy supplying weapons to Ukraine, Dr. Bello Matawalle on 13th November, 2023 indicated Nigeria’s readiness to engage in domestic arm production to meet the need of its armed forced and obviate the need for diplomatic blackmail. 

Months later, our military industrial complex under the supervision of Defense Industry Cooperation of Nigeria  (DICN) is back to life, producing ammunition and Armed Personnel Carrier (APC), protective gears and many other critical weapons that are key to Nigerian military strength. 

Moreover, Nigeria’s military industrial complex will not only help provide thousands of jobs to Nigeria, but also enable Nigeria to support our partners by providing them with military support and training. Given our population, self-sufficiency is a key to Nigeria’s strategic autonomy and sovereignty. It is a long overdue for Nigeria, and this achievement is sure to boost the morale of our armed forces in no small measure.

The essence of Counter-terrorism Center under the office of National Security Advisor, Malam Nuhu Ribadu is to use the massive data Nigeria possesses, thanks to the massive data the country amassed during its decades-long war against insurgency and criminalities, to make it possible for Nigeria to rapidly track suspected terrorists and neutralize them while making sure civilians are not harmed.

It is noteworthy that Nigeria under President Bola Ahmad Tinubu is on the cusp of transition to a new phase of non-kinetic approach to counter-terrorism. Technically, the intermittent attacks being launched by the terrorists only intended to spread panic among Nigeria, and make look like the terrorists are gaining ground which is no longer the case.

The truth is Nigeria still has an upper hand as our army has decimated the terrorists so much that they can no longer engage our gallant troops in any serious combat. This is why they have resorted to targeting civilians.

But under the current leadership of Muhammad Badaru Abubakar and Bello Matawalle, Nigeria will sooner or later declare victory against insurgency and organized criminals.

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