As the drama in Afghanistan begins to unfold following the takeover of the country by Taliban forces, a former Nigerian Ambassador to France and Monaco, Akin Fayomi, has said that Taliban coming back to power 20 years after their ouster portends bad news to Nigeria.
However, he said it presents opportunity for Nigerian government to orchestrate an accelerated total onslaught on Boko Haram, ISWAP and other terrorist elements in the country before they are further emboldened.
This is even as he advised the government not to heed any request from the international community to accommodate afghan refugees should such request be made because of its far reaching effect on the war against terrorists and the already overwhelming situation of the country’s internally displaced persons
Fayomi, who was also a former undersecretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs said the coming of Taliban’s is bad for Nigeria and the Sahel region because it would further embolden and encourage the terrorists to continue with their fight.
“It portends very bad news for us in the sense that Boko Haram and ISWAP world be emboldened that if this can happen in Afghanistan they too can continue with theirs agenda in the Sahel region and in Nigeria in particular, he said
Furthermore, the former envoy noted that, “they will feel encouraged that they can also do that and thus is bad news for us.”
However he said the situation also provides opportunity for Nigerian government to accelerate its war against terrorism. This is an opportunity for Nigerian government as well as other multinational task forces that are in Sahel region to accelerate total onslaught and destruction of ISWAP and Boko Haram.
“I think President Buhari also nailed it on the head in the article he penned for Financial Times when he said that Africa has become the focus of terrorism, which is correct. Because now that America has left Afghanistan, the focus is now in Sahel and Nigeria.
“It is now the right time for our military to be strengthened and given the capacity that they need so that they can defeat terrorism else it will encourage them that this fight can go on for years and at the end of the day they could probably win just as the Talibans have done in Afghanistan,” he said.
He said the possibility for strikes by the terrorists is quite imminent because besides being embolden they will now have rich supplies of weapons. But to forestall that, he said: ‘‘I think it has to be nipped in the bud now as quickly as possible.
‘‘The victory of Talibans will embolden them to further make incursions because they are also going to be supplied weapons by the Talibans who now have so much than they needed. About eleven bases and they are all full of weapons and even the air force. So, they are going to be exporting these to Boko Haram, ISWAP and the others in the Sahel and Nigeria. We have to strengthen the capacity of our military because what we have is not enough. Fayomi also called on the Nigerian government to ask for help in overcoming the threats.
“Obviously, we have to ask for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn’t have to come from America, Britain or France in terms of boot on the ground,” he said.
According to him, more of what is needed now is not in military might but in non kinetic forms. “No. Of course, we need help with intelligence gathering, we need to increase our capacity in intelligence gathering because it is most important. It means that non kinetic methods have to be devised and not military force because Boko Harams are human beings and they live in those communities, and they go there to buy foods and other supplies.
“They have to make sure that local police in the North East and the Lake Chad region are encouraged to give no access to these Boko Haram or militants because they are getting supplies locally. ‘‘That means non kinetic measures either through religion, propaganda, traditional rulers or the grassroots, they have to apply all of them,” he stated.