By Kingsley Omonobi
Against the backdrop of continuing Boko Haram attacks and killings in the North East which last weekend resulted in the slaughter of 43 rice Farmers in Zabarmari area of Borno state, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has called on Communities and the States where Banditry and terrorism are rife, to join hands in rejecting ideologies that preach extremism.
Gen Buratai said this can be better achieved through the provision of authentic counter-narratives targeted at the ideologies of the terrorist groups.
The COAS stated that religious leaders and clerics who regularly interface with people at the grassroots, families and local communities have very important role to play
Speaking at the Army Spiritual Warfare seminar in Abuja, Buratai who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen Lamidi Adeosun said, “The Nigerian Army Spiritual Warfare Seminar is aimed at evolving narratives to defeat the ideologies of religious-based terrorist groups operating in the Country.
“It is important to state that the ongoing military operations against the Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) Terrorists as well as other criminal groups is driven by the desire to keep Nigeria safe
“However, these successes are not without some challenges which include the ideological beliefs of the terrorists.
“Like we all know, ideology is a system of concepts and views which serves to make sense of the world while obscuring the social interests that are expressed therein. This has remained the driving force for these terrorists.
“In the case of Boko Haram, its ideology is classifying western education as a sin, which
hinders the pursuit and attainment of self acclaimed puritan Islam.
“The ISWAP ideology on other hand is one which challenges the legitimacy of democratically elected government.
“By its nature, ideology has the
power to manipulate what people think, how they form their opinions and of course direct their attitudes as well as actions.
“This often results in controlling people’s minds to the extent that they accept social conditions that equal denial of rights and suffering.
“The terrorists’ groups believe strongly that their ideologies have enhanced their generation of resources and the recruitment
of new fighters to their folds.
“As such, we need to come up with positive and authentic narratives that can kill the ideology of the terrorists and of course wither out the inspired groups.
“This therefore underscores the importance of this Seminar as clerics play key roles in producing appropriate narratives required to counter the ideologies of these religious-based terrorists groups.
“Like earlier mentioned, the theme “Insecurity in Nigeria: Repositioning Authentic Religious Narratives in the Information Spectrum” was carefully crafted to ensure that authentic narratives are always available in the Information Spectrum.”
He reassured that the welfare of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army as well as their families has always been top priority and will continue to receive attention.
Buratai also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for all his immense support to the Nigerian Army.