Civil Rights Group Challenges VP’s Understanding of Terrorism

Abuja, Nigeria – The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed its disagreement with Vice President Kashim Shettima’s perspective on terrorism and banditry in the North West and North East regions. The advocacy group contends that the Vice President’s understanding is flawed, as terrorists are among the wealthiest and most organized networks globally.

During a forum, Vice President Shettima attributed the twin problems of terrorism and banditry in Northern Nigeria to “poverty” and “social exclusion.” In response, HURIWA, through its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, refuted this explanation, stating that terrorists possess substantial resources to acquire military-grade weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles that have downed Nigerian Air Force fighter jets in states like Zamfara and Borno.

HURIWA further criticized Shettima’s stance that a military solution alone is inadequate to address the crisis in the northwest and called for both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.

The Vice President’s comments were made during a chat with journalists while on a condolence visit to Kano over the weekend. He also mentioned a “Pulaku Solution” as a means to end the decade-long terror menace in the country. Pulaku, a term in Fulfulde, signifies brotherhood and assistance to the Fulani community. However, HURIWA remains skeptical of this approach’s effectiveness in curbing the ongoing security challenges in the region.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is so unfortunate that the ex-governor of Boko Haram-infested Borno State has limited understanding of the dimensions of terrorism, especially in Nigeria. Terrorists are some of the richest and well-organised networks. The North West terrorists of Zamfara and Borno are not poor but they are members of international illegal mining networks with probably links to some rogues in China and Middle East.”

These same “poor” insurgents shot down a NAF jet on 18 July 2021, which led to its crash in Zamfara State. In April 2021, the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a crash involving an alpha jet operated by NAF.

In many videos released by the terrorists, they were seen engaging NAF jets flying at low range in a gunfight. The insurgents were usually armed with machine guns, especially ones that seem to be anti-aircraft weapons.

“Shettima is chasing shadows by blaming poverty for North West or North East terrorism. Can any poor man buy military grade weapons for the terrorists deployed in Zamfara to shoot down a military jet?

“Also, the talk about using a non-kinetic approach with the insurgents has expired and cannot work. All the deradicalisation and amnesty that Shettima, and other former and serving governors in Katsina, Zamfara and Borno gave to insurgents have not achieved any solution but worsened the situation.

“These are hardened terrorists extremely detrimental to the survival of Nigeria. Nigeria must not negotiate with them or use a non-kinetic approach but frontal military firepower.”

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