Beyond the recent successes recorded by the Nigerian military against the Boko Haram sect, Dr. Raymond Gilpin, Academic Dean, Africa Center for Security Studies, U.S. Department of Defense, has said that one of the major positives coming out of Nigeria is the fact that Muhammadu Buhari, retired general and President-elect realises the need to address the governance, socio-economic and social alienation factors that have made terrorism attractive in Northeast Nigeria.
Gilpin stated this on Thursday when a group of ten journalists on the African Journalist Security and Press Freedom Reporting Tour of the U.S visited the Center in Washington D.C.
While addressing the visiting journalists and officials of the U.S. Department of State who accompanied them, Gilpin said, “Most people think that there is a military solution to Boko Haram but the group feeds on poverty in the northeastern part of Nigeria, that is what is fueling the challenge and so it is not just about military solution, you need to have more people-centric solutions and not just military.”
He added that most of the money budgeted for defense in Africa either get wasted or are stolen.
“Most of the money that goes into security in Africa goes to pay salaries and buying things that the military doesn’t need. Most of it disappears in corruption.
You maintain people who have no training or uniforms and are often prepared to defend the people in government rather than the citizens they are supposed to defend,” Gilpin said.
His views in this sense were supported by Daniel Hampton, a retired Colonel and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Africa Center for Security Studies, who said many African countries need to reorientate their armed forces in order to see themselves as public servants and not a part of the government in power.
Hampton explained that this is the way Africa can avoid situations where soldiers are unduly combative and repressive when dealing with journalists and other civilians.
The Africa Center for Security Studies is the U.S. pre-eminent Department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa.