Security Expert, Dr Ona Ekhomu, has urged the Nigerian military to urgently create a firewall in the North-East to prevent incursion into Nigeria by the various militia groups fighting for control of the Central African nation of Chad.
Said he: “Aside from the rebel group (Front for Change and Concord in Chad) which assassinated President Idris Deby there are myriad armed groups which could advance South into Nigeria or be pursued by the Chadian Army into Nigeria. Either way we must not be caught off guard by military adventurists”.
Reacting to the assassination of the Chadian leader and the resultant constitutional crisis in that country, Dr. Ona Ekhomu who is President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) said that the military diplomacy strategy of President Deby had resulted in a “militaristic culture” by elements of the Chadian military and armed rebels.
He said that the famed military prowess of the Chadian Army was evidenced by a “Chadian swagger” which was exemplified by derisive comments made in April 2020 by President Deby against Nigeria after the “Wrath of Boma Operation” which dislodged Boko Haram fighters from the Chadian side of the Lake Chad. Ekhomu urged Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and the military high command to send at least 5000 soldiers to Kukawa Local Government and garrison them there.
He said that the massing of the force would deter Chadian adventurism into Nigeria and also place the military in an offensive role against Boko Haram/ISWAP in the Lake Chad Basin area. The security and intelligence analyst said that another goal of the proposed strategy is that the Nigerian military’s firewall would prevent the influx of weapons from Chad and Libya into the Northeast conflict zone. He said that illicit weapons could further exacerbate the already dire security situation in Nigeria.
Dr. Ekhomu urged the Nigerian government to act expeditiously in dealing with the unfolding constitutional crisis in Chad as it has serious security implications for Nigeria. Mourning the tragic loss of the Chadian strongman whose Army propped up governments in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Central African Republic, Ekhomu said: “Chad’s military diplomacy, which was the brainchild of President Idris Deby was a cornerstone in the fight against jihadis in the Sahel. With the sudden demise of President Deby, I expect a spike in Jihadi operations in the Sahel”.
Ekhomu, who is the first chartered security professional in West Africa called for a restoration of the constitutional order Chad, urging the fractured military to hand over power to the speaker of the parliament who is constitutionally expected to succeed President Idris Deby.
He said that military coups are no longer fashionable, and decried the fact that the Central African nation was yet to find its democratic bearings even though it became independent before Nigeria in 1960. He decried the endorsement of the military coup by France, and warned against the promotion of instability in Africa by metropolitan powers.
Dr. Ekhomu described the new transitional charter that named General Mahamat Deby as President and Commander-in-Chief as unconstitutional. He said that the ploy to create a dynasty in Chad was bound to produce widespread armed conflict which the over-stretched Chadian Army may not be able to cope with.
He advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to brace for a humanitarian crisis that would invariably flow in from its northern neighbor – Chad, urging the government to commence building of IDP Camps that would accommodate the foreign IDPs.
According to Dr Ekhomu, “the perception that Nigeria is a land of opportunities will encourage many refugees to travel South into Nigeria.
These people are more afraid of the Chadian militias than they are of Nigerian insurgents and terrorists such as Boko Haram/ ISWAP. Based on the Westphalian Treaty principles of sovereignty once they are on Nigerian soil, the Nigerian government would have the responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance not minding the fact that Nigeria has a domestic humanitarian crisis on its hands and the UN is threatening to withdraw humanitarian services due to incessant Boko Haram attacks in Northern Borno State,” he added