Yinka Ogunsanya, a retired Major in the United States Army, has suggested three ways that insurgency could be tackled in Nigeria.
Crushing insurgency, according to him, “entails firstly, win heart and soul; secondly, overwhelming combat force and thirdly economic development of the region.” He added that as the saying goes, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, “we have too many unemployed youths in those regions. They have to survive which is a human instinct, in doing so they are willing to collaborate with terrorists, who easily cater to them and their family.”
He added that you need weapons as a tool to enforce conformity, but don’t win insurgency. “Take a close look at Iraq and Afghanistan did the US totally win? No. I was in both theatres of operation multiple times. Winning hearts and economic development have to go alongside combat operations. Nigeria has the weapon needed; maybe aerial surveillance and highly classified communication equipment should be added.”
On whether Nigeria should seek foreign help in countering terrorism, he argued that the country does not need a foreign government to help it; “but we need the citizens that have performed at the highest level in foreign countries to help us out. There is nothing Boko Haram is doing that is different from what the Taliban or Al-Qaida did in the past; they are using the same template and adapting it to our peculiar terrain. We need a true intent to want to crush this monster. Right now we are playing with a ticking time bomb.”
An alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, where he studied Estate Management, Ogunsanya relocated to the US where he enlisted in the US Army, and subsequently served a total of 15 years of active duty as both a non-Commissioned Officer (Combat Medic) and Commissioned Officer. He was commissioned in 2001 through the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning GA in the Air and Missile Defense (AMD) Branch, where he was one of five Distinguished Military Graduates for his class.