A Professor of History and International Relations at the Lagos State University, Abolade Adeniji, has urged the Federal Government to motivate the soldiers fighting Nigeria’s anti-terror war against Boko Haram fighters ravaging Borno, Yobe, and other states in the North-East.
According to the don, the soldiers in the frontline of the insurgency fight need the right dose of financial and material encouragement so that they won’t flee like Afghan forces who ran away, leading to the takeover of the Asian country by the Taliban.
Adeniji, who made this known in an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, said the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan showed that no country would secure lives and properties in another country if such intervention does not align with its national and diplomatic interest.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Islamic militant group known as the Taliban or the Mujahedeen retook Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, about two decades after they were driven from Kabul by US troops.
Taliban militants seized about 20 cities in the country following the withdrawal of US troops beginning in July.
Afghanistan civilian President Ashraf Ghani subsequently fled on Sunday when Kabul fell, abandoning the presidential palace to Taliban fighters.
US President Joe Biden in a presidential broadcast on Monday said he stood by his decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan, adding that the troops cannot be dying in a war that Afghan forces were not willing to fight themselves.
Biden also stressed that the objective of the US under the then government of President George Bush had been fulfilled.
“We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, and make sure Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again. We did that. We severely degraded Al Qaeda and Afghanistan. We never gave up the hunt for Osama bin Laden and we got him,” he stated.
Speaking with our correspondent on Wednesday, Adeniji, a former Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Lagos State University, said Biden withdrew US forces from Afghanistan in a very sudden manner.
He said, “Some Americans felt that they had stayed too long in Afghanistan for 20 years but remember that US forces are still in Japan since the end of the Second World War. That is because it is in their interest to remain there, not counting the year and yet America felt that 20 years was too much to stay in Afghanistan because national interest was no more there.
“Remember that America went there (Afghanistan) to dislodge the Al-Qaeda network and not make the place a safe haven for terrorists and they achieved that. They even eliminated Osama bin Laden. But President Biden made it known that the American forces were not in Afghanistan for nation-building because it is not in their national interest.”
Adeniji said the lesson for the Nigerian Government is that: “There is no one out there fighting for you. Self-reliance is very important in maintaining peace and stability in the country. You can get some assistance but don’t think there is anyone out there that will dedicate his entire life to preserving you and your country.
“Nothing stops the President (Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) from looking for national assistance but these people will come to your aid only when it is in their national interest and nothing else.”
The don also urged the Buhari government to motivate soldiers and other security forces fighting the insurgency war in the country.
“The morale was low and the Afghan forces melted away overnight. It is not by pronouncements that you encourage your troops; it is by action; it is by what you do. I am very sure those in authority would have learnt some lessons.
“If you have forces who don’t have the will to fight, you don’t have forces at all. The way the Afghan military melted away tells that they don’t have the fighting spirit, no commitment. It also appears that the government lacks legitimacy because I don’t see why America gave them training for 15 years and sophisticated weapons and when it matters most, you fled.
“If the American forces had given them support, they would have stayed but when America made it clear that there was no more support, the Afghan forces became jittery. They have Generals and seasoned soldiers too but they just lacked the will.
“There is no price too high to pay for making your country safe and stable. It is when a country is unstable that all these forces coming to be, all these tendencies, instability and all that surface. There is also the need to make your citizens love Nigeria and want to stay in the country,” he added.
For over 10 years, the Boko Haram terror group had killed thousands of Nigerians in the North-East. The sect had also burnt down and bombed scores of villages as well as churches. The Nigerian Army and the Presidency had at several times claimed the group had been ‘technically defeated’ and ‘weakened’ but the bloodthirsty faction continues to strike with daring effrontery and crude savagery