“In the armed forces, we have increased our strength as much as possible, reviewed our training tactics and procedures and reviewed our order of battle.”
Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, says the armed forces have increased their strength, reviewed training and order of battle to curtail security threats across the country.
Mr Magashi, a retired major general, said this at the 15th International Security Conference and Award (ISCA), organised by the International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS) on Saturday in Abuja.
“In the armed forces, we have increased our strength as much as possible, reviewed our training tactics and procedures and reviewed our order of battle,” he said.
The minister was represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Adeyemi Yekini, a major general, at the event with the theme: “Intelligence of Things: Working against Kidnapping and Terrorism.”
Mr Magashi said the renewed onslaught had started yielding results with the recent arrest of the terrorists behind the 5 June attack at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State.
He said there was also an enhanced synergy between the services and other security agencies which had led to the smoking out of criminals from their hideouts.
He said more than 70,000 terrorists and their families had surrendered to troops in the North-east while hundreds of thousands of displaced persons had returned to their ancestral homes.
He added that troops had been deployed on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway on 24-hour patrols, while Operation Forest Sanity had been launched in the North-central and North-west to comb the forests.
He said many camps belonging to criminals had been destroyed and many criminals and terrorists either arrested or neutralised.
Many kidnap victims were also rescued, he added.
Mr Magashi also reiterated the determination of the military and other security agencies to rid the South-east, South-south and South-west of all forms of criminality.
According to him, the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are being checkmated, while crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and piracy are being tackled head on.
“Terrorism as we all know is always enduring. Ending it may not be as quick as one may expect,
“I can assure you, however, that we are on top of the situation and in the shortest possible time, all these challenges will become a thing of the past.”
In his remarks, the Director-General, IIPS, Tony Ofoyetan, said ISCA was an annual event designed to deliberate on security issues that would be of benefit to security professionals, industry and the nation at large.
Mr Ofoyetan said the event also provided the opportunity for the institute to honour deserving professionals.
He noted that saboteurs within and outside of government and the country had continually frustrated the efforts of security agencies to end terrorism and banditry.
He noted also that but for the professional doggedness of security operatives the three-arm terrorism groups of Boko Haram, banditry and herdsmen would have overrun the country.
“As we are aware, intelligence is said to be the main tool through which all forms of battles are won or lost.
“For this year’s conference, we have decided to take intelligence out of the conventional box to look at it from the perspective and functionality of things.
“This is done working in consonance with the expectation of its protagonists,” he said.
The guest speaker, Timothy Dakwat, said in his lecture that deployment of Artificial Intelligence (Al) to fight terrorism was of strategic importance.
His lecture was entitled: “Intelligence of Things: Countering the Threats of Insurgency and Terrorism.”
Mr Dakwat said Al could facilitate autonomous operations, more informed military decision-making and increase the speed and scale of military action.
According to him, there are chances that application of AI in the fight against Boko Haram will provide the needed response that can dislodge insurgents from their enclaves.
“It is possible to envision scenarios in which Al can provide much more effective early identification in protecting civilians as well as combatants from enemy fire,” Mr Dakwat said.