The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has said that the army engaged in spiritual warfare to counter Boko Haram propaganda because military might alone cannot deal decisively with the insurgents and the likes.
The COAS stated this on Tuesday at the ongoing 2019 Chaplains annual Training Conference and Retreat held in Sokoto with the theme ‘The non-kinetic strength in the face of armed banditry and other security challenges: The role of the military chaplains’ as very relevant in this battle.
“We were involved in a joint seminar on spiritual warfare as an effective means against insurgency and other forms of restiveness.
“Boko Haram and the likes cannot be defeated by kinetic military warfare alone.
“Finding appropriate counter-narratives against these violent extremist sects will immensely be a big push towards eradicating their negative activities in Nigeria,” said Buratai who was represented by the director of civil military affairs, Brig. Gen. Timothy Olowomeye.
Buratai said Nigeria and the world at large was grappling with the harsh reality of restiveness mostly shrouded in religious, economic and political undertones.
“These tendencies have caused disorder and wanton destruction of lives and property of many innocent citizens who have continued to look unto the government for solace.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to offer succour and renewing the hope of the country’s citizens through the relentless efforts of our Armed Forces and other security agencies.
“We, therefore, must call to mind always that the noble task of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation while also being proactively involved in aid of our civil authority is our prime responsibility,” Buratai said.
He said the Army had continued to engage with the religious directorate on possible proactive measures to help in winning this fight against the various forms of restiveness in the country.
The COAS who described the theme of the conference as “very relevant in this battle” further noted that the choice of the Northwest for the event meant they were in tandem with the efforts of the government in quelling the teeming security challenges of banditry in the region.
He called for more collaboration between the Directorates of Civil Military Affairs (DCMA) and the three religious directorates in the efforts to contain the security challenges.
According to Buratai, the Armed Forces have attained a great feat in the fight against insurgents by breaking their ranks and degrading their will to fight.
He expressed optimism that the conference would develop appropriate narratives required to counter the ideologies of the religious terror groups.
Also speaking, the coordinator, Brig. Gen. Charles Chidebere, said the event was in furtherance of efforts to win the war not by blazing guns but through winning the hearts of all with profound messages of peace.
Chidebere appealed to religious leaders, tribes, communities and people at large to uphold the true message of religion which included peace, tolerance and unity in words and actions.
“We must refute in strongest terms possible all forms of extreme religious fanaticism and its attendant security threat to the nation,” he said.
The conference ends on October 25.