A former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Bola Akinterinwa, has cautioned on the need to prevent the “Afghanistanisation” of Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria’s situational realities are not different from Afghanistan’s and there is the need for the presidential villa to be free of Boko Haram terrorist agents.
The don stated this on Wednesday while featuring as a guest on NTA ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ breakfast show monitored by The PUNCH.
Akinterinwa’s comment comes exactly a week after a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, claimed that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation.
The Taliban or the Mujahedeen retook Kabul, the country’s capital city, about two decades after the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan beginning in early July.
Afghanistan civilian President Ashraf Ghani, 72, subsequently fled the country when Kabul fell, abandoning the presidential palace to Taliban fighters.
The United States finally withdrew its forces on August 31, 2021 after 17 days of evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States.
US President Joe Biden had insisted on the withdrawal of US troops from the landlocked Asian country with about 39 million population, says America’s “mission was never supposed to be nation-building” but to kill those who, on September 11, 2001, attacked the World Trade Center towers, amongst other places, and killing over 2,500 people were killed in the attacks.
The Taliban had celebrated the withdrawal of US from the country, claiming “the defeat is a victory for all Afghans”.
Formed in 1994, the Sunni Islamist organisation is made up of ex-Afghan resistance fighters who first captured Kabul in 1996. They are also notorious for their extremist and terrorist ideologies and have been fingered in sponsoring insurgency in several parts of the world, including Africa.
On the other hand, for over 10 years, Nigeria has been fighting insurgency led by the Boko Haram terrorist sect. Thousands of innocent Nigerians including soldiers have been killed by the marauders in the North-East part of the West African nation.
Commenting on Wednesday on the events unfolding in Afghanistan, especially the Taliban takeover, ex-NIIA director general Akinterinwa noted that no one should take the Boko Haram of Nigeria for granted because though international terrorists may have different names but they have a common interest and the same blood flows through their veins.
“The situational realities in Nigeria are not in any way different from what obtains in Afghanistan and therefore there is the need for a great caution to prevent the Afghanisation of Nigeria,” the former NIIA DG stated.
He added, “In terms of the implication for Nigeria, no one should take the Boko Haram of Nigeria for granted. The issue is that the Boko Haram we know in Nigeria includes the Boko Haram in the blood of ISIS, in the blood of northern alliance. The international terrorists may have different names but they have a common interest.
“The issue in this case is that Nigeria must look at how the Boko Haram within the government of (former) President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari have succeeded in going to the Nigerian Defence Academy.
“So, for whatever reason, nobody should take any sudden invasion, attack on Aso Rock, we should not be given excuses. This is the time the Aso Rock must be strongly fortified and ensured that Aso Rock is free of whoever is the Boko Haram agent there because as it is, the current international challenge is how to determine where the next attack will be.
“Africa has been identified as the next place to host all the roaming terrorists. If you remove all the terrorists from Afghanistan, from Syria, from Yemen, from Somalia, where are they going to?
“It has been argued that Nigeria should be the next place. So, the Government of Nigeria should first of all focus from preventing Nigeria from becoming the terra incognita of international terrorism than even fighting the Boko Haram on ground. This is the issue. We are in a very dangerous area and we should not allow this to complicate those who are agitating for self-determination and secession. There are different battle fields of threats confronting the Buhari administration.”
Also speaking on the television programme, a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia and Ukraine, Clement Aduku, said Boko Haram and other splinter terror groups are watching and learning from Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
He said, “What is happening in Afghanistan will reverberate all over the Middle East, in Sub-Saharan Africa…Even in Nigeria, Boko Haram, ISWAP and other terrorist groups are watching and as they are watching, they are also trying to draw lessons from what is happening there and try to redefine and restrategise.” PUNCH