Emerging regional security architecture in the Lake Chad Basin

In the LCB, the geostrategic implications ot Boko Haram insurgency have altered the power configuration (Tar & Mustapha, 2016). This has called tor the necessary deployment of a security regimen. As a result of the frequency of security' threats posed by BH, the LCB is undergoing the emergence of a new security order and regional configuration. As a regional power, Nigeria and its neighbours in the region realized the tremendous negative geostrategic consequences of Boko Haram transnational border attacks. They demanded the supply of collective regional security arrangement to decimate the insurgency and other criminalities (Tar & Bala, 2019b).

The LBC is a contagious region of West Africa. Here, a formidable regional integration and security regionalisation have emerged to foster security and development in the region. The ECOWAS was established in 1975 to promote regional cooperation and economic development in West Africa. In 1990, it inaugurated and inducted its military branch designated ECOWAS Cease-fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). Though ECOWAS was initially conceived as an economic community, with the implementation of its military arm, its regional security initiatives were saddled with the Mediation and Security Council (MSC). The explicit authority rests with the governing body of the regional establishment. Still, the MSC is also empowered to make certain decisions in connection with peace and security at national and regional levels in West Africa (Ochiai, 2006: 6). In light of this, the ECOWAS recognised the

The Three Pillars of CT-COIN Strategy in ECOWAS and LCB Source

Figure 25.1 The Three Pillars of CT-COIN Strategy in ECOWAS and LCB Source: Barakafintiye, (201 3)

consequences of the emerging threats to security within its member states ot the LCB and launched a counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaign while deploying resources.

The objectives of the ECOWAS CT-COIN strategy include the dispensing of impact to regional, continental, and international counterterrorism instruments and to further avail a common operational framework for the pre-emption and countering of terrorism and related criminalities in West Africa; operationalise regional and international counterterrorism instruments in West Africa; augment and “consolidate cooperation, coordination, harmonisation, and synergies in national counterterrorism actions; ensure adequate protection ot fundamental human rights in states counterterrorism activities; strengthen ECOWAS role including that of states, civil society organisations and media networks in the prevention and combating of terrorism” (ECOWAS, 2013: 16). In achieving these objectives, the ECOWAS framework for CT-COIN phases the pillars as shown on the chart below:

From the foregoing chart, it can be deduced that the three pillars are what guide and orientate the ECOWAS projection for combating terrorism and insurgency in West Africa and this has a direct impact on the LCB region. The first pillar, as better captured by ECOWAS (2013: 27—34) in its work on “ECOWAS CT Strategy and Implementation Plan,” defined it as it encompasses the central pillar of the Strategy and is based on the concept of detect, intercept, and deter. It also attempts to contain terrorism in economic, political, and cultural activities with the purpose of eliminating grounds conducive for terrorist activities. It also seeks to emphasise the need to identify and tackle the risks of terrorism using legislative, financial, political, security and defence tools. The second pillar seeks to establish conditions tor timely and effective responses to terrorist acts and it is the scaffold on a “criminal justice approach which provides tor both military and non-military responses to terrorism.” While the third pillar emphasises the need to rebuild society and reassert the authority of the state after a terrorist attack and “deals with the social consequences of an attack.” This pillar also demands collaboration with and engagement of social and media groups in combating terrorism. It is germane to note that, the ECOWAS, in its effort to ensure the regional security of the LCB region, initiated and opened a trust fund tor member states to contribute financial resources to the reinvigorated sub-regional security outfit in the LCB called the MNJTF.

Aside from the ECOWAS intervention, also it is observed that with the primary authority of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) added to the regional effort by some member states of the LCBC, the AU to the remodelling of regional security architecture under the umbrella of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to contain the increasing wave of Boko Haram insurgency and other trans-border crimes in the region (Bala and Tar, 2020). After the 2015 Paris Conference, the counterinsurgency alliance of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria finally kicked up. The platform’s commencement of operation helped in reducing the mistrust among the countries in the LCB particularly between Nigeria and Chad (Aning & Amedzrator, 2016: 83). The Lake Chad Basin Commission decided to remodel the structure and doctrinal posture of the force and extend its mandate and operational scope to engage in containing the increasing regional threats of Boko Haram. This was achieved at the LCBC 14th summit of heads of states and governments, held in Chad in April 2012 (Bala and Tar, Ibid). It is in this regards that the operational mandate of the MNJTF was established:

  • 1.. To create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, in order to significantly reduce violence against civilians and other abuses, including sexual- and gender-based violence, in full compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and the UN HRDDP;
  • 11.. To facilitate the implementation of overall stabilisation programmes by the LCBC Member States and Benin in the affected areas, including the full restoration of state authority and the return of IDPs and refugees; and
  • 111.. To facilitate within the limit of its capabilities, humanitarian operations, and the deliver)’ of assistance to the affected populations (AU PSC, 2015: 6).

Despite the successes recorded by the MNJTF in its operations against insurgency within its Ares of Responsibility, it is still been impeded by certain challenges. These range from the lack of adequate equipment to prosecute its operations, to the inadequate financial base and to lack of complete willingness of the formally agreed Troops Contributing Member States to insert full complement of manpower as they pledged. These and several other factors stand on the way to a more robust defence and security mechanism for the LCB region.

Another element of the emergent security architecture in the LCB is the establishment of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Northeast Nigeria which partly plays roles in CT- COIN operations along the LCB borders. The CJTF emerged in June 2013 to complement and aid military activities against Boko Haram insurgency. Osakwe and Audu (2017: 5) even attempt to argue that, the non-state group came into being to end the brutal harassment of the BH. Though this chapter disagrees with this stand as there are other factors responsible for the resilience which may include poverty, unemployment, patriotism and what we called “high sense of attachment with ancestral lineage” which psychologically people can give their last ounce not to be detached from. Umara (2014a) identified more valid argument that the critical factor that led to the formation of the CJTF was the apparent struggle by the national security' forces to contain the threats posed by the insurgent group and the extreme lethality' ot the group’s attacks on critical state infrastructure. Innocent civilians were also maimed and waylaid by the group, and this showcases and highlights inadequacies to personal and national security' within the region. Compounding issues on the part of the national forces is the inability to identify the insurgents, distinguish them amongst innocent civilians and even put on with their “ubiquitous guerilla warfare tactics”. In the apparent lack of terrain knowledge by the military, the insurgents unleashed terror on the civilian populace in broad daylights and sneaked their way' out of the scene unnoticed and not apprehended.

It was under this condition that the people of Northeast Nigeria continued to wallow in panic and intimidation exacerbated by the group’s lethal attacks. The level of the group’s destruction of lives and property witnessed a horrendous marked intensification as once a person is perceived as a threat to the group’s agenda and ideology; the group’s order the member of the family from the followership of either stabbing to death or gunning down the perceived enemy. Parents were forced to allow their children to embrace the ideology' of the group and even conceal weapons and other incriminating materials for their children that are already in the group. Women were kidnapped, raped, and compelled to provide information on the movements of security forces. In some instances, they were also used as couriers and runners (Umara, 2014b).

With such frustration on the part of the civil populace and the level ot eroding state security' in Borno State then that, the youth realised the need to come out and complement the effort of the Nigerian military in confronting the threat posed by Boko Haram. This they do by engaging in small amis confrontation with the insurgents and helping in identifying, arresting and handing over the insurgents to the military. This is not to regards the fact that, there were instances where the youths of the CJTF took laws into their hands as there are many cases of alleged gross violations ot human rights committed by the CJTF. However, contrary to the numerous challenges confronting its operations, the CJTF as articulated by Dauda (2017:), that is today' reckoned with availing the Nigeria military with actionable intelligence in addition to assisting in fishing out their peers belonging to BH group or their accomplices. It was through this traditional method that intelligence was gathered on the group’s activities, and BH was routed out of Maiduguri and had to relocate in the Sambisa Forest.

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