Geo-strategic politics of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency in the Lake Chad Basin

The geopolitical realities in the Lake Chad Basin region have undermined a robust multinational effort at combating the threats of transnational organised crimes within the region. These geopolitical realities go beyond the traditional discourse of security regionalisation and involved factors that are beyond personal and national efforts. These efforts can only' be achieved through a reliable platform for addressing the overwhelming implications of the practical issues that tend to stall the progress and coherence of strong regional security' cooperation among the riparian states.

The first reality is that of political mistrust among the leadership of the LCB Member States. This problem manifested even in the regional fight against Boko Haram. In containing the insurgency, the defence and security' community have suffered significant loses because the two countries of Cameroon and Chad have demonstrated an appearance of political rivalry and mutual recriminations in cooperating with Nigeria. Though the countries tend to pretend of normalcy in a relationship at the global stage, they still do not have sound relation with Nigeria. Consequently, the so-called mutual security agenda was momentarily threatened by mutual suspicion. Albert (2016:9) submitted that this particularly beckoned the foreign intervention of Britain and the US to assist in countering this problem as they provided intelligence to Nigeria on the locations, dispositions, capability and likely intent of the terrorists to and from the neighbouring countries. They also provide Nigeria with capacity building in the form of training and tactical supports tor dealing with the insurgents. On the other hand, the posture of France gave Nigeria’s neighbouring Francophone countries a supporting base to their share of the countering the insurgency. The problem started with the perceived attitude of the two countries to the plight ot Nigeria when the crisis started as been a purely Nigerian problem. This geostrategic issue is further aggravated by the longstanding conflicts of diplomacy and boundaries between the three countries.

Historically, Nigeria has always been in a challenging diplomatic relationship with Chad among all its neighbours. The historical animosity around boundary and resource disputes between Nigeria and Chad has compounded the intensity ot other forms of crisis, including the Boko Haram insurgency. The ownership of the Trans-boundary water of the Lake Chad constitutes a cause of disagreement Nigeria and Chad. However, both countries have always had border disputes around the Lake because of the unclear demarcation of the boundary between the two nations by the European colonial powers. The boundaries, consisting ot a straight line running for about 76 km joining the Niger tri-point at Latitude 13.05 degree north and longitude 14.05 degree East are bereft ot necessary beacons or buoys. In the quest for resource control and accessibility, subjects within the border villages resort to different forms of self-help strategies to acquirer and maximise scarce environmental resource within the Lake region. Some of the disputed villages have fishery and invaluable mineral resources. The borderland disputes have assumed new dimensions up to the present (Bala & Tar, 2019b). This has had a huge impact on the success of the counterinsurgency in the region particularly when the subjects are not ready to cooperate with the national forces of another neighbouring country and inter-defence forces’ synergistic relationship was hampered at the beginning of the campaign in the LCB region.

The key segment of resource-control in the regional power politics is the infusion of “oil geopolitics into an already volatile mix of ecological factors pushing socio-economic devastation ot the region” (Tar & Mustapha, 2016: 11). The “regionalisation of neo-patrimonialism” caused by the discover)' and exploration of oil in Chad resulted in competition among divergent regional orders and comprador bourgeoisie so injuries to CT-COIN in the region. This was further projected by the investment interest of powerful politicians in Chad’s oil market and their selfish aspiration of having undistracted and exclusive access to oil deposits at the expense of sub-regional security cooperation to tame Boko Haram insurgency. In the light of this reality, Tar and Mustapha (2016: 12) advance that, “the oil wealth beneath the Chad Basin in which some Nigerians and Chadians have made investments is fanning the embers of insurgency in Nigeria. Vested economic interests in the crude oil exploration in the Chad Basin are fuelling the machinery ot Boko Haram and its attacks on Nigeria...Thus, both Nigeria and Chad consider the instability of the region as vital to their geopolitical interests leading to the securitisation of territorial-based geopolitics.”

 
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