Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and several more senior military officers have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to declare total war on Boko Haram by cutting off food and fuel supplies.
According to retired officers who spoke with the Punch in separate interviews, the Federal Government should weaken Boko Haram’s strength. They said government should engage the sect head-on to end the insurgency by the group.
Moreover, they also advised the Federal Government to consider other alternatives to the United States on arms procurement.
Although President Jonathan had, in his nationwide Democracy Day broadcast in Abuja on May 29, 2014, directed the armed forces to launch a full-scale military operation against Boko Haram, the Generals expressed the belief that the war against the insurgents was not full-scale yet.
According to a retired Colonel in the Nigerian Army, Paul Ogbebor, with less than 200,000 military officers, the country lacked adequate forces to engage in full-scale fighting. He stated that adequate recruitment of both new and retired officers (reserves) to fill up the loopholes was required.
Ogbebor said: “The army of 150,000 should be quickly built up to a minimum of about 500,000 so that we can capture the ground and occupy it sufficiently. Retired officers should remain in their places and join the police for internal security. Internal security should go side by side with total war.”
Speaking further on the matter, Gowon said: “If anyone takes up arms against you and decides to establish what they call an Islamic state, then I think you can deal with them, because they are really trying to break the country and that must not be allowed.”