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|Title:||A STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT OF THE JOINT MILITARY TASK FORCE IN THE NIGER DELTA, 2003-2010|
|Authors:||MEJABI, H. O.|
|Keywords:||Military Task Force|
Operation Restore Hope
|Abstract:||Existing studies on the Niger Delta crisis focus largely on causes of the problem, the insurgency tactics of the militants, and some non-violent response mechanisms of the Nigerian state. These studies have neglected the use of military force to terminate the conflict. This study tries to bridge this gap by examining an aspect of counter-insurgency in the region by the Federal Government. The study is particularly focused on the preparedness, deployment, capabilities and impact of the operations of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the region since 2003. Data were collected from primary and secondary sources. The primary sources involved in-depth interviews with seven military Generals and thirteen Colonels all of which were directly involved in the Niger Delta operation. In-depth interviews were also held with ten security agencies (the police and SSS most especially) as well as eight security officials of oil companies; fifteen community and youth leaders, and four civil society organizations (CSOs). The secondary sources were magazine and newspaper reports, journals, books and internet reports and publications of oil companies. The analytical method used was content analysis. The mandate of JTF was found to be in tandem with the expectations of a Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW). It was expected to use force to make the Niger Delta region safe for oil exploitation. The operation was a strategy through which the government tried to evade responding proactively to the demands of the Niger Delta people. The mission has two flanks: Operation RESTORE HOPE which started in 2003 and Operation FLUSHOUT III which commenced in 2004 in Warri and Port Harcourt respectively. The two operations were merged into one in 2009. JTF was not specially trained for the riverine operations it carried out and was not adequately equipped and maintained to engage in asymmetrical warfare, curb militancy and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) proliferation. The study further reveals lack of interagency collaboration amongst the security agencies, CSOs and community leaders. Hence, it was difficult for JTF to achieve its goals. Instead, it caused collateral damages to communities and is perceived to have created 'new' Niger Delta problem. Collusion of the community members and the militant youths led to the death of several JTF operatives. The JTF has failed to arrest the insecurity problems in the region. The study recommends that the government should review the rules of engagement of the JTF with a view to making it to truly support a genuine disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of militants. Community members and civil society organizations should be involved in these reconstruction efforts of the Nigerian state as they are closer to the militant youths than the government.|
|Appears in Collections:||Theses & Dissertations|
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