Following Nigeria’s president-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s vow to crush Boko Haram terrorists, whose hostilities on the Nigerian state has left no less than 13,000 lives since 2009, experts have advised him not to relay on military might alone to win war against terrorism.
Instead, the experts said Buhari needs a comprehensive plan to defeat the terrorists.
According to Nigeria researcher, Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos, from the Chatham House international affairs institute in London, “Military force alone is not enough to annihilate the movement,” he told AFP.
Montclos said Boko Haram has “more to fear from Muhammadu Buhari, who knows the terrain and will be perceived as legitimate by northern Muslims” than his beaten opponent, President Goodluck Jonathan.
Montclos also said Buhari should strive to “win peace” rather than “win the battle” against the insurgents, even if they have been weakened.
Boko Haram may be “backed into a corner” but “is not clinically dead,” he added.
J. Peter Pham, from the Atlantic Council, said: “In many respects, Buhari walks into a situation where a military victory has been achieved. Now he needs to consolidate the peace.”
Former military ruler Buhari last Wednesday declared war on Boko Haram, vowing they “will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror and bring back peace.”
He told the BBC in an interview that: “With the co-operation of our neighbours, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and the international community, and the commitment we are going to get from the military, I think it will take us a much shorter time to deal with them.”
This is even as his campaign spokesman, Shehu Garba told AFP last Thursday that there would be a “more effective military response than seen under the last administration,” including development programmes and “soft power”.
Buhari, who headed a military government in the 1980s, is a former governor of the old Borno State, which includes modern-day Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states hit by fighting.
The 72-year-old has criticised Boko Haram’s radical brand of Islam and last year escaped with his life after an attack blamed by some on the militants.
Now that Buhari will ascend the throne, it is not clear what Boko Haram will do next but experts warned against declaring a swift victory.

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