Nigeria Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was quoted to have said that terrorism cannot be defeated alone by the military unless religious bodies in the country come to be part of the battle.
He noted that the battle is not just physical but Spiritual, and wants religious groups to help change the ideologies which is the foundation of these terrorist groups.
Buratai stated this on Monday in Abuja during a spiritual warfare seminar at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre with the theme, “Countering insurgency and violent extremism in Nigeria through spiritual warfare.”
The Army chief, who was represented by the Chief of Administration, Maj. Gen. Sani Yusuf, urged Islamic and Christian clerics across the Army formations to join the fight against terrorism, and reorient the people against negative ideologies.
“It is easier to defeat Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists than their ideology because, while we degrade the terrorists and their havens, the narrative of the ideology grows the group.
“Therefore, communities, families, and groups should join in the fight and narratives to reject and prevent the ideologies of the terrorists and extremist groups.
“Religious bodies and organisations in particular who interface regularly with the grassroots should be at the forefront of this spiritual battle and fashion out ways of stepping up their roles.
“The fight against terrorism, Boko Haram and ISWAP, as well as other security threats, cannot be left to the troops in the battle field alone.
“Yes, we will do our duties, but the need to tackle groups through spiritual warfare and re-orientating the followers against the ideology is also a necessity.
“It is a well-known fact that terrorism and terrorist groups cannot be totally eliminated by mainly military actions.
“This means focusing our efforts on the underlying narratives through ideologies that are employed by these terrorists to lure innocent citizens to their fold.
“The need to defeat the ideologies of Boko Haram and ISWAP is based on the awareness that it is the ideologies that enhance their resources and help to recruit new fighters to their fold and as such; kill their ideology and the terrorist movement withers and dies.”
The religious leaders and clerics who regularly interface with members of the society must “fashion out ways of stepping up [their] roles, remembering that the fight against terrorism is a collective responsibility.” He added
Pastor E. A Adeboye, the general Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God had gathered the representatives of all the security bodies in the Church Headquarters recently to pray for them and help to help Nigeria overcome all the security challenges facing her.