Coalition Counters Ex-US Envoy’s Article On Security Situation In Northern Nigeria

The Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) has rubbished an article by former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell wherein he predicted no end in sight for the country’s security challenges, particularly in the north. 

Campbell, an envoy to Nigeria between 2003 and 2007 through a piece titled ‘Darkness in Northern Nigeria’ said: “with the growth of militias, the Nigerian state is losing an attribute of sovereignty”. 

The article was first published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a New York-based supposed nonprofit think-tank criticised for its biased stance on Nigeria. 

However, in a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Dr. Julius Idoko, on Thursday, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement said Campbell’s position was “uninformed”, adding that Nigeria is “almost out of darkness”. 

The coalition said it came to this conclusion after undertaking on an assessment tour of the 19 states in the north. 

It noted that in the North-central, for example, armed robbery, highway robbery and kidnapping have drastically reduced while the launch of the Operation Sahel Sanity has quelled banditry in the Northwest. 

According to the coalition, the presence of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T.Y Buratai in the Northeast has rubbed off on the troops and adversely on the insurgents. 

After all its analysis, the group, therefore, concluded that the evils of terrorism, insurgency and banditry pervading the North will soon be a thing of the past.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition of Nigeria Movement, (CNM) concerned about the security situation in Nigeria especially in the 19 states the northern part of the country, decided to undertake an assessment tour of the region with the view to understanding the depth of the problems, the factors responsible and what can be done to remedy the situation.

Our observers were in the three geopolitical zones of the North, namely, Northeast, Northwest and Northcentral Nigeria and covered all the 19 states.

The Northeast which is the worst challenge in terms of security, as we all know, has six states namely, Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe while the Northwest has seven states and the Northcentral six.

Our survey indicated that the zones have their peculiar problems in terms of the nature of the security challenges, the depth and differences in approach while they commonly share other aspects of the concern.

In all the zones, the Federal Government has mobilized security agencies in the bid to put an end to the challenges while various strategies have also been deployed by each of the agencies.

We noted that some of the strategies deployed by some of the agencies have failed to yield the desired results but that others have worked tremendously changing situation while bringing relief and succour to the people.

The security agencies involved have mainly been the Nigerian Army, Airforce, Navy, the Department of State Security, DSS, the  Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and others.

This appraisal captures the combined efforts of these agencies in each the zones and what has been achieved though there are special cases when specific agencies and strategies did the magic.


The general problem of insecurity that pervades the Nigerian landscape also finds space in the Northcentral part of the country.

These include armed robbery, highway robbery, kidnapping and attacks on communities.

But the region is peculiar for farmer-herder clashes, cattle rustling, highway robbery and hostage-taking for ransom.

In Niger, Benue and Plateau, several lives have been lost in communities through these clashes.

But there has been a spike in criminal activities in Niger State with the regrouping of a particular religious sect, raids and communities and kidnappings.

Lately, too, states like Kogi and Nasarawa began to experience spikes in security issues like kidnapping and highway robbery.

Our observations indicated that the Federal Government of Nigeria responded to these threats by sending troops to the zone through various operational codes like Exercise Ayam Akpatuma, Operation CROCODILE Smile and other coordinated efforts which turned around the security situation in the zone.

Our observers were told by affected communities in Benue and Plateau states that the presence of troops has helped stem the level of insecurity around them.

They told our observers that it was the coming of troops to their communities that caused bandits mounting road books and killing people to flee.

They said troops also stopped the rustling of cows, made arrests and returned many cows to their owners which eased the tension in the area.

People in the zone also confirmed that the politicization of the herders – farmers clashes also stopped.

Criminals elements operating in parts of Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa under the guise of a religious sect have also been dislodged and those they held captive freed by Nigerian troops. 


We received reports and later confirmed that some criminal gangs from neighbouring countries usually cross the borders on the Northwest mainly through Kastina, Sokoto and Zamfara States to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.

These bandits would ride on motorcycles,  attack communities in the night, shoot and kill some, dispossess villagers of their belongings and withdraw to their cocoons before dawn.

There were also confirmed reports that the ranks of the bandits were swollen by run-away insurgents from the Northeast. 

All of a sudden, the mining fields on Zamfara became death traps due to the activities of these criminals while many communities in Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna could no longer sleep with their eyes closed.

The recent additions to the banditry and wave of terrorism included raiding schools and taking student hostage for ransom. 

The most provocative was the abduction of over 300 students from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State. 

The Kaduna- Abuja highway also became notorious for the rate of killings and abductions of travellers.

The Federal Government acted swiftly before things would get out of hand and beckoned to the military and other security agencies to focus on the area. 

With constant ground and air bombardment of criminal hideouts, residents have been living in peace.

Scores of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, have returned to their homes to engage in businesses like trading and farming.

The Kaduna- Abuja High Way which used to be notorious for kidnappers, armed robbers and cattle rustlers were also liberated by troops that people can now travel safely

With constant ground and air bombardment of criminal hideouts, residents have been living in peace.

Scores of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, have returned to their homes to engage in businesses like trading and farming.

The launch of Exercise Sahel Sanity by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai also proved to be a wise move.

Within a month after the launch of the Exercise, troops combed the bushes and smoked out the bandits. They freed many hostages that were held hostage and arrested many of the criminals, their informants and collaborators.

The Exercise ensured the recovery of 943 cows, 633 sheep/rams and the arrest of 33 suspected bandits arrested. Seven AK47 Riffles, 1 GPMG and 16 Dane guns were also captured while 17 kidnapped victims were rescued.

No sooner than these results began to show than the people of the Zone began to heave sighs of relief as the nightmare of night attacks and frequent raids on communities stopped.

What would have been an embarrassing situation for the Government and people of Nigeria was turned into a blessing when the army rescued 342 boys who were abducted at a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State without casualty. 


The Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups have through terrorists and other criminal activities destabilised the North-East of Nigeria. 

It is said that since 2009 when the Boko  Haram started, the groups have killed tens of thousands of people and displaced about 2.5 million people.

At a time, the North-East was experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis which left about 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian aid. 

Terrorists were taking over Nigerian territories and hoisting their flags and completely sacking the Local Government authorities.

But the President Muhammadu Buhari led government we were able to establish has through the security agencies, been able to halt the descent towards anarchy and restore hope to the people.

The government made significant military gains, reducing the number of Boko Haram attributed deaths from more than 5,000 in 2015 to hundreds in 2020.

The presence of the chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, at the battlefield was also of great positive effects as it kept the troops pushing harder until they penetrated the fortresses of the insurgents and subdued them in their numbers and it has been series of victories for the armed forces.

At a time the heat was so much on the Boko Haram that their leader, Abubakar  Shekau was heard in an audiotape begging for mercy.

Nigeria troops have continued to dominate the area foiling every attempt by the insurgents to relaunch their operations.

We can confirm that Nigeria has not lost any territory to the terrorists since they were recaptured by troops. 


With what we’ve observed as a group, we can beat our chests and say that the evils of terrorism, insurgency and banditry pervading the North will soon be a thing of the past.

There is hope that Nigeria is coming out of the darkness it has found itself in some years back. 

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