Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd), the National Security Adviser (NSA), has alleged that there are three religious organisations giving potency to the activities terrorists in Nigeria and other Sahel countries.
The NSA also said the adoption of propaganda videos by terrorist groups to project themselves as contending powers in the region, is a mere attempt to garner support from sympathisers, as they struggle to maintain relevance.
Monguno stated this at the 14th Workshop of the League of Ulamas, Preachers and Imams of Sahel countries in Abuja.
The NSA listed the groups as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), Islamic and Muslim Support Group (IMSG), and Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS).
According to him, “Terrorism and the rapid escalation of violent activities by militant Islamist groups in the Sahel since 2016 have been primarily driven by the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which mainly operates in Mali and extends to Niger Republic and Burkina Faso.
“It is bolstered by activities of groups such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM) and ISGS, which have continued to pose an imminent threat to the stability of the region.
“In Nigeria, Boko-Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) dominate terrorist activities, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.
“The situation in the Sahel has never been grimmer, extremist violence continues to spread; the number of internally displaced persons (IDPS) is growing; and food insecurity is affecting more people than ever before.”
The NSA appealed to Islamic preachers and Imams to deploy their vantage positions to canvas support for ongoing counter-terrorism operations, saying alliances between the clerics and security forces “should be the backbone to rebuilding our terrorism infested communities”.
He said the possibility of Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) creating an established caliphate to rival Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries has been checked, adding that “there’s no gun more powerful than enlightenment and education at the grass root level.”
The groups have not responded to his claim.