Sunday 28 May 2023

Publication of a Book on Counterinsurgency By the Serving Nigerian Chief of Army Staff

This is a book which I would like to read and formally review.

I was notified by an e-mail circular from Adonis & Abbey publishers who have published a book on counterinsurgency by the serving Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya.

I don't want to pre-judge Lt. General Yahaya's work but I would have appreciated something more in the book description which gives an idea of what personal ideas and philosophies he has on the conception and implementation of a national counterinsurgency (COIN) effort.

It would also be interesting to find out, given the length of the Islamist insurrection of the "Boko Haram" and "Islamic State West Africa Province" terror groups (as well as ethnic-related insurgencies in the Niger-Delta and other national regions), whether the Nigerian Armed forces have developed a "national style" and a resulting "strategic culture" related to dealing with insurgent forces in a low-intensity conflict.

In other words, one would want to know whether Lt. General Yahaya is shaping an overarching counterinsurgency doctrine which is specific to the circumstances in which the Nigerian military have found themselves. This would be based on factors such as organisational discipline, national mentality, the geographical features of the arena of battle, the ideological inclination of the insurgents, their objectives, their capabilities and so on.

What lessons has he learned from his own experiences, as well as the counterinsurgency experiences of other nations involved in asymmetric or unconventional warfare?

Military history is replete with army officers who have emerged as influential theoreticians in the area of counterinsurgency warfare. The Frenchmen Roger Trinquier and David Galula, and the Britons Robert Thompson and Frank Kitson stand out as examples of officers whose experiences of fighting guerrillas in the waning days of empire were turned into academic tomes and practical training manuals. 

The activity of waging irregular warfare has also been apt at producing unconventional but intriguing figures whose campaigns have provided ideas which have been developed on by subsequent generations of officers. The British officer Orde Wingate comes to mind as indeed does the American Edward Lansdale, a pioneer in psychological warfare who wrote the manuals used by U.S. special forces when training at Fort Bragg.

So for me, it is of utmost importance that the Nigerian military officer class visibly produces profound thinkers who are able to set down foundational precepts and ideas which establish identifiable doctrines as relate to land, sea and airpower, as well as to the specific efforts aimed at defeating insurgent groups.


LT. Gen Faruk Yahaya | Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Theory Meets Practice | Adonis & Abbey Publishers


I was published on one of Adonis & Abbey’s journals back in 2005 and 2006. One was a reflection on the state of Nigerian boxing and the other two were chapter excerpts from my biography on a Nigerian world boxing champion which is titled "Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal", published by Word Association, Tarentum, PA (2005).

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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