Commenting on ways to lessen grief of slain soldiers families get a sense of closure, a senior researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa, Dr. Akinola Olojo, said soldiers, who paid the ultimate price defending Nigeria against Boko Haram, deserved honor and gratitude from everyone.
He said, “However, we must go beyond this and ensure that their families are accorded a number of advantages that would help to lessen the pain of loss. First, the relevant government (and military) institutions should ensure that the affected families receive full benefits in the form of healthcare, education, assistance with job placements as well as other social and financial safety nets. The families should not be left to suffer due to bureaucratic delays that hinder the processing of these benefits.” the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
How to lessen the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
Akinola, who was also a visiting research fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague, The Netherlands, said there was a need for trauma counseling for affected families, adding that mental healthcare was greatly neglected in many instances with surviving soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recalling his visit to Maiduguri in December 2015 when he accompanied a colleague to the family of a soldier given some time off from the warfront to recover mentally, he noted that one could only imagine the impact on families, advising that mental healthcare should be freely made available to them. the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
He added, “The government must ensure that the multiple needs of troops, who are still alive and with families, are met. It is not only when soldiers die that they should be remembered. If the nation truly respects the memory of the late soldiers, then the existing needs of their comrades, who are alive, should be catered for.
This pertains to things such as salaries and bonuses when due, provision of weapons, and ensuring that living conditions, as well as redeployment issues, are all justifiably addressed. How to lessen the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
“It is important that the reason why the late soldiers gave their lives is ultimately fulfilled and honoured. In other words, the ultimate struggle against violent extremism or terrorism must be won. However, we must bear in mind that winning this struggle must go beyond the use of force. It must involve a comprehensive approach as reflected in Nigeria’s National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism launched in 2017.”
On his part, a former British diplomat and intelligence officer now involved in countering violent extremism, Richard Barrett, OBE, in an email exchange with SUNDAY PUNCH, sympathized with the families of the slain soldiers. the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
Barrett stated, “I sympathize with them deeply and expect that they could best accept the sacrifice made by their loved ones by seeing that the institution they belonged to continues to fight Boko Haram in the interests of all Nigerians and in accordance with the highest standards of human rights and humanitarian law, despite the provocations.
“This is the best way to show the difference between what is offered by the state and what is offered by the terrorists.”
In his contribution, a British/Canadian lecturer interested in security and intelligence in a US/UK/Canada context, Dr. Steve Hewitt, also said nothing could ever properly address the pains of those who lost loved ones to fight against terrorism. the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
Hewitt, who is also a senior lecturer at the Department of History, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, however, said society owed those involved in counter-terrorism a debt of gratitude.
He stated, “I would say that if we accept that there are rules in society and that terrorists deliberately operate outside these rules, often in horrific fashion, then those who attempt to address the scourge of terrorism play a noble role in reinforcing an element of what makes human societies able to function. Rules can be problematic and often reinforce injustices but having no rules is far worse. the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives
“Thus, those engaged in counter-terrorism, assuming they follow rules themselves, play a crucial function for society and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
When contacted, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen Sani Usman, neither returned our correspondent’s calls nor responded to text messages to his mobile on Thursday. He later sent “please text me” to our correspondent after calls to his mobile again on Friday, but refused to reply the message sent. the grief of slain soldiers’ relatives