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Posts tagged ‘Boko Haram’

Fresh Boko Haram Scare Hits Imo Nigeriens, Northerners Flood Owerri.


 

Palpable fear and uneasy calm is gradually enveloping in Imo state following the unprecedented increase in the number of Nigerians and Northerners in the state.
It would be recalled that the PDP in Imo state had at a press briefing few weeks ago raised alarm about possible Boko Haram in Imo when it alleged that people from the Northern part of the country where activities of Boko Haram is dominant were being trained at the state government built ICAPS complex on Egbu road Owerri. Later discoveries indicate that youths from a particular Northern state were undergoing training at ICAPS. The trainees were later sent back to the respective state by concerned authorities in Imo.
However, heavy presence of Nigerians believed to be from the Northern part of the country is being noticed in the state capital especially in Owerri and other developed towns of Orlu, Okigwe Mgbidi, Ahiara junction and Nwaoriebu.
Our reporters who have been monitoring the developments since the beginning of the year, noticed that major corners in the state capital like Douglas/Mbaise Roads, and Ama JK are witnessing beehive of activities swelled by the presence of the foreigners who have turned to itinerant artisans and craftsmen. Apart from textile and petty trading, some of them are involved in cobbler and roadside merchandising.
Trumpeta visit to Ama Hausa, abode for Northerners showed that the quarters have been over filled with people from the Hausa Fulani speaking states and foreigners with little or no space to operate. Same applies to major areas in the state capital where uncompleted buildings and shanties have turned to places of abode for these foreigners and Northerners alike.
The reasons for the influx of foreigners and Northerners could not be ascertained as to press time but reports have it that if might not be unconnected with inclement security conditions in the Northern parts of the country. It was gathered that the heavy military presence coupled with exercises of soldiers searching for Boko Haram suspects sent many Northerners and foreigners from the sect’s infested areas to terror-free zones to avoid either been caught in cross fire or nabbed by the soldiers.
However, their presence has not gone down well with residents of the state who are scared and expressing misgivings over the influx of non indigenes from the North. Apparently aware of the Boko Haram scare in Southern states like Lagos and Rivers state occasioned by heavy presence of Northerners and foreigners, Imo residents are experiencing uneasy calm, palpable fear and tension.
Some residents, who spoke to our reporter on the increasing presence of foreigners and Northerners on Owerri streets, noted that it is a dangerous trend security agencies should delve into, adding that proactive measures must be instituted to check any action likely to cause insurgence in the state.

By peter uzoma.

Source: Radio Biafra.

A Government From Boko Haram By Emeka Asinugo.


By Emeka Asinugo

When, some months back, President Jonathan of Nigeria said that Boko Haram had penetrated his government and federal government agencies, he knew exactly what he was saying. He was right. In a way, the prolonged and mindless Boko Haram killings in the eastern parts of Northern Nigeria seem to be playing out that time-tested song by Jimmy Cliff titled ‘the harder they come, the harder they fall.’ The harder Boko Haram attacks come on the villages of Northern Nigeria, the harder Nigerian citizens of northern extract fall. The destructive presence of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria can only be compared with the merciless mission of the Janjaweed militia of Darfur.

What Nigerians need to know, at this point in time, is whether these attacks still have religious or political undertones or whether they have turned out to become pure brigandage. For, in these Northern villages which Boko Haram attacks with measured frequency, the people’s cattle, their foodstuff and even their beautiful young daughters are catered away by force, by unknown gunmen, to unknown destinations where, no doubt, the young damsels are subjected to sexual abuse. If this is not brigandage, what could possibly be? Come to think of it! What have foodstuff, cattle and pretty girls got to do with people who claim they want to establish a pure Islamic state, even in a country that embraces a secular and not religious constitution?

Some scholars have, as it were, posited that Boko Haram sect believes some members of a contaminated school of Muslim thought, in tandem with a highly corrupt cabal of Northern politicians, have succeeded in high jacking political dispensation in the Northern part of Nigeria. That is why they are determined to wrestle power from them. They want to see the North return to fundamental Islamic teaching and tradition.

It all sounds good and well.

But if that is their desire, why then are they are killing their own people? Why are they are spilling the blood of their own young and innocent children? Why are they are destroying their own innocent women? Why are they mowing down their own innocent men? What have those being killed got to do with the aspirations of Boko Haram? People no longer have homes in the villages Boko Haram has sacked. They are refugees in their own country, driven away from their homesteads by a mindless sect that claims to be working for their interest.

Boko Haram is the vampire that has kept sucking the blood of Northern Nigeria’s future generations. The sect members have continued to cut down on their own Northern population. They have continued to limit their voting power by reducing their own number. So, someone should tell me: what sort of government can possibly emerge from the rubbles of such recklessness?

Just think about it. This is a wake-up call. How can Boko Haram, if ever they succeed in becoming a government of their own people, dry the tears from the eyes of thousands of women they prematurely turned into widows, and the many more children they turned into orphans? How can they say ‘sorry’ to all those families they threw into grief or left in agony after they mowed down their breadwinner? With what face will they meet their subjects after the battle is fought and won?

If all this is part of the alleged plan to make governance difficult for President Jonathan, then honestly, people from that part of the country should have their heads examined. I am sorry: I am not being rude, but I am almost convinced that this group of rascals cannot possibly stand the ground against a united Northern elders’ forum which endorses government as a democratic dispensation and not a cabal of the rich and mighty shoving it down the throats of the weak and vulnerable.

Boko Haram has caused so much pain to so many families across the nation. They have killed the Yoruba. They have killed the Hausa and the Fulani. They have killed Christians. They have killed Muslims. They have killed students. They have killed people in the marketplace. They have killed people during events. They just don’t care who they kill. They go for vulnerable people in strategic places.

Now, assuming that tomorrow a Muslim northerner becomes President of Nigeria, will these mindless killings stop?

Maybe it will be good for Nigerians to know. It is obvious that any government emanating straight from the ashes of Boko Haram’s killings will either be an autocracy or another Taliban type of government which will enforce strict Islamic Laws that tend to deny women of their human rights – a government that will dry the women’s tears with fire, and not with handkerchiefs. Will a Northern President be able to placate the Boko Haram sect and bring their nefarious activities under control? In other words, can a Northern President heal the wounds inflicted by Boko Haram on so many families in the North and in the South?

Nigerians should learn from the history of their country – both ancient and contemporary history. When two-time Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was in power, Niger Delta people were agitating so much about being marginalized in the scheme of things in the country. The bulk of the oil which sustained the economy of the nation was coming from their land. And they were being neglected. Basic infrastructure was obsolete and in some cases, non-existent. No good roads. No clean drinking water. No affordable medical care. No standard schools. Electricity supply was epileptic. There was general poverty in the land. The oil companies which were exploring oil from the Delta Region were said to have turned a blind eye to all the suffering the people of the region were passing through. They were not doing much to alleviate the level of poverty that was eating deep into the communities that made up the Delta Region. In the midst of the excruciating poverty that was ravaging the region, their top officers and chief executives preferred to live in palatial mansions in the big cities wining and dining with Governors, walking tall on the corridors of power.

Overwhelmed by their circumstances, the people of the Delta Region began to make trouble. They kidnapped oil workers. They kidnapped indigenes. They kidnapped foreigners. They kidnapped members of the families of public office holders. They vandalized oil pipelines and oil installations. They stole crude oil and refined them in makeshift refineries within the creeks, far away from government’s scrutiny.

It was all telling on Chief Obasanjo as Head of State because he is a man who loves his country but who, from experience, knew how difficult it was to please every Nigerian at the same time from the Presidential Villa. Obasanjo thought out a plan.

He was convinced that a President coming from the Delta Region would be in a better position to sort out Delta people and bring relief to the country. So, he sponsored the late Musa Yar ‘Adua as President and Jonathan as Vice President under the auspices of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which at the time was largest and the ruling party.

Jonathan had become Governor of Bayelsa State after his predecessor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, had been indicted for money laundering by a London court and was impeached by Bayelsa House of Assembly on that account. The elder brother of Governor Musa Yar ‘Adua, Major General Shehu Yar’ Adua, had been a successful businessman, soldier, and politician. His father was a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic. Shehu trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England and participated in the Nigerian Civil War. He was Vice President of Nigeria when Olusegun Obasanjo was military Head of State from 1976 until 1979.

In 1995, the older Yar ‘Adua was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal after he called on the military government of General Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to re-establish civilian rule. Obasanjo was also imprisoned at the same time. Unfortunately, Shehu Yar ‘Adua died in prison two years later, on 8 December 1997. When eventually Obasanjo was released from prison, he wanted to see justice done to the family of the Yar’Aduas. So, he sponsored Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua, the younger brother of his late prison mate, Shehu, to be elected as President of Nigeria in 2007 while Goodluck Jonathan was Vice President.

Everybody knew that Musa Yar ‘Adua was a sick man. Twice, during his tenure as governor, he had gone for medical treatment abroad, which kept him away from work for several months at a time. But because he was loved, not only by his people from Northern Nigeria, but by almost every other Nigerian both from the East and the West, he didn’t have any problem getting back into his office on return.

Whether by accident or by design, the pressure of work killed Musa Yar ‘Adua after three and half years as President. Jonathan succeeded him in office.

But since Jonathan, a son of Delta Region, became President, the troubles in Delta State have not ended. No. Rather, they have escalated. The level of impunity has gone up. Members of the families of government officials are no longer safe. Even members of the family of the President himself are not safe. Recently, the step-father of President Jonathan was kidnapped right from his village home, and the kidnappers are asking for a ransom amount of N500 million (£2 million).

That level of impunity!

So, assuming that by tomorrow, Boko Haram succeeds in “wrestling power from the democratically elected government that is in control in the North”, what sort of government will they be able to form? Will the fact that a Northerner has become President stop the agitation of Boko Haram? Just as having a Delta President could not stop the Delta rebellion, so a Northern President may not be able to twist the arms of Boko Haram insurgency.

In that case, will it not be an indication to Eastern and Western Nigerians that it is time for them to decide for themselves if they still want this do-or-die leadership style of their militant northern brothers or to go their separate ways because things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold? If that is what Nigerians need to know – and react to – this is the time to speak up, the National Conference, the opportunity.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Anarchy: Has Jonathan Lost Control Of Nigeria? By Peregrino Brimah.


By Peregrino Brimah

Bama, Izghe, Bama, Yobe, Mafa, Jakana; Boko Haram is unleashing mayhem in the northeastern villages and towns of Nigeria. Burning them to ashes and massacring the citizens with impunity. ‘Impunity,’ the most commonly used vocab in conversations about this regime.

Since the new service chiefs were sworn in and since the suspect thrice failed NSA and dictatorial regime, Gusau was approved to return to our security department, Boko Haram or whatever it is, has successfully enjoyed ravaging Nigerian cities for hours on-end with the army appearing to have been given a stand-down order. The Armageddon has begun, without question, for many of our countrymen.

The United States has categorized Boko Haram as the world’s second worst terrorist organisation, killings only of less numbers than al Qaeda Taliban central. But with the new rate of successful killing and destruction, Boko Haram 2014 is currently the world’s top terrorist organisation.

Under this administration, Boko Haram which was pretty much destroyed by ex-President Yar’Adua is now back and in better form than ever; getting stronger and more brazen by the day. In the five years, the administration has been unable to restore security to the north and the economy continues in its deadly plunge. As the crisis entrenches itself, the people have lost all confidence and hope.

BUNKERING, PIRACY AND KIDNAPPING

While the northeast grapples with a new reality of life with terror, under this new era of impunity, MEND has reformed into the world’s top high-sea pirates, achieving the most dangerous, high value boat captures and robberies in the entire world for 2013. In fact the first oil tanker kidnap in Nigeria’s history, the hijack of MT Velle di Cordoba, happened in December of 2010 under Jonathan’s government.  Situations appear to be getting out of hand and restoration of modest security appears completely illusive.

According to estimates from a former senior World Bank employee, over $400 billion dollars worth of oil revenue has been stolen from the Niger Delta by thieves, bunkerers and pirates since independence. Today the stealing, bunkering and spilling oil from illegal activities is at an all time high. The creeks are flowing with poisonous oil. In fact the thieves are so confident and feel so legitimate, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council announced publicly that illegal ‘bush’ refining should be legalized. 400,000 barrels of oil are looted every day with a staggering income diversion by the Niger Delta bandits of $4 million every day! And this is getting worse. Unhindered looting of this capacity is a serious enduring threat to national security and prosperity. Illegally amassed wealth is the chief source of cash for the mechanisms of terror. The coastal terrorists continue to secure their status politically and militarily and if not checked early, this poses an irreversible threat to the commoner, the region, the nation and sub-continent as a whole. As these barons achieve stupendous wealth, their sophistication surpasses that of Nigeria’s security services, they are able to bribe and buy off any government threats and their daring reach expands outside Nigeria’s shores, with activities of Nigerian pirates extending as far east as Gabon and west to Ivory Coast.

LARGE-SCALE CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC TERRORISM
Nigeria loses $8bn a year in NNPC oil-product swaps. $4.3 million a day is stolen from the poor masses in the NNPC kerosene subsidy scam, which by the way, contrary to recent statements by the oil minister and President, Nigerians never protested about; the January 2012 protests were only in relation to petrol and not kerosene subsidies. The nation’s economy appears strong in only one thing—missing billions of dollars. Investor confidence is tanking rapidly as the corruption and recklessness of the current regime continues to be exposed. Jonathan appears to have willingly or accidentally lost total control. Of late, the President has fired many of his ministers and even the CBN governor after he exposed gargantuan misappropriations and frank looting of up to and over $100 billion by the administration. As Nigeria’s fortunes get worse, a handful of cabal continue to get stupendously rich while the numbers of destitute have doubled in the last 10 years.

This is serious. This is a deep mess. I’m not an alarmist. When we raised the alarm about the nation being broke; billions looted, we were not unduly frantic, we were simply reading the signs and feeling the pinch that has been substantiated with the expose of the kerosene subsidy scam and the now known $20-127 billion looted as exposed by the Central bank. Trends in terror finance, the sudden inclusion of Nigerians to the list of the world’s top billionaires and poverty in the nation, signified one thing- rapid transfer of oil funds and masses wealth to greedy cabal. The dry-looting of the nation.

Such a situation where the masses are robbed dry to satisfy a few is not sustainable. Anarchy is the predictable outcome of the current state of the nation under administrative economic terrorism. Nigeria hangs precariously at the balance and political aspirations and desperation does not allow those in power realize the impending doom and chaos. For the dead, RIP, the doom has already happened.

ARMS PROLIFERATION

Boko Haram terrorism of the northeast and MEND southern terrorism were both the results of the proliferation of weapons among thugs of psychopathic politicians. After the candidates secured their victories, these armed youth political thugs lost their relevance and resorted to terror. If the events of the past elections are anything to go by, Nigeria is in a bigger mess today. The importation and proliferation of arms is at an all time high under the current regime. No region is being spared as politicians take advantage of the impunity that avails to create and arm new thug militia who will become the havoc wrecking terrorist groups of tomorrow. Nigerian Customs reported seven times as high seizures of arms in 2013 as there were in 2012.

The Punch of Feb 20 revealed that over 8,741 arms and 7,014 pieces of ammunition were recovered from various criminal hideouts in Anambra, Edo and Rivers states. According to another February article in the same paper, the State Security Service operatives intercepted high-calibre ammunition in a 20-foot container at the sea port in Rivers State in a MV Iron Trader vessel which was carrying 2,700 anti-aircraft and anti-tank bombs. The police, according to the report also alerted of an increased number of arms in circulation. Considering the continuous violent killings in the Middle Belt, and the entire national rate of violent armed crime and terror, it does not take much to appreciate the danger Nigerians are in as everyone who desires to possess a gun or even an anti-tank weapon, has one and is able to use it without risk of being locked up. In Nigeria today, when one person discretely shoots, he is a criminal, but once a gang of two make loud noise and beat and kill in a form of mob action, they are spared of any wrong doing. This impunity for mob and communal terror has cemented the foundation for insecurity and societal anarchy.

IMPUNITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF TERRORISTS

It is no news that the corrupt and the sponsors of terror are not only protected today, but are even rewarded and granted greater rights and privileges. In the current political dispensation, once you have amassed enough wealth and power to appear to be able to contribute a certain voter block, the government will patronize you. This grand impunity has discredited any attempt at appearing to be tackling corruption and terror in Nigeria. As long as sponsors of terror are protected by the government, support and cash flow to terrorists is guaranteed.

Government officials caught with bags of money and hand in pot are retained within the government and even if finally they retire, they never face repudiation for their crimes. Imprisoned terrorists, killers and looters are granted pardon or brought out of jail some other way and even the worst murderous dictators and looters of the nation’s history have been awarded national honors. The short term and long term impacts of this ‘canonization of terror’ as Noble Laureate Wole Soyinka phrased it and legalizing of corruption and criminality can only be dreaded. This is a nation under terror. The leaders are proud of their embrace of corruption and terror and wish to share this with the masses and teach all, old and young that corruption and violent and economic terror is a thing to be embraced and regarded. This dangerous situation of absurd impunity threatens the nation more than any other problem the nation has. Where there is no law and no justice there can never be peace. Without ensuring security, there can never be meaningful development. A radical leadership intervention is exigent at this time in Nigeria’s history to stem the tide of praise and patronage of terror, corruption and illegality.

CONCLUSION

The government is afraid of the masses. It knows the people are very different from it. The Civilian JTF in the northeast has increasingly come at odds with the state. These brave youth have gone after sponsors of terror, only to be fenced by the government that quickly comes to the rescue of the cabal, eight hours faster than they ever come to the rescue of the poor and elderly in villages attacked by Boko Haram. This administration is afraid of a true SNC. It is afraid of state police, regional power and restoring regionalism. The Status quo maintains arbitrary ethnic divides and frustrations that allow the government and cabal divert the attention of the masses from their atrocities to ridiculous religious and ethnic quarrels. One must admit that the government and their coterie of plunderers have thus far been a step ahead of the masses. If things remain as is, Nigeria is on a path to sure and certain calamity.

At this critical point, to protect life and restore hope, either a people or other event of force rids the nation of the current administration; or the people must work with this government and help it and force its hand to limit its misadventures till its tenure ends mid next year. These problems are serious; there will forever be scars from what has transpired not only in these last five years but from most of the years since independence. The global dependence on oil is changing; much of the ‘developed’ world has abandoned Nigeria. One notices European players are limiting their dependence on our oil and easing out their oil companies from Nigeria and allowing the Chinese take over. This is not by accident. This is because of their projections on what we have and are doing to ourselves. They view us as on a course of irredeemable decay and a long-term investment risk. Are we going to prove them right? Are we going to secure a future for our children, or leave them a ‘Darfur?’

Dr. Peregrino Brimah
http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Massacre continues as Boko Haram attacks another Borno village, many feared killed.


The police confirmed the attack but could not provide details.
Jakana Village in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State was on Monday night attacked by gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram.
‪Jakana is 36km away from Maiduguri, the state capital, and about 20km from Mainok, the village where 39 people were massacred by the Boko Haram on Saturday.‬
‪Though details of the Monday night attack that lasted till around 3 a.m. are still sketchy for now, some of the villagers who were able to escape the attack said many may have been affected by the incident.‬
‪PREMIUM TIMES gathered that villagers from a neighbouring village of Auno fled to Njimtilo, another village outside Maiduguri, upon seeing the skies being lighted by burning fire from the direction of the attacked village.‬
‪”We spent the nIght in Njimtilo village after running from our own village, Auno”, said an embattled villager, Bashir Adam.
He added that “even in Njimtilo we could still hear the sounds of shooting in Jakana. We hope our brethren there will survive this calamity that has befallen us”.‬
‪The Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Gideon Jubrin,  confirmed the incident to journalists but said there were no details yet.
The Monday night attack in Jakana occurs about 24 hours after at least 32 people were killed by the Boko Haram in Mafa Village.
Mafa Village was also set ablaze by the terrorists in an attack that residents said lasted about 5 hours.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the villagers in Mafa had been forewarned of the attack and many of them fled their homes about a week ago.
The warnings were allegedly handed down by Boko Haram members via leaflets dropped around the village.
According to the Senator representing Borno Central, Ahmed Zannah, the gunmen not only massacred the hapless villagers, but also razed down the entire village.
Mr. Zannah told journalists on Monday that two police officers died in a bomb explosion targeted at an Armoured Personnel Carrier while they were trying to evacuate injured victims.
“I have officially received a detailed report from my constituents in Mafa that 29 people among which was a woman died during the attack. Two policemen also died this morning as they went to evacuate injured people,” the senator said on Monday.
A resident of Mafa, Modu Yuraim, who survived the attack, told journalists in a telephone interview that “We have performed the burial of 32 persons, among them was a woman”.
Mr. Yuraim said the attackers came in various vehicles at about 8 p.m. on Sunday night and began to shoot sporadically. He said most of the houses, which were of thatched roofs, caught fire.
“They have set on fire the entire village, sparing nothing. All houses, all shops and government buildings were razed down completely; we have been devastated beyond what one can describe,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the attack, which started at about 8 p.m. lasted over five hours; a development that left many wondering why it took security officials so long to arrive the village which is just about 45km away.
“I was reliably informed by my people that all the soldiers in Mafa fled during the attack because they could not stand the superior weapons of the Boko-Haram,” he said.
Mr. Yuraim added that apart from the houses that were burnt down, the gunmen also burnt down seven trucks loaded with goods, as well as other vehicles.
The chairman of Mafa Local Government Area, Abubakar Zulum, said the loss suffered by the people, apart from the 32 lives lost, were worth billions of Naira

Ola’ Audu
(From Biafra Galaxy)

U.S. releases damning human rights report about Nigeria.


 

“The most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram.”
A new report by the United States has described Nigeria as a country where corruption, official impunity, and gross human rights violations occur at will.
The report described the human rights violations to include extra-judicial killings, rape, torture, mistreatment of detainees, destruction of property, violence against women, vigilante killings, child labour, forced and bonded labour, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
This assessment of Nigeria is according to the 2013 Country Report on Human Rights. The report, which is now in its 38th year, is sanctioned by the U.S. Congress. It, amongst other things, helps inform the U.S. government policy and foreign assistance.
According to the report, the terrorist group, Boko Haram, and the Nigerian Government are the worst perpetrators of human rights abuses in the country.
“The most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram, which conducted killings, bombings, abduction and rape of women, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and widespread destruction of property; those committed by security services, which perpetrated extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary detention, mistreatment of detainees, and destruction of property; and widespread societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence,” the report said.
The report came hard on the Goodluck Jonathan administration for institutionalising impunity with the state pardon granted to serial money launderer and former governor of Bayelsa State, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha. It also said the Nigeria government has displayed no willingness to prosecute soldiers and police officers accused of gross human rights violations.
The report makes specific reference to the refusal of the government to prosecute members of the armed forces found to have perpetrated extrajudicial killing and torture in clear disregard of the recommendation of The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Committee against Torture.
“During the year joint task forces (JTFs), composed of elements of the military, police, and other security services, conducted raids on militant groups and criminal suspects in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, and Yobe. These raids resulted in numerous deaths of and injuries to alleged criminals, militants, and civilians. Local NGOs, international human rights groups, and political and traditional leaders in the affected states accused the security services of indiscriminate and extrajudicial killings.
“The national police, army, and other security forces committed extrajudicial killings and used lethal and excessive force to apprehend criminals and suspects as well as to disperse protesters. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished.”
Inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
The report frowned at the technique of “parading” of suspects commonly used by the police. It observed that most of those paraded are subjected to public ridicule or abuse.
“Police commonly used a technique called “parading” of arrestees. Parading involved literally walking arrestees through public spaces, subjecting them to public ridicule and abuse.
“Bystanders often hurled taunts, food, and other objects. Police defended this practice with the argument that public humiliation helped deter crime,” it said.
It further observed that police flagrantly extort money from civilians and in blatant violation of the law. They use torture to extract confessions from suspects, which are later used to secure convictions in court.
The report indicts the police of rape and other sexual offences of women in their custody. In one example in Abraka in Delta State, in March 2013, a woman said four men raped her while she was in police custody. She said the police had put her in the same cell as the men. She accused the police of failing to help her. According to her, the investigating police office told her to keep quiet about the incident.
Over-crowded and disease-infested prisons
The report described a horrid condition of the country’s prison. It said the prisons are mostly over-crowded and in such deplorable states that they provide fertile breeding grounds for communicable disease. It said prisoners are poorly fed and their health neglected.
For instance, it observed that inmates with mental illness are kept among the general population. Prison warders are also accused of widespread torture, extortions, and sexual abuses such as rape of female inmates.
“Prison and detention center conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Prisoners, a majority of whom had not been tried, were subject to extrajudicial execution, torture, gross overcrowding, food and water shortages, inadequate medical treatment, deliberate and incidental exposure to heat and sun, and infrastructure deficiencies that led to wholly inadequate sanitary conditions and could result in death.”
“Reports indicated guards and prison officials extorted inmates or levied fees on them to pay for food, prison maintenance, and prisoner release. In some cases female inmates faced the threat of rape. Female prisoners pregnant at the time of incarceration gave birth to and raised their babies in prison,” it added.
“Overcrowding was a significant problem in some prisons. Although national capacity stood at 47,284, an imbalance in the use of prisons resulted in underutilization at some facilities, while others were at more than 800 percent of their designed capacity. For example, the Owerri Federal Prison had the capacity to hold 548 prisoners but held more than 1,784. Ogwuashi-Uku prison in Delta State, with a capacity to house 64 prisoners, housed 541, while Port Harcourt prison, with a capacity to hold 804, held 2,955. Ijebu-Ode prison in Lagos, with a capacity to hold 49 prisoners, held 309,” it continued.
“Although the law prohibits the imprisonment of children, minors–many of whom were born there–lived in the prisons. A 2006 report on the rights and welfare of children from the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs to the African Union found an estimated 6,000 children lived in prisons and detention centers. The Nigerian Prison Service reported, however, that as of March, 69 infants resided in prison with their mothers while 847 juvenile inmates were detained in juvenile detention centers.”
Freedom of Speech
The report observed that though the freedom of speech and a free press are guaranteed by the constitution, high-handed security and government officials still occasionally harass journalists.
The report made a case in point of the December 2012 raid of the homes and offices of the editor Musa Muhammad Awwal and reporter Aliyu Saleh of the Hausa-language weekly newspaper Al-Mizan, confiscating their phones and laptops as well as detaining the journalists and their wives.
“Politicians and political parties harassed and attacked journalists perceived as reporting on them or their interests in a negative manner. For example, on April 8, authorities in Abuja detained two reporters for Leadership Newspaper, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, following the publication on April 3 of an article alleging that President Jonathan had ordered the disruption of operations of his political opponents. Authorities charged the two men with “vexatious publication.” All charges were later dropped.
“Journalists also were at risk of abduction. For example, in March assailants in Ondo State abducted a Nigeria Television Authority journalist, Olubunmi Oke, as she arrived home from work with her infant child and maid. The child and maid were later released. Media reports stated that the assailants had demanded an eight million naira ($50,240) ransom. Oke was freed after three days, following the payment of an undisclosed ransom.
Nicholas Ibekwe
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Boko Haram terrorists: Dead bodies litter Borno.


Details of the weekend bomb explosions in Maiduguri, Borno State emerged yesterday as residents and rescue officials said at least 50 people died in the twin blasts while another 39 were killed in another attack on Manoik, a village near the state capital by suspected Boko Haram terrorists. Death toll may have risen to 100Twin blasts targeted at a shopping centre and a viewing centre at Gomari-Bintu Sugar area of Maiduguri occurred at about 6.05pm on Saturday.
Scores of football enthusiasts who were watching the evening English Premier League matches were caught by the explosions believed to have been hidden in a truck loaded with firewood and parked near the viewing centre by the terrorists. The residents yesterday told the Deputy Governor, Zannah Mustapha, during his visit that 46 people died on the spot while over 60 injured persons were rushed to hospitals within the metropolis. Hospital sources also said some of the victims later died yesterday even as some were said to be in critical condition.

Mustapha expressed the sympathy of the governor and the government to the people, adding that government would always identify with them in their period of grief. He said the governor directed him to express his condolence to the bereaved. He promised that government would assist the victims and those whose shops were destroyed by the explosions to assist them return to normal life. He directed the Chairman of Maiduguri Metropolis Council (MMC) to compile a list of affected persons to help government plan its palliative support for them.

The residents said they saw a truck loaded with firewood parked near the shopping centre unknown to them that the vehicle was carrying bombs. “We didn’t know it was going to be the source of our sorrow,” a resident said amid tears. According to an account, two men reportedly alighted from a truck loaded with firewood, “opened the vehicle bonnet as if trying to fixa fault” and disappeared from the scene in a jiffy. “The truck exploded about 10 minutes later,” sources said. Some residents who were around the area rushed to the scene ostensibly for rescue mission but the second bomb went off immediately. “It was the second blast that killed many people because those who moved toward the first scene were mostly affected,” Aji Musa, a resident said.

The development prompted troops to launch stop and search operation in the city early yesterday to track down possible movement of arms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) into the city. Many residents said they were jolted by the discovery and return  An official of the National Emegency Management Agency (NEMA) said many people died and injured but declined to give exact figure, insisting he is “not authorized t do so.” He said both NEMA and Red Cross Society collaborated with the police to rescue those suspected to have been trapped. He, however, said no more corpses or victims were discovered in yesterday’s rescue operation.

In another attack in Mainok, along Maiduguri Damaturu road, about 39 people died in the incident involving explosions and sporadic shooting, security sources said. Mainok is about 55 kilomteres from Maiduguri. A resident, Mansur Buba, said gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram laid a siege on the community at about 8pm. “We were still discussing the bomb explosion in Maiduguri when we started hearing gunshots and explosions everywhere. Almost all our houses have been burnt. This morning (Sunday), we have recovered 39 bodies,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Another look at the Lord Lugard and her wife Flora Shaw the jezebel, the god almighty maker of Nigerian the zoological republic.


 

Lord Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, have you seen what you have done? It is probable that you are burning somewhere in the hottest part of hell, but Hell should be glad with you that you left a part of hell on earth for some unfortunate people. Adam listened to Eve and see what became of mankind. You, damned fool, listened to your wife, Flora Shaw, and named awhole country after a river.
Whoever has ever named a country after a river in the long interminable annals of world history? Rivers were made for mankind, mankind was not made for the river. That is why we cannot live it like fishes.

We just go there, take our bath, drink, do a couple of other things and leave. Why did the British folks who accepted this idiocy of a name not name their country after River Thames. I mean what would have been wrong with “Thamesia” as a name for Britain. Yet your nomad wife contrived to name our dear country Nigeria after the Niger River.

The grand old river itself, you folks named “Niger” meaning “black” from the same root word from which “Nigger” is derived. But when one looks at the colour of the river it looks just like River Thames and every other river. So what makes this one black? If we wanted to name our country after the river, we had a surfeit of names by the ethnic groups, which constitute Nigeria. The Igbo’s call it “Orimiri or Orimili” (great water), the Hausas call it “Kwara” (big river) and the Yorubas call it “Oya.” I figure proponents of “Wazobia” are already fascinated with the fact that these three names could have been combined to form some kind of name for our nation. That is their business, not ours, right?

Truth of the matter is that I have an axe to grind with this soldier of fortune, this mercenary called Lugard, who got married to a journalist of fortune, Flora Shaw. Both restless spirits caused more harm than good. His troublesome wife, history records, encouraged events which led to the South African War (1899-1902). The Second Boer War fought between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking settlers of the two independent Boer Republics of South African Republic and Orange Free State. Britain won and formed the Union of South Africa and then came apartheid. When this mercenary was in Hong Kong as the Governor General, his wife helped him to establish the University of Hong Kong in 1911.  When he came to Nigeria, they did not establish anything. They were infamously against the education of Africans.

Lugard, you did not leave any institution or anything of note in Nigeria except a name which means nothing and which binds our fate to a river; a river which origin is in the Guinea highlands in south eastern Guinea. What you left behind of note, apart from this nomenclature, was a piece of insult which has cast your name in infamy. You dared to write and caused to be published these derogatory statements:

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person. Lacking in self-control, discipline, and foresight. Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewellery. His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future, or grief for the past. His mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached. Through the ages the African appears to have evolved no organized religious creed, and though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural. He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business. He loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility, he will work hard with a less incentive than most races. He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue. In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy. Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.

You had the worst possible disrespect for Nigerians. When there was Mahdi Rebellion in Satiru Village near Sokoto in 1906, you completely obliterated the town wiping out men, women and babies. Little wonder that as Nigerians marked the centenary of your amalgamation of Nigeria without the consent of our fathers and mothers, and pronto your posters, your spirit resurfaced in the shape of Boko Haram and let loose a carnage comparable to what you did.

Yet they put your ugly face in the centenary celebration brochure. You are the cause of all our problems. You were sent here to raise a native force to protect British interest and you pit brother against brother and tribe against tribe in doing that. Up till now the trouble lingers and the drums of ethnicity beats louder. President Goodluck Jonathan should have done without putting your racist face on anything pertaining to this celebration. But when “good luck” turns to “bad luck”, commonsense becomes no sense.

So now the National Confab beckons. An opportunity to fix things up and prove that Lord Lugard was an idiot and that we have the power of organization, that we have apprehension and can visualize the future. After all we won the Nobel Prize (a positive); and have shown the world that we think faster than most other people – even if we think in the wrong direction (a negative). Lugard, RIP (Rest in Pains).

Source: Radio Biafra.

Few Hours After Nigerian Government Claims It Was Winning The War Against Terrorism, Islamist Militants Boko Haram Attack Bama Again.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Few hours after an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide boasted that Nigerian military is better equipped and motivated to fight Boko Haram militants, the sect has launched another brazen attack on Bama township killing several people.

Dr. Doyin  Okupe was countering the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, that the militant were having the upper hand in decimating towns and villages in the northeast region.

Although details are still sketchy credible military sources confirmed the attacks and that hundreds of residents are presently fleeing the town after the sect launched an attack around 3 AM. The sect had been attacking villages and towns in Borno and Adamawa states despite the state of emergency declared by President Jonathan.

Okupe had on Tuesday while disagreeing with Gov. Shettima’s outcry that Boko Haram were better armed and motivated than the Nigerian military.

After leaving a meeting with President Jonathan in Abuja yesterday, Governor Shettima spoke frankly to state house reporters dismissing the fact that the military was winning the war against Boko Haram.

Boko Haram: Military Leadership Underserves President And Junior Soldiers.


By Abiodun Ladepo

“Gunmen from Islamist sect Boko Haram killed 51 people in an attack on a town in northeast Nigeria…in a region where President Goodluck Jonathan’s troops are struggling to contain its insurgency.  Dozens of Boko Haram fighters speeding along in trucks painted in military colours and armed with automatic weapons and explosives stormed Konduga local government area in Borno state at around 4 p.m. on…burning houses and shooting fleeing villagers…The insurgents also took 20 young girls from a local college hostage…The military confirmed the attack took place but said it was still assessing the number of casualties.”

The above was the lead paragraph in a Reuters’s story published a couple of days ago.  The story’s screaming headline was: “Nigeria’s Boko Haram kill 51 in northeast attack.”   Before this headline, there had been many such screaming headlines published by different media: “Gunmen kill 22 in Nigeria church attack: Witnesses”; “Attacks by extremists kill about 75 Nigerians”; “Nigerian gunmen attack toll reaches 85”; “Nigerian Muslim Cleric Opposed to Boko Haram Shot Dead.”  And we can go on and on quoting screaming headlines that have assailed our ears since gunmen first laid siege to northern Nigeria.  Does anybody even pay any attention to these headlines anymore?  Anybody…the Federal government, the military, and the rest of us not directly affected by the carnage…do we pay any attention to these headlines anymore?  Could it be that we don’t pay attention to these headlines because they have apparently screamed themselves hoarse?  Or have we all just become inured to (and inoculated against) their potency?

But probably the one headline that should have bothered Nigerians the most was this from ThisDay newspaper: “Five Aircraft Razed as Boko Haram Attacks Maiduguri.”  The paper reported on 03 December 2013 that the president was so perturbed by the brazen and gory nature of the attack that he called an emergency meeting of the Security Council.  Erstwhile Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh, (now CDS) along with National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were in attendance.  Soon after that meeting, the Air Force launched a few air sorties in the area, dropping a few bombs on what it thought were the enemies.  Many of the bombs were so erratic they missed their targets by kilometers.  Some hit “friendly forces” while others landed in open fields.  The attacking insurgents disappeared into thin air almost effortlessly and our military retreated back to their barracks claiming what later amounted to nothing but Pyrrhic victory – the fact that it successfully drove the attackers away.

Drove the attackers away?  That was part of the bragging statements issued by the Army as it went on a shameless victory lap around the mangled corpses of Nigerian Soldiers and the bloods of civilians, including those of innocent women and children, now mostly Muslims.  It used to be that these attackers targeted Christians and their churches; and because of that, we attributed their attacks to part of Boko Haram’s quest to Islamize the whole of Nigeria.  For a considerable length of time now, these attacks have been launched against Nigerians irrespective of religion, sect, age, ethnicity and gender.  Commonsense should, by now, inform the collective wisdom of our highest military echelon to consider the possibility that these are probably no longer the original Boko Haram adherents we were fighting.

Our military “drove the attackers away”, turned around and came back home?  And we are satisfied with that?  What is wrong in following the attackers to whatever hole from where they came – Cameroon, Chad, or Niger – and finishing them off there?  What is wrong in following the attackers, capturing those we can capture and bringing them back to our bases for interrogation?  Believe me, if we subject these Prisoners of Wars (POWs) to internationally sanctioned interrogation techniques – those authorized by relevant Geneva Conventions articles and guaranteed to preserve the rights and dignity of the POWs – we will obtain actionable intelligence from them that would aid in our execution of this war.  Instead, we allowed the attackers to retreat and re-group so they can fight us another day.  We tucked our tails between our legs, scampered back to our bases and declared victory.  And a few weeks later, the commander whose Air Force Base was so ravaged – Alex Badeh; the one whose subordinate personnel’s wives were carted away by the enemies in that bold attack, was rewarded with promotion to Chief of Defense Staff.

None of the senators who screened Badeh for the appointment had the good conscience to ask him where he was when the attack on the base occurred; what policies he had in place, as then Chief of Air Staff, to forestall the breach of his bases, and what policies he had since put in place to prevent another such attack.  If the senators (led by David Mark, himself a former senior military officer) had had the gumption to ask the tough questions, they would have learned, for instance, that the Nigerian military is languishing in archaic war fighting equipment and doctrine.  They would have learned that our Air Force did not have something as simple as up-to-date maps of our own country – maps which would have come in handy when trying to locate the enemy’s possible fortresses; maps showing all of our man-made and natural terrains that the enemies and our forces could use for cover, concealment and mobility.  The senators would have found out that our Air Force had very limited serviceable and air-worthy fighter aircraft.  They would have learned that because of the paucity of aircraft, only very few of our fighter pilots are well-trained in their jobs.  And those who have the training may not even retain much of these perishable flying-and-fighting skills due to lack of regular sustainment training.  Our senators would have learned that our Army still carries around moribund and often malfunctioning personal and crew-served weapons; that they move around in dilapidated Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs); that our Soldiers regularly run out of ammunition, petrol, food and other essential items in the middle of firefights.  Our senators would have found out to their utter chagrins the nauseating fact that we are sometimes late in paying our Soldiers’ combat and deployment allowances; and that when they die in combat, we take forever in paying their gratuities to their families, thereby keeping morale at the lowest ebb.

Our senators might also have learned that our senior military officers do not understand the difference between conventional war (country vs. country) and Counter-Insurgencies (COIN) (country vs. insurgency) war.  And what they do not know, they could not teach to their subordinates or supervise.  The senators would have learned that we have probably been fighting an armed insurrection or an armed unconventional invasion (assuming these attackers are from neighboring Cameroon, Chad, or Niger) with the tools needed to fight a conventional war.  Had our senators done their due diligence, they would have learned that our military and our intelligence agencies, especially the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), lack the technical knowhow to emplace and employ ground/aerial, static/mobile, human/electronic intelligence collection capabilities that would greatly complement the efforts of our gallant Soldiers.  (For example, we acquired for surveillance a couple of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), otherwise known as Drones.  But with what and whom are we coordinating the images we receive from these Drones?)  Gallantry without effective fighting weaponry is nothing but suicide.  Only when our Soldiers encounter unarmed civilians do their egos swell to match their menacing muscles.  When faced with well-motivated hooded insurgents wielding Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers and vehicle-mounted 60mm machine guns, our soldiers scamper for cover.  Had the senators asked the right questions, they would have known that without motivating and empowering our Soldiers with modern, up-to-date equipment, quality training, and rewarding pay, it is as if we have consistently tied their fighting hands behind their backs and sent them to battle to die.

This low-level war with insurgents has exposed the systemic rot in our military and we should wake up to our responsibilities.  Unless we are deluding ourselves, Nigeria may not survive a full-blown invasion from one of its neighboring countries.  At the minimum, we would suffer great losses in the hands of a determined foe.  Ordinary bands of rag-tag fighters probe and infiltrate our borders at will (daytime, nighttime and evenings); they conduct successful attacks and then successfully retreat with minimal casualties.  A few days later, they repeat the attacks with slight changes to their modus operandi, throwing our soldiers into confusion.  Haba!  These are textbook basic offensive tactics that have continued to make mincemeat of our so-called dreaded military.  And any Nigerian Soldier worth his or her salt should be embarrassed to no end by this.

If we eschew politics, Goodluck Jonathan has no blame in this whatsoever.  Because he was dissatisfied with their performances (and rightfully so) he sacked Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika.  To make it a clean sweep, he also sacked the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba.  While Badeh replaced Ibrahim, Ihejirika, and Ezeoba were replaced by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Minimah and Rear Adm. Jibrin Usman respectively.  Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu slid into Badeh’s old seat as the Air Force’s Chief of Staff.

That is all one could expect of a civilian Commander-in-Chief – reinvigorating the military at the top with fresh hands in the expectation that the new appointees will inject the Force with a new sense of purpose, direction and motivation.  Jonathan should not be expected to understand the minutiae of military Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs).  In fact, he is probably as angry and as surprised as the rest of us that we have not beaten this insurgency scourge.  Jonathan can only understand and approve what the military brasses put before him.  And anyone with a scintilla of expertise in advanced military operations, not just rudimentary knowledge of how the military conducts successful operations, should know that the succession of military brasses have not served Jonathan well.  They appear to me to have become either too obtuse and/or too impervious to designing radical changes to their TTPs.

So, as a matter of urgency, Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh should begin to earn his rank and salary by immediately setting up for himself a Command Post (CP) in Maiduguri and temporarily move his office there.  If anything, this would signal to all his subordinate commanders that he means business and it is no longer business as usual.  This is war and it should be treated as such.  It would also boost the junior Soldiers’ morale to knowing their overall boss is on the battlefield with them, not ensconced in Abuja drinking pepper soup.  Badeh will now be able to see up-close what his Soldiers are facing and can effectively assess what they need in order to win the war.  When he orders them to face death, he would be doing so with moral authority, not just rank authority.  Badeh will see firsthand how a typical fellow Nigerian in Konduga lives his or her daily life and can then report same to Jonathan.  Badeh will be able to go to the National Assembly (NASS) and to Jonathan to make a good argument why Nigeria needs to recruit more Soldiers.  He would be able to convince the NASS to increase the defense budget, allowing for training in modern warfare, equipment, remunerations and emoluments for its personnel.

Finally, Jonathan will then be able to inform (not seek permission from) the leaders of Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic; the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), that henceforth, Nigeria would deal decisively with anybody or group of persons that violates its territorial integrity.  Jonathan will mandate Badeh and his entire military leadership to employ the Powell Doctrine of maximum force each time any part of Nigeria is attacked.  And, of course, with credible and actionable intelligence, superior equipment and a motivated military, Nigeria will meet its threat of lethal force with precision and deadly overwhelming delivery.  This will serve as an effective deterrence to would be aggressors and fomenters or anarchy.  This practice of watching whole families slaughtered in cold blood; of survivors gnashing their teeth, wailing and throwing themselves on the ground; and of our military and politicians throwing up their hands in total helplessness will then come to an end.  And we would have our country back.

Abiodun Ladepo                                                                                                                           Los Angeles, California, USA                                                                                   Oluyole2@yahoo.com.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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