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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian Armed Forces’

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                                                                         


Northern governors to security agencies: Stop Boko Haram killings now.



The Northern States Governors Forum  (NSGF) yesterday challenged security agencies to put an immediate stop  to the spate of killings of innocent Nigerians in the North.Reacting to last Thursday’s killing of  22 persons in Mavo, Wase Local Government of Plateau State, the NSGF  said that the present level of insecurity in the North is unacceptable.The forum particularly deplored the  killing of people by Boko Haram and the incessant clashes between Fulani  herdsmen and farmers.Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State  who doubles as the chairman of the forum lamented that the Wase incident  came soon after about 30 people were killed in a similar attack in  Riyom Local Government and 18 in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna  State.The forum commended the Interim  Administrator of Wase Local Government, Zakari Haruna and other  community leaders whose quick intervention averted what would have been a  crisis of huge proportion.He asked security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators are caught and brought to justice, to prevent a reoccurrence.The Governors prayed God to grant  repose to the souls of the deceased and also grant members of their  families the fortitude to bear the loss.
by:  Jide Orintunsin, Minna

Senate Tasks Armed Forces On Redoubling Efforts In Fight Against Boko Haram, Insecurity.


Nigeria Senate

Nigeria’s armed forces have been tasked on redoubling efforts to put an end to the problems posed by Islamist sect group Boko Haram and reduce insecurity in the country to the barest minimum.Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence and Army, George Sekibo made the call while inaugurating the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA, quarters in Karu.“I urge you to spare no effort in the task of reducing the incidence of crimes and insecurity affecting our nation.“I charge you also to continue to be loyal to civil authority, protect our national sovereignty and defend our constitution,” Sen Sekibo said.He however expressed gratitude for the war being waged by the armed forces in dealing with the Boko Haram threat.He also expressed his joy at the standard of the buildings which fit into the quality of structures that had become the trademark of projects in DIA.Also speaking, Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku commended the Chief of Defence Intelligence for providing quality accommodation for its staff.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Pray for security operatives to fight Boko Haram insurgents – FG begs Nigerians.



The Federal Government on Sunday urged  Nigerians to pray for the security agents partaking in the ongoing  military action to end the reign of terror in parts of the country.
The Minister of Information, Mr  Labaran Maku,  gave the charge at a  special thanksgiving service in honour of Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, the  Defence spokesman, in Abuja.The service was held at Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG), Central Parish, Abuja.“We call on the relentless prayers and support of citizens for the  security agents as they battle to end the menace of insurgency in parts  of the country,’’ he said.Maku, who is also the Supervising Minister for Defence, said the task  undertaken by security agents to protect human sanctity against  insurgents required the cooperation of all well-meaning citizens.He explained that members of the security community had in the discharge  of their duties in recent times sacrificed a lot for the sake of peace,  unity and development of the country.“With the support from the Federal Government and the entire public, the  present fight against insurgency in parts of the North-East, would be  won and peace shall be restored in the affected areas,’’ Maku said.
On the elevation of Olukolade to the rank of Major-General, the minister  said it came as a result of his contribution in the advancement of the  country’s military.“ Olukolade’s promotion was as a result of sheer hard work and  dedication to duty as demonstrated in his handling of information on the  ongoing military operations across the country,’’ he said.He described Olukolade as an accomplished officer who had served the  country dutifully so far, adding that “his outstanding approach to duty  should be a model for younger officers to emulate’’.Earlier, Pastor Tunde Oduwole, urged the people not to give up on God,  saying God will intervene in the challenges facing the country.Oduwole, however, urged the people to turn away from evil and return to  God, adding that those in position of authority must

have fear of God.“The political leadership should adopt a godly approach to solving the  country’s mirage challenges, this should include steps that are capable  of addressing the challenges confronting the poor amongst us,’’ he said.In an interview with newsmen after the service, Olukolade said his elevation to the rank of a Major-General was an act of God.According to him,  my excellent journey in the military so far was  facilitated by God and made easy by my colleagues, this I mean, soldiers  and officers both serving and retired that I have been privileged to  work with. (NAN)

Source: Radio Biafra.

Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh Is Too Fat To Head The Military By Abiodun Ladepo.


Chief of Defense Staff, Air Marshal, Alex Badeh

(Right) Chief Of Army Staff , Major General Kenneth Tobiah Minimah
By Abiodun Ladepo

Nigeria’s current most senior military officer is fat.  No, he is not just overweight. He is obese. Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh is the most out-of-shape military officer I have ever seen in my life. In fact, he is probably the fattest person in Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Phew! The man is fat. Badeh is so fat he surely cannot tie his own shoe laces. Badeh is so fat the circumference of his waist is almost the size of the equator. Badeh is so fat he cannot see his own feet or genitals when standing upright. My friends, Badeh is fat. The man is so fat you could cut two pre-tummy tuck Diepreye Alamieyesigha out of him. Badeh is so fat when he takes off the girdle, his gut drops to just below his knees. Boy, the man is grotesquely fat.

I know the paragraph above reads like series of those old “mama jokes,” but have you seen the man who now heads the Nigerian military lately? All jokes apart, no one can convince me that Badeh has walked past a gym in the past ten years. No one can tell me that Badeh can sleep on the floor and rise to his feet without supporting himself with somebody or something. No one can tell me that Badeh can do one single correct sit-up or one single correct push-up. And definitely, no one can tell me that the man can jog (not even to run) downhill for 100 meters. Certainly, this man does not even own a pair of running shoes! How on earth would he lace those shoes if he had them?  Yet, this is the man heading Nigeria’s military?

The shame is not mine. And it is not that of ordinary Nigerians. The shame is that of the Air Force that has promoted this mediocre performer through the ranks all these years. It is, above all, the shame of the man who appointed Badeh to this top-level job. Didn’t Jonathan meet him before appointing him?  Didn’t it strike Jonathan as odd that a military officer looked so chubby?  If this man was half the size he is today and he was a Captain in the military service of ANY truly disciplined force – Air Force, Navy, Army or Police – he would have never made the rank of Major before being summarily dismissed. This man is the epitome of professional laxity in the military.  This man, in his current state of rotund-ness, should not even lead the Boys’ Scouts organization. And I am not being facetious. How can you be 56 years old and be this fat as a military officer?

The military is synonymous with discipline: the discipline to obey orders of those appointed over you; the discipline to control your temper when provoked by civilians, and the discipline to get up early in the morning, even in the rain, to exercise. That discipline comes into play when you are at the table, eating and drinking. You ought to know when to say “no” to another morsel of pounded yam or another bottle of beer. As a leader, as an officer in particular, how do you stand before a subordinate officer whom you are about to recommend for court martial and preach discipline when you are so grossly out of shape. Military leaders lead from the front; how can you lead from the front when you cannot even keep pace with a formation of subordinates going for a five-kilometer run? This is a shame on the entire Nigerian military.

There are military leaders who are unable to run or do particular types of exercises due to injuries. I can live with those. But there are no military officers who are unable to conduct exercises because they are fat. Only in Nigeria would you find such shameless officers. As an Air Force officer, how could Badeh hope to ever fit into a single-pilot fighter jet? And if he manages to squeeze in one such aircraft, how would he retrieve a bombing run map if he accidentally drops one on the floor of the aircraft? The man is just too fat to bend over in such narrow confines. Any time you have a military officer who cannot fit into the seat of a regular, economy commercial aircraft, you have a problem. This guy will always only fit in a First Class seat.

Some have argued that Jonathan hired him because of his tribe. I am not even going to dignify such assertions with a counter-argument. I am sure he is not the only one from his tribe who is in the Air Force. If Jonathan must appoint from Badeh’s tribe, he most certainly could have found someone else. If Jonathan must hire Badeh, he could have retired him and made him defense minister; in which case, people like me would not have had any reason to complain. Others have argued that he was appointed because he was the most brilliant officer in the entire Nigerian military. Now, that is the most fatuous argument ever made in defense of an obese military officer. Wasn’t Badeh the one in charge of the Nigerian Air Force last December 2nd  when Boko Haram fighters charged the Air Force base outside Maiduguri destroying three aircraft and some vehicles? What does it say of his leadership prowess when one of the military bases under his command is overrun effortlessly by Boko Haram? Who was (or should have been) responsible for overall force protection in the Air Force on December 2nd 2013 when Boko Haram humiliated the Force? Why then have we appointed this same guy to now head the entire Nigerian military?

I know the tone of this piece is a bit harsh (and some might argue indecorous) on the new Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), but the military of any country is just too important to be handled with levity. It is an obscene bastardization of the military to have somebody whose “wear and appearance” in uniform…in any capacity, let alone that of the CDS… is so unprofessional.  What example does it now say to all members of the Nigerian military who are undisciplined and have the propensity to grow fat? That they could expect to be rewarded with promotion like Badeh’s case? Even Idi Amin was not this fat.

Abeg Jonathan, fire this guy today!

By Abiodun Ladepo
Los Angeles, California, USA


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

Muslim cleric Sheikh Albani, wife others killed by Boko Haram.


Sheikh Albani

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Nigeria’s Boko Haram was suspected Sunday of  killing a Muslim cleric who had criticised the Islamic extremist group,  and of shooting dead a Christian preacher, in the latest violence to hit  northern Nigeria.
The deaths came after seven people were killed  by a roadside bomb in a border area of the remote northeast, which has  seen mounting militant activity in recent months, and heavy casualties  last weekend.
The first attack happened when unidentified gunmen  shot at Muslim cleric Adam Albani’s car at about 10:30 pm (2130 GMT) on  Saturday in Zaria, as he drove home from teaching a theology class.
Local  resident Mohammed Usman said Albani’s wife and son were hit, while the  gunmen appeared to have dragged the cleric from the car and shot him at  close range.
“We kept hearing gunshots very close to our homes and  later we heard the sound of a car retreating and when we later came to  the scene we found Sheikh Albani lying outside the car with lots of  bullet holes on him,” he added.
“He was still alive but his wife  and a child she was holding in the front seat were already dead while  the rest of the children sitting in the back seat were unharmed.”
Albani’s  brother Kaburu Adam said the cleric, who had criticised the group and  given his support to the Nigerian military campaign against them, died  shortly after he was admitted to hospital.
Separately, gunmen  killed a pastor in an attack on a church in Sabon Garin Yambdula, in the  Madagali area of Adamawa state late on Friday.
Ten people tried to repel the attack with hunting rifles, said Madagali local government chairman Maina Ularamu.
The  attackers made off with four cows and also killed two goats, said  Ularamu, who declined to say whether Boko Haram fighters were  responsible.
But the attack came after 26 people, most of them  worshippers, were killed in a Roman Catholic church in Waga Chakawa,  also in Madagali, last Sunday.
“All we know is that the gunmen  were not soldiers, although they were dressed in military uniform,  because some of them wore bathroom slippers instead of boots,” he said.
Others had their faces covered, he added.
Zaria,  a predominantly Muslim city with a reputation as a centre for Islamic  and Western scholarship, has not been known as a major hotbed of  Islamist activity.
Adamawa was one of three northeastern states  placed under emergency rule in May last year but has been relatively  calm in recent months and has even led to calls for the special measures  to be lifted.
But fears grew among locals in Zaria of Islamist  cells operating in the city, when a French engineer escaped from his  captors last November.
Albani’s theology class was in the  Tudunwada area of Zaria, where soldiers had carried out raids on two  suspected militant hideouts in the past.
Nigeria’s new chief of  defence staff is from Adamawa and said during his inauguration last  month that he wanted a swift end to the insurgency.
Some analysts believe Boko Haram may have interpreted that as a challenge.
Thousands  of people have been killed since 2009 in attacks blamed on Boko Haram,  which want to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
On  Friday, seven people were killed and three others seriously injured when  their bus ran over a home-made bomb near Kuthra village in the Gwoza  area of Borno state.
Boko Haram has scaled up deadly attacks in  the border area with Cameroon in recent months and police blamed the  group for planting the device.
Gwoza is some 90 kilometres (55  miles) by road from Kawuri, where last Sunday at least 52 people were  killed when suspected Islamist gunmen stormed a busy market.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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