Nigeria: Restoring the Dignity of the Nigerian Armed Forces


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Over the weekend, Nigerian Army’s Public Relations Director Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu practically rolled out the drums celebrating the command style of the current Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, who he said “increased Nigerian army operations and operational success, adding that Yahaya took office on Nov.

He treated us with kinetic and non-kinetic materials which, even among all sorts of civilian commentators, have become some sort of cliché about Nigerian security issues that understandably practically everyone has become an expert on. According to him, the neutralization of high-level terrorist commanders and their foot soldiers, including some of their notable commanders such as Abubakar Shekau and Musab Al-Banarwi, has severely affected the terrorists’ fighting ability, with unprecedented effects, several members of the BH and ISWAP terrorists have surrendered .

As recently as yesterday morning, while this column was being put together, we were reminded not only of the numerous explosions that struck Maiduguri over the weekend, but also that the ongoing and prevailing situation was that it was impossible without the military to be three miles outside from Maiduguri to travel escorts. The terrorists holding the Northwest and Middle Belt by the carotid artery have not loosened their grips.

Despite this life-threatening situation, it cannot be denied that in the past month there have been some positive signs of the willingness of the federal government to deal honestly with insurrections. This new attitude, borne out of the government’s embarrassment and its previous compromising attitude towards insurrections, is responsible for this positive development.

In other words, the Buhari government has danced to unfamiliar tunes over riots in such a way that their dance moves and body language have at best confused the troops in that regard.

So now the glimmer of hope is not necessarily the result of a magic by any of the chiefs of the three components of the armed forces. This is because both the armed forces and insurgents are aware that Nigeria is reasonably determined to enforce its sovereignty and deal with the threats we are all familiar with, but the government is in denial.

On this page, and on August 3rd of this year, we wrote an article entitled “The Armed Forces and the Buhari Administration”. We lamented the incalculable damage the Buhari government was doing to the military as the last bastion of hope for a utterly desperate nation.

We remembered the Nigerian military of yore, which was the toast for international peacekeeping and enforcement in the Congo, Lebanon, Namibia or as the backbone of our country, which made Nigeria a thorny scourge in the flesh of apartheid in South Africa and a true catalyst made the liberation struggles in southern Africa in general, so much so that, despite our geographical distance from them, we were honored into the Federation of Frontline States.

We remembered a military who, even in its infancy, waged civil war and successfully pulled Nigeria back from the abyss into which it had been forced within the first six years of the nation’s sovereignty. We remembered with justified nostalgia our exploits as the undeniable leader and police force of the West African sub-region with the help of ECOMOG, which was commanded and largely funded by Nigeria. Our exploits, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone, are not lost sight of by the international community.

We regretted such a loss of prestige that is now being forced and dictated to us by hitherto harmless neighbors in our efforts to safeguard our territorial integrity and to protect the men and women of our country from the terrorist carnage of mostly local villains. Not even during a full-blown civil war did we find such an embarrassing situation in which barracks, sacred military formations, and institutions were so easily destroyed as they were now ravaged by thrown-together, untrained local boys.

In the article quoted above, we insisted that, despite these developments, the Nigerian armed forces remain sophisticated and well trained and that their members hold their heads anywhere in the world. When in doubt, please read Flt Lt A. Dairo’s report; how he was thrown out of the air and escaped when his fighter jet was shot down in Zamfara state. Such courage, told in typical James Hardley Chase fashion, was only possible in James Bond films at the time. Like most Nigerians, Dairo had wondered why such a group, more ruthless than the Boko Haram terrorists, was still being called bandits.

Many proposals have been made to the Buhari government to preserve the military as the sole symbol of national unity and to protect it from internal conflicts shaped by interethnic policies that may include their patriotism. After a lot of pressure that has torn the country apart and put it into a coma, the federal government should consider declaring the rampaging bandits terrorists.

Whatever label the villains wear, the federal government has a constitutional, and indeed a natural, duty to save the rest of us from these looters with no defined philosophy. It is for this reason that it is so wrong to compare the rampaging terrorists of no discernible nationality with the Niger Delta, whose cause, parents, communities, states and nationalities are not hidden and with whom one can easily speak or negotiate.

The steps that Borno State Governor Zulum is taking to rebel and rehabilitate the population are very commendable. He did this while risking his life. He’s a governor who doesn’t play politics with development, especially security. In a real federation, the Borno state should have its own police force for effective internal security.

At the beginning of the Boko Haram uprising, the inability of the Nigerian police to deal with the threat was so evident that the people hastily assembled a Civilian Joint Tasks Force (CJTF), which because of its nature, feared the insurgents more than the police Understand the terrain for effective intelligence. Despite the unnecessary resistance of the federal government, the Amotekun makes credible in the southwest.

Restructure the country with multilevel police and domestic security mechanisms and spare our armed forces the errands that tend to demystify them and the nation.

Canoe and Keyamos rhetoric

The screaming headlines by Festus Keyamo (SAN) stating that President Buhari had no power to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, came as a shock at first until the real story emerged which turned out to be pure political rhetoric turned out to be.

The Minister of State for Labor and Employment, who undoubtedly has the courage to convince, can only shout because of his well-considered opinion. That he is right or that someone agrees with him is a completely different matter.

Keyamo was obviously speaking from his political perspective and he has the right to play in the stands, impressing his boss when he said, “The President has no power to release him (Kanu). On the one hand the judiciary should be independent, on the other hand the president should intervene in the judiciary, what do the Nigerians want?

“On the other hand, if there is any hint of the executive interfering in judicial matters, the whole country will go up in flames because at that point it feels that the president is trying to intervene because of his political interest and” a political one Prefer interest to another.

Now, out of respect for the rule of law, the president has allowed the trial, and yet people are still complaining and going to him to meddle. I do not understand. There is one thing in court. You cannot tell the President to intervene in the judicial process ”.

The interesting thing is that Keyamo knows a lot more than he was quoted. It goes without saying that the Minister is well aware of the powers of the Attorney General under Section 174 of the Constitution to terminate criminal proceedings that he has initiated. The attorney general’s withdrawal of his preferred charges against Nnamdi Kanu therefore does not constitute an interference with the court proceedings.

It is very different from disobedience to court orders, which this government is notorious for. How many can we count in the cases of Sambo Dasuki, El-zakzaky or the most recent case of Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho), where the Buhari government neither appeals nor respects the court order. How many were those whose cases were dropped by the EFCC because they joined the ruling party or were rightly disqualified by the Attorney General who received nolle prosequi?

Let the President and his men spare us this reborn rhetoric of not wanting to disrupt the trial by releasing Nnamdi Kanu. It’s a lame excuse for doing the right thing even when it’s late.

Nigeria, we greet you.

Ebiseni is the general secretary of Afenifere.

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