I write this piece with my usual heavy heart; I join the many million Nigerians who have the true human face in mourning our brothers and sisters who have been needlessly massacred while going about their lives peacefully.
I salute the courage and dedication of the many fine officers of the Nigerian army and police who have been felled, also careless, in standing to protect this country.
To all their families, I pray God stand by them all at this time.
I have, after rounds of discussion with people around, come to see that gradually, the magnitude of this attack on our soil is so frightening that everything the brain can conceive is now a possible theory to postulate as to why we are where we are. This has helped me understand when to join issues and where all I need do is nod my head and move on.
What is of paramount interest is that even while I have been labelled as a prophet of doom and other political players have been labelled ‘aggressive opposition’ for pointing out that these killings may not end soon if pragmatic steps aren’t taken to address the rising confidence of the insurgents, the killings haven’t stopped and nothing happening suggests it may stop soon.
The question I have asked and still relevant is how many people do we have to send to their graves before we begin to see some seriousness in the fight against the insurgency? As identified by foreign analysts, security critics and writers, the Nigeria security formation lacks the needed skill to confront a battle that in my opinion as taken an ideological dimension. We lack the capabilities to successfully execute a guerrilla warfare, information and intelligence management. If nothing is done to address this challenges, the pronouncement of Mr. President, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck that the kidnap of over 200 school girls from Chibok marks the beginning of the end of boko haram would be nothing but mere texts of an over rated presidential pronouncement.
The recent attack on a General Officer Commanding by men of the Nigeria Army who were forced to embark on a late night journey by this GOC that had no clarity into the security situation of the stretch led to the death of promising soldiers further confirms my fear that all is not well with those we actually rely on to confront these monsters. Like any reaction expected of casualty stricken human gathering, other soldiers reacted by firing shots at their GOC and may now be facing disciplinary actions. Besides deploying the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed, nothing more seem to be happening. For the nobodies, the small fries, the common soldiers who actually do the physical jobs expected of soldiers, heads would roll; this is mutiny and people have to be punished.
This is part of the frail, non-existing justice system.
The careless killing of civilians by Nigerian soldiers too under the guise of interrogation and illegal detention of ‘suspects’ is also besides being a reflection of a sick society where you kill for free, it also readily recruits for boko haram as that appears to be the only platform to revenge the death of a friend, brother, son or colleague. This singular trend also makes it difficult for the army to get the cooperation of the people who would have been a good source of intelligence. So that these killings may stop, we need to address this.
It is not enough that foreign help has been sought nor that we are already on the global front burner by virtue of our viral BringBackOurGirls hashtag; the readiness, will, commitment, wit and preparedness of Mr. President to convincingly combat this menace and step on toes even if the toes have to be broken, is a vital ingredient is marching on the right path to victory.
The system should rid itself of corruption and sabotage. Military officers selling arms and ammunitions to terrorists would take us nowhere but closer to our graves.
We need to stop pointing fingers and begin to take collective action in addressing this. We won’t spare those at the helms of affairs when they fail to meet us at the point of our needs but we would not deny them the needed support they deserve when the expected level of seriousness is recorded.
Nothing in recent time has shown that the utterances of Mr. President can or should be taken seriously; this contributes to the rising guts of the terrorists. The kidnap had given the boko haram sect the needed attention they seek and the lackadaisical posture of the government has added more icing to the cake. We are not looking any good if this killing must stop.
What should be done? No one, and I mean no sensible person would expect the President to by himself embark on some kind of ‘Jack Bauer’ rescue mission but there must be a change in attitude. The President should begin to carry himself and the office he occupies in a more serious and confident light. When he speaks, it becomes policy and his words must show a lot of strength and confidence. Mr. President should have his reporting officers in the army, police and SSS come up with decisive and water tight information processing and management plans. Where arrests are to be made, they should be made without fear or favour and backed with realistic proof. The approach to the battle must be far more informed and tactical; every bullet leaving the nozzles of our guns must be killing the insurgents and not civilians. Every insurgent arrested must be properly investigated and detailed information extracted, it amounts to absolute waste of tactics to kill a principal suspect in detention. Dead men don’t talk.
While boko haram appears to be what we are currently dealing with, I tell you for free, the problem is far more than boko haram. There is an urgent need to quickly put this behind us and confront other lingering concerns of unemployment, child mortality, health care challenges, poverty, corruption and of course, insecurity.
Finally, I consider it very germane to tell Mr. President to please talk less and get busy. We don’t have the luxury of frivolous talks of people trying to bring his government down. He doesn’t own the government, it is our government! If at this point, all we still talk about is people and not named individuals with clear proof; Mr. President can as well keep working hard to identify this people. Every day that goes by without some decisive steps taken further strengthens the resolve of boko haram to keep this country under perpetual siege.
That this killing may stop, these and many more are steps that should be taken.
Enough of this massacre!