Goodluck Ebele Jonathan told the public that Boko Haram members had infiltrated his government, he was taken to the cleaners. Critics said that statement was to score cheap political point for his government and his party-Peoples Democratic Party. Others reasoned that Jonathan’s claim was diversionary – only intended to divert the attention of Nigerians from the intensity of Boko Haram criminality in the land. The Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces was also challenged to expose the alleged insurgents dinning and winning with him in his government.
What probably emerged out of that challenge was the sacking of security chiefs and replacement of new ones. Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief that the overhaul of the security chiefs would produce tangible results to douse security challenges but were disappointed the more when despite claims of the security operations that they were on top of the situation, the Boko Haram terror group repeatedly harassed and assaulted the polity with impunity especially in the North East zone of the country with scores of loss of lives at every attack.
The height of the sects’ assault was the kidnap of over 200 girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State and of course the successive incessant attacks on military formations in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States which are currently under emergency rule. The question is why the Boko Haram having a field day, so to say, in their operations?
Boko literally means book (western education), while forbidden is the literary meaning of Haram. While the claim that the Boko Haram militants are against western education remains questionable, the activities of the muslem sect so far lend credence to the fact that they have hidden agenda beyond their so-called grouse against western education.
The worsening security situations especially in the North East where Boko Haram attacks have led to a rising number of deaths on a daily basis have consumed Nigerians in fear. While the service chiefs reportedly reassure that the military is on top of the situation, Nigerians are yet to come to terms with escalated killings within the last one year despite heavy reliance on military operations to restore order in the troubled areas.
As a matter of fact, the revelations by some soldiers engaged in fighting insurgency in the North show that there are termites in the house and that explains why no appreciable progress has been recorded in routing out the insurgents in the worst affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa; a situation that has brought President Jonathan and his government under local and international pressure to act fast and save the people from destruction.
One of the soldiers (name withheld) painted a clear picture that all is not well in military camps. The source alleged that four officers brought military kits with arms and ammunition, preparatory for army attack on known insurgents’ camps in the night but the enemy in the house sold the military plan and strategy out and the terrorists struck at army camps and took away the military kits and ammunitions with embarrassing casualties on the side of Nigerian army. What could make the four officers to be absent at the army camp when Boko Haram allegedly invaded the camp and made a mess of the soldiers? The answer can be found in the dictionary of sabotage.
“Boko Haram militants are not faceless, not invisible. We know their locations. Oga see, when an order is given for the soldiers to prepare for war against the militants, before you know it, a counter-order is issued for the soldiers to stay out of action. You will not be surprise to see the militants attacking and killing the soldiers when we have given up the spirit for action”, the source recounted bitterly.
In both instances, you can see the handwriting of sabotage and this remains the bane of the military in the fight against insurgents in the land. If it is not sabotage, how can Boko Haram, in a show of nothing ‘mega’ attack and kill alarming numbers of Nigerian soldiers well-known for military and peace-keeping operations across the globe? Even when security information are provided from impeccable sources on how best to rout the insurgents and restore order, such security information are hardly acted upon or tactically delayed to enable the sect re-strategise towards beating the military to her plan of dislodging them.
For instance, a young man trained by Boko Haram on map reading outside Nigerian shores surrendered himself to security authorities in Nigeria when he returned back to the country and found out that his country home in Borno State has been leveled by those he was trained to work for. Vital information provided by the acclaimed Boko Haram point man have been reportedly hoarded by the power-that-be and even divulged to the militants. Today, the life of the young man is in danger.
The military’s seeming weak response to most of the Boko Haram attacks may have prompted the alleged investigation of some officers and men of the armed forces for offence such as cowardice, negligence and failure to perform military duty and leakage of information to the enemy. Though, the military authorities may not be favourably disposed to the report that some officers and men are being probed, it is also not untrue that the army had “put some personnel believed to be involved in unacceptable military conduct under close watch as part of the efforts to sanitise the service.
Always on daily basis, members of the Islamic sect increasingly dare the military and civilian targets. The attacks, in some cases are carried out with pre-information, and the casualties remain unimaginable, no thanks to the poor intelligence gathering of the security operatives in the country. The era of armed-chair intelligence gathering has gone. We need to protect our democracy, national unity and political stability by waging total war against terrorism with proper and efficient intelligence gathering mechanism.
The soldiers may be willing to give their best in the terrorism war, but they are being subdued morally by corruption, ill-equipment and challenges in welfare. The ineffectiveness of military operations against the insurgents, apparently culminated in the mutiny of soldiers at the Maimalari cantonment recently, against their General Officer Commanding while addressing them. A better tonic for the weary soldiers is to ensure that they (soldiers) are not in want in terms of ordnance and materials. Overhauling the military and its strategy on insurgency is not a bad idea.
Security challenges have assumed higher dimension and have left serious demands on the resources of the military. But the military is crying of inadequate funding. The Chief of Accounts and Budget (Army), Maj-General Abdullahi Muriana, at a training programme for the Nigerian Army Finance Corps Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers at Jaji, near Kaduna, said that inadequate funding of the military was hampering the ability of the soldiers from halting the insurgents. The review of budgetary allocations of the military especially in the area of equipment acquisition and welfare is necessary to boost strength and psychology in winning the war against terrorism.
In a country that insecurity has created the atmosphere of tension, fear and helplessness, the problem of corruption and bureaucratic bottlenecks in the release of approved funds for military operations is a problem that demands urgent attention.
The media are awash with reports that some civil servants in the Defence Ministry demand and receive commission before approved funds for military operations are released. While the report may remain an allegation for now, there is no smoke without fire. Many people are feeding fat at the discomfort of the system and it matters nothing to them if such acts ground the system to a halt.
Insurgency is a global phenomenon and the only language the insurgents understand well enough is the language of force. The military has the capacity to march force with force with the insurgents and deliver with good reports. That can be achieved when the termites in the house are extinguished. Even more important is the need to check the activities of highly-placed individuals and groups that give tacit support to terror groups.
Saving Nigeria from the stronghold of insurgency should also go beyond military engagement. It must include education, sensitization and advocacy by the media and community-based organizations to save vulnerable minds from being recruited for acts of terrorism and criminality.
Sanwo-Olu Signs Anti-Open Grazing Bill Into Law
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, signed the bill to prohibit open cattle grazing and trespass of cattle on land in the state into laws.
With the law, Lagos has joined some states in southern Nigeria that have anti-open grazing laws in place.
The law is coming more than two weeks after the September 1 deadline set by the Southern Governors Forum for states.
The governor also signed the Lagos State Domestic And Sexual Violence Agency Bill, into Law.
Meanwhile, the state government has said it is committed to tackling the menace of drug abuse frontally to reduce the ravage among youths in the state.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, during a courtesy visit by the delegates of Anglican Communion Church of Nigeria, led by the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate, Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba.
Sanwo-Olu said his government was building a massive rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejirin to tackle drug abuse, adding that his administration would partner with the Church to ensure that the people lived a better life.
He said governance started from the leadership of spiritual homes, noting that government and church can jointly build a community that would outlive all, while restating the commitment to improve the movement of people on road, water as well as building rail infrastructure to make Lagos a livable city.
Speaking earlier, Ndukuba thanked the governor for partnering with the church in the welfare of the people and commended him for his outstanding performance in tackling Covid-19.
Also present at the courtesy visit were the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde, Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, among other dignitaries.
Okowa Tasks NASS On True Federalism
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the National Assembly to embody in the 1999 Constitution being amended, true federalism and independence of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The governor made the call on Monday at a nationwide sensitisation on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He explained that an independent RMAFC would carry out its functions independently, including laying its proposals directly before the National Assembly for approval.
According to the governor, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the President has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992 as no President demonstrated the political will to forward the amendments to the parliament.
He commended RMAFC for ongoing sensitisation of the states before a zonal exercise where recommendations from the states would be received.
“For quite some time a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation and it’s very unfortunate that in this country we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992.
“As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.
“But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the President and the President ought to lay it before the National Assembly.
“There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the President lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the National Assembly?
“We hope that the National Assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.
“They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down,’’ he said.
Okowa stated that the National Assembly must do what was right because “a nation is a nation.
Reps Query Presidential Committee Over Assets Seized From Past Leaders
The House of Representatives on Monday ordered the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) on Landed Property to produce reports of all assets seized from former Nigerian leaders.
Members were more particular about the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, whose property and money were recovered by the Federal Government.
The chairman, ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Property, Ademora Kuye, said the House wanted a report on all assets seized from Nigerian leaders in and out of Nigeria, particularly Abacha.
He said this when the Executive Secretary of PIC appeared before the committee in Abuja.
“We need to know the state of those property and to also know if the property have titles of deed,’’ Mr Kuye said.
The committee also queried the sale of federal government’s assets held in trust by the PIC.
Mr Kuye said the committee discovered that some of the property the PIC claimed to have sold were either not sold or were not paid for, contrary to claims made by the PIC.
He added that some of the seized houses which the PIC claimed were vacant were still being occupied.
He directed the PIC to furnish the House of Representatives committee with up-to-date reports of federal government’s assets sold, amount realised from the sales, those yet to be sold and those under litigation.
Mr Kuye also asked that the PIC must state the amount of money remitted to the federal government from the sales with evidence of remittance, adding that all assets pointed out to the committee but not included in its first report should be forwarded to the House of Representatives committee.
Responding to Mr Kuye’s submissions, the Executive Secretary, PIC, Bala Samid, stated that some of the people occupying government quarters had refused to vacate them.
He added that as soon as the occupants were approached for payment or to vacate the houses they went to court to obtain injunctions restraining the PIC.
“We approached the federal government to report them and the federal government said that we should give them time”.
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