When the Service Chiefs took the front seats at the campaign flag off of outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, it became obvious that this nation has hit her lowest point. High profile servicemen who swore to protect the rest of the country through unbiased application of security techniques have turned against the country, preferring to become politicians overnight.
Days after they committed themselves to campaigning for the worst performing President, the unthinkable happened. Rampaging terrorists invaded military facilities in Metele. The figures of soldiers killed have been subject of endless debates.
Even as I write, the British media reported last Thursday that Boko Haram killed more soldiers. The soldiers on ground in the theatre of war claim they have no equipment and morale is low.
Before our very eyes, the failed APC Federal Government has turned the Nigerian Army into a weapon to advance the ugly political journey of a rejected political party. It has lost the theatres of war and is creating zones of insecurity on behalf of the APC. We watched with sadness soldiers carrying placards in Maiduguri because terrorists were killing them and they lacked equipment for defence.
Under the present leadership of the Nigerian Army, things have continued to degenerate. The absurd is the norm. But the Chief of Army Staff continues to keep his job because of his political relevance to the APC Federal Government.
On Thursday, 29th November, 2019, the nation woke up to another criminal act of the Nigerian Army. This time they invaded the NYSC Orientation camp where recruited personnel of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency were being trained.
They unleashed mayhem on the unarmed personnel, shot sporadically and injured several others. They abducted the trainers and destroyed facilities at the camp.
The training camp was turned into a scene of a horror movie by personnel of the Nigerian Army. Quite sadly, the Nigerian Army has joined the Nigerian Police in the unbridled acts of shame.
For hours, the show of shame of the Nigerian Army at the training ground of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency trended on social media. The cries of the 3000 recruits were heartrending.
The Nigerian Army did the expected. They issued a senseless and pedestrian press statement. A statement that exposed the low quality of personnel who mismanage the nation’s security architecture, simply because they are dancing to the discordant tunes of the APC.
One Aminu Ilyasu, who parades himself as a quota colonel issued a statement claiming that the Nigerian Army discovered an illegal military training camp at Nonwa. The quota colonel made several outlandish claims to justify the act of illegality.
He claimed on behalf of his political godfathers that similar illegal militia camps exist in Benue and Taraba States. It is most unfortunate that even in lying, these political soldiers cannot be logical and intelligent.
The quota colonel and his masters are clever by half. The Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency is a creation of the law and due process.
It was in a bid to improve the security of communities that Rivers State Governor, Nysom Ezenwo Wike gave his assent to the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law No.8 of 2018 passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
On the same day, the Governor also gave his assent to the Rivers State Secret Cult and Similar Activities (Prohibition) (Amendment) Law No.6 of 2018 and the Rivers State Kidnap (Prohibition) (Amendment) No.2 Law No.7 of 2018. Governor Wike said that the laws are necessary to enhance security across the state.
He said that Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency would support existing security agencies with intelligence and information for them to effectively fight crime and make the state safer.
The establishment of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency followed due process all the way. On April 16, Governor Wike inaugurated the board of directors of the agency.
Those inaugurated as Board of Directors of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency include: Rtd Brigadier General Dick Ironabare –Chairman ,Chief Casca Ogosu –Member ,Mr Dennis Amachree -Member ,Prof Emenike Wami -Member,Anthony Uzo Ozurumba -Member
,Uche Mike Chukwuma – Director General
,Mrs Victoria Chikeka — Member , Barrister Nma Omereji , Secretary/Legal Adviser.
At the inauguration, Governor Wike charged the board of directors to kick-start the process of recruiting quality operatives for the agency.
Responding, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency , Brigadier General Dick Ironabare assured the government and people of the state that the agency would work to enhance state-wide security.
He commended the Rivers State Governor for deeming it necessary to set up the new security scheme, which is in line with international best practices of securing communities.
Empowered by law and the Rivers State Government, the leadership of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency started a recruitment drive which spanned several months of screening involving security agencies. Thousands of Rivers youths applied online in a process that was done transparently. It was a trending issue across the state. The website of the agency kept Nigerians abreast of the recruitment process.
Following the directive of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for the the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency ( RIVNESCA) to recruit quality operatives, the agency on Monday 19th November, 2018 commenced the final process of recruiting 3000 personnel.
Thousands of shortlisted candidates gathered at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt for screening by officials of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency ( RIVNESCA) .The statement credited to the quota colonel smacks of gross misconduct and irresponsibility in view of the fact that the General Officer Commanding of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army was informed via a letter of the training exercise.
In a letter titled and dated 12 November,2018: “Request for Drill and Physical Training Instructors”, Brigadier General Dick Ironabare (rtd) –Chairman of Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency outlined the law establishing the agency, functions and recruitment process. The letter was duly acknowledged by the headquarters of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electornic Media.
It is sad that the Nigerian Army has joined the Police in suffering from the degenerative security disease. They have abdicated their security responsibilities and descended into the Political arena.
The Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency is patterned after a similar agency still in existence in Lagos State. The Nigerian Army or any security agency for that matter have never challenged the existence of that agency.
Vigilante groups are in existence in Zamfara and Kogi States, with no challenge from the Nigerian Army. Civilian Joint Task Force are in operation in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States under the direct supervision of the Nigerian Army.
The invasion of the training camp of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency is an act of intimidation. Governor Wike has made it quite clear that the Government and People of the state will not succumb to this act of recklessness induced by political hallucination.
The security of lives and property in Rivers State is paramount. Nobody will allow a group of political soldiers with no proven security pedigree to derail the state. In saner climes, the Chief of Army Staff would have thrown in the towel as he is no longer relevant to the resolution of the security challenge facing the country. He is now a major stumbling block to the peace and security of this country.
When the Nigerian Army begins to compete with Lie Mohammed for the lying medal, then it is obvious that we must all re-double our efforts to sack the failed APC Federal Government.
By: Simeon Nwakaudu.