Insecurity: Encourage, not sack Service Chiefs

When the Liberian war was ebbing towards peaceful resolution,  many stories were  filtering out  about the gallant efforts of Nigeria soldiers,  and  interestingly some  of them are holding command positions in present day military formations around the country . 

The  war which enveloped  both Liberia and Sierra-Leone, claimed the lives of some of our gallant soldiers including two Nigerian journalists,  Messrs  Kris lmodibe of  The Guardian newspaper  and Tayo Awotunsin of  The Champion newspaper.

The reported human squalor, death and ruin that were unleashed on the country  were clear evidence of  the devastating power of war.  Despite all these, the United Nations scored Nigerian security personnel very high.

ln 2008, as a  senior civilian staff of the Inspector General of Police, this writer was opportune to travel to Haiti where two foremost Nigerian security agencies –  the Army and Police – were drafted to assist the United Nations in maintaining  peace and orderliness around the country.  Many other personnel from other countries were also deployed to Haiti, which is a Caribbean country.

Impressively, the testimonial extracted from the High Commissioner representing the United Nations in Haiti spoke volume about the two Nigerian security agencies.

l was there in company of the current Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mr. Lawan Jimeta, and a freelance television security presenter, Mr. Patrick Agbambu. The UN head of mission ( forgotten his name now) is a look-alike of our own ex-IGP Tafa Balogun. l think the man is from Uganda. He fell in love with Nigerian Army and Police. He repeatedly drummed it into my ears that these personnel were the best on that particular mission.

Other countries such as India, Cuba, Ghana , and others were also deployed to Haiti at the time, yet he so much relied on the  capability of Nigerian Army and Police to quell any insurrection in the country.

Furthermore, when the war against the Boko Haram started, this writer was still working in the Force Headquarters, Abuja, when news filtered in that the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Muhammed Yusuf, had been arrested and physically handed over to Mr. Chris Dega, the police commissioner in Borno State, but was extra-judicially killed while in Police custody, then the Inspector General of Police was Mr. Ogbonaya Onovo.

Unfortunately, till date, no government enquiry has been set up to establish why Muhammadu Yusuf was killed. An illegal operation that has snowballed into the decade-long insurgency that over the years had taken thousands of innocent lives and engulfed a whole region and opened it to destruction and mayhem.

No responsible government will deliberately close up such a heinous chapter of its history.

When President Goodluck Jonathan was still on the seat, the evil cyclone  of Boko Haram had over run eighteen local governments areas in the North East and building up to over more states.

In fact, Abuja was already targeted as the United Nations building, army barracks, Nyanja Motor Park and the Police Headquarters were bombed with casualties. Even some outskirt neighbourhoods of Suileja and Niger State were not spared.

The nation was still recovering from all these calamities when 272 female students of Chibock secondary were violently abducted from their hostel in April 2014, under the Jonathan administration. The government of Jonathan seemed helpless as Boko Haram terrorists held sway by hoisting their conquest flags in every local government including Sambisa, which was their headquarter. 

The evil group even extended their tentacles to Chad, Cameroun and Niger Republic.

Nigerians could not stand the government failure, and when it was election time, they massively voted out the Jonathan administration for a retired military General, Muhammadu Buhari. He promised to checkmate the excesses of the Boko Haram terrorists.

The then Chief of Army Staff, Leitenant General Minimah, was relieved of his office by the newly elected President who searched out Tukur Bruatai in Njemina, Chad Republic where he was exhibiting outstanding leadership qualities.

No sooner was Bruatai appointed the Chief of Army Staff than he assembled his force team code named “peration Lafia Dole” under lrabor, and before our eyes, each of the occupied local government areas under the terrorists group was recaptured by our gallant Nigerian Armed forces. Also recaptured was camp zero, which served as headquarters of the terrorists in Sambisa Forest.

When all these outstanding performances were being recorded, cynical citizens never applauded the gallant soldiers, neither did they cast any aspersion on the administration under which the terrorists openly went hay-wire.

In some climes like lraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and others, security leaders are never appointed based on religious affinity, neither are they removed based on public emotions.  Security has nothing to do with any of the indices that have over the years divided the country. 

Today, politicians want to dictate the swing of security. That some people applaud the establishment of the Yoruba version of the community policing, it should not be misguided to mean that Amontekun could have been accepted if the initial political dress was not discarded. The dangerous path the country is navigating is to pressure the President into accepting the present notion that political wave can be used to persuade the President to pick his service chiefs politically instead of  individual pedigree. 

So far, none of the service chiefs has scored below average. The two security leaders on whose shoulders rest the external and internal security of the country – Tukur Bruatai and Mohammed Adamu – have done well, and need the encouragement of Nigerians, not all these politically instigated uproar.

Military strategy cannot be compared to any political strategy. The first strategy was war strategy, which was first deployed by Almighty God when according to the holy book , which revealed that tere was war in heaven between the Angels of God and those of Satan.  These men are gift to Nigeria. We should not demoralize them as this would have serious negative consequences on the troops at the war zone.

Yes, few policies have been enacted, nevertheless, they can be amended and refined.

One of such is the open amnesty granted to some of the terrorists at a time when Boko Haram under Abubakar Shekau stretched out its hands of fellowship and brotherliness to another global terrorist group by aligning with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (lSIS). Even after the affiliation, the military was not sleeping, it went after the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shakau and brought him down in a raid that received world acclaim.

Unfortunately Nigerians were even skeptical, doubting the authenticity of the news. It was a different scenario when President Donald Trump announced on October 27, 2019 that his troops had located and brought down the leader of the  Islamic State (ISIS), Abu Bakr al – whose real name was Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri. Americans jubilated, prayed and wished their soldiers well.

Indeed respecting our military could further help to boost the morale of the troops.  Moreover, when the president, being a retired General, appointed the service chiefs, the constitution empowered him to  do so. He knew what caliber of security leaders that would help him actualise his dream to stop the excesses of the Boko Haram sect. To a reasonable extent, the assignment had been carried out successfully. The scenario isn’t what it used to be; this writer has twice been to the North East.  Social and commercial activities have picked up while a good percentage of internally displaced persons are returning back to their homes. Schools are reopened and religious activities are going on.  The pockets of attacks by some members of the sect should not be misunderstood to mean that the security situation in the North East has broken down the way some politicians are presently trumpeting in the National Assembly.

Such outburst is not necessary. One expects these same politicians who have tap-roots in these communities to help reorientate the youths by cautioning them about the danger of getting recruited by these evil sects. Also, one had expected the National Orientation Agency to be at the forefront of this crusade. Once the source for the manpower is cut off, it would mark the end of the sect. Since the President still has enough confidence in the ability of his service chiefs, all that Nigerians should do is to help them to further succeed. 



Given the avalanche of mails and comments received sequel to the first part of this series, it became evident that Nigerians want to witness the day when the Police will  be fully in charge of the internal security of the country.  They want to see their Police officers as friends not foes whenever they enter any Police station or  meet them on the highway. Nigerians want to see how the lGP can completely eradicate bribe for bail. 

Nigerians believe in the doggedness of the IGP; they trust his operational ability but are not comfortable with many of his foot soldiers. Also, security observers are in unison in their assessment of  IGP Adamu as an intelligent officer with strategic acumen.

The security ideas he articulate for implementation have further enhanced the operational ability of the Police.  Evident is the acquisition of 217 tactical vehicles with advanced capabilities for surveillance, crime-fighting and detection, and crowd management. 

It was gathered that the new patrol vehicles are laden with on-the-move CCTV cameras. All these have further enhanced the capacity of the Police.  Even at this, many are surprised at the end of year escalation of kidnapping activities. They wonder why  hair-raising results are achieved by the Police only after there are  cries against rise in insecurity sequel to the Police ineptitude.

They want such outstanding feat like when the Police during the year in review  brought succor to travelers along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, residents of Zamfara State which had hitherto been a killing field later regained its lost glory as a peaceful state. The Police did not end there, but helped to drop the crime rate across the country  with the support of other stakeholders and security agencies with the nation-wide mop up  and recovery of a total of 2,037 sophisticated firearms and two rocket launchers from criminal elements; with 21,870 rounds of live ammunitions.

With all these success stories, should Nigerians not go to sleep with both eyes closed?  Not at all; because it is not yet Uhuru. Clamping down on criminals is sweet to hear, but  the after effect matters.   The question is, what is the government doing to either absorb the large number of applicants roaming the streets? What strategic measures are on ground to avoid expansion of unemployed youths around the country? Today, the growing youth population is dangerously alarming. It is believed that the free arms in the hands of kidnappers are the non-retrieve-able guns freely given to political thugs in the last January elections. The time has come, when arrested political thugs must be made to confess the source  the fire arms they deploy during elections.

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