Boko Haram:Obasanjo’s Bombshell

By Suleiman  Umaru

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo  is not used to frivolities.  His silence in the recent time  about  what is happening in the country has created the impression in people’s mind  that he has reconciled his differences with President Muhammadu Buhari and therefore  no longer ready to criticise his policies.

  The former President surprised many recently when he opened  up  why the battle  against  the  BokoHaram Insurgents, BHI  , bandits and Herdsmen acts of violence in different parts of the country are not yielding appreciable result. 

He noted that the crisis in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno  had been internationalised   with the   involvement  of  ISIS fighters allegedly from Syria  who had infiltrated the ranks of the Insurgents to give a bite to their operations in the region.

The Ogun state retired Army General and Politician had  said that the” groups have incubated  and developed beyond what  the country can handle alone without the support of other countries” in the West African sub-region  , particular  Chad and Niger who are members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission including Cameroon, a member state of the Central African sub-region, which shares boundary with Nigeria via Cross River  state,south-south Nigeria including Adamawa and Taraba states in the north east.

Given further information why it may be difficult for  the combination of the Nigerian troops and the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, to defeat the terrorists, , he said  the security agencies ”intelligence gathering is poor”, noting that the situation has been made worse by” payment of ransoms  which had strengthened  the resolve of the insurgents to continue  attacks on targets”. 

The  Ogun state born politician  who fought the  Nigerian- Biafra war between 1967 and  1970, who could not hide his feelings lamented that the fighting troops are ” poorly trained  for the unusual mission,  poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led   and made to engage in propanganda  rather than achieving results”.

 He noted that the only  way for the soldiers could put an end to the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalists attacks in the   region is for  President Muhammadu Buhari  of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, who also fought the Civil war to  guarantee the ”right welfare  packages for troops  fighting the  terrorists  in the north east”. He is optimistic that if the Katsina state born Nigerian President could muster the political will to address the  welfare package of the fighting troops in the north east, the problem  of ”organised crimes  such as human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking , gun trafficking , illegal mining  in the north west and other parts of the country and regime change”, would be a thing of the past.

An aggrieved Obasanjo,  who ruled the country  both as a military Head of state and Civilian President, was forced to speak out  at the seventh  Synod  of the Anglican  Holy Communion , Oleh Diocese, in the Isoko Local government Area  of Delta state, called for  ”greater Collaboration  among  African nations in tackling the menace of terrorism in the Continent.

Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General  and Chief of Army Staff , CAS,and the President , who may have given the room to Obasanjo to attack the government over its unimpreesive record in fighting insurgency in the north  east  had repeatedly stated  that  the terrorists have been contained  with the recent renewed  military offensive against them in the northern Borno areas, stressing that they have been pushed  to the remote Islands in the Lake Chad Basin. The Army General, particular  stressed that the containment of the terrorists  had been made possible  by the joint operations by troops  of  the Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries including the MNJTF. in the area”.

Prof. Chidi Odinkalu: Former Chairman, NHRC: Wants The President To Sack the Service Chiefs

According to him the Insurgents  are now lurking  around  the Border Communities  especially the dangerous and  inaccessible areas of Tumbun and Islands of Lake Chad, insisting that the best way to finally push them out of the north east  is to have ”concentration of Forces  in the area.

He disclosed that the coming of the Chadian troops  to join  the Nigerian troops in Northern Borno   have given a boost  to the soldiers  and equipment Concentration in the area.  The Borno state born Army General , is optimistic that the terrorists  would be smoked out from their hide outs in the Island with the combined efforts of the Nigerian and Chadian troops.

Recall that former President Obasanjo has called for Cooperation among nations tackling terrorists to be able to make a head way. The Nigerian and Chadian governments  may have cue into it and are closely working together militarily to fight the Insurgents.

Note that the President had said during a day visit to Borno state last April that ”expansion of educational  facilities in the state  was the best  response to Boko Haram’s actions”, stressing that to ”stifle education  in the state , especially that of the girl child”, is dangerous. It is not surprising why he is laying much emphasis on girl child education in the north, since his return from his private visit to United Kingdom on Sunday  ,May 5, 2019.

While the Nigerian fighting troops and the MNJTF soldiers  including the Chadian troops have concentrated their efforts  on the northern Borno, the southern  part  and Adamawa state, according to sources,   have been neglected, thus exposing the people to frequent BokoHaram attacks.

Investigation  by The Magazine shows that people from  the area  and Adamawa state who could not withstand the terrorists  are being  chased  out of their homes  to avoid been killed. A source disclosed  that the Insurgents in their scores  had stormed  Gulak  town , Headquarter of Magadali Local government Area of Adamawa state but were said to have been promptly engaged  by  the MNJTF, soldiers , forcing them to retreat to  Duhu and Shuwa Communities.

 As at press time, the battle for control of the two Communities are still on-going. It was gathered that three persons fell to the Insurgents bullet including a mobile policeman at Gulak.  The trigger hungry terrorists were said to have left on their  trail several  burnt shops  in Kirching Community while fleeing from the MNJTF superior fire power.

The situation , according to the Value News informant is more worrisome at  Dille Community in Askira Uba  Local government  Ara  of Borno state where the Insurgents  awere said to be  killing people with reckless abandon as they are  leaving in droves  from Chibok  and  Margi towns to other towns as the.  MNJTF, soldiers from Lasa are currently advancing to the scene to crush them      

 In spite of the fact  that   the Military under the close  watch of the service Chiefs , particular Buratai and Abubakar Sadique, an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Staff to liberate the north eastern   geo-political region in the last four years. Chidi Odinkalu, a Professor and former  Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, believes, that the continued  retention of the  Service Chiefs whose tenure had expired  would not help matters.  The former National HRC, Chairman, alluded to the fact that if the President had  appointed  new  set of Service Chiefs to lead the campaign  against  the terrorists, they would have given a bite to the anti-terrorist war   as they would  want to deliver to prove that they can do the job better than their  predecessors.

Odinkalu  said the security situation in the country  has gotten to the height  where” keeping the Service Chiefs  are no longer tenable ”. The Professor   insists that  the President  must drop the Service Chiefs in this  his second term. ”They have  done their best but not good enough”, he said. He frowned at a situation in which Nigerians are killed in their  thousands  which is worrisome.

 He cited the case of Abubakar Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, , who is making effort  to contain the activities of bandits in  the north west geo-political region because  he is ”communicating with Nigerians better  and could  tak full responsibility for his actions instead of giving fake news about police operations”.

But  Hassan Stan- Labo, a retired Army Colonel would not  want  the President to bow to pressure to drop the Service Chiefs  as it would create the impression in the mind of people that they did not perform well in office.

 Labo posits that ”dismissing the Service Chiefs  is not the answer to crushing the Insurgents, noting that they  had witnessed  the  ”reduction  in the rate of  terrorists activities in the north east. ”We shouldn’t look like a nation that is not grateful”, he had said. indeed, the decision to sack or retain the Service Chiefs still lies with the President and nobody could read his mind set on the matter for now.  The inauguration of his second term in office on June 12, 2019,  would determine  the security direction of the Administration to gurantee peace in all nooks and corners of the country.  

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