Inscurity: How Nigeria Became A Bleeding Nation
By Stephen Ubanna
For years, Late President Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, of Republic, of Chad who has been an important Western ally in the fight against the Islamist militants in Africa, including the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province , ISWAP, Group, in the Lake Chad region in Nigeria .
The Chadian Air force Marshall has mobilised his loyal troops, in the fight against the Islamist militants or vist the troops in his Camouflage in the battle lines. Now the fear in both official and unofficial circles in France and the North American country of the United States, US, was that their Counter-terrorisms efforts may be pushed off course with the take over of his son, Mahatama Deby .
There are indications that the Front For Change and Concord in Change, FACT , rebels, based in Libya and also armed with the country’s stolen weapons operating in the northern region of the Sahel country but has link with a lQaeda, BokoHaram and ISWAP, who were some 300Km, to N’Djamena, the Chadian Capital, were stopped by the military.
President Muhammadu Buhari, may have known that a vacuum had been created with the death of his ally, as the FACT rebels have rejected the Transition plan of the country’s Military Council Plan to return power to the Civilians in 18 months time as they have vowed to continue their offensive towards N’Djamena, the Capital, which remains a threat to Nigeria.
Although, a Military Council , Headed by the 37 year-old Deby , who is an army General, has taken over the government to fill the vacuum, created by the death of his father, Marshal Deby-Itno, but that has not stopped he division in the army and the Opposition from rising up to challenge the Itno dynasty in Chad.
Marshall Itno, was said to have mobilised Chadian troops to Nigeria to support the Nigerian government Counter – insurgency war in 2015, thus becoming he key to Buhari to driving the insurgents from key towns in the northern Borno state under a regional Cooperation deal. They were said to have ejuvinated the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF, statined along the border, with Nigeria, as’’ the Chadian troops also acted as a buffer against the militants’’.Support
The Chadian President was said to have sent a message to Buhari, to his ally, in the counter-insurgency war in the north east states of Adamawa, borno and Yobe, that ’’the Chadian forces would no longer be sending troops over its borders with Nigeria after a series of devastating military loses in the Lake Chad region,an indications that the country’s FACT rebels may have found entrenched themselves in the Lake Chad region. He had visited the Nigerian President last March ‘’to discuss the security situation at the border between the two nations, though the Chadian troops still remained at the frontier with Nigeria, but that was how far he could go.
Bashir Magashi, a retired Major General and minister of Defence, who had repeatedly claimed that the military are on top of the insurgency war in the north east has alarm that’’ Nigeria is bleeding’’, confirming what Adebayo Adeleke, a North American country of the United States , retired Major, had said that the country is serious trouble.
A military source told The Value News that the Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole troops based in Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital , on the orders of the Nigerian President are on the alert along the borders with Chad, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroon,. According to the source, they are worried that the instability that may bedevil the General Mahatama Itno Administration after the Marshal’s death ‘’ will sap the Chadian army presence in the Lake Chad region and thus , expose the north east Geo-political region to more troubles’’.
The minister had justified why the country is bleeding ,attributing it ‘’to self- interests, underlined decisions by quite a number of elites who have exploited the social division of the of the country for their own pecuniary gains’’. He may have spoken the mind of the retired army General when he said that the government has taken a position after embarking on a ‘’Comprehensive research and has finally adopted a methodology ‘’ to ensure that tactically, all political Opponents , ethnic and religious leaders who have turned themselves into enemies of the state were eliminated’’.
TE question on the lips of most people was where the government would place Isa Patami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, described as one of the most powerful ministers either, as an enemy or friend of the state?. This is because of his extremist views in the past, ‘’ calling for Jihad in Nigeria and his unalloyed support for BokoHaram and ISWAP , insurgents, which had led to the killing over 36,000 people in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states over the last twelve years’’.
The worry of many was that the country was in serious danger for the Katsina state born Nigerian President to have assigned such an important ministry which controls the country’s massive Data, telephone infrastructure and other sensitive details of national intelligence to Patami, described as a religious extremist .
Given his extremist religious views, he had said in one of his Teachings in 2000s, that ‘’the Jihad, is an obligation for every Muslim believer, especially in Nigeria’’. His support for the Talibans and the alahumma’nsur Taliban wa-tanzim al-Qaeda is evident going by his prayers: Oh God, drive victory to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.This may have informed why the Opposition People’s Democratic Party , PDP, has called on the Nigerian President to drop the Communications and Digital Economy minister before he throws the country into religious crisis with his extremist views
. He has not denied making such Controversial extremist religious remarks during his Teachings but had said he has no links with any of the extremist religious Groups involved in Jihadist war in Afganistan, Iran, Libya, Mali , BokoHaram or ISWAP in Nigeria.
Given the pressure on him to resign from his exalted ministerial position from several quarters both within and outside the country, he was forced to speak out that he has changed for good . Hear him: I have changed several of my positions taken in the past on religious issues based on new evidence and maturity. He may have trivialised and linked the call for his sack by the Nigerian President to those opposed to the government’s policy of mandatory registration of the National Identity Number, NIN, linking to all SIM Cards. The policy was proposed and being implemented by Patami’s ministry alone.
In spite of the fact that Patami has owned up to expressing such extremist views in the past which was enough to cause him his ministerial Seat, the Presidency appears to have declared its support for the embattled minister, describing his current travails as an ‘’orchestrated attempt to cancel him’’. The Presidency appears to have agreed with him that he has made enemies in the first instance for trying ‘’to put Nigeria first in his actions and initiated policies that would benefit he public’’.
Shehu Garba, Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, at the instance of the President had issued a Statement, noting that the Comments for which Patami was being dragged to the people’s Court ‘’were wrong and in bad taste’’ but he has’’ repented from the views and also apologized that they were Youthful errors’’.
The Presidency, epitomized by Buhari, had confirmed that he made such radical religious views in his twenties, noting that he will be 50 , next year, insisting that the ‘’time had passed and people and their opinions often rightly change’’ , thus confirming what Adams Oshimhole , a former governor of Edo state and a one-National Chairman of the ruling APC , had said: If you are accused of Corruption in the Opposition PDP and could decamp to the APC, you are a free person.
This may have given the ammunition to the PDP, to accuse the APC and the Presidency of being in league with the Bandits, insurgents and other armed Criminal elements across the country’’. Kola Ologbondiyan, the Opposition Party National Publicity Secretary, had said that the position of the Presidency towards the minister of Communications and Digital Economy bear eloquent testimony to people’s impression about the APC , government.
He noted that the action of the APC, government clearly shows why it has been acting as the ‘’mouth piece of the Bandits, rationalizing killings and kidnappings and showing express sympathy to the terrorists and refusing to condemn acts of terrorism but attacking persons and groups that dare to criticise the activities of these Bandits and demand unconditional release of abductees’’.
The Party may have summed up their attack on Buhari and the APC, by saying that the party has ‘’vested interest in the proceeds of these reprehensive enterprise’’. People may have been divided on the Patami’s case because of the believe that his extremist views in 2000 and beyond which may have filtered into the ears of other extremists like him then, may have helped in escalating the insurgency in the north east, particular, Borno state, between 2000, barely a year after the it was launched and now.
Aware of the trouble in Nigeria that had been created by the Bokoaram and ISWAP insurgents including the Bandits operating in the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina, home state of the Nigerian President , including Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General and a former military President,, Magashi, the minister of Defence, had said that’’the government is not unmindful of the threats of proliferation of weapons’’.
. The minister had said that the proliferation of weapons in the country had arisen as security around the borders of the nation with Chad, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroon have been tightened up to forestall the rebels, particular, from the north of the Sahel region of Chad from finding their way into the Lake Chad region to join forces with ISWAP to fight the MNJF, and the Nigerian soldiers.Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired Army General anda former Head of State had told those that cares to listen that there are over six million illegal weapons in circulation in the country.
In spite of the repeated pronouncements by the Nigerian President that the country has the capacity to Crush the BokoHaram and ISWAP insurgents operation in the north east and Bandits in the north west, Nigerians will want him, as the Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, C-In-C , to take the bull by the horn and go head and crush the Criminal elements who are making mockery of Nigeria security.
They noted that the era of the government warning the hoodlums , who have constituted themselves into nuisance in the society ‘’to desist from pushing their luck too far, or telling them not to think that the Nigerian government lacks the capacity to Crush them was a sign of self-defeat.
Goodluck Jonathan, a former Nigerian President when he was advised that the country should use its military strength to Crush the BokoHaram insurgents before it becomes a problem , he had refused, saying ‘’I am not an army General to kill ‘’. From BokoHaram, ISWAP, to the armed Bandits operating in the north west states and other different armed groups the country, security agencies personnel are now dissipating energy to contain them thus making life brutish in Nigeria.
Security experts , have enjoined the retired army General, that since he had said that Nigeria has the capacity to Crush the insurgents, Bandits and the other armed Groups in different parts of the country, there is no need procrastinating before the rebels in the north of the Sahel region of Chad should who are determined to overrun the country as it may worsen the situation in Borno state, in the north east.
The recent attack on Usman Alkali Baba, acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe state, in the north east, barely one month of his appointment by the retired army General , by the BokoHaram insurgents clearly shows that political appointments expose beneficiaries Communities and Local governments to attack.
In 2015, Tukur Yusuf Buratai, a retired Lt. General and one-time of Chief of Army Staff, COAS, who has been appointed a Non-Career Ambassador, Faljari village in Borno state was attacked by the insurgents. The attack had occurred as he was visiting the troops in the Borno state village. But for the quick intervention of the soldiers, he may have been killed. In the shoot out, one soldier and 10 of the BokoHaram fighters were killed, forcing him to quickly return to Maiduguri, the state Capital.
Recall that in 2014, late Alex Badeh, a Chief Marshall and then chief of Defense Staff, CDS, home town, Vimtim, was overrun by the insurgents after taking over Mubi town, one of the Commecial nerve centres in Adamawa state during the Administration of former President Jonathan.