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How Rice Farmers Killed By Suspected BokoHaram Members exposed The High Level Of Insecurity In Nigeria As Buhari Sends Jitters Down The Spine Of The Service Chiefs

By Stephen Ubanna

Until the Islamic Fundamentalist Group invaded Marrabati and Hammayya villages  ,near  Zarbarmari  in Jere local government Area of Borno state last Sunday, November 29, 2020, not many people knew that rice is grown in Commercial quantity in the area but the local farmers have never had the opportunity of selling  their farm  produce  in the market because of the continuous threat of the terrorists in operating in the area.

The rice farmers may have taken their fate in their hand  to defend themselves from the terrorists  as the  Tukur  Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff , CAS, ‘s men were nowhere around in  the Community to ward off the attackers which the Abubakar Shekau’s men did not find funny.  They may have seen the farmers as trying to block their sources of income  to replenish their arms and ammunition that they had to fight back .

This may have forced the suspected BokoHaram terrorists to waylaid the rice  farmer on their way to their   farm and pumped bullet on them in order to bring to an end rice production in the Jere local government axis rice farming Communities. They  may succeeded after the last Sunday attack as many  farmers were said  to have  abandoned  their rice fields for fear of being killed by the insurgents.

Note that there had been conflicting reports of the number of rice  farmers that were  killed in the two  rice Communities near Zarbamari  by the insurgents. The initial report, as released by John  Enenche, a Major General and  the Army Public Relations officer said they had  counted 43 bodies. Ahmed Satomi, a member of the Federal  House of Representatives from Kwasheba  Community, representing Jere Federal Constituency, said 60 farmers were killed  but they have so far recovered 44 bodies and still searching for the  others. Kashim Shettima, a, a former governor of the state and now a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria , representing Borno Central, put the number of rice farmers beheaded at 67.

But the BokoHaram Group which carried out the atack on the Marrabati and Hammayya rice farmers had put the number of people at 78.  Edward Kallon, the United Nations Resident  Coordinator in Nigeria, who has been following the activities of the terrorists in the country  said no fewer than that  110  civilians were ruthlessly  killed and many others wounded. Kallon, said the office have also received reports  that several  women  found in the rice field were kidnapped. The questions on the lips of most people was: who is telling the truth about the number of rice farmers killed in the Borno Communities ?

Zulum: Governor of Borno state

The killing of the local rice farmers in the two Borno rice Communities may have further exposed the high level of insecurity in the north east geopolitical  region, particular,Borno state, forcing President Muhammadu Buhari, who rode to power  on a three-pronged promise  of tackling Corruption, revamping the already battered economy by the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP,  and fighting insecurity to rise to the challenge.

An aggrieved Katsina state, born Nigerian President,  who is not happy that the  Insurgency in the north east of state of Borno, regarded as the home state  of the  Boko Haram terrorists  had refused to die down despite all the efforts put in place to contain their activities over the last six years,   may have risen up to the challenge to read the riot Act to Gabriel Olonisakin, an Army  General and Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs, particular,  Burantai, the CAS and Abubakar Sadique, An Air Vice Marshall and Chief of Air Staff to sit up.

The Nigerian President, who may have given  a signal to the service Chiefs that  he may  no longer shield them  from their gross inefficiency  in prosecuting the antiterrorist war in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, has given them a matching order ’’to take  the fight to the Insurgents Camp not on a one-off but on a continuous  basis, until the terrorists are rooted out’’. He was to have given his words  ‘’ to make more resources available to  the military and other security agencies to prosecute  the war against terrorism’’.

He may have realised that the country could no longer fight the anti-terrorist war and win without the support of  Presidents Muhammadou Isoufou, Idris Derby and Paul Biya, of the  neighbouring West African Countries of Niger, Tchad and the Central African country of Cameroon respectively. This may have informed why he has intensified the  Cooperation with the neighbouring countries  on bilateral and multi-lateral  levels  to ensure that’’ there is no hiding place for the terrorists’’.

While Buhari, is under intense pressure from several quarters to address the problems of  insecurity across the country, Lai Mohammed, minister  of Information and Culture, who many believe speaks with two sides of the mouth, had said that the country  ‘’will remain at the mercy of   the terrorists without  adequate weapons to prosecute the war  against terrorism’’. 

Mohammed noted that terrorism  is a global issue  and therefore, requires a global solution. He stopped short at saying that the country  had been denied   the necessary  global support  to combat terrorist activities in the north east, thus calling on the international Community to support the country  which had been under the BokoHaram terrorist attacks over the last nine years with the  supply  of adequate  weapons.

Babagana Zulum, a Professor and governor of Borno state who is bearing the heat of the  insurgents as there had been attempts on his life along the notorious  Maiduguri – Bama fishing Community  road   had proffered  six suggestions  to the Nigerian President on how to put an end to  BokoHaram and the Islamic  State’s West Africa Province, ISWAP, insurgents, who had been terrorizing  the north eastern region over the years.

The Borno state governor may have spoken his mind when Ibrahim Gambari, a Professor and Chief of Staff, CS, to the President  and other members  of the Presidential delegation, comprising of ministers and other  top government officials  called to Commiserate with him and people of the state last Sunday over the killing of scores of rice farmers who were waylaid on the road to their farm in Marrabati and Hammayya villages, near Zarbamari town.

The Professor had pleaded with the Nigerian President to consider it as a matter of urgency to engage ‘’the services of Mercenaries and immediate recruitment  of more able-bodied young men  into the military to  boost its strength’’ .  More so, he wants the Buhari led APC, government at the Federal level,  to further engage the services of neighbouring countries of Niger, Tchad and Cameroon in order to clear the remnants  of the insurgents in the Lake Chad  region  and the Mandara  mountains.

He did stop there. Zulum, the Borno state governor, also wants the Federal government   to ensure  the provision of  mine resistance  armoured  personnel carriers and other equipment  for the Army, police, and  other security agencies involved  in the insurgency war.

In a voice laden with emotion, he urged the Gamari led Presidential  delegation to tell the President to do everything within his powers to ensure ’’the repatriation  of the internally  displaced people, IDP,  in Niger and Cameroon and also  support the people of the war-torn state to improve their standard of living which had degenerated considerably.

Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President,  may have gladdened the heart of the governor , who may be praying for his second term in office to end  to have a breather,  when he disclosed that  Buhari has asked him’’ to reassure him  of his Commitment  to fighting insurgency in the region’’.

Already, the President may have started implementing some of the recommendations of the governor as passed on  to him by the Presidential delegation to the state   as he  has intensified bilateral and multi-lateral talks    for improved Cooperation with the Prsidents of  Niger and Tchad , ostensibly to  ensure that   the insurgents  have nowhere to hide  when they  eventually  chased out of the Nigeria soil.  

Nasir El-Rufai: Governor Of Kaduna State Sys Governors Are Answering Chief Security Officers Of States Without Powers

Nasir E-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, who is not happy  with the insecurity challenges in the country, said the governors are frustrated,  helpless and dissatisfied  with the roles  provided for them in the 199 Constitution, as amended.  He had said that the only way the Buhari led APC  government at the Federal level  could surmount  the various  security challenges in the country such as  insurgency in north east, banditry   in the north west and kidnapping in different parts of the country  is for the governors, who are called  the Chief Security officers of the state’’ to have  control over  the cohesive instruments of  the state’’.

He noted that this is the  only  country in the world where a governor would ask the Commissioner of Police to do something  and he would want  to first  clear with the Inspector General of Police, IGP, before doing it. He noted that the END SARS protest last October had   clearly showed  the limit   to the control of the governors over the police and the Brigade Commanders in their respective states. It is not surprising why El-Rufai, Zulum and other governors are frustrated in their respective state, a security expert had  said.

The Kaduna state governor may have opened up  on the police when he said  that ‘’most state governments  were responsible  for the  fueling of their operational  vehicles,  and Communication equipment,  while  the Federal government takes care  of payment of their monthly salaries and allowances.

Perhaps, to curtail the  criminalities in different parts of the country, El-Rufai,  who could not hide his feelings had suggested  the need for recruitment of more  personnel into the Force  who should be deployed  to designated  areas of duty instead of ’’carrying  handbags   of the wives of important  people’’.

But Shehu Shema,  a former governor of the north west state  has called for  proper  synergy  between  the security agencies personnel  in order to  tackle the insecurity in the country.  The former Kaduna state governor believes  that  the government’s efforts may have not have made any appreciative in tackling the insecurity in the country  because the security agencies  see themselves as rivals. He is optimistic that the moment  the security agencies stop seeing themselves as rivals  to  encourage the citizenry ,  normalcy would return to the country. to contribute their own quota and the political Leaders to do the right things .

But there are people who believe that the  way  out of the security  challenges of the country is for Buhari to listen to the people  and restructure the country.  RRotimi Amaechi, a former  governor  of Rivers state and minister of Agriculture would not agree to this.

The minister of Transportation, described as one of Buhari’s closest political  ally from the south-south geo-political region said ‘’restruction of the country is not as critical as the hunger in the land’’. He may have given aninsight  to the mindset of the President towards the restructuring of the country that it may never be achieved  under the Administration. This is bad news for Nigeria.             

Stephen Ubanna

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