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Insecurity: Soldiers Protest In Maiduguri Exposes The Lapses In Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command

By Suleiman Umaru

In spite of Complaints of poor fighting weapons  by the troops involved in the Counter-terrorist war in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, over the years but they have never had any cause of  staging a  protest to show their anger to the military Authorities.

 Last Thursday, over one hundred unidentified soldiers attached to the Operation Lafiya Dole TheatreCommand, armed to teeth may have surprised Nigerians when they matched to the Theatre Command Headquarters armed to the teeth  to draw the attention of the military Authorities to their plight

The  aggrieve soldiers  who are not happy over their  alleged redeployment  to  a new location  within the Theatre Command, non-payment  of their allowances by the military Authorities,  and alleged  poor supply of  arms and ammunitions to engage the BokoHaram and Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, insurgents , may have had  a grand plan to   embarrass the new service Chiefs and provide an opportunity for  President Muhammadu Buhari and Commander –In –Chief, C-In –C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces to sack them for failing to perform.  

 The aggrieved soldiers were said to have shot sporadically into the air to force the soldiers alleged to be loyal to the new military Chiefs  to scamper for safety  that the insurgents  have invaded the Theatre Command Headquarters at Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital.

Gen.Irabor CDS

. Security analysts  believe that the aggrieved  soldiers protest was a clear –cut indication that there is no cohesion in the Operation Lafiye Dole Theatre Command. They noted that the anger of the soldiers against  the military Authorities  may not have started today but had been there over the years.  General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, and Ibrahim  Atthahiru, a Lt .General and Chief of Army Staff, who  incidentally  were said to have  served as Commander of  the Theatre Command , at different times may  have inherited the problem from their predecessors without putting plans on ground on how to solve it. They had expected the duo who are aware of their plight to solve it as they  are holding key positions in the new hierarchy but they had  had allowed the problem to persist.   

The rumour that that had filtered out  that $1billion arms fund meant for procurement of arms and ammunitions to prosecute the insurgency war in the north east and contain the activities of the  armed Bandits in the north west could not be accounted for may have fueled the anger of the unidentified soldiers.

Major Gen.rtd. Munguno: NSA

. Although, Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA,   had said that the money was judiciously used to procure the arms and ammunituions to calm frayed nerves in the army but that was how far he could go. The soldiers anger may have become pronounced  after a unit  from the unidentified battalion  went for reinforcement  when the Marte military base in the north east state of Yobe  was captured by the BokHaram insurgents last February, as  many of them were said to have perished  under the superior firepower of the insurgents.  

The organised protest by the aggrieved soldiers of an unidentified battalion of  the Maiduguri based Theatre Command Headquarters was an indication that the sponsors of the BokoHaram and ISWAP insurgents, have penetrated the ranks of the Theatre Command battalions  in their plan to dismember Nigeria.

 This is where the military Authorities may have to fish out for the bad eggs to face the army disciplinary action before they pollute the mind of the loyal soldiers that may draw the hand of the clock back and retard the progressive development of the country which had been achieved over the last 21 years of democratic rule.  

While the military Authorities are still pondering over what may have come into the soldiers of the unidentified battalion  to carry out a protest, it has become  discussion s of the gathering of two or three  people in Borno state, fueling speculations making the rounds that the BokoHaram insurgents, may have cashed in the  disaffection in the Operation Lafiya Dole to carry out more deadly attacks  and destruction of national asset in the state.

Take for instance,   the blowing up of the power tower in Maiduguri, three days after it was fixed by the Transmission Company in-charge of the state, amidst tight security, in order to restore electricity to the city.  Recall that the insurgents had blown up the power tower last January, which threw the city and its environs into darkness  in order to launch an  attack  on the Borno state major city and capture it.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the Borno state Capital  has become the target of the BokoHaram and  ISWAP, insurgents as the Nigerian military and the Multi-nation Joint Task Force, MNJTF, which has been placed  under the General Irabor, the CDS,  continues its offensive against  the insurgents  in the three states, particular, Borno and Yobe,  in the north east.

The Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command Authorities may have read on the wall the plan of the BokoHaram and ISWAP, fighters to attack Maiduguri, which Dikwa Khalifa, a Professor, had described as as a distraction , which calls for the soldiers to step up I their  intelligence gathering and aggressive firepower.

 This appears to have helped, in the recent time ,as troops  from   under  28 Task Force Brigade    of sector I Operation Lafiya Dole, deployed to the  Chibok town,  who laid ambush for the remnants  of the insurgents fleeing   from the Sambisa forest had overwhelmed them  in a  in a gun battle as many of insurgents were said to have escaped with bullet wounds.

 The troops  were said to have recovered  seven AK47 Rifles and an additional  eight AK47 Rifles with four Magazines from the insurgents. Chibok town, according to security sources is the main supply route of the insurgents. The successful ambush of the troops against the BokoHaram insurgents may have sent a signal to them  that laying of  ambush  is not their exclusive preserve.  

The successful ambush of the troops may have informed why Atthahiru, a Lt. General and CAS, had urged  the troops’’to remain dogged and maintain  their offensive  posture in all Operations until the entire north east Geo-political region  is rid of the remnants of the insurgents’’.

President Muhammadu Buhari, may have sent a message to the military Authorities that  the restoration of the Lake Chad region, to help curb  the regular  migration  of youths striving  to get into Europe through the forest , and who ended up  being enlisted into  BokoHaram or ISWAP, group must be pursued with vigour.

The Katsina state born Nigerian  president may have used the opportunity of the visit of President  Idris Derby Itno,  a Marshall, of the neighboring West African  country of Chad Republic, to speak out on the need of  water transfer to the Lake Chad region and Congo Basin so that he people would live their normal lives again.

 Itno, the Chadian President may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that the insurgents would definitely be  tackled  ‘’given the new strategies that will be employed’’. The Nigerian President may have Appreciated what Itno, his Counterpart in Chad is doing   to secure the security of the Lake Chad region hat  that he had said that ‘’it make sense  to be  in the good books  of the neighbouring  West and Central African countries’’. The retired army General was said to have  told Itno, who has transformed himself, from being a Colonel, to a Marshall that  that Nigeria and Chad are facing similar Challenges, noting that  they have to explore the bilateral  issues ,in addition to providing security  and securing the Lake Chad region.

The security Challenge in the north west states of Kaduna and Zamfara , appears to be getting worse on a daily basis as the armed Bandits intensify their kidnap operations to extort money from the state government or Churches. This is evident going by what is  happening in Kaduna, the political Headquarters of the northern elites,  where the kidnappers of the eight Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, members, on Friday, March 27, 2021, who were said to have  established contact with Church Authorities  in the state,  demanding  a  N50million ransom , before they will release them.

 The Church may not be in a  position to pay the huge amount  demanded by the abductors  as the Leadership were said to have  reached out to  the security agencies over the incident with the hope  that they  will help in securing the rescue  of  the Church members  to rejoin their families.

 This is just one of the several kidnap cases in the state.  The kidnap of the 39 students of  theCollege of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna, which had entered its fifth day speaks volume. The armed gang kidnappers of the 39 students may have to keep them in their custody for too long as Nasiru El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna  state , has ruled  out the option of Negotiating  with the Bandits for their  release.          

Stephen Ubanna

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