By Stephen Ubanna
Those who think that Nigeria, the most populous nation in the African Continent is alright may have to do a rethink. Abubakar Sa’ad , a retired Brigadier General and Sultan of Sokoto, in north west Nigeria, appears to have hit the nail on the head when he said that Nigerian is not alright.
He had cited the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram, Islamic State of The West African Province, ISWAP, a 2016, splinter Group of BokoHaram, fighters in the north east and the Bandits in the north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina , president Muhammadu Buhari home state.
At present, the bandits, which dominated the atatcks in the north west statets of Zamfara and Kaduna, particular,, appear to have spread their operations to Sokoto and Kebbi, the two other states in the north west geopolitical region killing scores of people and rendering thousands of people homeless in the Communities that were said to have been attacked.
The activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB with its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network,ESN, including the armed herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in different parts of the country have given a further insight that the country is actually sick.
An aggrieved Sultan of Sokoto who had participated in several security meetings in the country and who could not hide his feelings when he spoke during the recent National Security Summit organized by Femi Gbajabiamila led House of Representatives in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had made it clear to those that cares listen that ‘’Nigerians should not deceive themselves as things are not alright’’.
He may have indicted the current Nigerian political Leaders including Buhari, a retired Army General, and the Nigerian President, when he said that ‘’Nigeria is in very bad situation now’’, insisting that ‘’it is time for the Leaders to execute action s rather than mere talks’’.
He had his reasons . Between 2017 and 2018, the Lawan Ahmad led Senate had organized a similar security summit but nothing came out of it. He had cited three other security meetings that were held about one and half months ago with the highest security echelons and the Leadership of the country which was’’ all talks and no action’’. This may have informed why the Sultan has called for the implementation of the resolutions of the House of Representatives summit instead of allowing it to gather dust in the Presidency.
But Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and culture, would not agree that Nigeria is in a bad security situation under the present Administration. He was said to have told Adeola Adeniyi Ajakaiye, the Oluyin of Yin- Ekti, on Thursday, May 27, 2021, that despite the country’s current challenges, ‘’the cit is still in safe hands compared to the situation under the previous Leadership’’.
Appealing to Nigerians ‘’not to succumb to the apocalyptic doomsday predictions about the country being in bad shape and heading to disintegration , stating that ‘’ it will never come to pass’’. He may have spoken the mind of the Katsina state born Nigerian President who had repeatedly promised ‘’to bequeath a better country for the present and future generations’’.
Indeed, he may have had at the back of his mind that with the appointment of Farouk Yhaya, a Major General and Theatre Commmander of Operation Lafiya Dole, now rebranded Operations Hadin Kai, to replace Ibrahim Attahiru, a Lt. General and former Chief of Army Staff, COAS,, who died in a King Air 350, Beechcraft Aircraft crash near Kaduna International Airport, Kaduna state alongside 10 other senior officers on Friday, May 11, 2021 that, the battle to restore the country to normalcy would take a turn for the better.
Major General Yahaya may not be new in confronting the insecurity situation in the country. This is because he was been involved in battling the security Challenges in the north east, Banditry in the north west and the north central state of Niger, home of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and a former military President and Abdulsalami Abubakar, also a retired Army General and former Head of State .
He was said to have also been involved in fighting the Secessionist agitations in the south east states of Abia, Anambra, Eboyi, Enugu and Imo as well as working with his men to contain the armed Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash across the Middle Belt states of Benue and Plateau, particular, and the south west states of Ogun, Oyo and Ondo.
But how the Army Major General, and COAS, would be able to mobilise his soldiers to effectively contain the activities of BokoHaram, and ISWAP fighters in the north east and the Bandits, in the north west , who are working closely with the Libyan rebels who have a link with ISIS and who are armed with the stolen weapons, fbyan the Libyan rebels remain to be seen. The rumour making the rounds was that the Libya rebels had trained the BokoHaram fighters in the north east geopolitical region of Nigeria and the Bandits operating in the north west.
Barely 24 hours of Major General Yahaya assumption of office as the COAS, the Bandits operating in the north central state of Niger had given him a welcome party . They were said to have kidnapped 14 persons in Garuka Cmmunity in Tafa Local government Area of the state. Residents of the Community had blocked the Abuja-Kaduna road recently to protest the continued harassment of the Bandits and to draw the attention of Buhari and his security Chiefs, including Usman Alkali Baba, the acting Inspector General of Police to their plight.
This may have helped the people as the 14 persons that were abducted by the Bandits at the Garuka Community were said to have been rescued by the FCT, Police Command, in Collaboration with the Department of State Security, DSS ,and local hunters in the Babangida home state.
It was not surprising why the Nigerian President had had asked Mohammed Younis Menfi, Chairman of Presidential Council of Libya who had attended the Summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC, meeting in the neighbouring West African country of Chad on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, to discuss the security situation in the country and its implications to the neighbouring countries including Nigeria. The Libya Leader had agreed that’’ a stable or unstable Libya had implications for the countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin area , including Nigeria’’.
The LCBC, was said to have been established by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria in 1964, but was later increased to eight member countries. This is because of the admission of the North African countries of Libya and Algeria, as well as well as the Central African Republic of Congo including Sudan, because of their proximity to the Lake Chad Basin .
Buhari’s major Concern for peace to return to Chad and Niger , which are Nigeria’s closest neighbouring Countries in the West African sub-region and which have extensive borders with Libya, bear eloquent testimony to the fact that’’ whatever affects the north African country would also affect Nigeria’’.This may informed why the Libya crisis quickly spread to Nigeria with the death of Moumar Quadafi, the former Libyan President. Buhari, a retired Army General and the Nigerian President had told Menfi, his Libyan Counterpart that ‘’if there is no peace in Libya, there is no way Nigeria may not know peace in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.
He may have gladdened the heart of the Nigerian President’s when he said that the crisis ridden Libya, ‘’is fast evolving as a country as they now have one government active on ground’’. The Libyan Leader was said to have assured Buharri that the country had started’’ expelling the mercenaries enlisted by the various factions engaged in the Libyan civil war in order to have a unified instructions for the fighters’’.
Buhari, was said to have also had a similar discussions with Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh,, the Libyan Prime Minister on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, on ways to bring stability in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, which had been wrecked by decades of insurgency. He was said to have made it clear to his Libyan Prime Minister that the two LCBC, member countries ‘’must Collaborate to strengthen stability in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions’’for peace to reign.
But Babagana Zulum, a Professor and governor of Borno state, however, would want the Federal government to engage the services of mercenaries to counter the BokoHaram and ISWAP , fighters in the sambisa forest and the Lake Chad Basin.
Recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan had enlisted the services of the South African Mercenaries before the 2015, general elections, to stop the Boko Haram fighters attacks in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe major towns and Cities. The 147 South African Mercenaries and 163 specially trained Nigerian soldiers were said to have formed the 72 Mobile Strike Force special unit which were said to have recovered control of the major territories that had been been captured by the insurgents in Borno state in the first few months of the Buhari Administration in 2015.
The Value News learnt the issue of non-payment of the Mercenaries by the Buhari Administration may have forced the private military companies to leave the country in April 2016 to where their services are better needed, thus given room for ISWAP , which have link with ISIS of Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq, to emerge and which appear more deadly because of its ambush on soldiers and attack on military bases in Borno and Yobe states.