By Suleiman Umaru
Barely seven months of assumption of office in his first term in office in 2015, President Muhammadu, a retired Army General , had promised that the Islamic Fundamentalist Group , BokoHaram, which had laid siege in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, would be eliminated.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President had given the people hope of ending the insurgency in the region when the soldiers recaptured most of the 20 local government Areas in Borno state occupied by the BokoHaram fighters in Borno state during the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency which had informed why he could beat his chest that the insurgents have been technically defeated.
. Unknown to many , the then President Jonathan had laid the foundation for the routing of the BokoHaram fighters by enlisting the services of South African mercenaries in 2014, which was said to have been inherited by the Buhari Administration in 2015.
The 147 South African mercenaries and 163 specially trained Nigerian fighters were said to have formed the 72 Mobile Strike Force, MSF, which were said to have recovered control of the major territories in Borno state, particular, that were under the control of Late Abubakar Shekau , the leader of the insurgent Group and his men but that was how far he could.
It is instructive to note that non-payment of the South African mercenaries of the agreed amount with the former Jonathan Administration by the Buhari may have forced them to pull out of the deal in April 2016, and the return of the BokoHaram fighters in full force to the old Borno state, comprising of Borno and Yobe, from their sambisa forest.
This may have been encouraged to do so by the Leaderships of the ISIS of Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq, who were said to have renamed BokoHaram as the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, and appointed Abu Al-Barnawi, as its the new Leader, in order to sustain the insurgency in the north east part of Nigeria. The Leadership of the two Middle East terrorist groups , believe that Shekau, the Nigerian BokoKoHaram, Leader was not acting out the script given to him on how to prosecute the insurgency in the north east part of Nigeria or following instructions.
This may have informed why Al- Barnawi ,who has a large following from the old BokoHaram pullout in 2016, and relocated to the Lake Chad Basin , bordering between Chad, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African country of Cameroon, leaving late Shekau and his loyalist fighters to operate the sambisa forest. The split of the late Sheaku led BokoHaram into two groups was big blow to Yusuf Tukur Buratai, a Lt General and the then Chief of Army Staff, COAS, and now Career Ambassador to the neighbouring West African country of Benin Republic and late Lt.General Ibrahim Attahiru, his successor, who incidentally was the Theatre Commander of Operations Lafiya Dole, renamed Operations Hadin Kai, prosecuting the war in the region but who had died in a King Air 350 Beechcraft Aircraft crash near Kaduna International Airport in Kaduna state while n Official duties over alleged bad weather.
. The late Lt. Attahiru, and the Air Wing of the Operations of the Theatre Command were forced to dissipate their energy in confronting the two groups at their different locations whenever they launched an attack. Even Bashi Magashi, a retired Major General and minister of Ddefence had described ISWAP, as the major dominant force attacking Nigerian soldiers and military bases in Borno and Yobe states in the recent as the BokoHaram fighters may have been pushed to the backdrop.
Given the Challenge handed down to Farouk Yahaya, a Major General , a former Theatre Commander and now COAS, with the death of Lt.Geneal Attahiru, the former COASA, to mobilise his soldiers and go all out to defeat the BokoHaram and IWAP, fighters , in the north east geopolitical region, the soldiers may have stepped up their information and intelligence gathering to re-enter into the war.
This is evident going by the raid on Saturday, May 29, 2021, of the BkoHaram fighters Logistics base in Gujba, Yobe, home state of Usman Alkali Baba, acting Inspector General of Police. The Sector 2, Operation Hadin Kai soldiers were said to have succeeded in arresting two suspected fuel suppliers affliated to the terrorist group. The soldiers were said to have recovered 11 Jerricans loaded with Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, Ptetrol, six Jerricans of Automotive Gas Oil or diesel and nine empty empty Jerricans hidden in different Locations in the raided Gujba Community. They were said to have recovered other items from the suspected arrested BokoHaram fuel suppliers.
Mohammed Yerima, a Brigadier General and Army Spokesperson, had said that that the arrested BokoHaram fuel suppliers are currently in their custody for Preliminary investigations and would be handed over to the relevant security agencies for prosecution.
The arrest of the two BokoHaram fuel suppliers, who are helping the Operations Hadin Kai soldiers in their investigations to smoke out their Collaborators and sponsors , may have informed why Yahaya, the new COAS, had ‘’enjoined the troops to sustain the tempo of the Counter insurgency war and clear all suspected fortress and hideouts of these Criminal elements in Yobe and Borno states.
Recall that barely 24 hours after the appointment of Major General Yahaya, yet to be decorated with his new rank of a Lt. General, as a replacement for Attahiru, who died in Plne crash, BokoHaram fighters had launched an attack in Rann Community in Bono state which was strongly resisted by the Opration Hadin soldiers, killing 10 of them in the process.
Given an nsider information of the attack, Brigadier General Yerima, the Army spokesperson , had said that the BokoHaram insurgents came in their large numbers and mounted on their gun trucks with the intention to infiltrate the main entrance to the town but were stopped by the gallant troops.
According to him, the the Operation Hadin Kai soldiers destroyed ‘’one of the gun trucks and recovered multiple weapns, including anti-aircraft gun, two maichine guns and eight AK47 rifles’’.
Many believe that the BokoHaram fighters may still be in the Jihadist war in the north east because of their Collaboration with the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, ISGS, in Mali and Burkina Faso while ISWAP , are specifically being armed with stolen weapons by rebels from the from the south, North African country of Libya. The recent attack by the BkoHaram insurgents in Diffa town in south eastern Niger Republic , which is close to the border with Nigeria speaks volume.
Informed security sources told The Value News, that Diffa town has been attacked several times by the BokoHaram and ISGS, fighters, since 2015. It was learnt in May 2020, intense fighting had broken out between the Nigrien Army and the Jihadists near the Doutchi bridge that links Niger with Nigeria in the southern paart of the city. But for the Nigerien Arm quick intervention with sustained gunfire , including use of heavy weapons, to force them to retreat the Malian Jihadists would have fully entered the Jihadist war in the north east part of Nigeria.
Note that the Diffa region in Niger Republic, is home to 300,000 refuges and internally displaced people, mostly from the north east , who have fled the fighters. There is no gain saying the fact that between 2009, when BokoHaram insurgents launched their attack on the Nigeria state and now and the entry into the Jihadists war by ISWAP, a splinter group of the original BokoHaram, no fewer than 36,000 people have killed and displaced in their homes in Nigeria alone.
, HWhile the insecurity situation in the country is getting worse by the day, the Nigerian President travelled to Ghana, on Sunday, May 30, 2021, to attend a meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of Economic and Community of West African States, ECOWAS, in Ghana. The meeting was said to have been at the instance of Nana Akufo- Addo, the country’s President and current Chairman of ECOWAS, to discuss on the military coup in Mali on May 24, 2021, and the subsequent detention of the country’s President and Prime minister and seek for ways to restore peace in the country. Nigerians would want Buhari to keep to his promise of eradicating insurgency in the country within six months of his first term in office in 2021, which remained unfilled till date.
The rising insecurity in the country appears to have become hydra-headed with the with the bandits attack in the north west states of ZAmfara, described as home of the bandits, Kaduna and Katsina, Buhari home state. The Bandits were said to have spread their attack to Sokoto and Kebbi, and the north central state of Niger, home state of retired General Ibrahim Babangia, a former military President that Abubakar Sa’ad, a retired Brigadier General and Sultan of Sokoto, had been forced to speak: Nigeria is sick.
In a related development, the insecurity situation in the south east appears to be getting worse by the day. Ahmed Gulak, an Aide of former President Jonathan who was trailed from his Hotel room by unknown gunmen had attacked and shot him on the spot at Umueze-Obiangwu Community along Sam Mbakwe road in Owerri, Capital of Imo state. Late Gulak, a top Politician from the north east state of Adamawa, had decamped from the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the APC, as a way to get closer to the Katsina state born Nigerian President.
Indeed, worried by the rising insecurity situation of the country, Femi Gbajabimila, Speaker of House of Representatives and political ally of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, popular, Jagaban, who had obilised the House members to organise a security summit where experts had gathered at Abuja, the Federal Capital Terriroy, FCT, to give their views had given his words that ” the report of the security summit will be submitted to the retired Army General and Nigerian President for implementation”.
But there are fears in both official and unofficial quarters that the report may not see the light of day as it may be allowed to gather dust in the presidency. This is because it may not be the first time such quality and unprecedented security reports had been presented to the Presidency for implementation and abandoned.
The Lawan Ahmad led Senate was said to have presented two such security reports which was a fallout of its summit in 2017 and 2018 but was how he could go. Even retired Brigadier-General Sa’ad, the Sultan of Sokoto had cited three other security summits , which was organized in 2019, and report submitted to the the Buhari led APC , government but nothing came of it. This may have informed why the government had been in a standstill position in fighting the Criminal elements in different parts of the country in the last six years.
Appeared to have been pushed to the wall by the Criminal elements operating in the different parts of the country, Major General Yahaya, the new COAS, has vowed that ‘’to crush BokoHaram and ISWAP, insurgents including the Court Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOD and its armed Wing, the Eastern Security Network.
Femi Adesina . Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, thinks differently. He said people would ‘’appreciate Buhari ’s efforts in confronting the security Challenges facing the country on the expiration of his Administration in 2023. Already the Nigerian President has made it clear to those that cares to listen that that’’ kidnapping, Banditry and other Criminal gangs across the country will be met with zero tolerance’’.