By Stephen Ubanna
Between 2014, that former President Goodluck Jonathan of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, declared a state of emergency in in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, to root out BokoHaram insurgents, and now, there have been complaints by the military that they lack modern equipment, training and motivation to fight the insurgents who are using sophisticated weapons and are well motivated.
A military Commander deployed to the north east to fight the insurgents reportedly said that they are using outdated weapons and equipment including the failing Shilka procured during the Administration of Late President Shehu Shagari in 1983. This may have exposed the weakness of the Nigerian soldiers at the battlefront to attacks by the terrorists, particular, the Islamic State West African Province, ISWAP, who were said to be using sophisticated weapons.
The Nigerian soldiers , who may have justified why they have not been able to defeat the insurgents claimed that that the artillery mounted on fighting vehicles were refurbished and deployed for operation which could not stand the modern weapons used by the Abubakar Shekau’s boys as they were times they packed up during operations.
Given that the complaints had been a recurring decimal over the years, the Ahmad Lawan, led Senate , appears determined to solve the problem once and fall by giving Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff and his boys the type of modern weapons they need to prosecute the fight against BokoHaram.
As a prelude to doing so, the Lawan led Senate, on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020, called on President Muhammadu Buhari , of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, who rode to power in 2015, on a three-pronged promise of fighting Corruption, revamping the economy and routing BokoHaram insurgents in the north east, toprocure ‘’state- of the- art weapons and equipment for the military to effectively combat the insurgents.
The Value News learnt this formed part of the resolutions reached after thorough deliberation on national security , as it relates to the security challenges in the north east of Borno, where there had been conflicting report of the number of rice farmers killed in Marrabati and Hammayya , both rice producing Communities in Jere local government area of the state.
John Enenche, a Major General and Army Public Relations officer said they had counted 43 bodies as victim of the insurgents attack on the two rice Comunities, Ahmed Satomi, a member of the Fedral House of Reprsentatives from Kwasheba community, representing Jere Federal Constituency claimed that 60 rices were murdered by the insurgents while Kashim Shettima, a former governor of the state and a Senator, Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Borno Central, said he has in good accounts that 67 people were killed. The BokoHaram killer squad, who were said to have released a video about the killing of the rice farmers said 78 of them lost their live. Edward Kallon, United Nations, UN, Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, would not agree with the Borno Federal Lawmakers or the insurgents of the number of deaths in Marrabati or Hammayya villages as a result of the unexpected attack as he revealed based on their own findings that over 100 rice farmers were killed and several women kidnapped.
Even before the Halloed Chambers Lawmakers took the resolution to ask the Katsina state born Nigerian President last Tuesday, to make provision for modern equipment for the military in order to prosecute the BokoHaram war in the north east, the Femi Gbajabiamila, led House of Representatives, had invited him ‘’to brief the Hose on the true state of the security situation of the country’’.
As at press time, the Nigerian President, has not honored the invitation, fueling speculations that the National Assembly and the Buhari led Executive arm of government may be heading for friction as was the case when Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state was the Senate President during his first term in office. The Lawan , led Senate, may have sent a signal to the President that they are no longer ready to dance to his tunes in the name of party solidarity, as the Lawmakers, who are tired of excuses from the Presidency for still keeping the Service Chiefs in office had asked him to replace them with officers with fresh ideas and solutions on how tackle the country’s insecurity.
The Lawmakers who are pissed up with the Service Chiefs non-performance, over the last six years, were said to have also Buhari, who may have softened up and ready to relieve the Service Chiefs of their position, ‘’to restructure and remodel the country’s entire security architecture and investigate allegations of Corruption and leakages within the security architecture’’.
They were said to have also recommended the recruitment of the 10,000 civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, to complement the efforts of the armed forces and explore bilateral and multilateral partnership with the neighbouring West African countries of Niger Tchad and the Central African country of Cameroon.
He may find it difficult to give the order for the 10, 000 JTF, from the north east to be absorbed into the Army as it may not tell good of his Administration. If there is need to engage more people into the military, it must be thrown open to all Nigerian Youths, with no special treatment for any region.
The Nigerian President may have known that he has to redeem his promise of wiping out insurgency in Borno state and other parts of the north east as he has given a matching order to the Service Chiefs , who Nigerians,,particular, the eldes of Borno state, had lost faith in , to take the counter –terrorist war to the insurgents camp , not on a on-off attack but on a continuous basis, until they are defeated. He has also given his words to make more budgetary allocations to the military in order to procure the modern equipment required to match the sophisticated weapons used by ISWAP, particular
. He had also intensified bilateral and multi-lateral Cooperation with neighbouring Niger, Tchad and the Central African country of Cameroon, to prepare the mind of their Presidents never allow the insurgents use their countries as base to carry out their attacks in Nigeria, as they chased out from the country in the renewed onslaught against them. The Nigerian President appears to have won the heart of Mohammadou Issofou, President of Niger and ougoing Chairman of the Authority of Heads of States and Government of the Economic Community of West African states to work with him to root out the insurgents.
Recall that the two West African countries had signed a working security agreement. This appear to be working out as Abdullahi Maina, former of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, who had been standing trial over alleged Corruption and money Laundry but was granted bail at the instance of Ali Ndume, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, who had signed aN500 million bail bond on May 5, 2020, as part of conditions for standing surety for Maina.
He was said to have jumped bail, forcing the Abuja High Court to declare him wanted on November 27, 2020, as Ndume, could not produce him in Court. This may have speed up the man hunt for him both within and outside the country. The search to locate his hide out may have yielded result as he was arrested on Monday, November 30, 2020, in his hide out in Niamy, Capital of Niger Republic , by the country security operatives, who had been working closely with the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, and INTERPOL NCB, Abuja.
At press time , he is cooling his head in a detention facility in Niger, awaiting the completion of the extradition processes to Nigeria to enable him face trial in pending Criminal proceedings against him . That much was confirmed by Frank Mbah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Force Spokesperson. Note that he has been standing trial over alleged Corruption and, money laundry and theft of about N2 billion pension fund.
Many believe that the arrest of the former Chairman, PRTT, would give a breather to the Borno state born Senator, who had been a loss about how to locate his whereabouts, was on Monday, ordered to be reminded in Kuje prison , following the refusal of Mina to appear for his trial..