By Suleiman Umaru
For months, there have been rumour making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, will visit BBorno, home state of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP.
The rumour became more pronounced last May, with the apparent death of Abubakar Shekau, the Leader of the BokoHaram, in a gun battle with the rival Group, led by al-Barnawi, believed to be son of late Yusuf, the founder of BokoHaram.
On Thursday, June 17, 2021, the Katsina born Nigerian President who was in the north east state of Borno , had told Abubakar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi, the Shehu of Borno in his Palace he had always looked forward for an opportunity of coming to the state. The opportunity may have come with the improved security situation of the state and the entire north east geo-political region in general. That much was also confirmed by the Nigerian President.
Many believe that if Shekau were to be alive, the retired Army General may not have been able to step his foot in Borno state to avoid any embarrassment from the killer gang. Ali Ndume, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman, Senate Committee on the Army may have alluded to the style of operations of the Boko Haram Insurgents who engage in indiscriminate killings of Civilians and other soft targets,including destruction of property as they may want to take advantage of Buhari visits to the state to Launch attack.
Ndume had said that this could not be said of ISWAP, which he had described as being more deadly, more sophisticated, have international connection, access to military armament and who are after the military or the security agencies operatives, including the Force.
The Lawmaker believes that that now that BokoHaram, the late Sheakau Group, have been virtually eliminated, the Nigerian military and the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, which now reports directly to the office of Lucky Irabor, an Army General and the chief of Defence Staff, CDS, would no longer have any problem in dealing with ISWAP, which is the enemy they know specifically. He had said that the Nigerian Army and the MNJTF, may not have won the war over the years because of the activities of BokoHaram in the region from their hideouts.
This may have informed why the Nigerian President has urged Farouk Yahaya, a Major General and Chief of Army Staff, COAS, ‘not to give any breathing space to ISWAP insurgents which they know very well and other criminal gangs in the country’’.
Addressing the military personnel of the Operation Lafyle Dole, now rechristened Operation Kai, by Late Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, the former COAS, at the Maimalari Catonment, Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state, he had charged the troops under the close watch of Felix Omogui, a Major General, that ‘’the war against insurgency in Borno state and other parts of the north east geopolitical region must be concluded with the restoration of peace and reconstruction of areas’.
Buhari, who could not hide his feelings had told the Major General Yahaya, the COAS and his fighting troops that that they must not allow the adversaries , particular, the ISWAP, the Bandits operating in the north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, the President’s home state, Sokoto, and kebbi including the north central state of Niger, the opportunity to challenge or undermine the national interess and core values’’. They were said to have also been ordered to keep a close tab on the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, believed to be the Court proscribed Group in the south east, which have been involved in the recent times in attacking policemen and attacking police stations and the Independent National Electoral Commission offices in the region.
The Presidentia directive to Major General Yahaya, may have come at a time of incessant kidnapping and killings of innocent Nigerian by unknown gunmen in different parts of the country. Take for instance the recent kidnap of an undisclosed number of students including four Teachers at the Federal Government College, Birnin-Yauri in Kebbi state, home state of Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes, Commission, EFCC. The unknown gunmen, believed to be Bandits, were said to have killed a police officer during the attack in the Birni Yauri, Federal Government College.
Last May the Bandits were said to have kidnapped 200 students of an Islamiya school in Niger, a state that had produced Ibrahim Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former military President and retired Gnral Abdulsami Abubakar, another former Head of State and several retired senior and seving military personnel , despite the high level military presence in the state to give security to the people. The case of the 14 students, and staff of Green field University in Kaduna, Capital of Kaduna state , that had been released after the parents reportedly paid over the N150 million ransom demanded by the Bandits and allegedly bought eight motorcycles for the Bandits bear eloquent testimony to the insecurity situation of the country.
The recent kidnap of four Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCECC, staff, working on the Lagos-Ibadan Railway line and the brutal murder of a policeman in the attack by the unknown gunmen appears to have thrown a big Challenge to Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and his men to step up their operation in the country to stop the kidnapping, which many believe have become a g huge industry and the killing of policemen in the country. The attack on the Chinese Railway workers was said to have been carried out on Wednesday, June 17, 2021, between Ogun and Oyo states.
Eyewitness account said the gunmen who had stormed the site of the rail project at Adeaga/Alagba village , near Kila, in Odeda Local government Area of the state and killed the policeman while struggling to abduct the Chinese workers, were’ dressed in black kaftan’. They were reported to have laid an ambush in the surrounding forest for the expatriates, to give the impression that that they are northern Bandits or Fulani herdsmen.
The kidnap of Stanley Eguma, described as one of the longest serving coach in the Nigerian Football League, NFL, on Monday, June 15, 2021, the oil city of PortHarcourt, Capital of Rivers state, along the Enugu-PortHarcout Express way while on his way back from an away match against Adamawa United played in Gombe state speaks volume.
Ndume, the Senate Committee Chairman, on the Army, who could not hide his feelings had said that the that the government of President Buhari, could facilitate the restoration of peace in the country by fast-tracking the financing of the military, particular, the Army and the Force in the procurement of fighting equipment. Babagana Zulum, a professor, and governor of Borno state was said to have made a similar plea to the the Nigerian President during the one day visit to the state,