The Daring Boko Haram Maiduguri Attack – Bolaji Kolawale

by Bolaji Kolawale

Boko Haram Fighters

Boko Haram Fighters

The blatant night attack carried out by Boko Haram couple of late last year on  Military facilities is to say the least daring and bold, while condemning the act, it also underscore the false sense of triumph propagated by the Military driving away the terrorists from Maiduguri as is always repeated. Since the crushing of Boko Haram back in 2009 by the then GOC 3rd Divisoin General Mainartd, it appears the Military under the command of Lt General AzubuikeIhejika,  Seems to have lost its bearing and direction. The question being asked everywhere is, if the army cannot crush the insurgency and render them ineffective,then, how can the Army defend Nigeria against external aggression? To put things in perspective, if the Niger Delta insurgency escalates with coordinated attacks on the oil fields and pipe lines- what will the Army do? What if the South West explodes? Where is the evidence that the Army can really defend the Nation against imploding or against external enemies? In the early eighties when Shehu Shagari was President, Nigeria faced a similar group, maitatsine group and they were crushed with precision. Another group called Kala kato surfaced under General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and they were crushed again. the difference between those times and now is there is better technology, better equipments and better communication with vast amount of resources at the disposal of the Military as against back in the early eighties. In terms of all these advantages one wonders why the Army is caught napping? The question being asked is, why it seems the Military now is unable or unwilling to have a grip on the situation? There has been silent grumbling going on for some time over the performance and the competence of the current Chief of Army Staff whom is said to be not interested in accepting professional counsel from his commanders on the ground as well as personally selecting the men to be deployed into the area of the insurgency. It is known in Military circles that he lacks tactics and good strategy to end the insurgency. Some senior commanders believe he is interested in dragging the insurgency through the coming 2015 elections; so as to give the President advantage during the election process. To buttress that point, it was stated that his current tenure which officially expired in September 2013 has been extended quietly for two years. The Chief of Army Staff created a new Division without putting the necessary infrastructure in the place and things were moved from other divisions without proper ways of securing the equipment. Some top Generals were bold enough to advise him on the proper way of doing things but many were afraid of talking because of fear of being sent to early retirement. It is well known that many brilliant strategist who had seen combat elsewhere in peace keeping operations in Liberia and Sierra  Leone are currently cooling in some lousy office with no regard to their experiences or input on how to combat the insurgency. The morale of the troops are low and allowances given goes to them late, while some of their equipment’s are obsolete. Recently the Governor of Yobe State Gaidam publicly stated that the soldiers lack the necessary equipment’s to fight the insurgents. There is another group within the Military that believes the Military high command enjoys the resources (operational money), thereby deliberately prolonging the campaign for financial gain. The President will do Nigeria good by replacing the Chief of Army Staff with a more competent Army Chief to take charge, otherwise the situation will get worse. There is an overwhelming Nigerian sentiment that the insurgency should end now, but many top Army Commanders unanimously believed that Nigerians will have to wait more years if the current chief remains. The President and commander in Chief should realize what is at stake and do the right thing now. It is better to sacrifice one man before he further expose and bring the Army more shame. The entire West African region and their Governments are watching in amazement how this thing that started like a speck has suddenly become impossible for the largest Army in the region to not only contain but to put a stop to it. Can Nigeria seriously talk of regional security? Or brandished its capabilities to exert regional influence? How would Nigeria deal with its other adversaries with Arms? The present situation should be unacceptable to Nigerians and to the Commander in Chief especially. Gone are the good old days when an organized Army invaded part of Borno State from Chad Republic but were repealed by the Nigerian Army under the Command of the then GOC 3rd Mechanised Division Nigerian Army Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR). The Chadian soldiers were pursued deep inside Chad until France intervened diplomatically to douse the tension. It is my hope that the President is listening. I will also add, we need complete cabinet members to run the affairs of the Federal Government now.

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