FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiWednesday, September 3, 2014
ubochit@hotmail.de
Bonn, Germany

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2014: THE YEAR NIGERIA WOULD NOT FORGET IN A HURRY (2)


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Continued from Part 1

This moment contains all moments (CS Lewis)

End of the road. Nothing to do, and no hope of things getting better (Eeyore)

Let us decide on the route that we wish to take to pass our life, and attempt to sow that route with flowers (Madame du Chatelet)

A single moment of misunderstanding can be so poisonous, That it can make us forget the many lovable moments we spent together...(Melchor Lim)

oko Haram attacks have increased and become deadlier in 2014 than in the years before. The terrorist sects have killed prominent northerners such as Emirs, politicians or retired military officers, and have made attempts on the lives of other prominent northerners such as Buhari. Many northern leaders such as IBB are living in perpetual fear and dare not step out of their cocoons called houses without adequate security coverage. Remember that a northern civil war hero, General Shuwa, was gunned down in his own house in Maiduguri, about a year ago, by the terrorists despite the fact that he was hedged around by security men. Many Emirs have been ambushed and killed by the Boko Haram members, but, the Emir of Gwoza was one of the few lucky ones. NGRi wrote about the Emir of Gwoza’s great escape from Boko Haram: In that “Thank heavens for the heavy downpour on Monday night, August 18, if not, the Emir of Gwoza would have been captured by the same Boko Haram sects who killed his father in May, 2014. Mother nature played a major part in his escape with hundreds of people who took refuge on top of the mountain for days to escape being killed by the fire spitting Boko Haram sects .The Emir and the district head took refuge on the mountain top as Boko Haram sects sacked the entire town, burning buildings, Police Stations, the local Government Secretariat and the Emir’s palace. Many of the escapees narrated how Boko Haram insurgents killed dozens of people who could not climb the mountain. The rampaging Boko Haram sects had sacked the entire town twice and have thwarted every attempt by the Nigerian soldiers to take back the town.

The problem is that many of those prominent northerners Boko Haram is going after, were those who created the monster that wants to devour them now. Boko Haram has existed for some years, created in 2009, but, some northern leaders started sponsoring it and made the group much deadlier than before in order to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan, because, for them (the northerners), he’s holding a stolen mandate that belongs to the north, but, the deadly Islamic group has crossed the Rubicon and does not differentiate between its creators and those it was created in the first place to deal with. Arise Nigeria wrote that an Australian who’s been negotiating for the release of the 200 school-girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Northeast Nigeria has today, August 29, accused several politicians of funding the Islamist fighters. According to Nigeria’s ThisDay newspaper, Dr Stephen Davis says Nigerian politicians are one of Boko Haram’s “primary” sources of funding. And he says he was very close to freeing some of the girls. But that just 15 minutes before he reached the village where they had been left by their kidnappers, a different group of fighters arrived and kidnapped them again. The Australian’s story has been authenticated by the President, Civil Rights Congress, Mr. Shehu Sani, who disclosed that Some powerful Nigerians are sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government and other concerned citizens to ensure that the over 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are set free. Sani, who has been involved in efforts to get government and Boko Haram to discuss the fate of the girls in the past, told the Punch that some powerful individuals, whom he refused to name, ensured that the talks derailed.

Some of the northern elite who promised fire and brimstone, if the last presidential election was not adjudged free and fair by them or if a northerner was not allowed to “complete” Yar’Adua’s tenure, are now victims as they also feel the heat of Boko Haram’s scourge, and still, some of them, such as Adamu Ciroma, are still recalcitrant about a northerner being allowed in 2015 to complete the so called Yar’Adua’s remaining tenure, but, these people have failed to read the handwriting on the wall, to know that Nigeria of yesteryears is not the Nigeria of today as “the train has left the northern station” and will not return back for a while. Those who unleashed Boko Haram on Nigeria for political and selfish reasons and are still campaigning that the north should be allowed to complete Yar’Adua’s tenure, should go and lick their wounds; they are sponsoring Boko Haram to make Nigeria ungovernable for a minority president; but, Jonathan has survived and has officially declared his intention to contest the next presidential election, which he will win. The problem will not end there for the north as it’s most likely that Goodluck Jonathan will not hand over power to a northerner in 2018. If he’s not the last president of Nigeria as a country, Goodluck Jonathan may look for someone from the zone that has never ruled Nigeria, in the real sense of it, as his successor. The north has to wait till 2025 or 2026, and if it does not like or want that, it can secede and nobody would stop it from leaving, rather, the south would celebrate that.

The north has been dragging Nigeria back all these years despite the fact that its people have ruled Nigeria more than the people from the other sections of the country. It has been said times without number that the only way Nigeria would survive is by reverting to the confederal system of government. But, as Prof. Itse Sagay noted, the north will not allow true federalism in Nigeria. Talking about the just concluded national conference, Prof. Sagay said the problem is that the north does not want peaceful resolution of Nigeria’s problems; it would definitely oppose Nigeria reverting to confederal system and will oppose resources control which paid it, the north, well in the First Republic, when it depended on agricultural produce for survival. Since the discovery, exploration and exportation of oil, the north in particular and Nigeria in general have abandoned the agricultural system which paid them handsomely well, and now everybody is after the cheap money from oil. The north has been gaining from what is not theirs, and now the owners of the oil want more from it and the north is crying foul. The south is not saying that it will take the oil money all alone, it is only saying that since the oil is gushing out from there, that it want a greater share of the oil revenue and the north should understand and accept that, as it makes no sense for the northern leaders to claim that they, the northerners, are not leeches, when they cannot survive without the money from the oil in the south. Prof. Sagay, in explaining why the delegates at the Constitutional Conference ran short of ideas, said that “they tried very hard, particularly people from the three Southern zones. The North came with an agenda of which I was aware. The belief of the North is this: one, we have the majority; two, we can organize and win elections; three, in that process, we can provide the president. Therefore, all powers and resources should be concentrated at the centre where we are always likely to be in power, so that we can control all the resources of Nigeria. What are these federal resources? The Federal Government is the poorest in Nigeria because they have nothing. All the resources and power and wealth they are flexing muscles with, belong to the state governments. They don’t have anything. Abuja has nothing. What does it produce? It is only the nine Niger Delta states, which is another man’s garment, that they are wearing. What is happening is, that it has collected, through the constitution, all the wealth belonging to the states to itself and then sits on the throne and share out little at the end of the month and keeps the rest to itself. The Northern mentality is that ‘we are the federal government’, we will collect the wealth of all the others, particularly since our own zone is the poorest zone – the three Northern zones contribute nothing to the federal purse. The Niger Delta zone contributes about 65 percent; South-West zone, over 20%; South-Eastern zone, about 11 percent. The three Northern zones contribute zero. Their argument is, since we produce nothing, if you say everybody should keep his wealth, we will just not survive”.

Prof Sagay rightly noted that with the northern mentality “let us control federal government and the wealth and give little bits to those who originally owned that wealth, they (northern delegates to the conference) went there with that agenda and they have succeeded. So federalism is no where nearer; we are still going to have a central government. Two things are likely to happen. One, their theory that they would always control the government will not necessarily work. Olusegun Obasanjo was in power for eight years, Goodluck Jonathan, who also is not from that side, has been in power for six years and if they are not careful he might also be in power for the next four years. So, the whole edifice on which their agenda is built is going to collapse and they will now have a taste of not being in power for a considerable number of times so that they would not be the ones sharing the wealth. They would not have the discretion of deciding who to be nice to. All the commission that they used to enjoy will be done by somebody from the South. So, the way I see it, they are preparing a ground for self-induced frustration. Two, if you notice since this system was introduced after the First Republic of the federal government gathering everything, the North has become unproductive. They do not do anything, only to wait at the end of every month to come and collect money. They allowed their hides and skin, groundnut and cotton industries to die, because they can live on this Niger Delta resources and VAT proceeds without working. I am not an economist, but I have a feeling, as a fairly experienced Nigerian, that if the North were to harness its resources, they would be the richest in the country. They have cattle in uncountable numbers. All they need to do is to go into the chilled beef industry, have ranches, slaughter their cows in factories, have corn beef industry, package these things and export them. They have vast lands. They can go into agriculture, which is a renewable type of activity. They have abandoned all that, just because of Niger Delta oil proceeds that they can get without working. What I am saying is that the process they have set in motion is self-destructive. They carried it to the National Assembly, stalled all proceedings there with regards to true federalism, derivation and resource control. But at the end of the day, they are shooting themselves in the foot”.

More to Boko Haram: The group has caused an irreparable damage to the northern psyche and economy as such that the greater part of northern Nigeria is no longer economically viable for now and would not be in future, as no business man or organization would want to invest in that part of the country now or in future even if the government finally defeats the terrorists. Many southerners, who made the north their base, especially the north-east, have relocated to safer parts of the country, and those still living there for one reason or the other, have no plan of expanding their businesses, And those not yet there, will never dream of moving to that place. Give it a little more time, the north, especially the north-east, will collapse economically, politically and socially (if it has not by now). The point is that businesses in the north have been feeling the heat of Boko Haram’s onslaught and are appealing to the government to do everything to defeat the terrorist group for them to continue their operations unhindered. This wish may never come true as business will never be what it used to be in the north even if the government routs the terrorists tomorrow. Boko Haram may have inadvertently destroyed the north for ever. Maintaining security there would be a herculean task as the security personnel would be bribing those in charge to avoid being posted to that region. No wonder we read how the wives of some military personnel have protested the posting of their husbands to the north-eastern part of Nigeria. Few weeks ago, the wives of some soldiers protested at the Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri against their husbands being sent to the Boko Haram militants’ stronghold. We also read where some policemen resigned after being transferred to the north-eastern part of Nigeria. The news has it that some policemen including a DPO transfer from Awka in Anambra State decided to resign en masse rather than take up duties in Borno State. The DPO, who was preparing to retire in February 2015, said “it’s better to go in peace to his village rather than in piece” since he has just few months more before retirement. In May, some soldiers opened fire on their commander, Maj-Gen Ahmed Mohammed, at Maiduguri’s Maimalari barracks, blaming him for the killing of their colleagues by Boko Haram fighters. We also read that about 50 soldiers rebelled against their redeployment to some parts of Borno State where the terrorists hold sway. The army warned the affected soldiers and told them of the consequences of their action. Lt General Kenneth Minimah, the Chief of Army Staff, described mutiny as act of sabotage which does not speak well of the Nigerian military, saying that any soldier or officer who gets involved in such act would be court Marshalled and sentenced to death. The Chief of Army Staff also warned the wives of soldiers in all the military formations in the country to desist from any form of protest against the postings of their husbands to any part of the country to fight insurgents, saying that soldier’s wives have no right to carry out protest on behalf of their husbands because they were not enlisted into the army. He stated further that authorities of the Nigerian Army would not hesitate to kick wives of soldiers that would embark on any form of protest out of the barracks. This column learns that what informed some of the rebellious soldiers’ action was the lack of enough, modern and sophisticated equipment to fight the terrorists who are better equipped than them. On that note, the Chief of army Staff, while warning soldiers against committing mutiny, also disclosed that the Army has concluded plans to buy more arms and ammunition, assuring that they would oarrive in the country soon even as he expressed hope that Boko Haram would soon be defeated. Talk is cheap indeed!

The Army Chief should understand where those women protesting are coming from. Those women protesting the posting of their husbands to Boko Haram’s enclaves are doing so because they do not want to be widows too soon, as the army is not ready to give its personnel, it is sending against the well equipped insurgents, the needed weapons for the job. The question this writer is asking is why it has taken the Army so long to procure the needed arms and ammunition to be used in fighting the terrorists despite the fat budget it gets for military gears and weapons or does it wants to continue sending its personnel after the deadly terrorist sects only with their bare hands? Elombah.com reported that “A group of soldiers have thrown in the towel in the fight against Boko Haram, at least until they are better equipped to do so. The soldiers numbering about forty have vehemently refused to obey any such orders to fight due to poor and ill-equipped facilities available. It could be recalled that the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shetima, has once said that Nigerian soldiers are under-equipped and ill-motivated to fight insurgency. The latest development serves as a confirmation of the alarmed raised by Governor Shetima”. The report quoted one of the soldiers as saying “Soldiers are dying like fowl…the Nigerian army is not ready to fight Boko Haram, soldiers were not being given enough weapons and ammunition to take them on. Boko Haram is inside the bush, everywhere while they [referring to senior commanders] are sacrificing soldiers”. The Americans have been on the ground in the north-eastern part of Nigeria for a while and had offered to assist Nigeria in defeating the Boko Haram insurgents, but are complaining that the Nigerian military is not allowing them to operate. The Americans are saying that the Nigerian military claims that it can handle the situation perfectly well without outside help while snubbing the tactics the Americans think would help in winning the war against the terrorists. Is that not an act of crass stupidity on the part of the Nigerian military officials who cannot perform, to refuse ideas and help from those who are better and more experienced than them?

Boko Haram is facing only a minimal resistance from the military; that’s why it has stepped up attacks in the north-eastern part of Nigeria, where it wants to create an Islamic state. The terrorists crossed the border into Cameroon last week, after attacking a military base and a police station in Nigeria, apparently forcing about 480 Nigerian troops to retreat across the frontier. What must have happened that 480 Nigerian soldiers fled into Cameroon following fierce fighting with Boko Haram insurgents? Was it cowardice? The Cameroonian Army Spokesman, Lt Col Didier Badjek, who confirmed this, said the troops had already been disarmed. People saw the Nigerian soldiers walking back into Nigeria few days later in tattered uniform. The Defence Headquarters claimed that the soldiers were not deserters but strayed into Cameroon while in pursuit of the insurgents. In the spokesperson’s words: “the soldiers had been “charging through the borders in a tactical manoeuvre” and found themselves on Cameroonian soil”! The army spokesman stated further that it was the standard practice for soldiers who strayed into a foreign but friendly country to be disarmed. The DHQ spokesperson should tell Nigerians if returning in tattered uniform was also part of the “tactical manoeuvre”.

The lackadaisical attitude the Army is using in this war against the terrorists is the reason they (the terrorists) are running roughshod over the north-eastern part of Nigeria. Boko Haram is sacking and occupying towns, churches, killing and displacing persons without formidable challenges from the security forces. Boko Haram seizes Nigerian towns and villages, declare them an Islamic caliphate under its rule, hoist its flag and promulgate Sharia Law over there, and nobody is stopping it. What’s really happening? How did Boko Haram become such a behemoth that the whole of our security forces cower before it? Boko Haram may be the catalyst that will bring about the demise of Nigeria. The insurgents’ aim is to kill President Goodluck Jonathan. Unfortunately, the security around the President is so porous that if God does not guard or protect him, he, the president, will end up in the hands of the terrorists one sad day. God forbid bad thing! But, if the devil allows the terrorists to have their way, and any thing happens to the president, that will bring Nigeria to an ugly end, and that’s what the terrorists want. May God guide and guard our President!

Read this and know if you can discern a sense out of it. CAUTION: Some people many find a photo therein disturbing!

http://www.nigerianfm.com/nigeria-targeted-for-destruction-by-gordon-duff-senior-editor-for-those-who-have-ears-to-hear/

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Continued from Part 1

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