FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiMonday, November 3, 2014
ubochit@hotmail.de
Bonn, Germany

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2014: THE YEAR NIGERIA WOULD NOT FORGET IN A HURRY (9)


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Continued from Part 8

Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked (Niccolo Machiavelli)

He who possesses intelligence is strong; how can the man that is unintelligent be powerful? The elephant of the forest having lost his senses by intoxication was tricked into a lake by a small rabbit (Chanakya)

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: ...There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly (Patrick Overton)

ur worst fear has just been confirmed; there was no real ceasefire between the federal government and Boko Haram, if what we’re reading is true. What happened is that Boko Haram sold a dummy to the Nigerian government. How come that Nigeria‘s supine government, the military and the intelligence were tricked by the terrorists, and they fell for it hook, line and sinker? The Nigerian government, through the Chief of Defense Staff, had on October 17, announced that it has reached a ceasefire deal with the Boko Haram insurgents that will culminate in the releasing of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped for over six months ago. The Nigerian military was then asked to observe the ceasefire by ceasing all hostilities against the terrorists. Many Nigerians, including this writer, expressed their suspicion, as the group is known for not keeping its end of the bargain. Just as suspected, Boko Haram has just denied that it reached a ceasefire deal with the Nigerian Government. In a Video just released, Abubakar Shekau, claimed he had no ceasefire agreement with the Nigerian government and that he doesn’t even know Danladi Ahmadu who claims to be speaking as an envoy of the group on the ceasefire talks. How did the same Shekau, who was supposedly dead, appear in the video calling the Nigerian Government’s claims of reaching ceasefire with the group nothing but “lies”? Abubakar Shekau even pompously said that the abducted schoolgirls have been converted to Islam and married off, and would never be released, thereby breaking the heart of their parents the more, after the hope of seeing their children again was raised by the purported ceasefire. According to Africa Business World: “Leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, told AP News correspondence in Maiduguri that he has since closed his books on the case of the over 200 Chibok school girls kidnapped while they were taking exams. Shekau said he has taken them all as his wives and laughed over that. Recently the Nigerian Army Defense staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, told the world that a ceasefire agreement had been reached with Boko Haram which would lead to the release of the kidnapped Chibok School girls. More than 219 Chibok School girls remain missing to date”. Shekau also said that his group was holding a German hostage, who was kidnapped in the northeastern city of Gombe in July. The German teacher was kidnapped from a technical college there. Hear Shekau on the Chibok Girls: "We have married them off. They are in their marital homes. Don't you know the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls have converted to Islam? They have now memorized two chapters of the Koran."

Oh Nigeria; why are we getting it wrong all the time, why do we have such clueless and undiscerning leaders in all spheres? Boko Haram is no doubt a baleful group that shouldn’t have been trusted! Signing a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram and believing that the terrorists would honor the bargain was an arsy-varsy way of doing things our government is well known for. Why should anybody trust Boko Haram to deliver when its previous record was replete with broken promises? It surpasses any human understanding how the Nigerian government and the Nigerian military allowed the terrorists to hoodwink them into believing in a bogus ceasefire agreement and the laying down of their arms respectively, which allowed the terrorists to re-group, re-strategize and to re-arm. While Nigerians were waiting for Boko Haram to honor the truce, it has been launching new offensive against the Nigerian military and citizens; while Nigerians wanted the bringing of all the security threats posed by the Boko Haram to an end by the ceasefire agreement, the terrorists went ahead to over-run more towns and villages in the north-east; while Nigerians were waiting Boko Haram to make good on its promise to release the Chibok Girls, the terrorists went ahead to kidnap more and more girls and women; while Nigerians were waiting for the freeing of all hostages in Boko Haram’s custody, the terrorists went ahead to take more young men and forcefully enlisted them into their ranks. Elombah noted it that on Oct. 18, the day after the Nigerian military announced that it had reached a cease-fire agreement with the group, Boko Haram went on a house-to-house search for young women in two Nigerian towns, taking 60. Last weekend, Boko Haram kidnapped 30 teenagers, including girls as young as 11 years old. Huhuonline rightly expressed its concern by noting that when the worst seems to have been seen or heard of sloppiness in governance capacity, the Jonathan administration manages to find a way of outdoing itself into further depths of ignominy. Last Friday, Oct. 17, the federal government announced with fanfare, that it has reached a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram, ostensibly to end the orgy of indiscriminate bestiality, which has claimed over 10,000 Nigerian lives, including women and children. The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh, directed the military service chiefs to immediately comply with the ceasefire, as further negotiations are brokered by Chadian President, Idris Derby. The government reportedly had two meetings with Boko Haram before the unconditional ceasefire was reached. But the credibility of the ceasefire was put in doubt after dozens of women and girls were kidnapped from two villages in Adamawa by suspected militants. It is unfortunate enough that Nigeria has found herself in this quagmire, but whatever the case, the so-called ceasefire is no comforting news and the renewed attack is even more embarrassing. These confusing positions, of course, do not engender confidence. Nigerians deserve a full explanation. There are indeed, other reasons to take the purported ceasefire with a pinch of salt. First, the deal was revealed, not through a clear and official statement to the Nigerian public which, as victim, is a primary stakeholder in the conflict, but as it were, sneaked into the public domain by the chief of defense staff at the end of the conference on Nigeria-Cameroon Trans-Border Military Operations in Abuja. The CDS said “Without any prejudice to the outcome of our three-day interactions and the conclusions of this forum, I wish to inform this audience that a ceasefire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Ahlul Sunna Li Daawa Wal Jihad (Boko Haram). I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development in the field”.

Why should Nigeria negotiate with Boko Haram, when it claimed to have killed its leader, and the military was about winning the war against the terrorists? How can a government negotiate with a group it has outlawed? Definitely, Nigeria was not supposed to negotiate from a position of strength. It’s Boko Haram that was supposed to announce that it was entering into a ceasefire agreement with Nigeria and not the other way round, so this was a blunder from the government. Africa Business World wrote that it never for once considered such so called cease fire agreement with Boko Haram as anything credible. One wonders how anyone could believe that an organization with a record of indiscriminate killings of estimated 6,000 Nigerians, which lacks any form of credibility, could be believed and trusted over such bogus cease fire agreement. What happened was that the Nigerian Army mounted so much pressure on Boko Haram through intensified attacks during which many Boko Haram members were captured and some surrendered. The terrorist organization was basically on the ropes for a moment and it had to device the so called truce strategy to enable them retreat and reorganize a type of tactical withdrawal. Boko Haram has since reorganized and recovered from the military onslaught because the Nigerian Army leaders fell for their tricks. Their leader has denied they discussed or reached any agreement with the Nigerian Army authorities. Huhuonline also noted that Boko Haram is a declared terrorist organization and subject to the full application of the provisions of the 2011 Terrorism Prevention Act, as amended. This includes a term of imprisonment of at least 20 years for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or otherwise supports in any way whatsoever, a terrorist group or the commission of an act of terrorism. For this reason then, it may be asserted that in principle, the federal government has been secretly meeting with persons wanted by the law to answer for their acts of criminality. The truce in itself is provocative and objectionable for the simple reason that it challenges the modus operandi of the government, advertising dealings with Boko Haram so blatantly, in the face of the proscription of the sect. Above all, such a major development should have emanated from the Presidency to the Nigerian people, only when something close to a certainty has been arrived at, and stating, of course, the terms of the deal.

Prior to the releasing of the video, the way Boko Haram was re-energized and was taking over new towns and villages in the north-eastern part of Nigeria showed that the sect has tricked the government and would never honor the ceasefire agreement. The insurgents increased attacks in the wake of the ceasefire announcement, not only in the BAY (Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe) states, but, also in Bauchi and Gombe States. About a week ago, a bomb blast occurred in Azare Bauchi State, and then few days ago, bombs were detonated in Gombe, in another crowded bus station known as Gombe Line station situated in the city’s center with more than 30 deaths. The attacks had Boko Haram’s imprimatur.

Few days ago, the terrorists took advantage of the lull in military campaign against them to over-run Mubi, the second largest town in Adamawa State, and moved further to take over and hoist their flags in Vimtim, hometown of Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. The terrorists didn’t stop there; they also captured the 234 Battalion Army headquarters there, while the soldiers there took to their heels. Also attacked were the Mubi Divisional Police Station; palace of the Emir of Mubi, Alhaji Isah Ahmadu; and the prisons, making it possible for more than 45 inmates of the prison to escape. According to the Leadership: Boko Haram Annexes Hometown Of Defence Chief by capturing Vimtim, the hometown of Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Air Marshall Alex Badeh, as they continue their onslaught in the north eastern parts of the country. The annexation of Vimtim is a consolidation of the militants’ earlier victory when they captured the commercial border town of Mubi as they overran the military barracks, police area command and other strategic places in the town. Reports from the area indicate that before the capture of Victim, a reinforcement of soldiers sent to the area led to a sustained battle with the insurgents throughout the night before the insurgents finally overpowered the soldiers and captured the town. Many people were reportedly killed in the cross-fire as thousands of residents tried to escape to Yola, Maiha and adjoining villages of Cameroon Republic where Cameroonian gendarmes were reported to have prevented those that tried to cross the border from entering their country. Not only civilians wanted to enter Cameroon. Once again, some of our military personnel had run into Cameroon for safety. Sunday Punch reports that Cameroon military sources have confirmed that over 300 Nigerian soldiers have fled Nigeria to Cameroon after the insurgents over powered them in Mubi, Adamawa State. The fleeing Nigerian troops were moved away from the border and taken to secure location for disarmament, feeding and subsequent repatriation back to Nigeria. The Paper quoted a senior Cameroonian military officer, who pleaded anonymity, as having said, “They (Nigerian soldiers) are mostly around Boucla village in Bourha sub-division. So far, we can estimate the number of arrivals to be at about 300. These are the ones who arrived in uniform but we know that there are several others who shed their uniforms for civilian attires.” It was further learnt that Cameroon had begun screening of deserters and refugees to prevent infiltration by insurgents. An official of the Cameroonian government had said “This time around, we are conducting a more thorough screening to avoid letting in Boko Haram infiltrators, who are known to inhabit the ranks of the Nigerian military”. What an embarrassment!

It was similarly reported that the insurgents had a field day looting and burning the property of the displaced people who had deserted the town. Dozens of soldiers and policemen have reportedly died in the attack by Boko Haram insurgents since the taking control of the Mubi. Trapped residents said the insurgents are effectively in control of the town as they hoisted their flags on the military barracks, police area command and the palace of the Emir of Mubi as well as taking over the institutions of higher learning. Reports from the area also indicate that the insurgents have mounted serious surveillance on the town just as they have imposed a 24-hour curfew in order to consolidate their grip on the place. It was also reported that they have mounted checkpoints and are preventing residents from fleeing the town. The worst was that some of the displaced residents of Mubi, whose relatives were killed by the Boko Haram gunmen, said they came to know about the death of their relatives through the insurgents who would pick calls to the phones of the deceased victims and proudly announce that they have been killed. The killing of fleeing residents is said to be a measure deployed by the insurgents to discourage people from leaving the town as they blocked all routes out of the town. People said they were telling the people not to run away, as they are after soldiers only, but they still killed civilians. Residents had to scamper for their lives for fear of imminent attack and uncertainty. Those who were lucky to escape said they fled through the bushes and had to walk long distances to safety.

In another feat for the insurgents, they burnt down the house of Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, in a move that suggest they were all out to bring the CDS and his family down. Elombah reported that a source who witnessed the situation said as soon as the terrorists located the house of the Chief of Defense Staff, they started shouting, ‘bring out the family of Badeh for slaughter, search the whole house, do not let any of them escape’. Fortunately, none of Badeh’s family member was in the house when it was razed. The insurgents did not only burn the house, they also destroyed a clinic built by CDS Badeh in memory of his late mother some years ago. Until it was destroyed, the clinic has reportedly served the people of Vimtim well, as well as provide first aide for injured soldiers in the battle front. Also, one of the sons of the Emir of Mubi, Abubakar Isah Ahmadu, has been reported killed by Boko Haram insurgents who are in control of the town. The slain son of the Emir relocated to Vimtim after last week’s attack on the palace of his father, the Emir of Mubi, but still, the terrorist recognized him at Vimtim and immediately killed him. His father, the Emir of Mubi, is in Saudi Arabia as the Amirul Hajj of the state for the just concluded 2014 pilgrimage, and that may be what saved him. When Mubi fell, the State Governor, Barrister Bala James Ngilari ordered 100 buses to go and evacuate those still stranded. The Governor equally appealed to the Cameroonian authorities to receive refugees from Adamawa and treat them with compassion.

The last straw is the taking over of the Chief of Defense’s town and the burning down of his country home. Think about Boko Haram hoisting its flags in Vimtim, the hometown of Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff! A big humiliation for the country’s defense chief! It all means that the Nigerian military the embattled Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh, is leading, has failed woefully. So, Badeh has no authority or right anymore to continue leading the Nigerian military. This writer joins others in wondering why the NSA, the Defense minister and the Chief of Defense Staff, all being doofuses, have not voluntarily resigned their appointments for poor coordination of relevant agencies to tackle the security challenges in the north-eastern region of the country despite the huge budgetary allocations for the purpose. In Part 5 of this article published on September 28, this writer wrote: “ Things were going wrong with the war against insurgency that at a point Olisa Agbakoba, a former President of Nigerian Bar Association, advised President Goodluck Jonathan to relieve the Chief of Defense Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, of his job, because, since the military had failed in its mandate to win the war against Boko Haram, Badeh had no right as the CDS, to remain in office. Agbakoba maintained that the CDS, who was appointed in January this year, had lost control of the army, citing the case of about 480 Nigerian soldiers who ran into Cameroon during a confrontation with the Boko Haram insurgents as a confirmation of his position. He therefore called on the President to show more seriousness in tackling the insurgency, adding that the first step to take was for him to sack Badeh. Agbakoba said: "I think our first task is to look around the world and ask whether our Nigerian intelligence and military infrastructure are doing just what they ought to do. If I were the Commander-in-Chief, I would invite the CDS, Alex Badeh and tell him that if he loses any command in the army, it's over. If the President fails to send a strong message that the mission is not accomplished, then the chain of command would be weak. In the army, it is obedience to superior orders. The only way that you can solve the Boko Haram problem is by a resolute decapitation of the leadership. There is no other way."

To be Continued!

TIT BITS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__dXUvo5MH8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdlJX-5WiOk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YzW1nMB9fk

THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

Continued from Part 8

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IMAGES IN THE NEWS