Temple Chima UbochiFriday, December 26, 2014
Bonn, Germany




Continued from Part 17

It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure (Bill Gates) If you're doing your best, you won't have any time to worry about failure (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure (Abraham Lincoln)

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure (Colin Powell)

he Nigerian government is worried about the inability of the Nigerian military to keep Nigerian citizens safe and Nigerian territorial integrity and sovereignty intact that it's mulling over the recruitment style of its military, thinking it's time for new strategy against Boko Haram. The Tribune wrote that stung by the recent military reverses and the failed ceasefire, the government is reportedly contemplating a review of its strategy for recruitment into the Nigerian armed forces. A government official was quoted as saying that "the situation where people are recruited into the services when they are jobless and their influential contacts want them to be given jobs would no longer work. You know, there is job to be done; this is about discipline, commitment and courage." Constructive as that statement is, it can only be the beginning of a rethinking of strategy and tactics on the part of the military high command. Some have even gone so far as to suggest a replacement of the top echelons of the security apparatus. What is required, however, is more than a change of guards. In terms of doctrine, there is a need for the military to signal its capacity to decisively confront and smoke out the insurgents from their various hideouts. We make this point because it is obvious that the sect is daringly probing the nation's soft underbelly emboldened by its recent successes. In other words, it would appear that our strategy has been so far defensive, to the extent that our military is always reported as repelling the attacks by Boko Haram; it is hardly seen to be proactively going ahead of the sect by launching preventive attacks on it or punishing it with calculated reprisals for its forays.

It's a pity that the military hierarchy and the Nigerian government are just waking up to this fact after this problem has been allowed to fester for long and have caused irreversible damage to our military by promoting mediocrity over meritocracy. Now, the leadership of the Armed Forces, who are also products of this man-known-man, had decided to change the recruitment strategy due to some observed inadequacies among the personnel in the on-going fight against Boko Haram insurgents. Now, the Federal Government and the military leadership said emphasis would henceforth be placed on courage, fearlessness and discipline in fresh recruitment into the Armed Forces. According to the Punch, the security leadership was of the view that some people in the forces were engaged merely as a way to earn a living and not because they have love for the job, and that efforts were also being made to de-politicize recruitment into the military.

As a change of tactic, the Nigerian military wants now to be on the offensive vis--vis the defensive posture it had been adopting all along in the war against insurgency, that has failed to rein the terrorists in.

While the Nigerian military personnel are running away whenever they heard that the insurgents are approaching, thereby leaving cities and citizens, they are supposed to protect, at the mercies of marauders, the local hunters are the ones going after the insurgents, killing some of them and rescuing some of the towns and villages overrun by the latter, with the Army following from behind. . It was Local militia in Adamawa State who drove Boko Haram militants out of Mubi nearly two weeks after the town fell to the insurgents. Boko Haram captured Mubi on October 30 in a daytime raid after attacking the military installation there, chasing soldiers and residents out of town, and killing many. What are the local hunters, without any military training and sophisticated weapons, doing right, that the Nigerian military personnel have failed to do? According to 247ureports.com; the famous town of Chibok has been liberated by the local combination of hunters and vigilante men of Borno State. According to available information, the hunters swooped on the members of the Jihadist terrorist group in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 16, 2014, on a surprise attack. The terrorist, as gathered from a witness, refused to fight back against the hunters. Other sources stated that the Boko Haram members were simply unable to fight back against the hunters. The website wrote: "One of the members of the Special Forces [hunters] who was among the group that attacked the Boko Haram terrorists told 247ureports.com that the Boko Haram group were simply overpowered through the use of traditional powers and/or charms. According to the local hunter, the traditional powers were able to leave the members of the group disoriented and tactically blind. "As we moved on them, they were running in all directions. They could not find their bearing". Cursory inquiry into the hunter's claim showed that the Boko Haram terrorists have developed a healthy fear for the local hunters. According to the information gathered, the local hunters are armed with local traditional charms that supersede that of the Boko Haram. "They use occultic powers while we use traditional powers. We were able to slaughter about 300 of the Boko Haram terrorist in Gombi [inside Adamawa State]. And we killed more in Isong", said one of the armed hunters, as he was receiving accolades, (from) local villagers who had come to welcome them back, for a victorious battle. Presently, there is jubilation in Maiduguri, Borno State".

We all know that Boko Haram captured Mubi, the second largest city in Adamawa State, on October 30 in a daytime raid after attacking the military installation there, chasing soldiers and residents out of town, and killing many. The insurgents were acting with impunity in the captured town that some parents were forced to collect N5, 000 and surrender their daughters to them (the insurgents). In November, according to the governor of the state, Bala Ngilari, the Local militia in Adamawa State, mainly hunters and civilians, drove Boko Haram militants out of Mubi, a key town in the northeast state, nearly two weeks after the town fell to the insurgents. The governor added then that Mubi is now "quite different from what it used to be", saying that local vigilante, popularly called Civilian JTF, launched a daring night time attack on Boko Haram insurgents in Mubi and drove them out of town between Wednesday, November 12, and Thursday November 13. The government said the operation received some support from the military. Premium Times also wrote then that at least 75 Boko Haram militants were killed by local hunters in Maiha Local Government area of Adamawa State. Sources say local hunters ambushed the insurgents and killed them in their dozens. The hunters mobilized and gave the insurgents hot chase during which many Boko Haram sect members were killed. The people of Adamawa noticed and appreciated what the civilian JTF did, and had on Friday, November 14, commended them for the gallant fight, thereby lauding the collaborative efforts in combating the Boko Haram insurgency in the State. The residents said such efforts should be encouraged by communities in the North-East to curtail the activities of the insurgents.

According to Bolaji Tunji: So I started imagining how the local hunters performed the 'miracle', because it is nothing short of a miracle! I imagine the local warriors with their cutlasses and swords, grazing sticks, charms and amulets tied round their waists, taking on the insurgents and recapturing the town, with soldiers providing the rear support. The image being painted here may seem outlandish, but I hope I would be pardoned for this because, I cannot wrap my mind round the fact that the hunters could be as equally equipped as the Boko Haram and even our professional soldiers. Thus the people in those states being tormented by the insurgents should quickly organize all their hunters to confront Boko Haram and not wait on the Nigerian Army. It is not as if I have anything against the Nigerian Army but it is indeed a shame that the army is finding it difficult to fulfill its constitutionally assigned role and had to rely on local hunters. What became of professionalism? Or is it the case of pepper soup drinking as alleged by former Lagos police spokesman, Alozie Ogugbuaja, some years back, that has taken the sting out of our military? What this implies is that the army or the federal government lacks the capacity to protect Nigerians.

But the major issue today is not even about the occupation of one part of the country, but the recent revelation that the sect has become the world number two terror group. According to a Reuters report on Tuesday which quoted the Australia and the United States-based Institute for Economics and Peace, the sect is now second to Islamic State, another terror group in the Middle East.

The meaning of this is that the Nigerian insurgents have overtaken the Taliban and even al Qaeda in violence. How did we come to this sorry pass? Since the sect began its operation about five years ago, why has it been difficult to decisively tackle them? Looking at the budget since 2009 till date, defence has always taken a lion share of the budget and till date, about $32billion has allegedly been spent in the fight against terror. So if we are spending so much, why do we continue hearing that our soldiers are ill-equipped? Even with personnel cost, there should still be enough to procure arms and equip the army, so how has the money been spent?

The Boko Haram insurgency should not be seen as a Jonathan, northern or North East problem. It is a Nigerian problem and the earlier we see it that way the better. I recall that during the World Economic Forum on Africa in May this year, the major concern was the insecurity in the country, thus depriving the country the opportunity to showcase its economic growth.

The North East is especially in dire strait as no economic activity is taking place. People and businesses have relocated, gradually turning that part of the country into a desolate, no-go area. The election is just around the corner, are we sure there would not be an escalation in violent activities. For how long shall this continue?

Why have the hunters performed better than the soldiers, should President Jonathan be blamed for that?

Richard Sole, a U.S. Government consultant and author of the book "A Ritual of the Monkey" wrote that Nigerian Army has not fared any better. What the army could not do, villagers did better. On Tuesday May 6th 2014, residents of three villages in northeastern Nigeria took security into their own hands, repelling attacks by Boko Haram insurgents and killing more than 200 of them, residents and officials said.

The question is how were the villagers able to get actionable intelligence that Boko Haram will attack and were able to prepare for battle and the Nigerian Army was not aware. Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters stormed the villages of Menari, Tsangayari and Garawa in the ethnic Shuwa-dominated Kalabalge District on Tuesday May 6th 2014. Boko Haram, the group responsible for the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls from the same region, were met with stiff resistance as locals put up a fierce fight. This gallant fight of vigilantes beating back Boko Haram insurgents exposes Nigeria's soft underbelly. Isn't Nigeria supposed to be a military power in the Sub African continent? Nigerian military has seen action in Mali, Sierra Leone, and Liberia etc. Now Boko Haram is killing Emirs and local leaders turning Nigeria's northeast into a lawless state. With this lackluster effort at Boko Haram, Regional competitors will soon be in a position to muster and contest Nigeria power.

The pics, you are about to see, are the local civilian JTF made up of hunters, vigilantes etc who have performed better than the Nigerian military in many areas, in driving away the insurgents. Only in Nigeria can such thing happen.

The photos above show the people who ambushed, and killed so many of the terrorists thereby liberating the towns and villages under the terrorists' control. A feat the Nigerian military was unable to perform until the local hunters blazed the trail for them. There was a report on November 17 that Adamawa State has formally engaged the services of local hunters, civilian JTF and vigilantes in an effort to halt the operation of the Boko Haram insurgents in the state. The state governor, Barrister Bala James Ngillari, made this known after having an emergency meeting with the security chiefs in the state then. The Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, recently carpeted the Nigerian military, saying that since the Nigerian military is not capable of rescuing Bama from the hands of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents; his government is going to arm the vigilante group, popularly called civilian JTF, with the necessary weapons to recover Bama from the Islamic sect.

Compare the above pictures of the hunters and that of the Nigerian military below and judge for yourself why the hunters are performing better than our professional soldiers. The Nigerian military claim it lacks required arms to end Boko Haram insurgency, but, where went the money earmarked for security? On another hand, the hunters are not equipped but they are performing better than the military, how can the military justify this? Something is wrong here!

The military is not happy that the local hunters are doing better than it in the fight against the insurgents, and are now trying to frustrate the local hunters out of the fight. That's the sabotage we are talking about. Some people are profiting from the Boko Haram onslaught and will do anything to see an increase of the sect's destruction of lives and property. Unconfirmed report says that the leading head -hunter with the vigilante group, Sarkin Baka Adamawa, who led the bush fight that recaptured Mubi, has been arrested by Security operatives. Nigerian Family.Com said it cannot accurately confirm the reasons behind his arrest as calls to Adamawa police Command yielded no result. According to a reliable source, based in Adamawa, the insurgents burnt down the head hunter's house as a payback for dislodging the Sects from towns they had captured. In another development, it was also reported that the Inspector General of Police had summoned the entire vigilante groups to gather in Yola, for screening. This request did not sit well with many leaders in the north-eastern Nigeria. Because of what the hunters are doing, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, was said to have instructed his subjects to defend themselves and not to wait for the army. The hunters were doing better job of sacking the terrorists from the town and cities they were occupying that the Adamawa State Government said that it will hire additional 10,000 hunters to help fight Boko Haram insurgents. According to Governor Ngillari of Adamawa State "It has become very clear that the hunters have been able to dislodge the militants fearlessly, with or without the help of the Nigerian Military".

While the northern elite are blaming the president for everything concerning Boko Haram, the Chairman of the 19 Northern Governors' Forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, told them that the northerners are the architects of their own misfortune. It's good that one of their own told them that. The governor therein lamented that Nigeria would not have been in the current situation it has found itself following the violent activities of Boko Haram insurgents, if the then military administration had taken the bull by the horns by nipping it in the bud when the crisis started about 14 years ago in 1990. He stressed that the Book Haram war lasted till now due to the levity with which the sensitive issue was treated when it started. According to the Vanguard: The Governor, while calling on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and be more security conscious and also join hands with all arms of government in order to overcome the insurgences facing the country, said "Boko Haram did not start yesterday. It had been with us since 1990. Sometimes in some parts of the North, some privileged children started tearing their academic certificates and said they were migrating. We failed to take any decisive action as we turned our faces against the act because we felt it did not concern us. Anybody who has gone to the university and you see him tearing his certificate; you will know that something is wrong somewhere and this is exactly what happened and here we are today and it is our hope that we will overcome this crisis".

Panafricanvision made these points and more: "It is hard to understand how things metamorphosed to this level, but there are so many unanswered questions about Boko Haram and its supersonic rise. How comes the sect has evolved to the point where it can threaten to go toe to toe with the Nigerian military? Nigeria is a country that has been laying claim to a security seat on behalf of Africa, it has flexed its muscles in peace keeping missions from Liberia to Sierra Leone and its military was supposed to be one of the best trained and equipped in the continent.

If the giant of Africa is unable to protect its citizens from Boko Haram, how can the rest of Africa rely on it for their security? Who is training the Boko Haram folks, where are their funds coming from, how and from where are they able to obtain fire power superior to that of the Nigerian military in many instances?

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To be continued!






Continued from Part 17