Insecurity: the ‘Physician heal thyself’ scenario

June 26, 2023
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The freshly minted President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has just recently literally ‘killed two birds with one stone’, in the dismissal of all but one service chiefs and made replacements.

Aside his inexplicable and absolutely illogical decision not to fire the Director General of the Department of State Services who is one of the ‘old brigade’ service Chiefs he, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu inherited from the incompetent Muhammadu Buhari’s dictatorial regime, there is another beautiful angle to the fresh appointments of some of the Service Chiefs.

Mr. Tinubu whose delectable wife is a pentacostal deacon in the well regarded Redeemed Church Of Christ led by Pastor Adeboye, unknowingly tasked two of his new set of service chiefs with the famed biblical injunction that says “physician, heal thyself.”

President Tinubu’s choices of a defence chief of staff and Naval Chief posed, as it were, the same Biblical challenge of ‘physician heal thyself.’

The current chief of Defence Staff- a major General, is from the terrorists ravaged Southern Kaduna state in the middle belt region of Nigeria. Southern Kaduna native people have so far lost over 100 of their aboriginal communities to foreign Fulani invaders who are known to be occupying those ancestral communities of the natives till date, according to the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union in their documented evidence disclosed in one of their recent media releases published widely and signed by Publicity Secretary Comrade Luka Biniyat.

Specifically too, is the salient fact that Southern Kaduna, Benue and Plateau states are collectively called the middle belt region and these have remained the flash points of insecurity and thousands of casualties aside farmlands taken over by these invading terrorists. Once or twice, the then governor of Benue Mr. Samuel Ortom was almost assassinated by armed Fulani invaders in his farm located inside his ancestral native Community in a Tiv speaking zone of Benue State.

The security disturbances by armed bandits, Islamic terrorists of Boko haram/ISWAP and armed Fulani herdsmen, have combined to unleash the highest rate of blood cuddling attacks on these largely Christian settlements aforementioned.

The attacks constitute over 50% of the entire security challenges of all of Nigeria.

Then, the next salient observation is that the Naval chief is from Enugu Ezike which is a neighbouring border town of Igbo State of Enugu with Benue State. That axis is the axis of terror attacks into the South East of Nigeria by the same bandits, terrorists and armed Fulani herdsmen.

However, here is the opportunity for these Service chiefs to not only confront the National security threats but as it were, to clear these attackers from their homestead since.

Also, the attacks from Enugu Ezike anxis into South East and the crude oil producing South South zones constitute up to 15% of the security challenges confronting Nigeria whereas “unknown gunmen” and Nigeria’s security forces alongside Boko haram, constitute the remaining 30% of the security issues in Nigeria.

The appointment of new security chiefs is a game changer, if and only if these Security Chiefs will display patriotism, commitment and loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and carry out their mandates without let, hindrance or compromises. So, if in the event that they don’t succeed, their failures will be catastrophic and will reinforce the belief that ‘prophets have no respect in their home towns.’

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So, as widely reported, president Bola Tinubu had sacked the Chief of Defence Staff, all the nation’s Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali, as well as the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali. But he left the DG of DSS who is as much inefficient and incompetent as the rest of the bunch that Bola Ahmed Tinubu swept off the scene.

The Secretary the the Government of the Federation SGF, Senator George Akume who is from Benue State whereby these terror attacks intensified over the past 8 years, disclosed this in a statement issued recently in Abuja.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has approved the immediate retirement of all Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, Advisers, Comptroller-General of Customs from Service as well as their replacements with immediate effect”, the SGF stated.

Tinubu consequently appointed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as National Security Adviser; Maj. Gen. C.G Musa, Chief of Defence Staff; Maj. Gen. T. A Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admirral E. A Ogalla, Chief of Naval Staff; AVM H.B Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff, DIG Kayode Egbetokun, Acting Inspector-General of Police and Maj. Gen. EPA Undiandeye as Chief of Defence Intelligence.

President Tinubu also approved the following appointments: Col. Adebisi Onasanya, Commander, Brigade of Guards; Lt. Col. Moshood Abiodun Yusuf, 7 Guards Battalion, Asokoro, Abuja; Lt. Col. Auwalu Baba Inuwa 177, Guards Battalion, Keffi, Nasarawa State; Lt. Col. Mohammed J. Abdulkarim, 102 Guards Battalion, Suleja, Niger state; and, Lt. Col. Olumide A. Akingbesote, 176 Guards Battalion, Gwagwalada, Abuja.

Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, who recently retired from the army after 35 years in service, has said the exploits of the Nigerian Army had put the country’s adversaries in disarray in all fronts.

This was as the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj Gen Christopher Musa; the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen Abiodun Lagbaja and Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ikechukwu Ogalla, at the weekend, participated in the traditional pulling out ceremony for Yahaya.

Retiring members of the 38 and 39 Regular Courses of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) also participated in the colourful ceremony marked by parades, march past and special military rendition at the Army Headquarters Garrison Parade Ground, Mogadishu Military Cantonment, Abuja.

The Nigerian Army pull-out parade ceremony was in line with the military tradition of honouring retiring senior officers of the rank of general, who served without blemish.

The former Army Chief made heavy weather of what he did to fight terrorists but we all know that what he said is mere propaganda and not exactly what we experienced since insecurity hasn’t abated till date. So the immediate past COAS was playing on words and trying to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that all is well with national security. This is so unreal and untrue.

Yahaya, in his remarks at the event, said the anti-illegal oil bunkering operations being conducted by troops in the Niger Delta region had continued to yield positive results with attendant increment in oil production, which returned the country to the top of the list of oil producing countries in Africa.

He charged Nigerian Army personnel not to relent in providing support to the new COAS to ensure his successful execution of the constitutional responsibilities of the Nigerian Army.

Yahaya, who was the special guest of honour and reviewing officer of the pull-out parade, expressed gratitude to God for a meritorious career that culminated in his command of the army.

Reminiscing on his career, Yahaya described his military sojourn as eventful with very tasking experience, and expressed appreciation to members of his family and colleagues for their support and steadfastness throughout his career.

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“As the saying goes, everything that has a beginning, must have an end, and here we are today to celebrate the end of my career in the Nigerian Army. Today is no doubt a memorable day for me and my family.

“I thank Almighty God for his grace, blessings , mercies and bounties that saw me all through my career in the Nigerian Army up till today that I am leaving the service. I must say that it has only been God and his grace,” he said.

Going down memory lane, the former COAS said, “My military career commenced on 27th September, 1985, when I reported to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), as a member of 37th Regular Course. From that time to date, it has been an eventful and rewarding experience.

“Like every military career, my service years was filled with sessions of excitement and gratitude, as well as pains of odious and demanding experiences. In all, I am grateful to God, my dear family and all of you for your support, steadfastness and prayers.

“As great Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘no man is good enough to govern another man without the other man’s consent or support’, there is no gainsaying that over the years of my career, I have received great support, tutelage, motivation, and multitude of prayers from my superiors, my family, friends and contemporaries across various work of life.

“All these paved the path for the great milestone and successes recorded throughout my tour of duty as a military officer, in the Nigerian Army. I must, therefore, thank God for my successful tour of my military service,” he said.

Yahaya also remembered fallen colleagues, who paid the supreme price in various theatres of operation across the country, adding that the army made huge sacrifices in defending and ensuring lasting peace in the country.

He appreciated his predecessors for their dedication and service to the army, which he noted, significantly addressed security challenges during their tenure, stressing that they provided good platforms for others to build upon and significantly resulted in denying terrorists and insurgents freedom of action as well as restoration of peace and confidence to the affected communities.

Recalling his steady career progression and assigned command responsibilities that honed and shaped his leadership skill as a top military brass, he said, “In command, from being a platoon commander, to company commander, commanding officer, brigade commander, general officer commanding, theatre commander, amongst several others before assuming command as the 22nd Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army.”

While appreciating his predecessors, for their dedication and service to the Nigerian Army, Gen. Yahaya said it was on that effort and platform that he tried to build on which enabled him to contribute his own quota to the upliftment of the Nigerian Army.

“On assumption of command in the Nigerian Army, I conceived and visualised an ideal army,which I sought to build. This was the outcome of my thorough assessment of the existing Nigeria Army’s capability, visa vis challenges and expectations for current as well as future operations.

“My interest was to build a Nigerian Army that will have flexibility, capacity and capability to operate under all conditions, in collaboration with other services and agencies.

“It was on this premise, that I couched my vision for the Nigeria Army, which was, ‘to have a professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria’. I am glad to say that we have made significant effort in achieving the effort,” he said.

The fact remains that the immediate past COAS did not achieve much in the area of securing lives and property of the good people of Nigeria. All those media propaganda aforementioned are what they are- mere empty rhetorical claims without any empirical evidence to support all of his fantastic claims.

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From the community of Enugu comes a petition sent to us at the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA by some indigenes who were even too afraid to include their names but they are known to us in HURIWA. So we then got a friendly group to write to the DSS to intervene. The first draft from this group of people of Enugu Ezike had stated thus: “The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) is a civil rights advocacy institution geared towards amplifying the cause of social justice through advocacy, strategic investigations and interventions.

We are writing to your esteemed office on behalf of strategic stakeholders within the Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, who out of fear of being targeted for elimination, have appealed for HURIWA to amplify their SOS appeal against the now incessant and unrestrained killings of several vulnerable and hapless citizens within their community.

Reports available surmise that aside from the numerous killings of vulnerable people within the locality, outlaws operating within this catchment have assassinated at least five (5) police officers within the last nine months including Police Detective Christopher Ukwuaba as well as two police officers serving at the behest of the CEO Royal Mass Transit murdered in cold blood on the 2nd June 2022, dispossessing them of their weapons, amongst others. It is even gathered that a soldier was, more recently, assassinated and buried in a shallow grave in their haven/den and whose body was later exhumed by his colleagues.

According to our preliminary investigation, the massacres began with the execution of the head of the local vigilante and his deputy. We understand that they were not only murdered in cold blood, but that their sensitive body parts were mutilated and taken away with their licensed firearms carted away as well.

It is unfortunate that we have to also report that the Police Division in the Local Government seem to have become completely emasculated and perhaps obliterated, as is evident in the non-tactical response to this continuing scourge. Permanent fear now resides in the minds of the rural dwellers as well as citizens living outside the locality who can no longer visit home for fear of being killed.

Preliminary investigations point to two factions of these terrorizing outlaws including one led by one (name hidden) and the other led by one (ide tity hidden). These dare-devil thugs are said to be behind the senseless unrestrained assassinations and have constituted the biggest threat to life to the ordinary agrarian populace in the Local Government. Their operations have brought economic activities in the locality to a standstill, making life unbearable to the rural dwellers who depend on daily hustles to feed their households.

The mandate of the service including the prevention, detection and investigation of threats of espionage, subversion, sabotage, terrorism, separatist agitations, Inter-group conflicts, economic crimes of national security dimension and threats to law and order; informs our confidence in your intervention in the disarming and mopping-up of proliferated light arms in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State as well as the evacuation of the criminal elements responsible for the numerous killings within the area.

Convinced that our request will attract a favourable consideration from your office as quickly as it is exigent, we humbly wish to express our profound gratitude in anticipation of your much desired intervention.” This was the first draft of the petition sent to us to forward to the DSS before we got another affiliate group to take it up. Sadly, there has been no action to check the rising influences of these dare devil terrorists. Then add this Local dimension to the larger invasion of external terrorists into Enugu State from Benue State who are thought to be Fulani armed herdsmen, it will become very troubling. Meaning that the Chief of Naval Staff has his job cut out for him similar in nature to that of Chief of Defence Staff in his native geopolitical area of Southern Kaduna.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.

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