Buratai, Time to Disband Prickly Super Camps

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Ring True with Yemi Adebowale, Email: yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; Tel: 07013940521 (text only)
Ring True with Yemi Adebowale, Email: yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; Tel: 07013940521 (text only)

Ring True with Yemi Adebowale, Email: yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; Tel: 07013940521 (text only)

One of the hopeless responses of Army Chief, Tukur Buratai, to the unending attacks by Boko Haram was the creation of his so-called “Super Camps” for the military in the northeast. It is an imprudent strategy, under which small army camps were withdrawn from several areas and combined into fewer larger bases. This happened early last year. The result has been tragic for the country, as it helped the terrorists to gain more grounds, thus, increasing the pummeling of innocent Nigerians and soldiers. My dear Buratai, this baloney is obviously not working. It has left many communities in Borno State vulnerable. By now, the army chief ought to have impassively reviewed this strategy and have it dumped in the garbage can. His balderdash Super Camps have brought more pain on Nigerians living in the war zone. I often wonder if there is a tactical committee working with those implementing this war against Boko Haram. Otherwise, we should not be experiencing unending trauma heightened by faulty military strategy. Our sleeping defence minister, Bashir Magashi surely needs to put in place a war tactical committee, of about 20 members, made up of experienced combatants, to work with the Theartre Commander of Operation Lafia Dole. As for Buratai, I am not sorry to say that he remains the most incompetent army chief in the history of this country.

Auno, a settlement located on the major road leading to Maiduguri is one of the communities exposed to attacks caused by Buratai’s faulty Super Camp strategy. The terrorists have struck here six times in the last eight months, killing scores of people. The attack last Sunday was most brutal. The terrorists killed 30 people and abducted many women and children in a late night raid on blameless people waiting to cross into Maiduguri. The victims could not beat the irritable 6pm deadline for crossing into Maiduguri and ended up being slaughtered by Boko Haram. The jihadists, unhindered, stormed Auno in trucks with heavy weapons, killing, burning and looting before kidnapping women and children. “Many of the drivers and their assistants, who were sleeping in their vehicles, were burnt alive,” civilian militia fighter, Babakura Kolo said. Thereafter, the terrorists combed the village, looting and burning shops and property before withdrawing. Boko Haram fighters have been active in Auno for years, mounting roadblocks to target security forces and civilians.

Just like many other Nigerians, my very good friend and ex-classmate at the University of Leeds, UK, Abba Bashir-Shua has been in tears following the Auno attack. His niece, Fatima, who was a student of the University of Maiduguri, was one of those burnt to death during the Auno attack. Fatima was on her way to school when the tragedy occurred. An obviously disheartened Abba is hoping that Buhari will rise from his slumber and end the killings in his beloved Borno State. My prayer is for aljana fidau for all those killed in Auno. 

President Muhammadu Buhari was deservedly booed when he visited Maiduguri on Wednesday to condole with the government and people of Borno State over the Auno killings. It is shocking that our President did not visit the traumatised people of Auno. He simply visited the state’s capital, Maiduguri, and delivered his usual rhetoric that the terrorist would soon be tamed. I found it nauseating when Buhari further said: “I believe there is an improvement in security.” This is evidently not correct. By now, Buhari should be tired of this prostrate rhetoric. Nigerians want result and not rhetoric.

I was further shocked that our President went about telling the people of Borno State that Boko Haram or any of their factions would not carry out attacks without the support of some of the locals. Our President was so insensitive to the feelings of those that have lost loved ones to the terrorists in the entire North-east. Boko Haran doesn’t need the locals to carry out attacks. These terrorists control territories with very strong intelligence network. Besides, the locals have been traumatised and are too scared to report Boko Haram movements. Those who dare to do this are eliminated by the terrorists. Even when the military are aware of Boko Haram location, appropriate response hardly comes. So, this talk about locals not cooperating with the military is cheap talk. To end terrorism, the military needs aerial power. Intelligence, technology, quality equipment and quality manpower will be needed. Our gallant military lacks the competence and equipment for these. That was why the terrorists confidently attacked Jiddari Polo, on the outskirts of Maiduguri few hours after the President’s condolence visit to the city, causing many residents to flee into Maiduguri.

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has shown courage in the moves to end insurgency in his state. He rightly wants the Nigerian Armed Forces to change strategies in the fight against terrorism in order to get result. During Buhari’s visit, he bluntly told him that the state had been witnessing horrific and spontaneous attacks by the insurgents in the last one year, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives. “We need to keep taking the war to the enclaves of the insurgents on the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin, Sambisa Forest and some notable areas,” Zulum declared.

On the flip side, the pogrom in Kaduna State continued during the week with gunmen attacking Bakali village, in Giwa Local Government. The men, who struck last Tuesday, killed 21 people. The bandits went round the village, shooting indiscriminately, during which two Islamic preachers, his neighbour and one of his friends were killed. A resident, Sani Bakali, who lost 13 family members in the attack, said the men operated for over two hours, without security agents responding. “Eleven of my relatives were killed in a house, comprising three women and eight children of my younger brothers.  All of them were locked in the house and burnt to death. The bandits killed two of my uncles in another building, while four corpses burnt beyond recognition were discovered along the bush path. Twenty-one persons were killed in all by the bandits while nine persons are missing,” laments the bereaved Bakali.

On Wednesday, the bandits attacked a local market in Maro village, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing seven people. The President of the Adara Youth Congress (AYC), Mr. Peter Joshua, said the bandits came in a vehicle and were dressed in military uniform. He said nobody suspected that they were killers because soldiers used to come to the market on patrol every market day.

It is pertinent to put in place stringent measures to tackle the deteriorating security situation in Kaduna State. This state, which can be conveniently described as the epicenter of abductions and banditry in Nigeria, deserves special attention. Daily, scores of people are killed by bandits and kidnappers. Governor Nasir El-rufai has to rise above religious sentiments to effectively tackle this crisis.

Buhari, Bishop Kukah and Nepotism

The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the Buhari government, in his sermon at the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaukau, Kaduna State, before the burial of Michael Nnadi, a seminarian killed by kidnappers. The cleric remarked that Buhari was running the “most nepotistic and narcissistic government in known history,” and concluded that the President had not only relegated the national interest to the background, but he had also introduced nepotism into the military.

My takeaway from the Homily are these critical quotes: “No one could have imagined that in winning the Presidency, General Buhari would bring nepotism and clannishness into the military and the ancillary security agencies, that his government would be marked by supremacist and divisive policies that would push our country to the brink. This President has displayed the greatest degree of insensitivity in managing our country’s rich diversity. He has subordinated the larger interests of the country to the hegemonic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and women.

“The impression created now is that to hold a key and strategic position in Nigeria today, it is more important to be a northern Muslim than a Nigerian. Our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudderless and with broken navigational aids. Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and Pharisaism have caught up with us. Nigeria is at a crossroads and its future hangs precariously in the balance. This is a wakeup call for us.”

“Today, in Nigeria, the noble religion of Islam has convulsed. It has become associated with some of the worst fears among our people. Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and intellectuals have continued to cry out helplessly, asking for their religion and region to be freed from this chokehold. This is because, in all of this, neither Islam nor the North can identify any real benefits from these years that have been consumed by the locusts that this government has unleashed on our country. The Fulani, his innocent kinsmen, have become the subject of opprobrium, ridicule, defamation, calumny and obloquy. His North has become one large graveyard, a valley of dry bones, the nastiest and the most brutish part of our dear country.”

Is there anything more to add about the character of the Buhari government? The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese has said it all.

Why Should Convicted Governors Forfeit Assets to FG? 

Aside the conviction of former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, for corruption by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on December 5, the judge also ordered the winding up of Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and all assets forfeited to the federal government. Justice Idris held: “In respect of the third convict, Slok Nigeria Limited, an order is hereby made that the company shall hereupon and without further assurances, but for this order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

This aspect of forfeiting the assets to the federal government is what I find ludicrous in Justice Idris’s judgement. Since Kalu has been found guilty of conspiring and diverting N7.65 billion from the coffers of Abia State Government, then the forfeited assets should go to this state. I have been asking a number of lawyers to justify this controversial aspect of the judgement and nobody could do this. So, I am using this medium to challenge Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to go to court and demand that the forfeited assets be returned to the treasury of the state. If Ikpeazu truly loves his state, he would take a swift action in this direction.