By Bala Ibrahim
The latest news in town is that, pursuant to the attack on the Presidential Guard in Abuja last week, where two officers were killed, the Nigerian Army troops of the same Presidential Guards Brigade, have sprung to action, in the course of which, they identified and destroyed, camps belonging to the bandits, in addition to the recovery of a huge hidden store of weapons. This is a laudable action that is not only worthy of individual praise but calls for collective commendation.
According to credible sources, the soldiers took the fight to the terrorists, where they raided forests around the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Niger, Kogi, and Kaduna states, in search of the terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers taking refuge there. The terrorists, who are said to be mostly foreigners, were badly hit, killing many of them, while some escaped on power bikes with gunshots. A good number of the terrorists have been arrested, and are giving useful statements to intelligence officers.
Information obtained from those arrested said, the suspects have revealed that their membership spans many artisans, including okada riders, water vendors, wheelbarrow pushers, petty traders, mobile tailors, shoe cobblers, and others, who are constantly on the move, and ever-ready with information before the evil-doers strike. The same people also serve as informants on the movements of troops and the suspicious presence of security personnel.
This exemplary action of the military has given way to a big question, viz- so the Nigerian military has the capacity for such spectacular operation, yet they remained disdainful to the situation until some of them were attacked and killed? Why is the mad dog instinct employed only when theirs is the victim? Why? why?
Those with good memories may still remember, how in the eighties, as a result of a traffic altercation involving Kola Abiola, the eldest son of late MKO Abiola, and a military officer, some soldiers reportedly invaded the Abiola family house and assaulted them. When the matter was reported to the military top brass, a senior military chief said, there was no need for any apology, because, by training, when soldiers are attacked, they respond with the instinct of a mad dog.
The Ijaw people of Odi in Bayelsa State, whose village was temporarily occupied and ravaged in 1999, may still be licking the wounds inflicted on them, when the federal government ordered troops to flush out the killers of some security operatives that were posted there to keep the peace. The consequences of the excessive use of force by the military in the area are obnoxiously reprehensible. That is the mannerism of the military when an attack is visited on them.
Late Gen. Victor Malu, the officer that earned the nickname of the man with guts, and one that was said to be gifted with the character of being blunt, frank, and fearless, was then the Chief of Army Staff. He ordered the Odi operation.
Shortly after the operation, which attracted global opprobrium by Human Rights organizations, I ran into him at the then Ikoyi Hotel, Lagos, and in the course of our interview, where he justified the action of the military, I asked him, what would he do if his father were to pull a trigger on his head? I would blow up his head, he answered instantaneously. That is the mannerism of the military when an attack is visited on them.
In something reminiscent of a reminder of the law of Karma, which says, what happens to a person, happens because they caused it with their actions, after Gen. Malu left service, the Zaki-Biam Massacre happened, where hundreds of unarmed Tiv civilians were killed by the military, in revenge to the killing of 19 soldiers, whose mutilated bodies were found near some Tiv villages in 2001. Amongst the villages attacked by the military was Victor Malu’s village, and one of those killed was Malu’s uncle. That is the mannerism of the military when an attack is visited on them.
With such antecedent, and a history of robust capacity for rapid response, why should it take an eternity, for the Nigerian military to rescue kidnapped victims, or identify and demolish the dens of terrorists? More so, when investigative journalists are visiting and talking to the terrorists on regular basis.
Whether or not the military like it, they have long been convicted in the public court, for the dereliction of duty in this regard, and the bulk of the blame goes to the National Security Adviser, Gen. Monguno rtd.
No wonder the call for the sacking of Monguno is gaining momentum, with the latest coming from Senator Sani Musa of the ruling APC.
“What proactive action has the NSA taken? We have to call a spade a spade. If I was the NSA in this country, I will tender my resignation because I have failed. When they (terrorists) are creating cells, you do not wait until when you are attacked before acting.
The intelligence that is being shared is a pre-information given to you at a stage where these culprits have not concluded their plans and you neutralize them. For me, I believe that we need to re-strategize”-Sen. Sani Musa.
Yes, Nigerians need to see some spectacular actions, in order to justify the merit of that mad dog manners of the military.