Na­tional se­cu­rity and chal­lenges be­fore mil­i­tary

Daily Trust - - VIEWS - By Dr. Pere­grino Brimah

The se­cu­rity depart­ment, the last re­main­ing, touted ves­tige of de­cency in the na­tion, the mil­i­tary and en­tire se­cu­rity net­work of the na­tion right up to the of­fice of na­tional se­cu­rity, ONSA and the Min­istry of De­fen­ceis to­day fac­ing many chal­lenges.

In Septem­ber last year, a story broke about a se­cu­rity mas­sacre of in­no­cent cit­i­zens squat­ting in a build­ing in Apo area, Abuja. The Nige­rian forces had re­port­edly sim­ply fired upon squat­ting civil­ians who they were re­port­edly try­ing to evict from the build­ing. The se­cu­rity depart­ment claimed it was a bat­tle with ter­ror­ists and that guns were found. Their claims were all later proven to be lies and this month the Nige­rian Hu­man Rights (NHRC) in­dicted the Direc­torate of State Se­cu­rity, DSS of mur­der.

Prior to this, there had been sev­eral re­ports and se­ri­ous com­plaints by hu­man right as­so­ci­a­tions and con­cerned cit­i­zens that the mil­i­tary was killing as many or more in­no­cent civil­ians than the ter­ror­ists were, as it bat­tled Boko Haram in the North. There were and still are many com­plaints of the mil­i­tary ac­tu­ally with­draw­ing forces to per­mit Boko Haram ter­ror at­tacks, in­clud­ing in the killing of distin­guished army vet­eran, Gen­eral Muhammed Shuwa in 2012, in whose case it was re­ported that soldiers ac­tu­ally watched as he was killed.

In Fe­bru­ary of this month, the Nige­rian pres­i­dent threat­ened to pull out forces to “il­lus­trate” to the north­ern lead­er­ship the ef­fect of the mil­i­tary in the north; shortly af­ter his an­nounce­ment, there was a re­ported pull out of troops sta­tioned near a school in Yobe which was sub­se­quently at­tacked by ter­ror­ists, with dozens of stu­dents mas­sa­cred.

About a hun­dred mil­i­tary dressed gun­men or groups of this num­ber have been rav­aging the Mid­dle Belt of Nigeria, killing all people in sight and burn­ing build­ings in towns they visit. This sit­u­a­tion has never been ac­costed by the Nige­rian

Nige­rian se­cu­rity depart­ment and has lasted for three years. It was be­lieved that there were no leads, how­ever an ex­as­per­ated com­mu­nity head of the re­cently at­tacked Yar Gal­adima vil­lage in Zam­fara where 250 were killed, re­vealed that the per­pe­tra­tors and their camps were known by the town’s men and the se­cu­rity depart­ment; and that sev­eral had been ar­rested and re­leased to con­tinue their mayhem. The vil­lage head even gave the names of the ter­ror lead­ers ar­rested and re­leased by the state se­cu­rity depart­ment.

In Keana, a town in Nasarawa state, this month at least 15 civil­ians were sum­mar­ily ex­e­cuted while bury­ing a rel­a­tive. The at­tack was ini­tially re­ported in the na­tion’s top dailies as a suc­cess­ful mil­i­tary en­gage­ment against ter­ror­ists, how­ever as the ac­tual de­tails un­folded and it was found to be a mil­i­tary men mas­sacre of in­no­cent co­op­er­at­ing civil­ians, the mil­i­tary re­tracted their own­er­ship and sub­mit­ted that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was be­ing con­ducted into the true oc­cur­rences.

This same April, a Voice of Amer­ica, VoA broad­cast sug­gested that there was top level mil­i­tary, trea­son­able sab­o­tage, with mil­i­tary on mil­i­tary am­bushes and slaugh­ters of the na­tion’s se­cu­rity men by their own train­ers. The re­port cap­tioned,” Army, Boko Haram Work­ing To­gether in Parts of Nigeria?” was a se­ri­ously em­bar­rass­ing news piece, which the Nige­rian mil­i­tary quickly de­nied, claim­ing the sol­dier who made the rev­e­la­tion was not a real sol­dier in the Nige­rian army; how­ever since the re­port, we have spo­ken with other mil­i­tary men, in­clud­ing oth­ers at­tacked in the same re­ported am­bush, who sub­stan­ti­ated the re­port that they were left with one or two mag­a­zines and am­bushed by their own mil­i­tary.

A re­cent re­port also al­leged that ju­nior of­fi­cers had com­plained that the gen­er­als were un­der­min­ing the mis­sion of the army in Borno, em­bez­zling funds for se­cu­rity equip­ment and mo­bi­liza­tions, some­times plac­ing two army units in one zone to re­duce costs while sab­o­tag­ing se­cu­rity de­liv­ery. The re­port re­vealed that am­mu­ni­tion was in in­ad­e­quate sup­ply, al­low­ing the su­pe­ri­orly kit­ted Boko Haram ter­ror­ists, with things like night-vi­sion gog­gles Nigeria’s troops did not have, and more rounds of su­pe­rior am­mu­ni­tion, the ca­pac­ity to de­feat the Nige­rian army. Even food was scroungy, fur­ther de­feat­ing the morale of the soldiers.

In lat­est news re­ports, ac­cord­ing to the Borno govern­ment of­fice, the school in­volved and the pop­u­lace, the Nige­rian mil­i­tary dan­ger­ously lied about the re­lease of the ab­ducted 100+ girls. The mil­i­tary had claimed it had re­leased the girls; this was al­legedly a very evil and deadly lie, as the cit­i­zens said their wards were still in the bushes with the ter­ror­ists.

Nigeria’s se­cu­rity depart­ment has vis­i­bly, de­lib­er­ately failed to curb ter­ror freely plagu­ing the na­tion; not a sin­gle spon­sor of ter­ror has ever been pros­e­cuted, de­spite pre­pon­der­ance of ev­i­dence in­clud­ing the Abba Moro White re­port in­dict­ing Borno politi­cians in the es­tab­lish­ment of Boko Haram. These politi­cians ex­iled by the Borno pop­u­lace now live safe in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal. The army has also been ac­cused of not re­spond­ing for up to eight hours when vil­lages call and re­port im­pend­ing and on­go­ing at­tacks. He­li­copters have been re­ported to be sur­pris­ingly fly­ing in Nigeria’s mon­i­tored air spa­ces across the north, also in­di­cat­ing dan­ger­ous com­pro­mise and sab­o­tage of the army and State se­cu­rity depart­ment. The se­cu­rity depart­ment seems fur­ther com­pro­mised, ac­cused of aiding and abet­ting ter­ror and ly­ing to con­done mil­i­tary mas­sacres and fail­ures.

When Nigeria’s for­mer head of state se­cu­rity, NSA Andrew Owoye-Azazi had re­vealed that ter­ror in the na­tion as not ac­ci­den­tal but was spon­sored and sup­ported by top rul­ing­party, PDP politi­cians, he was fired, and killed in a he­li­copter crash later that year. Nigeria is to­day in a very pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion as ter­ror in­creases across the na­tion, es­pe­cially its north­ern parts. More than 21,000 people have died of the vi­o­lence since Jonathan came into power. Not a sin­gle spon­sor of ter­ror has been pros­e­cuted by this govern­ment. Dr. Pere­grino Brimah Email: dr­brimah@ends. ng Twit­ter: @EveryNige­rian

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