Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first U.S-based, Africa-owned professional newspaper on the internet.
By Chido Nwangwu
On April 6, 2021, amidst escalating violence in Nigeria, across every zone of the country and most local districts in the geo-political area largely known and identified as “the Northern Nigeria” Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Usman Alkali Baba, a Deputy Inspector-General, to replace Mohammed Adamu as the acting Inspector General of Police of the Nigeria Police Force. The new pick fits the profile of what I will classify as the new generation of police leadership in a notoriously under-paid, disrespected and many allege very corrupt force. IGP Baba has major tasks ahead of him.
There’s the issue of credibility of the pronouncements by some of the high-ranking Police officers whereby the common joke in Nigeria is that when Boko Haram, “bandits” or “herdsmen” violently attack and destroy a community, some of the law enforcement officials will say “not really… it was not by you.” On the other hand, when any major incident occurs in the East and the IPOB declares it is “not the IPOB”, the law enforcement people such as Adamu will first insist “it’s the IPOB.” He did so shortly after the attack that took place on the Police Command Headquarters and the Correctional Facility in Owerri, Imo State, on Monday, this week.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2020, Buhari, a retired army General, to all intents, conceded that his government fell short of what Nigerians deserved in the critical arena of security. I commend Buhari’s honest admission, and willingness to reposition in order to tackle the high level of insecurity in Nigeria.
Today April 9, 2021, the sad but true state of things is that the situation seems to get worse, weekly — if not daily! Especially the Boko Haramites, the “bandits” and the increasing army of “herdsmen” (translation: AK-47 carrying Fulani foot soldiers) all across the country, the terrorists and soldiers of fortune who are scattered into Mali, Niger, Chad and Nigeria are physically imposing their black flags of medieval theologies and prescriptions as the only way….
Buhari had a meeting with security chiefs in the country, where he promised a complete re-engineering of the “security architecture.”
At the heart of the farrago of falsehoods is/was the claim that Boko Haram and similar terrorist gangs had been completely defeated or subjugated!
But Nigerians knew they were being misled by the nepotism government of Saint Buhari on their war against Boko Haram.
Alas, this, one of my favorite quotes is perfect: `”The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them” wrote Elena Getorokhova in ‘A Mountain of Crumbs.’
ON Sunday night January 11, 2015, CNN International called me to provide some insights for a live interview on the Boko Haram menace and killings, especially at Baga. The bloodied Borno city of Baga. I did.
To understand the level of impunity and violation of the national security of Nigeria by the violent, terrorist radical Islamic group Boko Haram, you have to know about their horrendous massacre of more than 2,000 persons of all ages and gender in Baga. Baga is near Lake Chad and had not been conquered by Boko until Friday January 9, 2015. Boko overwhelmed both the local vigilantes and Nigeria’s armed forces near and into Baga . . . blood flowed like a river….
Today, April 9, 2021, Baga is a shadow of itself;
assaulted, raped, mangled. Baga, these days, is a city arrested by fear. Baga is/was emblematic of how Boko Haram’s vicious clout stretched from one presidency to another. Borno and nearby areas have remained Boko violent playgrounds, the capital territory of their medieval Caliphate.
Significantly, Nigeria‘s National Security Adviser, retired Major General Babagana Monguno, who briefed State House correspondents at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after the August 4, 2020 meeting made a key point that “We must bear in mind that we owe a duty to the people that elected this government and at the end of the day, without securing the nation, all other things, such as revamping the economy and fighting corruption cannot be addressed.” The man is right.
I think that Nigeria and the other African governments should position their actions and policies around the paradigm that terrorism since the emergence of human societies and into the 21st century remains an issue of domestic consequence. It affects the flow of economic investments, weighing in on the measure for or against international capital, and even the value and safety of domestic/internal business. My point? Offering excuses, dealing kid gloves or looking the other way believing the terror machines will relent is wishful thinking. They are like elephants; the more you feed them, the hungrier they become!
Logically, therefore, a recurring concern for Nigerians at home and the diaspora, for American and the international investors remain: are we safe investing to do business in most parts of Nigeria? Are we safe from kidnappers and assorted violence? Curiously, the same government of Buhari is proudly showcasing its launch of a “rehabilitation” and “reintegration” scheme for “ex” Boko members as a high mark of its Security “achievements”!
The evidences are broadcast daily of how Nigeria’s armed forces remain, embarrassingly, incapable of protecting all Nigerians within its borders.
Like Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the President he succeeded, Buhari’s failure to secure the borders of Nigeria has come with steep consequences. After all, vagrants and killers wander back and forth Nigeria for episodic visitations of medieval and chilling violence — especially beheadings of men and women.
The President’s foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation is to the national interest, the security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in it.