By Adamu S. K. Alheri
Just think of it: what will motivate an Ihejirika to empower Islamist Boko Haram with Nigeria’s military equipment under his care? Would he like to live under an Islamised Nigeria? Would he like to be forcibly converted to Islam? Certainly not.”A careful verification of the information he obtained from God knows who, would have compelled Davis to trash them (information) as a piece of trash. Such verification would have drawn his attention to the years Gneral Ihejirika headed the Army, and led the successfully coordinated military campaign to stamp the terror.
Under General Ihejirika, Boko Haram never captured a hamlet. Now, they do on a daily bases, completely altering the country’s territorial map in a murderous campaign that has taken up Mubi, hometown of Air Marshal Bade, the CDS. We read of how Badeh commanded the troops to ferry out his relatives to safety, using a military helicopter just before the sect struck.It is as if Boko Haram recommended the removal of the General. His exit created the opening for them to launch their bloody campaign; it blew air under their wings. They have been flying since then, taking women; taking territories.
From Mubi to Michika to Vintim to Uba to Gwoza to Bama to Abadam, through Sambisa Forest to BuniYadi to Ashaka, a large chunk of the Nigerian territory has fallen into the hands of the terrorists who have gone full lengths at renaming the captured territory. Barely a day ago, the sect struck a major blow: killing dozens of young compatriots at an assembly ground preparing for classes at a public secondary school in Potiskum, Yobe State. Eight months ago, it was Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. The sect fired their way into town, and abducted schoolgirls they now said they have since married off. Yet, this happened several hours after the military under the command of Ihejirika’s successors were tipped off. All of these and many more happened after Ihejirika retired in January.
Boko Haram attempted to set up camps in Kogi, Niger, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa in their bid to spread. Ihejirika, commanding with clear and unambiguous instructions, led the Army to stop the sect, beating the, silly in their quest to advance. Less than a year after Ihejirika’s retirement, the same group which engaged in isolated hit-and-run, now have an Army on ground; running into about 10,000 committed fighters who are daily emboldened by their advances and captured territories. We now read of how or troops dump their firearms and flee into Cameroon. The latest run was to a small town in Niger. Davis failed to go to the records of Amnesty International, whose accounts indicted the military under the care of Ihejirika of alleged war crimes against the sect members.
General Ihejirika’s iconic strategies are verifiable, as they visible. He established counter-terrorism training centres and units within the Nigerian Army as sure steps that enhanced the fight against terror. He enhanced the capacity of officers and men in the counter-terrorism with requisite trainings, as he set up the Nigerian Army Dog Centre and Counter-terrorism centres in Lagos, and Kontagora as part of his proactive steps to stamp terror.
He embarked on mass recruitment beyond routine, as he set up new units and barracks in hotspots, in what decimated the insurgents. A military strategist, General Ihejirika established and maintained liaison with the United States African Command (AFRICOM) in the fight against terror, in what led to the setting up of the Special Operations Command.
He initiated and personally supervised the successful beefing up of strength and supplies/holdings of the Army component of the then Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno, after military authorities transferred control of operations from the JTF to the Army Headquarters under Ihejirika.
There was the robust military/civilian relation, as there was the establishment of an Army FM Radio Station in Maiduguri, to disseminate information about counter-terrorism to the local populace, as he also tasked the Nigerian Directorate of Islamic Affairs to undertake outreach campaigns to civilians in selected flashpoints. This, he did in collaboration with the Jama’tu Nasril Ismaiya (JNI) to counter the sect’s incisive teachings and indoctrinations, and designing requisite counter-terrorism messages in English and local languages to dissuade the local populace from embracing terrorists ideologies; as part of the military strategy to stamp the sect and win the battle of hearts and minds of innocent Nigerians from the extremists.
These are records any government will be looking for to make appointments to advise authorities on war strategies. Ihejirika will make a good consultant on counter-terrorism and other warfare.The records are there, if Davis cared to obtain them. The records would have brought Davis face to face with the reality; which is that Boko Haram cannot give positive accounts of General Ihejirika, their arch enemy. But Davis ignored the decency to look at the records, preferring to concoct his stories based on information he obtained from co-conspirators. Concluded
Adamu S.K. Alheri, is National Coordinator, Nasarawa Vanguard On Peace For Development (NAVAPED).