By Hussaina Ishaya Audu
Recently, Boko Haram captured Mubi in Adamawa State. The Nigerian Army was not able to deflect this invasion. It managed to recapture Mubi with the help of vigilante groups and hunters. Now the insurgents have invaded Chibok again, this time taking over the township altogether.
The Nigerian army cannot protect our borders. The war in the North East resembles a feeble attempt to stop a water fountain by plugging its individual water holes: as you plug one hole, a jet of water shoots out from another one, and you go to plug that one, and another one shoots out from somewhere else. It’s like the tail wagging the dog.
How many soldiers do we actually have fighting against Boko Haram in the North East? Do we need to send in more troops? Do we have the troops to send? Even if we have the troops to send are they mentally and psychologically, if not physically, competent to go? Do we have the weapons to equip them with if we do send them?
If we cannot successfully defeat Boko Haram what does this say about the state of our defence as a nation? In what shape is the Nigerian Air force? The United States responded to claims by the Nigerian Ambassador in Washington that it was frustrating Nigeria’s efforts to procure arms by admitting ‘that the U.S. refused to sell some Cobra attack helicopters to the Nigerian armed forces early this year because it was concerned the military had no capacity to operate and maintain it.’ (http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/171127-america-replies-nigeria-releases-details-aid-Nigerian-military-war-boko-haram.html). Such a searing indictment of our armed forces!
Why is the air force unable to explain the helicopter crashes of 12/11, 11/11 and 13/11? Is it that our pilots are as inexperienced with aircraft as our soldiers are at fighting a war, and do indeed lack the ‘capacity to operate’ these aircraft, or is it because the aircraft themselves are faulty? In what state is the Nigerian Navy? Are we going to wait until we suffer a naval assault before we find out, or is someone taking a cue from the dismal state the army is in to audit our Navy and suture any fault lines therein? Or do we think such an assault is so unlikely as not to be worthy of consideration?
If the Nigerian Army cannot defend citizens any longer, and since a citizen has ‘the right to live, to be free, and to feel safe’, shouldn’t we also have the right to bear fire arms so that we can do for ourselves what the Nigerian Army cannot do for us? If my right as a citizen to defend myself by having and bearing a fire arm is exchanged for the promise by the Government that it will guarantee my right to life, my freedom, and my sense of security, and it has become blatantly evident that the government is unable to do so, do I not have a right to take my security into my own hands? Had the people of Chibok, for instance, been equipped with fire arms, maybe they could have taken on Boko Haram instead of fleeing their homes again.
Or, is it time to hire mercenaries to come and protect this nation since our armed forces are unable to do so? Is it fair to the people in the North East to leave them to be defended by the Nigerian Army alone, thus allowing them to continue to be slaughtered? Is it smart for those of us who have not yet been touched by this war to continue to wear a cloak of indifference? Is it because we think we are safe?
Listen to Colonel Umar’s warnings to us a nation:
“How else can one describe the recklessness and the cold indifference being displayed by our politicians as they divert attention of the nation away from the killings and creating the impression that all that matters is the 2015 elections? And while our politicians dance away the nights and days to the wild cheers of their gullible and greedy supporters, town after town is overrun and brought under the merciless control of the BH insurgents…
We need to understand that the war in northeast is a war against Nigeria. The insurgents intend to use a conquered Northeast as a launch pad on which to invade and conquer the rest of the country and possibly the whole of the West African sub-region.
Boko Haram is well funded by Al-Qaeda in the Magreb, (AQIM) as well as the booty they acquire in the numerous territories they conquer. Nigerians must wake up to the reality that their only defence against the marauding insurgents is our visibly demoralized military.” (http://saharareporters.com/2014/11/14/col-umar-warns-while-nigerians-are-divided-boko-haram-taking-over-our-country)
Nigeria is a nation without defence. While the politicians continue to do what they know how to do best – play politics – this country is in jeopardy. Do we wait until the philistines are upon us before we wake up and think?
Hussaina Ishaya Audu is on the editorial board of Premium Times