Boko Haram: Killing of Nigerian soldiers and politicians’ politicization of security – AN EDITORIAL


President Buhari with Air Vice Marshall Sampson Akpasa, Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command, NAF during the President’s interactive session with troops deployed to curb the activities of bandits and criminals in Zamfara and neighbouring states under Operations Sharan Daji and Diran Mikiya, at Katsina Airport shortly before departing for Abuja on 25th Aug 2018.


“As a matter of urgency, while commending the action sending Defence Minister to Chad being a country known allegedly for the brewing of the insurgencies is highly commendable, we call on the government to issue a statement and make open what happened leading to the killing of those soldiers before the opposition begin to twist the facts and sell them to the vulnerable public.”


The Nigerian Armed Forces have commendably worked hard in defending and protecting the territorial integrity of the country for overall security of lives and properties even of those who have worked assiduously in negative ways to undermine the efforts of the forces in the name of politicking.

The killing, at the Chad Basin area of Maiduguri in the North East, of scores of soldiers of the Nigerian Army is not only pathetic but also saddening.  More seriously saddening is the politicization of the unfortunate incidence by the opposition politicians, who are now making it look, for the second time Dapchi schoolgirls kidnap being the first, like they have got an equalizer as a payback to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who they accused of using the Boko Haram insurgency and kidnap of Chibok schoolgirls to campaign against them in a way that terminated their 16-year-old government in 2015.  To this end, we at the The DEFENDER Newspaper would say in Nigeria, the politicization of national security is beyond pardon and call on all and sundry to condemn same in its totality.

In arriving at an editorial decision to advice the Muhammadu Buhari Administration on the latest development, therefore, we note with profound appreciation the dispatching of the Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali to the neighbouring Republic of Chad for a meeting, as a matter of urgency, with the President of the country over the resurgence of Boko Haram in the Chad Basin which is an area bordering both countries.  We are however cold to also note, from a statement credited to a Presidency’s official, that the mission of General Dan-Ali in Chad is unknown to him although he confirmed the Defence Minister had actually been dispatched by the President.

As a media that is deliberately “…defending the truth and national integrity” for the good of country, we have resolved to come up with an Agenda Setting to advise the Government on what we believe should be done, against the joy that is going in certain quarters of people who think what has happened is justification of their mischievous call for the sack of Service Chiefs.  This editorial decision by us came from the standpoint of discovery that some politicians were already politicizing this unfortunate calamity that, in any saner society, both ruling class and the opposition should come together and trash that which bothers on National Security, first, and then return to their respective trenches later for their politicking.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement congratulating his immediate predecessor on his birthday anniversary, had described Goodluck Jonathan as a democrat for handing over government without truncating the will of the people as expressed in the March 28, 2015 presidential election.  He added that Jonathan was an inspiration to other Nigerians.

From records of recent history, Jonathan is known to follow the innocent presidential gesture of President Buhari with disappointments.  This time, he gave that follow-up in a book he titled, “My Transition Hours”, in which, three and a half years after doing what the President always describes him as democrat for, he still groaned in pains in a way that reasonable Nigerians have proved Buhari wrong for according Jonathan the honour he does not deserve. He not only indicted the then United States’ President Barrack Obama for aiding his democratic removal but also blamed the All Progressives Congress (APC) politicians for using Boko Haram, their killings in parts of the country particularly in the North East and Chibok schoolgirls abduction as campaign tools to send him out of office.  How correct or incorrect that insinuation is, will be a matter of another time. What can be made clear here is that the book, in which the former President made all of those disappointing statements failing to reciprocate the presidential compliments, now appears to have been torn into shreds on arrival, while a book by wife of the Obama he accused is now reportedly selling up to 1.4 million.

That statement by Jonathan, The DEFENDER had observed, would always serve the politicians in his party the opportunity to capitalize upon as political tool against the Buhari Government, which they have done since May 30, 2015 barely 24 hours into his time in office and now particularly in this election campaign season.

As if he and his co-opposition members know about the plot that led to the killing of those soldiers, which came just within the same period he uttered what can best be described as unguarded utterances, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, went to pay condolence visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, in manner that one was happy the opposition shared the collective feeling of the generality of Nigerians, the government and its security forces, over the loss of lives of the gallant soldiers who died.  Shortly after the visit, this PDP candidate, who only recently vowed that whether he becomes President or not, he would lay down his life in ensuring that President Buhari does not continue to be Nigeria’s President in 2019, suddenly found the calamity that befell the Military Community as a political tool for his use.

Next was for him to say President Muhammadu Buhari should tell Nigerians the kind of support he has given to the Army that the military forces had to lose many soldiers to the hands of Boko Haram terrorists.  Also Atiku, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, took the killing of the soldiers to be as a result of what he believes is lack of adequate equipment for soldiers to face the Boko Haram insurgents at battle.

Those statements, The DEFENDER reported earlier on Saturday, are loaded.  Next to that was for the National Assembly now controlled by the PDP to suspend plenary in commiserating with the Army over the deaths of its officers and men.  It was commendable although coming from a group of politicians who never trusted any of the institutions of government in Nigeria: military, Police, DSS, INEC even WAEC and so on and so forth and who will believe in verdicts of court only when they favour them and where they do not favour them it is the APC and its government that use the court to persecute them.  That made the condolences coming from the opposition suspicious.

Now to the President, the Presidency and the Federal Government, we call for them to be on the offensive.  There is no Nigerian, except he or she that wants to be myopic and mischievous, that does not know that this government has done quite a lot in support of the Armed Forces to the extent of adequate equipment, although there is no denying some little hitches that may have happened by bad eggs in the system like it happens in any other.

As a matter of urgency, while commending the action sending Defence Minister to Chad being a country known allegedly for the brewing of insurgencies is highly commendable, we call on the government to issue a statement and make open what happened leading to the killing of those soldiers before the opposition begin to twist the facts and sell them to the vulnerable public.

The killing by Boko Haram of the soldiers is a collateral damage, although brought under control, those who advise President Buhari and the President, being a man (correctly) of his mind, should consider personal visit to the field in Maiduguri as a mark of concern for the lost soldiers and visit the injured in the hospitals.

What happened cannot stop President Buhari from embarking on any foreign trip or other ceremony where he is required by the itinerary of the Office of the President but, before anything at all, the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, should pay visit to Maiduguri to personally commiserate with the Armed Forces, the Government and People of Borno State.  That is just the simple thing that is immediately required to get over the unsellable agenda setting and politicization the opposition are trying to do with what has happened, which, as media for better Nigeria, we will never accept.

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