About a year ago, the Federal Government through the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Yusuff Buratai, gleefully regaled Nigerians, nay the whole world, that Boko Haram insurgents had been considerably decimated and tactically defeated. Nigerians were very elated at this good news. The claim was also corroborated by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed. .
Weeks after the claim, and ostensibly irked, the insurgents began a series of suicide bombings of civilian settlements and military formations in the ravaged and beleaguered areas of the North East not even leaving out the Internally Displaced Persons camps (IDPs) thus killing innocent Nigerians in their mad operations.
Buratai’s claim was later discovered to be a fluke to hoodwink and brainwash gullible Nigerians. Since then, the militants had continued their murderous escapade on the nation.
We have lost count of how many lives the insurgents had rail-roaded to their early graves.
However, the undaunting miiltants on Sunday, November 18, in what can be termed the mother of all battles descended ferociously as a lion would do on its prey on an army batallion in Metele Maiduguri, killing no fewer than 100 soldiers including the commander, a Colonel, thus casting a pall of mourning and sorrow on the nation.
This singular incident has thrown up some posers: Where was the Nigerian Air Force to give aearial support to the infantry soldiers on the ground and what was the NAF doing till the battle lasted, unconfirmed and unsubstantiated stories of our soldiers fighting with obsolete arms were freely told by even some soldiers, were the soldiers low-spirited before the onslaught by way of unpaid allowances and other emoluments to rev up their enthusiasm?
Now that the deed has been done, the Federal Government has an uphill task to rekindle the soldiers’ enthusiasm by paying their allowances and emoluments when due. Their welfare should be urgently upped.
More importantly, we shall not relent as we had often done, in asking President Buhari to as a matter of exigency change his flabby, frazzled, pot-bellied and overfed service chiefs who have outlived their usefulness militarily. They should be retired and replaced with fresh blood.
The total reorganisation of the military is long overdue and it should commence forthwith. What the army lacks basically is intelligence gathering. Soldiering is much more than wearing neat uniforms and carrying arms and ammunition. It is all about perfect intelligence gathering which our mlitary lacks. With perfect intelligence gathering, the November 18 holocaust would have probably been averted.
The military needs be reminded that it should stop forthwith blowing its trumpet on the pages of newspapers on the number of militants it had killed. Nigerians are always eager to be hearing when Boko Haram would be finally routed out of the country.
It is now clear as the noonday that the soldiers were sent to confront the insurgents with obsolete and outdated weapons; little wonder the huge number of casualties. It is like exposing a little child to hypothermia which could kill him in a jiffy.
The Federal Governnment should probe the much orchestrated fraud in the about N2 billion arms purchase for the military. Recall that some former service chiefs were indicted on arms purchase fraud immediately after the exit of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Same should be replicated now to save us losing our soldiers to internal terrorism of Boko Haram magnitude. Our troops should always be well kitted in terms of weaponry and financial emoluments ready for the exigency at all times.
We hereby commiserate with the families of the fallen soliders while reminding the Federal Government to take good care of them in terms of education of their children and empowerment of their wives to make for their irreplaceable loss.
Any officer no matter highly placed found culpable in the arms purchase probe should be made to face the wrath of the law. Losing no fewer than 100 soldiers of a batallion in one fell swoop is unacceptable to Nigerians and should be stopped forthwith through supply of sophisticated weapons, payment of emoluments to soldiers when due. We say ENOUGH of this senseless carnage.
Now that Nigerians have realised that Federal Government’s claim to have decimated and tactically defeated Boko Haram is a hogwash, it behoves the Federal Government to overhaul the security agencies for optimum performance.