By Madu Onuorah (Abuja Bureau Chief)
Last week, members of the National Peace Committee on the 2015 elections led by former Head of State, Gen AbdulsalamiAbubakar met with the leadership of the Nigerian military at Defence Headquarters Abuja. Their mission was first to express appreciation to the military for the “excellent work done” towards provision of security during the March 28 presidential and National Assembly elections.
More importantly, the committee came to congratulate them for liberating parts of the North East from the insurgents. According to Gen Abubakar, “we congratulate you for what you are doing to liberate our country from the Boko Haram.
The Nigerian military made their mark any time they serve in the United Nations. So, I am not surprised that the military has been able to safeguard the country. Certainly, in any country, civilians look up to the military, especially in times of crisis, to do this. And you have been able to do this creditably.
This committee doffs its hats to all of you. And I am very proud to have been part of this military. We wish you well, God’s protection and may the Armed Forces of Nigeria grow from strength to strength.” This accolade has been rare for the military.
Suddenly, Nigeria’s once vaunted military became the butt of derision. It was such that when National Security Adviser, Col SamboDasuki, in defending the deferment of the elections, said the military would crush the Boko Haram insurgency that has bedevilled the country for the past six years, in six weeks, it was like a joke.
“All known Boko Haram camps would be taken out by March 28. The situation would surely be conducive enough for elections,” he had added. US-based Time magazine, in its Feb. 10, 2015 edition had this verdict: “Nigeria’s military has so far proved incapable of containing Boko Haram, and there is little to indicate that anything has changed… That Nigeria’s army needs help dealing with what even its own leaders call a rag-tag militia is a sobering indictment of an institution that was once considered the powerhouse of African peacekeeping.In 2003 the Nigerian army helped defeat the forces of Liberia’s bloodthirsty warlord Charles Taylor. Now it can’t even locate 219 schoolgirls from Chibok that were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April.
What happened?” And officials at the headquarters of United States Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany offered its own damning assessment, saying they are “in tatters. Ounce for ounce, Boko Haram is equal to if not better than the Nigerian military.”
The Governor of Borno State, AlhajiKashimShettima on February 2014 added his own bombshell that “Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops. Read More →
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