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Nigeria groans under war against Boko Haram

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People carry the body of one of the attack victims during their burial ceremony at the Sajeri village on the outskirts of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on January 8, 2019. – Fighters of the Islamic State group-backed Boko Haram and loyal to the factional leader Abubakar Shekau attacked Sajeri village on the outskirts of the Nigerian city Maiduguri, killing three people. At the same time, militants aligned to Boko Haram faction attacked a military facility in Auno, some 23 kilometres (15 miles) south of the city. (Photo by Audu MARTE / AFP)

Sir: In 2017, a police recruit committed suicide the very day he received his letter of posting, indicating that he was posted to Borno State, the heartland of the war against Boko Haram.

Such incidences mean nothing to Nigeria’s warrior-rulers, including the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who started the unjustifiable war against Boko Haram in 2009, the former President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan who truncated rotational presidency against the northwest and compounded the Boko Haram crisis and the current President, General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB), who is obsessed with defeating Boko Haram that he will never be able to defeat and has added two more terrorist groups: the Fulani herdsmen and the armed bandits.

The hot news now is that 167 of the 2,000 newly recruited police undergoing counter-insurgency training have absconded on hearing that they were posted to the den of Boko Haram.

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It is written that “many of them started fleeing last weekend after learning that they would be deployed to locations where Boko Haram fighters are still active, especially communities along Nigeria’s border with Niger and Chad Republic.”

The Yoruba say a dog knows how to breastfeed its own children and how to kill lower animals’ children.

Why should it be newly recruited police to be posted to most dangerous areas? Are mobile police meant to be sent to warfront, or what do you call a situation in which warplanes and sophisticated weapons are deployed? It is because GMB, Tukur Buratai (the Chief of Army Staff) and Ibrahim Idris (the Inspector General of Police) are unwilling to admit that they will never defeat Boko Haram and to seek peace and national reconciliation. If police officers are dodging Boko Haram areas, what about the inhabitants of those areas?

No, nobody will like to be sent to gallows. 167 of the recruits succeeded in absconding, but we will never know how many were or are seeking ways of absconding.

The funny aspect is that after some police officers had let the cat out of the bag, the Police Headquarters said it should be denied and described it as “insinuation” and “absolute falsehood and a deliberate attempt to cast aspersions on the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force in the ongoing fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.”

What they said in December 2015 was that they had “defeated Boko Haram, technically”. When reality contradicted them, they started saying that they had degraded Boko Haram.

But has Boko Haram not degraded the security operatives? What are the costs of degrading Boko Haram in human lives and economic resources? And when will Nigeria ever know peace under GMB? I would think these are more urgent questions than which zone produces the President in 2023 which GMB and Osinbajo are peddling to confuse the southwest and the southeast. Of course, it is also inhuman to say that Nigeria is created for only the southwest and the northwest.

Prof. Oyeniran Abioje wrote from University of Ilorin.


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