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The Army and internal security of Nigeria

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[FILES] Buhari addressing troops of the anti-banditry Operation, Hadarin Daji. Before departing Katsina for Abuja. Photo: TWITTER/HQNIGERIANARMY

Sir: One of the saddest aspects of Nigeria’s crisis is a situation in which the Army is relied upon for internal security. From the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua through the former President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, to the current President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB), it has become normal to involve the Army heavily and permanently as another arm of Nigeria Police. To what extent was that the case during the presidency of General Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ), 1999-2007? When OBJ used the Army on the miscreants that were attacking civilians/security operatives and taking refuge in Odi village, it was swift.

Inadvertently, the village was leveled, but sanity was restored promptly and the situation did not boomerang. Yar’Adua, on the other hand, spread propaganda against the sleepy Boko Haram Islamic sect-community of men, women, and children, and before many Nigerians knew what was happening, he used both the Army and the Police to attack the sect. He ordered the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf and some of his followers that were captured executed as barbarically as “within five minutes”, as they do in Saudi Arabia.

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That was the beginning of the endless use of the Army as internal security operatives in Nigeria, consuming human lives and economic resources. Yar’Adua’s vice-president, Jonathan, took undue advantage of his death in 2010 to truncate rotational presidency against the northwest and became the elected President of Nigeria, 2011-2015 during which period the Boko Haram metamorphosed into a full-blown terrorist group to counter governmental terrorism that was started by Yar’Adua (and compounded by Jonathan).

Rather than looking into how to restore sanity when he attained power in 2015, GMB paid homage to Usumanu Danfodio who championed the Fulani jihadist war in 1804 in northern Nigeria and he immediately reorganised the Army to continue the jihadist war started by his cousin, Yar’Adua, and compounded by his distant cousin, Jonathan. Take it or leave it there is no major difference between Christian and Islamic imperialists.

Islam and Christianity are desperate, nihilist religions, depending on where each finds itself. But the major problem of the moment for Nigeria is the Fulani Muslim imperialism that is aiding Christian imperialism, and the two isms are confusing, dividing, and killing Nigeria.

Both the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) are playing ignoble opportunistic roles. When Nigerians become serious about peace, unity, and development, they will begin to view critically and challenge the meaning of Islam and Christianity that are claiming to be established by God, but opposing the Constitution that was crafted to promote religious and socio-political equity, unity and peace, coupled with industrial breakthrough and economic abundance. GMB is ordering the Army not to spare any armed bandit, without bothering about how Nigeria “gets here.” If Nigeria cohabited with Boko Haram and the Shiites under OBJ, why are his successors abusing their powers with wanton abandon?

Prof. Ọlọjẹẹde Oyeniran Abiọjẹ wrote from University of Ilorin.


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