Since its inception, Boko Haram has raised more questions than answers due to the mysteriousness of its existence. No one is willing to publicly accept responsibility for planting the seed that resulted in its germination, yet, it seems to be backed by very powerful individuals, groups and entities. Abubakar Shekau, a factional leader of the group, has been killed three or more times, yet, he is still alive. The Nigerian Army that used to be highly respected for quenching political and military fires in different parts of the world, now seems indecisive in fighting and defeating the jihadist group in its own territory. Like a cat, the Boko Haram seems to have nine or more lives, hence, each time it is on the brink of being defeated, it springs back with vigor to launch vicious attacks.
The mysteriousness of Boko Haram is heightened by the fact that it successfully carried out numerous spectacular operations that baffled the mind. It abducted over 260 Chibok and 110 Dapchi secondary school students in areas that were under the umbrella of Nigeria’s security forces. It regularly ambushes Nigerian troops in zones that supposed to have been under a tight military protection. It has been able to survive military offensives carried out by a combined military force made up of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. In the last two years, it has attacked both soft and hard targets. In particular, the faction associated with the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) has been very bold and effective in attacking Nigerian military bases and troops with a high degree of success in the Northeast.
Purpose of this Article
The purpose of this article is to accomplish the following goals: (1) explore the issues surrounding the war against Boko Haram; (2) identify some of the unanswered questions concerning the manner in which Nigerian armed forces have been fighting the war and (3) identify the possible implications of the Chadian successful counterattack against Boko Haram on Nigerian, which has been battling the organization for about ten years.
The Multitude of Unanswered Questions about Boko Haram
Due to the mysteriousness of Boko Haram, Nigerians in particular and peace-loving people throughout the world have been scratching their heads and asking questions about the strange manner in which Nigeria prosecutes the war against the jihadist organization. Nigerians wonder why the Nigeria Army (NA), Nigeria Airforce (NAF), Nigerian Navy (NN), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Service (DSS), and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) failed to penetrate Boko Haram and gather appropriate intelligence that would have enabled them to release the Chibok school girls and decimate the organization. Nigerians wonder why the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Army, keeps releasing captured members of Boko Haram while the war is still raging on. Nigerians wonder why the Federal Government does not want to mobilize an overwhelming force made of the Army, Airforce and the Navy to squash Boko Haram.
Nigerians wonder why Nigerian troops are not sufficiently equipped with appropriate weapons to take the battle to Boko Haram. For instance, when Maj. Gen. Olusegun G. Adeniyi, the theater commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, complained about lack of equipment, he was immediately removed from the command for speaking out (Nwachukwu, 2020, April 1). Nigerians wonder why Nigerian soldiers are not being properly taken care of while they battle Boko Haram. Nigerians wonder why Nigeria is not interested in ending the Boko Haram menace. Nigerians wonder why the Federal Government wants to grant amnesty to a group that has killed thousands of people. Indeed, Boko Haram’s destructive actions have resulted in the deaths of 36, 000 people and the displacement of almost two million Nigerians (Aljazeera, 2020, March 24). Nigerians wonder why some officials want to create a program to send members of the Boko Haram overseas for further studies while their victims in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger are left to wallow hopelessly in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps. Nigerians wonder why the wives and children of Nigerian soldiers and civilian members of the Task Force who have died in battle are not being rehabilitated and taken care of while plans are being put in place for captured members of the Boko Haram organization to be rewarded generously.
Unfortunately for Nigerian authorities and fortunately for Nigerians, the deadly Boko Haram ambush and killing of 92 Chadian soldiers on March 22- 23, 2020, resulting in a massive Chadian counterattack, is finally helping to peel off the layers of mystery surrounding the multitude of unanswered questions concerning the Boko Haram organization.
In the counteroffensive, code-named “Operation Bohoma Anger” the country lost about 50 soldiers while killing about 1000 Boko Haram fighters. At the same time, caches of assorted Boko Haram weapons were seized (Al Jazeera, 2020, April 9). President Idriss Deby indicated that the Chadian counteroffensive resulted in decimating about 90% of Boko Haram. He seems disappointed that Nigeria is not responding in a manner that would have enabled both countries to put an end to Boko Haram. Hence, he declared publicly in video that “We won’t hand over Boko Haram weapons to Nigeria, unless” (Vanguard, 2020, April) He also declared that ‘from today, no Chadian soldiers will take part in a military mission outside of Chad” (Vanguard, 2020, April 11).
In response to the general perception that Chad almost single-handedly annihilated Boko Haram, Nigerian military authorities, speaking through the Defence Media Operation spokesperson, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, tried to minimize or dampen the Chadian military success by insisting that the goal to decimate Boko Haram has been a joint effort carried out by the Multinational Joint Task Force and not merely by Chadian troops alone. He insisted that the Nigerian military has been very active and successful in destroying Boko Haram to the point of forcing its fighters to seek refuge in Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, reinforced the position of Maj. Gen. Enenche by saying that it was the success of the Multinational Joint Task Force that forced many Boko Haram fighters to cross into Chadian territory to escape the military onslaught carried out by Nigerian troops. He hoped that Chad will continue to “sustain operations on their side of the border to permanently deny Boko Haram criminals of rear bases from where they can launch operations against Nigeria’ (Hassan Wuyo, 2020, April 10)
Regardless of the Nigerian counterclaim, the success of the Chadian operation prompted many Nigerians, especially those who have been victimized by Boko Haram to congratulate Chadian forces. Reports indicated that even Nigerian soldiers who were freed from Boko Haram captivity, waved their hands to congratulate Chadian troops. While the counter-offensive succeeded beyond expectations, nevertheless, there are many questions worth asking.
First, the swiftness with which Chadian troops attacked Boko Haram locations indicated that it had an accurate and effective intelligence to pinpoint critical positions before striking like a cobra. If Chad had such an accurate intelligence before this time, why did it not carry out massive attacks to destroy Boko Haram before? Why did it wait until 92 of its troops are killed before launching such a devastating massive attack to cripple Boko Haram?
Second, if it had such accurate knowledge of the positions of Boko Haram prior to the attack, why did it not share the intelligence with Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger so that the Multinational Joint Task Force would have been fully mobilized to bring the war to a successful end?
Third, if Chad had an accurate intelligence about the locations and operational movements of Boko Haram, why has it been difficult for Nigeria to acquire such capability? Of course, it is doubtful that Nigeria, like Chad, does not have an accurate intelligence about Boko Haram. After all, Nigerian security forces have captured many prisoners of war, including high-ranking Boko Haram commanders. Using the same logic, it is also doubtful that Cameroon and Niger too do not have accurate intelligence about the operational locations of Boko Haram?
Fourth, if Nigeria, like Chad, has an up-to-date intelligence about the locations and operational movements of Boko haram, why are Nigerian security forces unwilling to use such intelligence to launch devastating massive attacks against Boko Haram the way Chad did when it decided to act?
Fifth, If Chad has an up-to-date intelligence, then Nigeria too most probably have an up-to-date intelligence about Boko Haram. The fact that Chad did not utilize the intelligence on Boko Haram until 92 of its troops were killed, means that Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger, like Chad, are fighting the war tactically to achieve goals that are not known to the general public. Otherwise, Chad, like Nigeria, would have been more proactive in bringing Boko Haram to its knees long ago.
Sixth, the fact that Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger have been fighting the war as if they do not want it to end, reinforces the view that Boko Haram is a multi-headed cartel that probably serves many purposes. One of the commonly identified purposes is that it is a money-making enterprise for those who are highly connected, both in Nigeria and in the Lake Chad sub-region of Africa. For instance, Mr. Francois Bonaventure noted in an article titled “Issues in Deby’s fight against Boko Haram” that Mahamat Bichara Gnoti, a close associate of President Idriss Deby Itno, was allegedly arrested with missiles meant for Boko Haram, thereby, indicating that he was an arms supplier (2020, April 7). On the Nigerian side, some senior military officers have been indicted for corruption. Premium Times, quoted Transparency International by stating “a network of Nigerian military chiefs, politicians, and contractors worked together to steal more than N3.1 trillion through arms procurement contract between 2008 and 2017” (Emmanuel, 2018, May 15).
There is a strong feeling in Nigeria that a large proportion of the money meant for the prosecution of the war is simply embezzled, hence, the war is intentionally prolonged in order to generate more private wealth. ). Festus Adebayo wrote “The fact must be stated that fighting this insurgency seems to be for the military Generals in the war theatre a mercantile activity that must be prolonged for the sake of the belly” (2020, April 11)
A second speculative view of the purpose of Boko Haram is that it is intended as a tool to establish an Islamic caliphate in Northeastern Nigeria with the ultimate goal of Islamizing Nigeria. This view is probably reinforced by press reports which indicated that some Nigerian soldiers who share similar religious ideology as members of Boko Haram sect have been arrested and tried for supporting the organization. In late 2014, Al Jazeera reported that ‘ten generals and five other senior military officials have been found guilty in a court-martial” (2014, December 18). Additionally, some Nigerian soldiers were arrested for being Boko Haram moles (Omonobi, 2014, October 13) Likewise, there is an allegation that Turkey is involved in supplying arms to Boko Haram. The Turkish Minute reported that the Nigerian Army conducted an investigation to ascertain the factuality of the allegation that Turkey supports Boko Haram. The same media source reported that even the Turkish Airlines had been alleged to have ferried arms to Nigeria (2019, November 26).
A third speculative view of the purpose of Boko Haram is that it is a tool created to manipulate and control oil and gas resources in the Lake Chad region bordering Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger (Cambridge Core, March 2020). Perhaps, the perception that some powerful elements in Nigeria are using Boko Haram to dominate the Lake Chad oil region, probably contributes to the reason why the members of the Multinational Task Force are suspicious of each other’s motives, hence, finds it difficult to work amicably to defeat Boko Haram. Perhaps, to ensure that Nigeria does not dominate the Lake Chad oil region, France got involved strategically on the side of Niger, Cameroon and probably Chad to make sure that the Francophone countries gain advantage over Nigeria. Festus Adebayo, in his article titled “Chad’s Idris Derby as Odogo’s wife, the incriminator” stated “We also must not lose track of allegations that Derby is a sell-out and implicated in the oil resources politics of the Lake Chad territory…” (2020, April 11). If Boko Haram is viewed from the politics of oil and gas control, then, the Chadian offensive has tilted the strategic advantage over the control of the Lake Chad oil and gas region to the Francophone zone.
A possible fourth purpose of Boko Haram is that it was established and supported by some foreign powers in collaboration with some Nigerians to create instability and distraction in order to prevent Nigeria from becoming a major economic and industrial power. Those who support this version of the purpose of Boko Haram believe that there are some outside powers which are afraid that if Nigeria grows economically, it would attract other African countries to do more business with Nigeria, thereby, preventing the outside powers from exploiting the natural resources in the continent.
It seems that these alleged purposes might have made Boko Haram an attractive partner to a number of interests in Nigeria, in the sub-region and internationally. Hence, the strange manner in which the war against Boko Haram has been fought for about nine years now. Perhaps, Chad used the killing of its soldiers to finally break away from the Multinational Joint Task Force to create a strategic advantage over the Lake Chad oil and gas region. Perhaps, sensing the Chadian strategy, Nigeria does not want to be taken advantage of, hence, the unwillingness to give credit to Chad. Regardless, the successful Chadian counteroffensive is incrementally exposing the dynamics surrounding Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).
Seventh, the precision of the Chadian military in locating Boko Haram positions seems to indicate that President Deby knows the whereabout of Abubakar Shekau. As a result, after uprooting Boko Haram fighters in the counter offensive, he dared Shekau to “Surrender or risk being killed inside his Dikoa hideout” (2020, April 7). Obviously, if President Deby knows the whereabouts of Shekau, it is certain that Nigerian, Cameroonian and Nigerien authorities too know his whereabouts. It is probable that they did not go after him because they were gaining strategically and tactically from his destabilizing role in the sub-region. Now, they would have to explain why they allowed him to kill thousands of innocent people until Chad decided to change course and attack his forces decisively.
Eighth, since the four countries most certainly know the whereabouts of Shekau and did nothing to stop him from destroying and killing of people, the impression is created that Boko Haram is supported and protected by powerful elements within Nigeria, in the sub-region and internationally.
Implications of the Chadian Counter-offensive
The implications of the Boko Haram attack and killing of 92 Chadian troops and the resulting Chadian counteroffensive, are far-reaching and earth-shaking, especially for Nigeria.
First, having had 92 of its troops killed by Boko Haram, Chad had no choice but to move decisively to pay back in kind by unleashing a firestorm against the jihadists. This forced the remnants of the organization to scamper for safety. The fact that Chad refused to accept the wanton killings of its troops and citizens and decided to hit back with full force has compelled Nigerians to wonder why Nigeria tolerated the wanton killings of its security forces and civilians by Boko Haram and herdsmen without responding in full force to stop the killings.
Second, if Chad can mobilize a lethal force to inflict serious damage on Boko Haram, Nigerian too can do the same. Similarly, Cameroon and Niger can do the same. The wonderment is that Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad failed to annihilate the group when they established the Multinational Joint Task Force? The failure of the four countries to inflict serious damage on Boko Haram means that the organization has a strong political support in Nigeria, the sub-region and internationally.
Third, although Chad’s decisive action is greatly appreciated, nonetheless, the fact that Chadian troops moved so swiftly means that it had very accurate intelligence about the locations of Boko Haram fighters and arms depots, as indicated above. The disturbing implication of the action is that if Chad knew so much about Boko Haram, why did it not use such intelligence to help in destroying the organization earlier? It seems that Chad used its intelligence as a bargaining chip, hence, did not move so decisively until 92 of its own soldiers were killed before deciding to unleash a firestorm on Boko Haram.
Fourth, based on Shekau’s pleading for Chad to leave his fighters alone, it is assumable that Boko Haram and ISWAP had probably made a secret deal with Chad and other countries in the region regarding the extent to which they can go in threatening, destroying and killing in the region. In return, it seems that the countries had also made a deal not to unleash their military might against the two factions of Boko Haram. Otherwise, Shekau wouldn’t have been surprised at the enormity of the Chadian counteraction against his fighters, following the killing of 92 Chadian soldiers. Perhaps, Boko Haram violated a secret pact about the number of people it could kill, hence, the Chadian massive reaction. What was he thinking when his boys killed 92 Chadian soldiers? He got away with ambushing and killing of 70 Nigerian soldiers but Chad decided to pay back in kind.
Fifth, the swift manner in which President Idriss Deby reacted seemed to have been necessitated by perception that Boko Haram had violated a secret pact, hence, something had to be done to teach the organization a lesson it would never forget.
Sixth, if Chad can move in a lightning speed to deal a mortal blow to Boko Haram, Nigeria too can do the same. It should be recalled that Nigerian troops, working with their allies, were able to drive away Boko Haram to allow elections to take place in Borno State in early 2015. Unfortunately, the Nigerian military is increasingly caught in a political cobweb that does not allow the armed forces to carry the war to Boko Haram in a manner that is reflective of effective, efficient and professional fighting forces. A Nigerian Army officer, speaking for many of those soldiers deployed to fight the war, said that the “war is winnable if the generals give us what we need. Instead they buy soft-skinned Hilux. That is not a weapon…Give us MRAPs.” (Anyadike, 2018, October 30). The officer’s commentary about lack of appropriate equipment is reinforced by Maj. Gen. O.G. Adeniyi’s statement on video demanding equipment to fight the war. Indeed, the Nigerian Army of today is totally different from the Nigerian Army that went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Mali. It is suffocated by too much political interference from those who have other goals in mind. As a result, military commanders are not given a free hand to fight the Boko Haram war based on effective military strategies and tactics. This probably accounts for why Nigeria fights the war as if it does not want the war to end.
Seventh, the swift Chadian counterattack shows that Boko Haram can easily be defeated if there is a political will on the Nigerian side. The reason is that a much smaller Chad was able to mobilize its troops and attack Boko Haram with such a lethal force that the surviving members of the organization had to flee to escape death or being captured. Similarly, for the first time, Abubakar Shekau actually pleaded with President Deby to stop attacking his fighters. Mr. Shekau had never pleaded with Nigerian political leaders to go slow with his fighters (Olowolagba, 2020, April 8).
Eighth, the fact that Shekau pleaded for Chad to stop attacking his fighters, implies that he is not afraid of the Nigerian military while he is more concerned about the Chadian military. Perhaps, he is aware that the Chadian Army is a no-nonsense fighting force that can devour him and his fighters. The question is, why is he not afraid of the Nigerian Army and why is he afraid of the Chadian Army? Could there be a secret deal somewhere that enables him not to be afraid of the Nigerian military? Perhaps, he has a strong association with some powerful individuals in Nigeria, hence, he is not afraid of the Nigerian military.
Ninth, the successful Chadian counterattack has nullified all the excuses that Nigerian officials and supporters of the administration have been giving to explain why Nigeria has not been able to put an end to the group’s destructive escapades. Some of the EXCUSES that have been advanced to explain the difficulty of defeating Boko included: (1) that the Sambisa forest is too large for a successful military containment of Boko Haram; (2) that the Nigerian military is trained to fight conventional warfare and not unconventional warfare; (3) that major foreign powers do not want to sell certain weapons to Nigeria; (4) that due to the unconventional nature of the Boko Haram war, it would take a long time to end it, and so on and so forth. These unacceptable excuses create the impression that Boko Haram is made up of invincible giants from another planet, hence, cannot be decimated.
After the repeated NIGERIAN EXCUSES, suddenly, Chadian forces attacked and devastated Boko Haram. In realization of the fact that the success of the Chadian operation has nullified the EXCUSES, the supporters of the administration wrote strange articles to condemn President Deby of Chad, instead of being joyful that, at least, Boko Haram has been degraded considerably. The most indigestible excuse was the statement attributed to Tony Momoh, in which he stated that Nigerian troops are not effective against Boko Haram because they are not trained to fight an insurgency. He believes that the:
“Chadian army is a well-trained army in guerrilla warfare. They have been
fighting insurgency for years and spent more money on arms and ammunition than any other challenges they have. Chadian army is also a very hardened army well-groomed in desert and guerrilla warfare (Olowolegba, 2020, April 8).
While playing down the military capability of the Nigerian Army, as Mr. Momoh seems to do in order to explain why the Nigerian Army has not been very successful in snuffing out Boko Haram insurgency, it should not be forgotten that it was the Nigerian Army which helped to stop insurgency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Mali. It should also be noted that it was Nigerian troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (the current president of Nigeria) which stopped Chadian rebels from threatening Nigeria when he pursued the rebels towards the capital of Chad before he was compelled to retreat, during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It is very sad that when Nigerian troops were deployed to stop insurgencies outside Nigeria, no one said that they were not trained to fight unconventional warfare. Suddenly, in the case of Boko Haram, in their own country, Nigerian troops are being disparaged for not being trained to fight insurgency. It is obvious that it is not the training but corruption, lack of political will and the politicization of the armed forces and the Nigerian Police Force that have prevented the Nigerian Army from fighting effectively. Perhaps, to counteract the negative view that the Nigerian Army is not trained to fight insurgency, Maj. Gen. Adeniyi reported to his superiors ” The soldiers are not running… I’m here on ground. No any sector commander is running or not leading their men” (Nwachukwu, 2020, April 1). In other words, the problem is one of leadership and not the military capability of Nigerian soldiers.
Ninth, the Chadian lightning operation against Boko Haram and the dancing-in- circle tendency of the Nigerian military have shown that Nigerian political and military leaders do not seemed to care much about their place in history. When the history of the Boko Haram war is written, it is Chad that is most likely to claim the credit for breaking the camel’s back, not Nigeria, despite the fact that Nigerian military forces did as much as possible to degrade Boko Haram. If these leaders had thought about their place in history, they would have expedited the effort to stop Boko Haram long ago but they didn’t.
Tenth, Chad has finally helped Nigeria to bury the absurd notion that a war could be technically won while the enemy continues fight and to kill thousands of Nigerians at an alarming rate. Although false, Nigerian public officials were compelled by political circumstances to perpetuate the incredulous narrative that Boko Haram had been defeated. The false narrative contributed immensely towards the public’s distrust of official information. Today, it is inferable that most Nigerians no longer believe or trust whatever the Federal Government, especially the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Nigerian armed forces, DSS and the Nigerian Police Force says about anything concerning security in Nigeria
Eleventh, since Chad can be said to have broken the back of Boko Haram, whatever effort the Nigerian military now puts in place to finally defeat Boko Haram would be viewed by many people in the world as “medicine after death”. Similarly, the fact that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has relocated to the Northeast to take charge of the effort to defeat Boko Haram (Vanguard, 2020, April 11) is also “medicine after death” because Chad has already broken Boko Haram’s back while Nigeria was dancing-in-circle.
Twelfth, the relocation of the Chief of Army Staff to the war front after Chad had drastically reduced the capability of Boko haram, creates the impression that he is trying to rewrite the historical narrative in his favor as well as that of the Nigerian Army. Here again, the effort is akin to “medicine after death.” The reason is that he has been the Chief of Army Staff since 2015. Moreover, Nigeria did not react with anger after Boko Haram killed 70 Nigerian soldiers on March 23, 2020. On the other hand, Chad got angry over the killing of 92 of its own troops, thereby, mounting a devastating attack that brought Boko Haram to its knees. Therefore, the report that the Chief of Army Staff is actually leading the effort to finally put an end to Boko Haram, is a mere smokescreen.
Thirteenth, the greatest implication of the Chadian military onslaught against Boko Haram is that the excuses for inactivity and subterfuge have been shattered to the extent that the whole world now realizes that Boko Haram can be liquidated if there is a political will to carry out a lightning military strike. The problem is not the Nigerian military but the lack of political will by the political and military leadership to support a total military operation against Boko Haram. The same could be said of the lack of political will to allow the Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Service and the Nigerian Army to put an end to herdsmen’s attacks. The failure of security forces to put an end to herdsmen attacks enabled herdsmen to act with impunity as if they are invincible, just like the Boko Haram, until the Chadians shattered its invincibility.
Fourteenth, the breaking of Boko Haram’s back has caused consternation among the mysterious sponsors of the organization. The reason is that some of the captured Boko Haram fighters are most likely to spill the beans to the Chadian authorities concerning those who have been sponsoring them. Moreover, as Vanguard reported, Abubakar Shekau and his commanders are searching for mediators to help negotiate a ceasefire (2020, April 16). Nigerians are watching closely to see whether their leaders would bend backward to accommodate an enemy that has killed 36,000 people and is on the brink of collapsing. Any secret deal with Shekau at this time would clearly buttress the argument that Boko Haram is a “Nigerian creation”.
Sixteenth, perhaps, Chadian authorities have already obtained enormous critical information from captured Boko Haram fighters, hence, President Deby’s announcement that Chad will no longer participate in the Multinational Joint Task Force. The withdrawal from the multinational force might also have been prompted by the Chadian perception that Nigeria is not fully committed to the effort to eliminate Boko Haram in totality. It should be recalled that in 2015, after Chadian forces had routed Boko Haram and retaken Damasak, President Deby got frustrated because Nigerian troops were not mobilized. He stated “We want the Nigerians to come and occupy, so we can advance. We are wasting time for the benefit of Boko Haram. We ‘re not an army of occupation (Nassiter, 2015, March 28)
Seventeenth, the Chadian “operation Bohoma Anger” and the Nigerian reaction amply magnifies Nigeria’s difficulty in communicating information to the public in a manner that does not arouse further questions. Indeed, Nigerian authorities, including the presidency, Ministry of Information and Culture, the armed forces, DSS and the Nigerian Police Force, tend to communicate information as if they do not want the public to actually know what is happening. For instance, the administration repeatedly announced that Boko Haram had been technically defeated while Boko haram continued to launch attacks against Nigerian troops and civilians. In particular, the Nigeria Army always down-play the number of Nigerian military casualties whenever Boko Haram launches attack against the troops. For instance, when Boko Haram ambushed and killed 70 Nigerian soldiers on March 23, 2020, Maj. Gen. Enenche announced “The Nigerian military suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack” (Umar, 2020, March 24). On the other hand, President Deby of Chad was not afraid to tell the world about the casualty rate of Chadian troops when he said “We lost 92 of our soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers (Al Jazeera, 2020, March 24). Apparently, Chadian explanation is much more believable than the Nigerian explanation.
Eighteenth, it was unnecessary for the Buhari Media Centre (BMC) to enter the fray between Nigeria and Chad over the Chadian military onslaught against Boko haram. After all, it is not an official government agency that speaks for the president. It is merely an interest group, dedicated to advocating for President Buhari. Therefore, when its members wrote articles attacking and criticizing President Deby of Chad, the BMC actually made him more popular and heroic in the eyes of millions of people who have been praying for a savior to stop Boko Haram. Thus, President Deby acted at the right time and succeeded in pushing Boko Haram to the brink of collapsing.
It is a common saying “make haste while the sun shines”. Nigeria had so many opportunities to end the Boko Haram nightmare but those responsible for making political and military decisions for the country overplayed their cards, thinking that they have an indefinite time on their hands to do as they wish. Well, Chad acted boldly and turned everything upside down for those who have been forcing the Nigerian armed forces to dance in circle.
Thus, the Nigerian armed forces, like the Nigerian Police Force, are victims of corruption and excessive personalization and politicization of governance. These vices, have resulted in the degradation of the institutions of government. Evidently, the Nigerian military fights the Boko Haram War according to a political roadmap which deprives the soldiers the glory of heroic victory. It should also be noted that the Nigerian Police Force too enforces the law according to a political roadmap. Hence, while Nigerians are not allowed to carry guns, herdsmen are allowed to carry guns. The police move very swiftly to enforce the law against the generality of Nigerians and hesitate to enforce the law against herdsmen. Consequently, it is not surprising that over 300 heavily armed elements were able to openly invade three local government areas on motorbikes and kill 47 people in Katsina State, without the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, the DSS and the Nigerian Police Force stopping them. Generally, the security forces tend to appear after the destruction and killings have taken place. So, the “dance-in-circle” and “medicine after death” syndromes have taken root in Nigeria’s security architecture.
By Priye S. Torulagha
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