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Published On: Sun, Aug 24th, 2014

2015 General Election and Polarization of Boko Haram Insurgency

By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe.
Many thanks to the “Red Berets Movement” in Nigeria for championing the “Bring Back Our Girls” global awareness which has attracted the attention and subsequent positive response from world super powers. It is obvious that Nigerians are vibrant and posses great capacity to bring about positive change if they are united and resolute. I salute the movement and those who have offered auxiliary supports towards sustaining the tempo until our girls are rescued and brought back alive to their families.
Of a truth, there has been a global outcry over the ways and manner the security agencies handled the kidnap of our girls. It was alleged that the military was informed prior to the arrival and subsequent criminal adoption of the school girls. The public notion has been that the kidnapping would have been prevented if the military had moved-in immediately to engage the kidnappers or that the girls should have been rescued if the military responded early enough to chase the kidnappers with a view to over-powering them, fire for fire. These allegations and many other counter-allegations heaped at the door step of the military and other security agencies are worthwhile in the light of government’s constitutional responsibility to provide security, protect life and properties of citizens.
Security viewed from all angles is taken to be an integral part of the “social contract” between government and the governed which is why the federal and state governments must take blame for any flaw in this all important responsibility. Looking back now, one is able to come to terms with the unreasonable political divide in our polity such that state governments which are not of the party in power tend to undermine security challenges so as to blame the federal government for any and every loopholes in the process of security lives and properties across board.
It is absolutely unfair for anyone to think that our armed forces are not doing their best. If not for their hard work and dedication to duty this country would have been brought to her kneels completely by trigger happy terrorists. The army and other security services need our collective commendations for the risks they are taking while majority of us sleep with our two eyes closed in the comfort of our homes enjoying life, pumping campaign, organizing and celebrating all kinds of ceremonies. It is sad that many families has been forced into agonies, bereavement and hardship as a result of the satanic activities of Boko Haram which is why Nigerians irrespective of our political colourations must join hands in absolute unity to clean out terrorism.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. K.T.J Minimah, has been described by many as a no-nonsense artillery officer whose track records in service to this nation have been without blemish. He is a man of few words, highly disciplined, dedicated and focused. His choice was a well thought out decision by Mr President at a time like this to use his wealth of experience to strengthen our military and take charge of well motivated, well equipped and dedicated soldiers. And it is a truism that the CAS is focused and will certainly deliver as we progress. It must be noted that in a democratic dispensation the army cannot issue orders the way they do in military regimes. Every problem has its political side which is why reasonable care and consideration is vital in exercising military power in a democracy.
We need to encourage General Minimah, his men and other security agencies, ginger and give them adequate funding as well as a healthy atmosphere to enable them put to use their professional capabilities to produce maximum and expected results. Our military has long been adjudged the best in West Africa and rated high in regional and global peace missions. Inciting the military through reckless and deliberate political propaganda is truly delicate and dangerous at this critical time of having our unfair share of global terrorism. It is a good step already taking by the national assembly to dialogue with the Defense Minister, Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and the Service Chiefs with a view to agreeing on a sizeable budget that would effectively curtail insurgency and insecurity in the country. There can be no meaningful or sustained development once peace eludes us.
Away from the military, let us take a brief overview of the rule of the state governments in security matters. It is a truism that the State Governors are the Chief Security Officers (CSO) of their respective states and therefore cannot exonerate themselves from any case or cases of insecurity experienced or being experienced in their domain. It is truly disgusting, as in the case of the Chibok girls kidnapping, that the state government rejected the advice of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) officials to either move the girls to a safer place for the examinations or provide adequate security because of the volatile nature of the area known to be a major base of the Boko Haram mafias.
Another riddle that is difficult to explain is the enrolment of several male adults, some more than 30 years old, to write exams with the Chibok girls in a school that is wholly a girls’ college. The questions to ask are: When was Chibok girls’ school approved to be a mixed school? After the approval, if any, was there any fresh admission that brought male students into various classes from Junior Secondary School (JSS) to Senior Secondary School (SS)? Was due process followed while changing the status of Chibok Girls College? Does the school have its own security staff as was the case in colleges that operates hostel facility? If yes, where were the security people when the incident occurred and what is their relationship with other security operates in the state in case of emergency? If private security was not employed by the school authority, why is this so? How many teaching or non-teaching staff usually stays with the girls on shift duties in the hostel at night to monitor their conducts and night activities such as prep-time observation, bed-time prayers, moral checks, etc.? Or were the male students strategically enrolled to enable them have access to the school so as to monitor the girls’ activities and study the environment in preparation for the kidnapping, et al? Who gave approval for the enrolment of the boys to write examination with the Chibok girls and why. The security agencies need to probe deeper to provide answers to the above questions.
While we blame the federal government and the military for the alleged lapses in their constitutional responsibilities, do the state government and the school authority own the students any form of protection and effective monitoring to ensure their safety at all times; Boko Haram or no Boko Haram? For me, answers to these questions are critical to enable us objectively analyze and apportion blames without necessarily politicizing the unfortunate incident. As we know it, the polity has been long polluted, which is why the “Doctrine of Necessity” was invoked by the National Assembly to enable President Jonathan assume office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces after the demise of our amiable former Executive President, Alhaji Musa Ya’Adua of blessed memory.
I make bold to say that the subject matter of security is both the responsibility of the State and federal government which is why well over eighty million naira (N80 million) is set aside monthly for the Governors to map out effective security even though the federal government pays the salaries and allowances of security operatives in each state of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This accounted for the reason why the State Commissioner of Police, heads of Navy, Air Force and Army in each state are members of the state executive council and also work closely with governors and the various security committees in the legislative arms of governments.
As we know it, security funds are not accounted for because of the secrecy and tactics required in curtailing insecurity and intelligence gathering. These financial provisions therefore prompt us to ask; should the state governments be completely exonerated from issues of security lapses in their respective domain? If no, why is it that the Governor of Borno State and the opposition party and their associates are throwing stones at the federal government without also looking inward to accept part of the blames over the shoddy security arrangement at the Chibok Girls College? It is on record that the WAEC officials advised the Borno State government and the school authority to either move the girls to a safer place or provide adequate security. Why the state government and the school authority ignored or rejected this reasonable advice? This development leading to the kidnapping of the girls is therefore key to apportioning blames. Playing politics is fantastic but not when security and insurgency is involved.
Agreed that the federal government controls the security apparatus of the country, state governors as CSOs of their states have a crucial primary responsibility to ensure that there is security of lives and properties in their respective states, which is why they collect a whopping N80 million or more on a monthly basis from the state coffers as security vote. This so called security vote caused serious political divide between late Chief Adedibu of and one of the governors in Oyo State. The political mogul of blessed memory wanted the mega sum of security vote shared equally between himself and the state governor. This brings us to another question: Does the state governors actually use the security vote for intelligence gathering and effective security of lives and properties in their respective states? Your answer is as good as mine.
It is therefore suggested that we need to constructively criticize both the state and federal governments, particularly as it relates to the Chibok scenario and to work out modalities towards improving security in all state of the federation so as to drastically reduce the wave of insecurity, insurgency and political manipulations and unpatriotic propaganda in political scheming. It is glaring that the series of insecurity problems in the country has political colouration which is why President Jonathan has to be extremely careful in his approach in handling the problem. His political enemy’s secret agenda is to probably provoke him through all kinds of strategies, ranging from radically targeted whistle blowing accompanied by direct abusive, incisive and divisive political propaganda calculated to wooing the electorate in the forthcoming presidential elections. The rest is left for Nigerians to use their God given senses to separate light from darkness in the process of exercising their constitutional responsibilities of exercising their individual franchise.
Toying with insecurity is taking partisan politics too far, because security issues are so complicated that you never can tell what kind of kids it will give birth to in the process of time which is why we must not handle insurgency with disdain or political rascality. It should not be encouraged directly or indirectly or supported as we have seen in the past five years or so. Doing business or partnering with terrorists is the same as patronizing Satan himself. Satan may bless you as soon as you remain a loyal servant, but he is swift to turn around to wreck havoc on you the very moment you void or annulled the deal or relationship. Terrorists are criminals and they serve their master – the devil.
In some and in most cases they turn around to consume their friends and sponsors which is why anybody trading with them should write his or her ‘will’ early enough because the game can change negatively without notice. This is the reason why no sane and God fearing individual or organization should not fraternize with terrorists, criminals and satanic agents such as the trigger-happy Boko Haram which has sent thousands of our innocent citizens to their early graves, wrecking havoc on our nation. With the presence of the International community I am pretty sure that we shall soon overcome this unfortunate insecurity problems and forge ahead as a people and as a more united and patriotic citizens.

Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

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