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And In Lekki, The Truth Died – By Philip Agbese

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I have noticed much of cacophonic noises about the alleged shootings and deaths in Lagos Lekki Toll Gate by Nigerian soldiers. The voices are strange and confusing, but loud enough to cause insomnia even to birds of the air and cause disquiet in the abodes of ancestors in their graves.

Some people tell me, this land of Oduduwa has been polluted and defiled with blood seeking for the offenders. They say the gods are angry and seeking vengeance on the enemies. Others tell me, there were blood stains or dead bodies at Lekki. Unclear shaky fingers are pointing at massacres in Lekki, which are invisible in every sense.

The fury in me and my patriots is much; we must be our brother’s keeper; it’s a divine command. We are preparing for war to avenge the alleged brutal deaths of our beloved ones by the men in khaki.

But do we have a genuine reason to seek vengeance? The more I think, the more perplexed and forlorn I feel with my inner self. My dilemma is compounded by the lies told and retold by wisemen and women of today. They are unlike the wisemen of the Bible. There is a blend of darkness and light in an odd marital bliss. But can darkness and light co-habit?

Are my senses failing me? Did I hear some loud whispers saying, no one died? No! It is impossible! I beg to differ. Someone and something died at Lekki on that dark night of October 20. The screams and clatters shuddered even sleeping dogs into wakefulness. Anyone who says there was no massacre in Lekki must be day-dreaming and snoring. Yes! Something was massacred in Lekki.

Unfortunately, the only victim of Lekki “massacre” known to me, who died is TRUTH. And truth died with neither children nor relations to mourn his wretched soul. Yes, he is the only casualty in Lekki. His friends denied him; likewise, neighbours, but dirges resonated far into heaven to bemoan his innocence.

Truth, a poor and orphaned lad graced the world a loner and also, died a loner. I am not surprised because the modern world is complex. I begged to be his companion when he was alive, but Mr. Truth rejected me. But I will be his friend in death and mourn his demise wholeheartedly. I will invite kings and queens to his funeral. I will invite my friends all over Nigeria and abroad to the interment ceremony of Mr. Truth. I will wail until God Himself hears me out and send His angels to console me.

I will prove to those who said, there was no casualty at Lekki that Mr. Truth was murdered in cold blood. Oh, my dear friend, Mr. Truth, only God chases away flies from a cow without a tail. Mr. Truth roamed the world unnoticed. He came to Nigeria, but we never welcomed him with a sweet lullaby. We scorned and ridiculed him publicly. Bureaucrats’, politicians, activists and hoodlums jeered at him. Mr. Truth finally landed in Lekki, Lagos and coldly murdered by hired merchants of blackmail and hate.

But Mr. Truth was kind and generous. He was a protective shield for all. Everyone he met found his exemplary peace, love, compassion and consolation endearing. Mr. Truth fought the battles of others and neither demanded a penny nor appreciation from them. He risked his life to save others.

He played the sacrificial lamp all the times. Yet, he was unconscionably and wickedly massacred in Lekki. Such cruelty by humanity baffles me limitlessly. Surely, Mr. Truth shall reincarnate someday to savour the grace of Jehovah God and mock the callousness of his killers. I have no doubt that he will emerge stronger and sit on the throne of kings in the ambience of purity, deriding those who prematurely terminated his life.

I have extensively read and written on the alleged Lekki massacre many times since the incident occurred. I can comfortably claim a fair knowledge of what exactly transpired at Lekki. And I sensed a big gulf between reality and the spiteful rejigged narrations of the incident as bandied in public domain. Again, having attended all the sittings and listened to the actors at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, so far, I feel obliged as a human rights activist to join other Nigerians and the rest of the world to satirically mourn the death of truth. Indeed, truth was massacred at Lekki.

The deliberate murder of truth was done not by the power of any gun nor any official authority. It wasn’t even the soldiers or other security agents. But the felonious instincts of #EndSARS protesters themselves and their sponsors. In killing the truth, the protesters murdered conscience; they strangulated Lagos to suffocation and rubbed mud in the face of Nigeria.

The protesters, their acolytes, conspirators and promoters fooled us to murder the truth. Our activists joined in the fray of murderers of the truth. Some of our celebrities chorused the antiphonies in loud jubilations after the death of Mr. Truth. A handful politicians and leaders sounded the death knell on the truth; they unabashedly passed a verdict of guilt on his innocence. The soil of the earth became hardened and refused to be excavated to host the cadaver of Mr. Truth. The labourers tried in vain. But the mystery must be unfolded.

The ghost of Mr. Truth is prowling the land hauntingly in search of the executioners of his innocent soul. The gods are angry. Time has come to invite the chief priest of Atakwu-enyi shrine to appease the gods for the great evil committed. The land must be cleansed of all filth.

Now, I agree with everyone that there was a massacre in Lekki. It was the truth who died in the hands of heartless people. Both the initiators of the actions leading to the gruesome murder of truth and the onlookers are guilty in same depth. What a perfidious generation passionately aloof to truth.

Quite ironic, we all like the truth elsewhere; but have refused to uphold his doctrines or preserve his antecedents in Lekki and Nigeria. Therefore, the US was fooled on Lekki. The United Nations (UN) was fooled. The UK was fooled. The EU was fooled. Even our Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were fooled in their multitudes. Royal fathers were deceived, likewise the clergy. Human rights bodies swallowed the pill of dishonesty and displayed a nauseating dose of intoxication.

Sacred pulpits of evangelism became campaign podiums for the sentencing of Mr. Truth to death. He had no protector or sentinel to shield him from the killer lies and menacing poisonous blades. The gullible amongst us experienced faked post mortem analysis and conversions like the Biblically prophesied apocalypse on why Mr. Truth was killed. So, indeed, the truth died by our collective actions and irritating indifference.

The day of Armageddon is knocking hard on our doorsteps. But are we sane enough to reminisce how we murdered truth? How was truth murdered? We were told lies that our troops were killing defenseless citizens and we sent it viral on social media platforms, without confirmation. We were told the Army interfered with a civil protest uninvited in brazen violation of extant laws of Nigeria. It was falsehood at its peak.

The haters lied to us that the Army Morgue in Lagos was the secret mass grave of the slain Lekki 78. We were told dead bodies of Lekki massacres were all over the streets of Lagos. But we woke up to a peaceful city, with no dead bodies or decomposing corpse anywhere. Only the deserted corpse of Mr. Truth was found abandoned in the morgue, in the media, on TV screens, in the open air, treetops and on the streets of Lagos.

But in truth, nobody died from gunshot wounds; no mortuary in Lagos preserved the corpse of the Lekki victims of the alleged soldiers’ barbaric brutality; no graves of the victims anywhere; no mourners or relations or siblings of the dead is known to date. We were told someone counted 78 dead bodies, but there were no missing persons at break of dawn.

And the pigheaded rights activists told us another fantastic lie again. They claimed relations of the Lekki victims dreaded coming out to testify at the probe panel for fear of intimidation and harassments. What a poorly crafted lie; a vicious cycle of rehearsed deceit.

However, can they show us the graves? Can they take the probe panel members to the graves of the Lekki #EndSARS casualties? These are questions the ghost of Mr. Truth is wandering the land restlessly and begging for answers from a humanity which terribly wronged him. Oh! May you Rest In Peace, Mr. Truth; Rest In Peace, Truth, the indomitable hero of our times! The fight is above me; it is only of the gods of the great shrine who have the prowess. Adieu!

Agbese is a human rights activist based in the United Kingdom.

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Opinion

Shadows Behind The #EndSARS Mask – By Charles Ibekwe

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These days, every Nigerian has noticed the loud silence of the usually garrulous human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana and his clan of minions over preachments on the propriety of the #EndSARS protests in Nigerian. Or even, the inappropriateness of Government actions on the protestors to tame the tide of the destructive violence.

The silence has become very pronounced in the aftermath of the confusion which trailed the alleged shooting and cold-blooded murder of harmless protestors by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. But Falana and his apostates should make themselves and Nigerians proud by further advancing their claimed authentic polemics before the probe panel.

Initially, almost all Nigerians, including leaders in the country endorsed the exposition that #EndSARS protests was contrived and started as a genuine expression of public anger against the brutality and extra-judicial killings by members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). President Muhammadu Buhari also peripherally sensed and interpreted the grievances of the protesters as genuine and immediately commenced actions on the five-point demands forwarded to the FGN on the fifth day of the protests – October 11, 2020.

President Buhari’s instantaneous action was his leadership responsiveness and solidarity with the protesters to assuage the anger and pains of the Nigerian youths in order to halt the protests. But quite unacceptably and thoughtlessly, the #EndSARS protestors were satanically influenced and misguided by the Presidential quick reaction to task their conscience to stop the protests.

The protests now shifted to demands to #EndBadGovernance. Thereafter, the actions of the #EndSARS protesters also changed. It unreasonably mutated from peaceful democratic demonstrations to awesome violence, killings and destructions of public/private properties in some states in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, something betrayed the concealed anti-democratic motives or did some disservice to the demonstrators and exposed the planned evil agenda against Nigerians and the Government. It was the protestors sudden and unwise resort to violence; the gruesome murder of security agents and innocent civilians as well as appalling destructions, looting and arsons in parts of the country. National security was on the precarious verge of being compromised and the Government had the lawful obligation to immediately restore public safety and security.

Again, and expectedly ironic, the discovery of some masked powerful forces within and outside Nigeria, which secretly plotted to use the banner of the #EndSARS protests to pursue interests alien to the originality of the mission of the remonstrators was a serious setback. The design was smartly crafted to destabilize Nigeria, cause widespread anarchy, which magnitude would springboard the undemocratic dethronement of President Buhari. So, the incensed aggressors pushed the agenda of unabated insecurity, bloodbath and destructions aggressively even when Nigeria was sliding into complete anarchy before their very eyes.

These voices of dissent resonated on pulpits, within human rights circles, the opposition camps, disenchanted tribal groups, some media houses and foreign elements, disgruntled political merchants and in civilian coup plotters. While these groups relished and regaled in the bloodbath and destructions, they stoutly opposed Government’s intervention to restore public security sanity and consistently sermonized false narratives to the outside world claiming the #EndSARS protests were peaceful.

It gingered President Buhari to impose security sanity to bring the escalating and degenerating violence under control. Nigeria is a democratic state and the rule of law is supreme. Under President Buhari, the sanctity of the rule of law is paramount in all official affairs and dealings. The loud noises attracted by the Lekki incident compelled Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to unravel the mystery behind the impasse between protesters and the Nigerian Army over the alleged firing of live bullets at a protesting mob.

The #EndSARS protesters, sponsors, campaigners, promoters and claimed victims of the “massacre,” at Lekki gate are expected to channel their legitimate claims and grievances to the probe panel for interrogation. The probe panel has been sitting for over three weeks now. But shockingly, the leading campaigners or advocates of #EndSARS and those who shouted acerbically everywhere about gruesome murder at Lekki gate are hesitant to present their cases at probe panel.

Ludicrously, Nigerians who nicknamed President Buhari, a “civilian dictator,” and cursed the Nigerian Army over allegations of mowing down unarmed protesters now dread the premises of the probe panel to present their cases and also shed light on what transpired at Lekki. Those who threatened to drag the Buhari Presidency and the COAS, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai to the ICC over human rights violations of the protesters, like Femi Falana are afraid to make presentations at the probe panel.

The band of idle lawyers who sued the Buhari Presidency and the Nigerian Army over the Lekki shootings are scared to approach the probe panel. The undertaker mourners, the families of the alleged slain civilians at Lekki and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who unanimously claimed an undemocratic clampdown on peaceful demonstrators at Lekki are now more comfortable in their private tents, than make submissions at the probe panel.

But the #EndSARS protestors, the sponsors, sympathizers, promoters, and campaigners dribbled Nigeria terribly through a dummy. Truly, at the surface of #EndSARS protests appears to be mere expression of anger and pains by some Nigerian youths who have long been abandoned and neglected. Therefore, by democratic rights, they were seeking the attention of Government to their plight for possible intervention and redress. It was permissible and decent enough!

Nonetheless, unknown to many, behind the seeming innocent faces of aggrieved youths, were piles of oblique interests, who were out to pursue disparate interests or agenda on the podium of #EndSARS. Under the auspices of #EndSARS and through the instrument of democratic protests, the subversive forces plotted a civilian coup that was meant to reduce Nigeria into debris and undemocratically enthrone surrogate leaders at all levels.

#EndSARS protests, offered a veritable platform for these sabs to exercise the harboured evil agenda on Nigeria. They desperately sought to unseat President Buhari through the backdoor and by crude means. So, expectedly, when the #EndSARS protests sprouted, they shouted hallelujah in their secret camps of darkness in celebration of victory ahead of the attack on Nigeria.

It was an anticipated opportunity for “crisis-prenuers” and crisis merchants to sell their wares. Unmistakably, on the foreign plank, it was the long-awaited golden opportunity that Amnesty International (AI), the other foreign conspirators and internal disgruntled political elements, which they excitedly utilized to cripple the country. Therefore, these combinations of overt and unground forces against the country, scrambled ravenously on who amongst them would deliver on Nigeria, the heaviest and dazzling blow of crisis and destabilization.

For them, it was time to burn down Rome to the admiration of her enemies. But God Almighty prevented it. He alone frustrated the unjustified plans and plots of the enemy forces against the country and Nigerians. It is now the break of dawn, and the losses are being counted.

And surely, the subversive elements behind the condemned #EndSARS protests are exposing themselves everyday by their actions and dispositions in the aftermath of the carnages and bloodshed. But to discerning Nigerians, those behind the hateful, resentful and discredited violent protests are already unmasked now even in their thick masks.

They are those who urged the intensity of conflagrations or arsons on Nigeria; they are those who fabricated imaginary shootings and killing of protesters at Lekki; they are those who sponsored the demonstrators, some of whom provided cash backing in millions of naira, food and medical supplies; they are the saboteurs who concocted lies, photoshopped pictures of fake news and circulated on social media, and later, contracted CNN to amplify the fake scripts; and they are the Nigerians, who threatened President Buhari and the Nigerian Army with ICC, but have shied away effeminately from making submissions at the Lagos State probe panel, an indispensable preliminary step.

And the evidence and signposts are everywhere today. They have held captives of their own conscience. They are the IPOB leaders/members; they are the foreign elements; disgruntled political merchants and civilian coup plotters. All are the haters of Nigeria’s democracy; but wished to be given a democratic platform to govern Nigeria. Time resolves all mystery and this deliberately contrived and dispensed demoniac punching of Nigeria would also pass away; whilst the dramatis personae would be left standing alone, nude in the darkness of day, deserted and despised by rational Nigerians.

Ibekwe is a public affairs analyst and wrote from Enugu.

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Lekki, CNN And The Dance Of The Spirits – By Dele Collins

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In African cosmology, and in communities where the practice of voodooism is predominant and worshipped, the dance of the spirits is dreaded. On the night spirits decide to stage their festival in the world of darkness, those who have wronged the gods or committed abominable acts in the community relish the whole day in drabby mood. The carnival of dance of the spirits spares no culprit. It has no empathy for those who have incurred her wrath.

Therefore, the Lekki Toll Gate incident and its aftermath has invited the dance of the spirits. The action is already on course and the spirits are spiritedly haunting for the crafters, purveyors, promoters and disseminators of fake news on an imagined shooting and “massacre” of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki by soldiers. The spirits are after the masterminds of conjured and publicized offensive tales, wails and howls over imaginary bloodbath in the land, whilst the gods sighted none.

Apostles of fake news or junk journalism in Nigeria are the god’s greatest offenders. In 1996, a columnist with Washington Post, Robert J. Samuelson wrote a fascinating article on junk journalism titled “Junk Journalism 101.” In it, he aptly knocked junk journalism’s de-esteeming professional aura “… because it fails the basic test of journalistic integrity and competence: It does not strive for truthfulness, however impossible that ideal is to attain….”

Yet, in local parlance, others brand it as “Jakara” journalism, which entails the media’s repetition of fresh lies to cover old deceptions in a running story. The Cable News Network (CNN), the American based, international cable news station has consciously fallen into the pit of junk journalism while plying its trade in Nigeria.

Ideally, one would think, the CNN is peopled by hard-core professionals based on its international clout. Outwardly, one is tempted to believe there is every reason for the egghead media professionals in CNN to strive to heal the world with its reportage of global events, rather than render itself as powerful instruments of human destruction or weapons in the hands of subverts.

But such noble assumptions on CNN have proven to be misdirected, or wrongly super-imposed on the medium, particularly, in the latest instance of soldiers alleged shooting incident at the Lekki Toll Gate in Nigeria. CNN has disgracefully and dishonorably entered its name on the inglorious list of media houses around the world, which tell new lies to justify previous lies.

It’s recent investigative report in its edition of November 18, 2020, on the alleged Lekki “massacre” has regrettably ingrained CNN’s identity in the dishonorable “Hall of Fame,” as merchants of fake news and agents of global mercantile journalism. Therefore, when the FGN touted CNN for “irresponsible reporting” on the sloppy and jaundiced latest investigative report, the CNN retorted on its website through a spokesperson and insisted standing by the contents of its report.

The CNN’s spokesman e-mailed that “Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it.” It resists wisdom that the CNN’s report fraught with such shameful professional errors, vile propaganda, inconsistencies and inaccuracies could be described by authors as “carefully and meticulously researched.” Such corporate assertion in the face of grave official malfeasance is laughable in every sense. It was by every indication a mere posture of grandstanding to save face and embarrassment.

The managers of the CNN cannot dispute the embarrassingly obvious lacunas and influenced defects in the report. CNN claimed it had interviewed a dozen or multiple eyewitness to the Lekki incident. However, the latest report indicated that CNN spoke to only 12 persons in all; six of them were not eye witnesses, but either third parties who retold the story or government officials far detached from the scene of the incident; so, could not have qualified under any categorization as eyewitnesses.

In truth, CNN played out the disjointed accounts of a mere six eyewitnesses, and some, with very vague identities, which by every stretch of imagination is also not what semantically qualified it as a dozen eye witnesses. The antics by CNN is to create the impression that it did a thorough work to compel a tricked public believability in its report and very -similitude of truth.

And the tenor of the CNN report overly indicated that the news agency dabbled into the local partisanship in Nigeria. While it mentioned two names of the eyewitnesses, CNN decided to conceal the identity or full identities of the other four under the guise of their safety; but not because the eye witnesses demanded for anonymity. Does it mean, the CNN’s exposed full identities are not threatened by Government or the Government has penciled down names of those to threaten or overlook?

CNN stretched the malicious propaganda against Government, its targeted villain further by saying, “Several eyewitnesses have fled the country, while others are living in safe houses. Some told CNN they were offered money to recant their initial testimonies. CNN has seen some of the messages received, though it is unclear who is sending them.”

It is surprising that an international news medium condescended into petty local politics and sentiments in reporting a sensitive or controversial incident by clearly taking sides. These aspects of the report only blend with the vague imaginations of the CNN correspondents.

So, CNN employed sensitive clickbaits in the report carefully crafted to enliven public anger and possibly, re-energize the violently destructive protests by pro-#EndSARS campaigners. It is a message it cleverly passed through narrations like; “The videos capturing some of those 101 minutes tell a story of terror and chaos. They show graphic injuries and people bleeding on the ground.”

But none of the videos it released showed anything near the gores CNN has painted in the narrations. It is a deliberately false report, devoid of distinction between verified factual information and partisan commentaries of protagonists of the #EndSARS protesters.

And CNN’s self-contradictions and inconsistencies continued “In several of the videos, reviewed and verified by CNN, some of the protesters can be seen carrying bodies, the flashlights on their phones, the only thing illuminating the darkness as the sound of ambulance sirens wail in the background. It is not known whether these were dead or injured protesters.”

Ironically, the multiple eyewitnesses CNN claimed to have interviewed suddenly lost retentive memories to clearly intimate the medium on whether it was dead bodies or those who sustained gunshots wounds that were ferried away by the ambulances and to what location in the city.

And in another breathe, the report’s inconsistency says; Multiple eyewitnesses told CNN that ambulances were prevented from reaching the scene by the authorities.” The gist of ambulances ferrying some persons CNN could not identify through eyewitnesses whether it is dead or the injured; suddenly, morphed into the dry narration that ambulances were prevented from “reaching the scene by the authorities?”

Undeterred, CNN which was desperate to complete the assignment borrowed the discredited narrative of Amnesty International (AI) by proclaiming that “However, about 10 days into the protests, the demonstrations were hijacked by “thugs and sponsored hoodlums” who attacked protesters, causing deaths and injuries.” It sounded as if either AI or CNN registered the identities of the genuine #EndSARS protesters with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigeria and therefore, could detect its infiltration with hoodlums and miscreants.

For the promoters of fictitious tales of “massacre” at Lekki Tool Gate, with CNN report as the worthiest evidence, Bala Ibrahim, a public affairs commentator has provided interesting analytical insights, where he pooh-poohed CNN’s so-called investigative documentary; “Using some unproven and “miraculous” methodology, Nima (Elbagir) said they (protesters) were able to see shots, long before the bullets were fired. She said, “we could see shots, and at exactly 6.43pm, we started hearing gun fire”. It’s either Nima is in concert with those firing the shots, or there is something sinister she is not sharing out.”

It added; “Nima or the CNN relied on the accuracy of their camera to get the time, but they couldn’t avail the public with reliable pictures of the multiple casualties from those bizarre bullets. Without giving any evidence of geolocation, showing the tracking or the movements of the bullets with respect to the exact location of the protesters, Nima disputed the position of the military, that said they only fired blank bullets into the air to disperse the crowd. Nima simply flashed the pictures of some fireworks, as proof of direct shooting at the crowd by the military, relying, ridiculously on the live streaming of “DJ Switch”, a Nigerian celebrity, activist and co-sponsor of the protest.”

Like the title of Nigeria’s prolific novelist, Chinua Achebe’s essay, “The Trouble With Nigeria, ” the real trouble with most Nigerians today is the gullibility and penchant of accepting the least subs-standard foreign things as perfect. It should trouble every Nigerian that CNN should package this sort of garbage in a report and still adamantly classify it as meticulous and professional.

But a foundation had been laid by the CNN in its October 23, 2020 report on same Lekki shootings. In the report, CNN claimed soldiers shot and killed 38 protestors at Lekki. But in its return trip, it can’t even justify death of three persons in the report. Yes, initially, they sold contaminated rice to Nigerians, but on one complained; rather, some Nigerians rapaciously ate it because of the passion for everything foreign. Today, CNN is out in a mercantile manner to force on Nigeria another narrative even when the eyes cannot sight something different from the subsisting reality.

But unfortunately, the dance of the spirits which torments those that have wronged the gods is tormenting CNN because of its past roles in nations where it used fake report to destabilize countries. In Iraq, Libya, and scores of other countries in Africa have felt the fangs of CNN. Africa appears to be its most fertile ground and CNN is desperate to add Nigeria on the list. Quite obviously, the blood of the innocent is chasing CNN. It is because CNN has lost its professionalism and credibility by enlisting into the league of Jakara journalism.

Collins wrote this piece from Yale College, USA.

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General Buratai, The Patriot – By Nkechi Odoma 

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When General Tukur Yusufu Buratai was appointed as the 20th Chief of Army Staff by the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on July 13th, 2015, the choice was hailed by all and sundry.

This was because, in the history of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Buratai remains one of the most decorated officers ever to be elevated to that enviable position. This could be gleaned from the fact that the Chief of Army Staff had equipped himself well in anticipation of this onerous task.

He belongs to an exclusive class of officers to have traversed virtually all the nooks and crannies of the Army formations before becoming the overall head of the Force. This no doubt placed him in better stead to putting up strategies aimed at revamping the Army.

Before his appointment, Nigeria had been engulfed in a crisis arising from violence orchestrated by militancy, terrorism and banditry. Nigeria was placed on the world ladder as one of the most unsafe countries to live. For instance, entire South-South Nigeria was in the pocket of the militants. Ditto to the North East which had been commandeered by the Boko Haram terrorist group. Also, the Army was highly demoralised as they were battling the insurgents with less sophisticated weapons.

It is important to note that in 2014 alone, 6,600 people were reportedly killed. In January of the succeeding year (2015), the BBC documented that no fewer than 15,000 Nigerians were annihilated by this murderous sect.

The ferocious activities of this monstrous group led to the displacement of about 2.3 million natives while about 250, 000 others were coerced to fled the country in search of safety. Also, was the infamous case of the Chibok girls that were kidnapped from their school.

This was the situation that the country found itself before the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the President.

It was in an attempt to eradicate this menace that a worried and concerned President Buhari after comprehensive scrutiny of officers of the Nigerian Army zeroed his search on the Biu born General as the only man capable of exterminating the quagmire with dispatch.

According to military sources, going by the visible records of all the Army Generals in the country, General Buratai was considered the most suitable. His training, experience and dexterity were heralded as most suitable for the job. And that was why his appointment was perceived not only in the military circles but in the public domain as putting a round peg in a round hole.

Like the phraseology, “in whom much is given, much is expected”, the General was instantaneously expected to turn the tide. But to do so, much needed to be done as war victory could only be achieved via the instrumentality of strategic planning and execution.

To prosecute the war effectively, Buratai who prosecute military strategies with the scientific application, first of all, embarked on confidence-building anchored on morale-boosting of his officers and men as soldiers, before they were said to be highly disillusioned, disorganized and disoriented.

To restore the prestige, pride and dignity of the Army to its previous status, General Brutai proceeded and dwelled in the battlefield with the soldiers fighting alongside with them. Unlike in the past where military chiefs remain stagnant in their offices in the Army headquarters to dish out orders without experiencing the situation, General Buratai was physically in the war zone. This no doubt endeared him to the generality of the soldiers who in their minds said, “if the Chef of Army Staff could be in the field with us fighting, then we must put in our best and prove to him that we are capable”.

By so doing, the general had either deliberately or inadvertently inculcated into the soldiers the noble spirits of patriotism and nationalism.

The strategy paid off as before sunset, most of the communities in the hands of the insurgents were liberated. Bama, Goza, Baga, Gamboru-Ngala, Kala-Balge, Dikwa, Kanamma, Geidam, Chibok, Kwajaffa, Mubi, Madagali, Marte, Gombi, Michigan and others that were hitherto in the hands of Boko Haram were liberated.

For the first time in the history of Boko Haram, they were roundly defeated and decapitated. So many of them ran to take refuge in the Lake Chad region while others fled towards the Cameron mountain when Buratai led the onslaught. But the fearless General who is solidly grounded in the arts of war turned the heat on them by chasing them to Lake and the mountains. He boiled the Lake and melted the mountains against the insurgents. Consequently, the reprieve came to Nigeria.

Normalcy was restored as places uninhabitable before the appointment of Buratai became inhabitable.

Since coming on board as Chief Of Army Staff, General Buratai has done so much by liberating the previously ravaged five states of Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe as well as other places across Nigeria from the claws of Boko Haram terrorists.

With the feat achieved by the General just a few months after his assumption of office as the Chief of Army Staff, Buratai shifted his attention to the Niger Delta with the hope of extricating the region from the grips of militancy.

The criminal activities of the various groups of militants in the Niger Delta no doubt put the Nigerian economy in jeopardy. Oil which is the major pillar of the Nigerian economy was being depredated daily therefore creating a deliberate regime of an economic adversary for the country.

After, a careful appraisal of the unfortunate situation, Buratai who is variously and fondly called the ‘Soldier’s Soldier’, the ‘Fearless General’ by his admirers, took the battle to liberate the region to the creeks of the Niger Delta. There he confronted the militants and extinguished them in no time. The few remnants took to their heels and fled to other countries when the battle became too hot for them to handle.

With the decimation of militants in the creeks, People hardly hear about these criminal elements in the country today.

Even though it is believed that a Prophet has no honour in his town, the laudable achievements of General Buratai had made nonsense of that cliche as some reputable international and national organizations have all bestowed on him several garlands.

Some of these wreaths were: Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS), Grand Service Star (GSS), Pass Staff Course Dagger (PSC(+)), Field Command Medal ( FCM), Training Support Medal (TSM), United Nations Medal for Angola, Verification Medal, etc.

Despite the above, the General no doubt deserves more appreciation from Nigerians as his numerous sacrifices for the country can not be quantified. This is because, under the leadership of  Buratai, the Nigerian Army has recorded incredible feats in the war against terror, banditry and militancy.

Odoma wrote from Abuja.

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