Securing life and property is something nobody should hold with levity, especially government at all levels. Due to the established fact that the world has become a global village, any threat to peace in any part of the world is now a threat to peace all over the world, because, if the security situation is not urgently tackled, its escalation may affect areas that never envisaged that such could affect them. Nigeria has had its share of security challenges, especially in the Northern parts. That the country is still peaceful today is due to democracy which made it possible for the true representatives of the people to be at the helms of affairs.
We all should accept the fact that the insecurity challenges in Nigeria cannot be entirely blamed on the service chiefs. In my opinion, the service chiefs are doing incredibly well in combating insecurity in Nigeria. When I took the time to critically analyze the issue of insecurity in Nigeria, I realised that the current administration has done so well compared to the past administration. I remembered the frequency and severity of the attacks by both insurgents and bandits on the lives and properties of the Nigerian citizens back then, most of which their painful memories still linger in my heart. The terrorists had the upper hand because the service chiefs back then were very ineffective. But thanks to the sagacious decision of President Muhammadu Buhari in choosing the present security chiefs, insecurity in Nigeria is gradually being defeated. The president’s administration and the current service chiefs have been burdened with cleaning after the previous administrations’ mess.
Indubitably, the service chiefs aren’t magicians who would instantly make the evil of insecurity disappear. It’s a gradual process. Remember that they are faced with many security threats such as Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers and other clandestine forces who have the backing of both internal and external forces. What has made matters worse for the service chiefs is the fact that they have had to deal with many disgruntled elements sponsoring bandits and terrorists. Let’s not forget that even the country with the most powerful military in the world, the United States of America is still struggling to win the war against the Taliban due to the fact that there are unscrupulous elements sponsoring and protecting these jihadists.
Many have chosen to point out the so-called failures of the service chiefs, but in truth, the service chiefs have accomplished a lot. The Federal Capital Territory is now safe for everyone, also there is no Local Government under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists. The people of Zaria and their neighbors were saved from the threat of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, The Niger Delta Avengers have been properly checkmated and thus prevented from continuing their mindless attacks on Nigeria’s Oil infrastructures and foreign workers that would have led to the sabotage of the Nigerian economy. Boko Haram has been prevented from establishing enormous control of the Northern parts of the country just like the Al-Qaeda jihadists did in Western Asia.
Interestingly, we have had lots of recorded success in quenching the fire of insecurity in the country, due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s action in charging the heads of security agencies including the service chiefs not to tolerate the worsening security situations that were sprouting in different areas in the country.
As such, the country is relatively safe, devoid of rancour and friendly for investments. Though, the President still showed his extreme unhappiness about what is happening and he feels that even though the security agencies are doing their best, their best is not good enough for him and he wants an immediate reversal of the current trend.
The president understands the wild influences of corrupt mediocre that have turned to criminal elements and terrorist funders that aimed at destabilizing the country.
Let us also take note that the calls for the President to sack his service chiefs due to the insecurity challenges in Nigeria are driven by the witless efforts of nefarious individuals with what I term ‘anti-Nigerian military agitprop’. They know quite well that due to the immense efforts of the service chiefs have prevented the insecurity issues in Nigeria to proliferate beyond control. This is also part of the efforts by terrorists to dislodge the current chiefs who have so vehemently opposed their evil doings since the assumption of their respective offices. If we join the calls for the sack of the service chiefs, then we are inadvertently joining the cause of these terrorists.
Indeed, it is known that this administration came to power on the platform of three issues – fighting insecurity, overcoming our economic difficulties and dealing with the scourge of corruption. I can boldly say that, this administration as recorded monumental achievements that have touched these three issues. Both local and international experts have all rated President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategies at achieving such feat, a top notch, and they gave credence to these claims, especially in managing the security situations in the country.
But for a few a disgruntled elements, PMB has not perform very well to their own expectations. They so much think otherwise, and One would begin to wonder how President Buhari can solve all the problems, when we are winning the war against Boko Haram and its factions, they are busy arming bandits to destabilize another region, causing mayhem, and being a grievous menace to the nation.
I was very impressed when the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Buratai relocated to the epicentre of the war earlier this year, where he decided to lead his soldiers and in battle against the terrorists lodged deep in the Sambisa forest and other parts of the region. This is a brave effort by the General, and it shows how devoted he is in carrying out the directive of the president in ensuring the protection of the lives and properties of the Nigerian citizens. With this, the Nigerian military was able to regain hold of the region, free a lot of innocent citizens kidnapped by the terrorists, and killed a lot of them. This brought back hope and raised the spirits and morale of the Nigerian army. The Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas has also led his men in ensuring the safety of the Nigerian waters and the transformation of the Nigerian Navy into a formidable force. Let us also not forget Air Chief Marshal, Sadique Abubakar for his efforts in counterterrorism and increase in the number of aircraft which have been effectively used to combat insurgents from the skies.
The president knows how these obnoxious acts could distract the focused security forces, therefore, he has urged them not to be deterred, but to remain focus on their goal in the continuous fight.
The President has also told the heads of security agencies to justify their continuous stay in office as he expressed anger at their less than satisfactory performance so far and that he will no longer accept further escalation in insecurity in the country, which has led to protests.
I believe we should all agree with and support the president in his decision to carry on with his current service chiefs as he is well informed the military structure in Nigeria better than most of us and thus knows the right men for the job. The removal of the current service chiefs will only be to the advantage of the terrorists and the unscrupulous agents sponsoring them. Sacking the service chiefs is far from the solution. We all have to work together and tackle the underlying issues that have bred the demon of insecurity in Nigeria.
On this note, President Buhari has solicited for more time to be given to the service Chiefs and security agencies to do their Job to the letter.
Let’s give the service chiefs a chance just like Mr President as pleaded and we will all win the war together as a Nation.
Ekpe is a security expert and wrote from Abuja.
NCPC And The Footprints of a Colossus – By Best Agbese
The appointment of the Plateau-born famed minister of the gospel, Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam as the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), on June 26th 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari attracted loud applauses within the Christian community in Nigeria. Rev. Pam emerged leader of the commission on the hills of the unceremonious exist of his predecessor, Rev. Tor Uja following faulty leadership outings and crisis of trustworthy leadership.
The NCPC is the apex national regulatory body for Nigerian Christian pilgrimages, an exercise for spiritual rebirth and deeper understanding of the Christian faith by worshippers. Additionally, it also, has a mandate to create platforms conducive for national inter-religious dialogue, harmony, peaceful co-existence, and development in the comity of the Body of Christ in Nigeria.
Issues of religion are quite thorny, sensitive, and explosive in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria is always concerned with the constant frictions and altercations among the diverse religious sects in the country. So, it is incumbent on any leader of a national religious body to work towards vacating issues which propel disharmony and animosities in religious circles.
Therefore, the mandate of the NCPC leadership is hinged on exiting these unnecessary brawls, entrench inter-religious harmony and enhance the spiritual welfare of Christians in Nigeria. Presently, the NCPC coordinates and supervises activities of intending pilgrims to Holy Lands around the globe, including Israel, Greece, Rome, with the latest addition of Jordan by the Rev. Pam leadership in the 2021 pilgrimage exercise.
These were the onerous tasks placed on the shoulders of Rev. Pam when he mounted the saddle about a year ago, precisely in July 2020. In order to deliver to Nigerians, worthy services of a pilgrim’s commission, Rev. Pam ensconced his vision in battling corruption; rebranding the tainted image of the commission; changing the faulty perception and mindset of the people; strong synergy with the church and the establishment of an NCPC peace desk to resolve emerging disagreements.
So far, Rev. Dr. Pam who parades over 30 years of leadership experiences in the Christian community on the local and national stages, have armed him with enough wisdom to discharge his responsibilities honestly, conscientiously and with the fear of God Almighty.
In effect, Pam considered his elevation to the national leadership of the Christian community in Nigeria under the auspices of the NCPC as a golden opportunity to redeem the battered image of the commission and Christians, which also negatively affected the global reputation of the nation.
The NCPC boss has brought to the table his wealth of experience in promoting inter-religious harmony and conflict resolution, especially in Northern part of the country in the administration of the commission. These have not only been his weapons, but trusted assets in leading NCPC to its towering ambience at the moment.
Barely a year into office, Rev. Pam has admirably proved his mettle as a leader of the people. He has reorganized and repositioned the NCPC as the most organized and efficient pilgrimage body in the world, recognized for excellence in faultless services. These are driven on the principles of fairness, equity and justice as his anthem.
Ab initio, Rev. Pam was convinced that his failure to lead the NCPC on the path of glory will bring shame to the church and canvassed inclusive leadership from all stakeholders in Christendom in the country. Pam enthused that “There’s a need to bring out talents to build NCPC. The time has come to work together and collectively re-build the image of our country and the NCPC.” It has been his operative doctrine inspired by orderliness and commitment to a service which repulses all manifestations of corruption in the commission.
Pam is a team player and keeps constant touch with Executive Secretaries and Board Chairmen of States’ Christian Pilgrim Welfare Boards and other stakeholders in piloting the affairs of the commission. He has sustained synergy with disparate bodies for the smooth dispensation of the operations of the commission.
To get started, Rev. Pam trained staffers of the commission in Lagos for effective Pilgrimage operations and refreshed their memories on the discharge of official responsibilities at a three-day staff retreat in Jos. The NCPC under the leadership of Rev. Pam also organized the maiden Ministers Conference of Network of Gospel Ministers in Northern Nigeria (NOGMINN), in Jos, Plateau state as part of his deliberate policy of his inclusive administration of the commission.
This platform which assembled ministers of the gospel was utilized by Pam to sermonize to the church in Nigeria to assume complete ownership of Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria and the operations of the NCPC generally. With a mind always fixated on peace, the NCPC boss invited these ordained messengers of God to assist in restoring peace and unity in the Northern part of the country.
To his credit and the expansion of the experiences of Nigerian pilgrims, Rev. Pam has worked out modalities for the 2021 intending pilgrims to explore new Holy sites around the world, outside the routine sites. The Kingdom of Jordan has been added to the list of countries to be visited by Nigerian pilgrims because of its historic religious significance to Christian faithful.
And proactively, Rev. Pam embarked on an inspection and exploratory visit to the new sites; dialogued with the Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in Amman and finalized the arrangements. It will be a novel experience for the 2021 pilgrims.
The NCPC executive scribe is also conscious of the Coronavirus pandemic and its effects. To ensure Nigerian pilgrims are protected from contracting the disease, Rev. Pam has kept in constant touch with the Israeli authorities to monitor and detect any unusual or awkward development that may endanger and compromise the health of Nigerian pilgrims.
And in consonance with one of his visions, Rev. Pam has introduced and vigorously pursued peace-building among religious sects in the country. His intervention in the perennial Southern Kaduna crises between Christians and Muslims tremendously assisted in brokering peace to warring factions. It terminated with a three-day peace summit, where the agenda of de-escalation of crises was extensively discussed and a report, containing recommendations on enduring peace has been forwarded to Governor Nasir El-Rufai for necessary action.
To expand the tentacles of the NCPC and bring its services closer to Northern Christians, the commissions executive secretary is currently in persuasive dialogue with the Northern governors for the establishment of pilgrim welfare boards in states with any such office. He is optimistic that the fruitful discussions would create more pilgrim boards in the North to deeply unite Christendom and generate progressive ideas for the development of the country.
Conversely, NCPC under Rev. Pam has intensified sensitization visits to State Governors as well as advocacy for sponsorship of pilgrims in Nigeria. Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam has demonstrated in all ramifications, an impactful leadership of the commission in a short while. At the expiration of his five- year tenure, NCPC would surely be transformed into an enviable national asset for both Christians and the nation through Pam’s purposeful and focused leadership. #
Agbese is a UK based scholar and wrote from Dundee.
Nigeria Army And War Against Insurgency Beyond Slogan – By Isaac Ikpa
I don’t know him; may be, only a few Nigerians might have encountered him in the sanctuaries of books and there is no possibility that any Nigerian would ever have a chance of knowing him personally, but Frederick C. Blesse is a living legend or a genius of wisdom by conquering the essence of existence with his timeless philosophy. Blesse told his generation and those who cared to listen that “No guts; no glory.”
So, Nigerians are fervently asking; where are the guts of the incumbent Service Chiefs barely three months after they sauntered on the turf of anti-insurgencies and insurrections as Nigeria’s chief sentinels worthy of a glory? Could it be physical and intellectual fatigue this early in office? Or, are some gods or invisible celestial forces chasing their shadows to the point of disarmament?
It is incredible to the discomforting reality that we are now tethered to the mercy of armed gangs, in ceaseless torments and wails. We are now operating on a frequency akin to a typical village market in the countryside, directionless and unfocused. We are forced to sleep, wine and dine with terrorists and bandits near Abuja. Is it the new glory the incumbent Service Chiefs wish to earn for us and the nation?
Peace and security have eluded us. Our enclaves are seized by gunmen, known and unknown. The unending fires in Southern Nigeria, specifically, Southeast region have felled both civilians and soldiers. The infamous leader of the outlawed IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has changed the configuration of his rogue armed gangs several times and boldly dare the Nigerian Military. Yet, we appear helpless and rather enter a plea of bargain for mercy? Nigerian Military Chiefs, where is the glory?
We are only searching for the glory in the number of our kidnapped or abducted children by bandits in the Northwest; we only sight a tainted glory in the dingy dungeons of terrorists who have held our people captive. We are forced to sing lullabies to sword-brandishing hoodlums and miscreants; the plain rogues whose only strength is the uncontrolled thirst for bloodshed, in the excitement of feasting on our soldiers.
Asking further, I repeat; where is the glory of our Military or they’ve got no guts anymore? What else can we remember in this quagmire? The ceaseless bloodbath, arson and ashes staring us in the face? We are now standing on rooftops and selenic heights to inspect the ruins brought upon us, as our military fumbles and trembles before deadly enemies. Like romantic poets, Nigerian Military chiefs now are inured to sloganeering and have turned deaf ears to the lamentations around them.
I reminisced on what the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru voiced out when he took the mantle of leadership from his predecessor in Abuja. Gen. Attahiru was stern and appeared like a ferociously devouring lion.
He told his eager audience and pledged to Nigerians on January 28th 2021 to sustain the giant strides of Nigerian Army as he experienced and inherited from his predecessor. Sadly today, Nigerians can neither sight the giant nor the strides in Attahiru’s actions. The spirit has waned unceremoniously. Sometimes, he appears more phobic than the civilian Nigerians he has the mandate to secure. Where are the guts, to transform into glory? Blesse was right!
The guts starts and ends with slogans of the Army Chief. Gen. Attahiru told another audience two months later in March 2021, at the opening of the Combined Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and Nigerian Army Operations Retreat 2021 in Abuja that;
“I want to state that the Nigerian Army under my watch will remain resolute in decisively dealing with any threat confronting the country…I have directed that serious attention must be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country…Commanders must therefore glean from my command philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiency of Nigerian Army formations and units are sustained and improved upon.”
Sometimes, it is not good enough to overstretch limits of reasonableness in assessment of anybody on a hot seat, like where Attahiru has found himself. He is not in the game alone. His colleagues, other Service Chiefs are also there with him. But we cannot divorce the reality that Attahiru is the Chief honcho of counter-insurgency operations and together with his colleagues are absolutely lost on positive impressions in the terrorism combats in the country.
So, it’s a tedious task to attempt to discern Gen. Attahiru’s philosophy of “operational and administrative proficiency” now. Is it the proficiency which has allowed terrorists and bandits surround Abuja? Is it the proficiency of the everyday kidnapping of our children and adults all over the North or the closure of schools in Abuja because of the unexpected influx and infiltration of the capital city by truckloads of bandits?
In case Gen. Attahiru and the other Service Chiefs forget, I chose to remind them now. That at the point they took over from their predecessors, the Nigerian Military was only battling with Boko Haram insurgents/ ISWAP terrorists most dominantly on the fringes of Borno’s Lake Chad Basin area. Now, they are very close; the terrorists have come too close to us in courageous braggadocio.
We can no longer sight the guts to which any glory can be earned by the leaders of the counter-insurgency operations. Who will deliver us now? Nigerians now are only entertained with the barrage of slogans from the Military Chiefs than dexterity in warfare. Military Chiefs often assure us of protections from armed gangs; but the assurance consistently fails every time and everywhere.
Hesitantly, our Military Chiefs are compelling Nigerians to trust the haughty spews of Boko Haram’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau more than their actions have so far espoused on the battlefield. Shekau boasted two days after these Military Chiefs came into office in a nine-minute video that the new Service Chiefs can’t outshine their predecessors in the fight against insurgency in the Northeast or elsewhere in Nigeria.
Shekau thundered; “(General) Leo Irabor, the head of the military, you should have sympathy for yourself, repent and convert to Islam. There is nothing you can do.” I am confused now! Whose words should I trust as stronger and bear any consequence on Nigerians? That’s why Generals Irabor and Attahiru must tighten their seat belts beyond sloganeering.
Nigeria is running out of patience with itself. Terrorists and bandits are making merriments; whilst Nigerians mourn and agonize in bloodshed, abductions and arsons. Shadows of bandits and terrorists loom large and freely roam our city centers, villages, communities, highways and every conceivable place. Courage has given way to numbing fear in our homes and offices.
One is infinitely perturbed watching the effeminate actions of the COAS and leader of the anti-insurgency operations, Gen. Attahiru and the new Service Chiefs in the theatre of war these three months. It is easier to conclude that Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are infinitely endangered. It has been donated to the terrorists under these new sheriffs or Military chiefs who initially, held so much promise, but have faltered terribly.
There is neither spark nor gusto in their deportments in the frontlines of the Northeast, Northwest or Southeast. Jubilant armed gangs have seized our peace and security, shattering dwelling places. We are pathetically tossed on bended kneels under these new masters of terror, as Gen. Attahiru gazes elsewhere.
Therefore, Nigerians make bold to demand that at this time in the history of insurgency in the country, there is the dire need for quick actions and not slogans; we want deafeningly positive results beyond the niceties of rehearsed speeches in the conference halls of Abuja and elsewhere. Will the slogans ginger the troops? Will it deliver the desired results? These and many more are the issues confronting us today as a nation. What ought to be done that has been left undone?
We abhor the demons of terror and the Nigerian Military should not foist them on us. We neither want to worship Abubakar Shekau nor bow to the praxis of the bloody swords of the ISIS-backed Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists commanded by Musab Al Barnewi. The armed bandits in the forests and caves of Zamfara, Katsina to Niger states have tormented us enough. Herdsmen should give us a break; and it is a break, which Gen. Attahiru must necessarily impose on them because he is not crowned for a feast of romance with insurgents in the theatre of war.
The rogues camouflaging as secession agitators in the Southeast must be reined in. We seek no protection from some gods; other than our Military. Gen. Attahiru and his colleagues, the Service Chiefs must wake up from slumber to redeem their names and salvage our fatherland in patriotic and true sacrificial service without further delay. We want to again, make bonfires of celebrations, as against the feasts of blood and whines. Like Blesse intoned, our Service Chiefs should immediately show us the guts and the glory now.
Chief Ikpa writes from Abuja.
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