On the heels of the statement made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, projecting that terrorism might be here to stay for at least another 20 years, a video has resurfaced of former Chief of Army Staff, TY Danjuma, saying that some members of the Armed Forces collude with bandits.
Buratai had published his statement on his verified Facebook page, and it reads in part, “There is general misunderstanding of what insurgency and terrorism entail. There is likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years.”
The statement is demoralising both for hardworking officers of the Nigerian Army and Nigerians all over the country, especially in the aftermath of the killing of over 40 farmers in Borno State. A tragedy the locals in Zabarmari claim could have been avoided had the military taken pre-emptive action per the intelligence available before the attack.
Twitter users have taken to speculations as the 2-year-old video of the former Chief of Army Staff return to circulation, as some ponder if the army has lost all capability while others theorise that the army may in fact be in collusion with ‘enemies of the people.’ It is a trend that it is reminiscent of the final years of the Jonathan administration, where civilians and armed forces lost all hope in the government’s ability to handle the security challenges bedevilling the country. The nation had developed a deep mistrust of the administration that saw people peddling conspiracy theories about the government having a hand in the persistent terrorism in the Northern part of the country.
The present administration rode on that wave of mistrust into power with promises of ending the insurgency once elected. This was in 2015. 5 years after the fact, the highest-ranking army official in the country has told Nigerians that the country may not be secured for another 20 years.
It begs the question, is the Buhari administration at all intent on securing the country or are things going to remain as they’re – getting progressively worse by the day?
Just a few days ago, a former Executive Secretary of Nigeria’s Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf, had called for the training and arming of Northern youth as a short term solution against the insecurity in the North. His reason? That the institutions tasked with the responsibility to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity against internal and external threats are, “over-stretched.”
Whether ‘over-stretched’ as Yusuf said or ‘compromised’ as Danjuma said, the responsibility to secure the country is securely on the Commander-in-Chief, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd). But his body language says nothing to make anyone believe he intends to do anything about the country’s worsening security challenges. The consequence of this can be seen and felt in every arm of the government.
It is why Government officials can rinse and repeat the same condolence speech in the wake of every tragedy with no iota of shame. it also why the Chief of Army staff can casually take to Facebook to announce that the continued failure of the forces to stem the insurgency, among other security problems, is not likely to end for another 20 years.
As if to punctuate this failure of leadership, a pro-army national Golf tournament planned to hold earlier the year but cancelled due to COVID-19 is now underway. This is barely a week since Zabarmari 43 were interred, with scores still missing.
An argument could be made for the tournament as a means to boost the morale of our labouring soldiers. However, with the COAS being openly reckless with his pronouncements on as open a public forum as Facebook, it is hard to see how a golf tournament can fix the dent on everyone’s morale – soldiers and civilians alike.
The time is ticking on the fate of Nigeria, and those at the helm of affairs do not appear to care one way or another.