I have consistently maintained that the Nigeria government knows more to Boko Haram insurgency than it appears on the surface. A report titled we were barred from repelling Gamboru attack in Daily Trust on 22 May 2014 written by Musa Abdullahi Krishi troubles the mind and further indicts Nigerian government of conspiracy to kill Nigerians and point accusing fingers at Boko Haram.
According to the report, a Nigerian soldier in Borno state confirmed that Boko Haram attacked Gamboru Ngala in their presence but their commander asked them not to repel the attack. The soldier told BBC Hausa Service that choppers hovered in the air while the attacks were ongoing. 300 people were killed, houses and a market burnt while soldiers watched and were ordered not to render assistance to those being attacked. The soldier said that the Boko Haram insurgency will end when superior officers in the army cease to fuel it.
In another account, Sahara Reporters on May 16, 2014, published a report titled War against Boko Haram: Nigerian Soldiers Say They Are Ill-Equipped, Betrayed by Commanders, Authorities in Abuja. According to the report, Nigerian soldiers combating Boko Haram insurgents are disappointed with their commanding officers as well as political authorities in Abuja, especially the senior military personnel.
They said their weapons are inadequate and inferior, their welfare disregarded, while their commanders focus more on making money rather than fighting the insurgency. Some of the soldiers have allegedly quit their duty post.
At the abductions of Chibok girls, one soldier in an interview told SaharaReporters, said, “…we were ordered to arrest vehicles carrying the girls but just as we started the mission, another order was issued that we should pull back. I can assure you, nobody gave us any directives to look for anybody.”
Some soldiers suspect that their commanders reveal military operations to the Boko Haram sect.
In another narrative, a retired army officer in Abuja told SaharaReporters that a serious investigation on arms procurement must be carried out. “Our soldiers are exposed to serious danger when they go to war. They are given tanks that explode when enemy fire it, they are given bulletproof helmets that are punctured easily,” he said.
On May 18th, 2014, the National Premium Post, Nigeria daily online newspaper, published, army Generals selling weapons to Boko Haram, (nine serving Generals to face court-martial for treason). Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Minimah led the investigation. If this appears to be true, our problem is beyond what we see on the surface, and we must prepare for more crisis and insurgency ahead.
In the usual Nigeria way of debunking claims, the Nigerian Army on May 21st, 2014 held a press conference and maintained the ground that it is not corrupt. The former Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-General Olajide Laleye alleged plans by some people with their international collaborators to discredit the Army and its efforts in fighting insurgency. However, why has insurgency and insecurity continued to thrive despite trillions expended in curbing it? Why have some soldiers abandoned their duty post? Why have soldiers turned their guns against their commanders?
We must come out of the illusion that peace will return to Nigeria soon. Corruption, impunity, and government conspiracy has brought Nigeria to its knees. The government knows those who have stolen the monies meant for security but care less about accountability. Having followed conflict trends in Nigeria, it is apparent that state actors and non-state actors do not care to stem the conflict in Nigeria but rather concentrate on how to utilize the opportunity to make billions of naira and dollars, become relevant and dominate both the local and foreign media.
The way we handle the Boko Haram insurgency will lead to another group of insurgents emerging. When that happens, the top military chiefs are likely to be happy, because that will open another window of opportunity for public monies to be stolen and be unaccounted for, further buttressing the fact that in Nigeria, more monies are stolen when the state is in crisis. Let’s brace for a more state-caused crisis in future.