As new leaders arise to take over the administration of Nigeria, the incoming administrators should keep the long-suffering fate of the country’s military in mind. This was a major message that came out of the last episode of ceremonies honouring fallen military personnel who are fondly remembered as Nigeria’s heroes. Yet, going through the yearly ritual without addressing significant concerns is insufficient to fully repair the scars inflicted by their relatives. After the civil war concluded on January 15, 1970, a new Nigeria was apparently born. It was thought that the country would learn painful lessons from the terrible struggle in order to avoid a repeat. Nevertheless, the only activity that conveys the idea that our authorities are conscious of the dark history is the Armed Forces Memorial Day which is currently honoured every January 15.
An annual ceremony commemorates the nation’s restoration to unity as-well-as servicemen and fallen heroes. It should be used for thoughts on the military’s importance to the country. Unfortunately, the entire ceremony has devolved into a yearly ritual since the administration has continually ignored the more serious military issues. War veterans require more attention from the government than the typical memorial ceremony’s speeches and wreath-laying. Their safety and overall well-being should be the government’s top priority. Yet, Nigeria continues to lose valiant military officers to terrorism, with little on the ground to address the issue. Nigeria’s counterterrorism policies not only lag behind those of the adversary, but also frequently act as facilitators of the insurgency. Operation Safe Corridor, for example, is nothing more than a safe haven for terrorists to avoid capture and potential conviction while returning to the front lines of battle better prepared and more self-assured.
Programs to enhance the lives of officers’ children and wives.
Military pay is substantially below world standards. On Armed Forces Memorial Day, the authorities never fail to weary the audience with extended lectures about the ostensible scholarship, as well as different empowerment and vocational programs put in place to enhance the lives of departed officers’ children and wives. In actuality, their dependents receive a one-time financial assistance from the government and are then left out in the cold. Fifty-three years after the civil war officially ended, the issues that precipitated the conflict remain unresolved; the country has regressed in many ways. Worryingly, there are no firm plans in place to halt the ongoing battle on terrorism. It is clear that the administration lacks the political will to confront the insurgency and defeat it. In comparison to the insurgents’ high-tech arsenal, the nation’s military artillery is falling behind.
Surprisingly, terrorist organizations appear to be ahead in intelligence gathering, as seen by the several successful ambushes they have carried out against the Nigerian military. Yet, given the widely acknowledged valor of Nigerian soldiers, as evidenced by their excellent performance in foreign military operations, there is an evident need to question the government’s inaction in appropriately equipping it. It is a question of capabilities, not capability of the current military formation. Nigeria, without a question, has some of the best foot soldiers in Africa. Nigerian Military would be accurately classified as the West African Police at some point in history. Our valiant warriors regularly demonstrated military supremacy in all peacekeeping missions in which they participated.
Country has been battling terrorism for well over 15 years.
According to reports, the late Gen. Sani Abacha allegedly declared, “Every insurgency that lasts longer than 24 hours, the government has a role in it.” While this is arguably an expression of a personal perspective, Nigeria has been fighting terrorism for well over 15 years and the government does not appear to be determined to put an end to it and its affiliates, such as banditry and abductions. The government has failed to handle insecurity issues proactively, and its reactionary actions have been ineffective. On the contrary, terrorist organizations are becoming more audacious and undeterred.
The Nigerian Defense Academy was assaulted by the Islamic State of West Africa Province in Kaduna in August 2021. ISWAP attacked two military bases in Borno State on July 28, 2022, as well as a military checkpoint in Niger State, killing numerous soldiers. According to reports, terrorists attacked and kidnapped the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ahmed, on January 6, 2023 along Zamfara. According to President Muhammadu Buhari, $1 billion was spent to retake the northern regions that militants had taken over since 2015. Nonetheless, insurgents continue to control several Northern communities. Residents in those communities, in fact, are forced to pay levies to the insurgents before they can do their customary tasks. New territories are captured every time the government reclaims a captured territory. However, massive resources that should have been spent on programs like schools, road building, and hospitals are being diverted to guerilla fighting, with no corresponding outcomes.
Military men in Borno state are threatened by unpaid salaries.
Leadership cannot be excused from complicity in the protracted war. Recently, military men attached to the Nigerian Army’s 198 Special Forces in Borno State threatened to protest unpaid allowances allegedly siphoned by a senior officer. There have also been reports of espionage within the military services, but no real inquiry appears to have been launched to determine the identities of the traitors. The size of these surprise strikes on the military is a sign that military informants are undermining anti-terrorism efforts. Dele Olawale John, a former military officer, was court martialed and even given the death penalty in 2014 for criticizing the military’s failure to provide the essential aerial assistance for the Army’s expedition to Kafia Forest, a Boko Haram stronghold in Borno State.
Fact-Checking Tool – Snopes.com