By Adabale Olamide

On November 28, 2020, the terrorist group, Boko Haram, carried out a gruesome murder of rice farmers and residents in Zabarmari area of Borno State. The AbubakarShekau-faction of the terrorist group has since claimed responsibility for the attack. The dreadful killing at Zabarmari reflects the worsening state of insecurity in the country and its tolls on human life. On the other hand, the loud talks of the Buhari’s regime about the war against insecurity, which was the major programme of the President in 2015 and 2019 elections, have yielded no sign of success. 

                The Buhari’s Government since its emergence has only been spreading false propaganda of “technically defeating Boko Haram,” a statement made in December 2015 by the regime. And later, President Buhari falsely claimed that “(t)he Boko Haram terrorists have been substantially defeated and degraded to the extent that they are only daring soft targets (Guardian Newspaper 16/10/2019).” Since then, these terrorists have been collecting taxes from residents in the North-East, attacking soldiers and even made a daring attempt on the life of the Borno State governor.

                We should recall a revealing video made by Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi, a former Theatre Commander in the war against Boko haram that went viral in March 2020. The General, whose men came under heavy gunfire of the Boko Haram terrorists lamented in the video about inadequate fighting equipment and failure of intelligence to General Buratai, a superior officer and the Chief of Army Staff. The scene General Adeniyi captured in that video just lost about 47 soldiers, according to some news reports. General Adeniyi himself was seen consoling a junior officer who was crying due to the heavy loss of lives and trauma inflicted by the Boko Haram terrorists.

                But Gen. Adenyi’s video was an indictment of the Army general staff, and of the whole top hierarchy of the Armed forces, which has failed to justify the large budgetary allocation it has drawn since the beginning of the Boko Haram insurgency. On July 29, 2018, the Vanguard Newspaper had to cry out about the huge cost of defence in Nigeria’s budget since 2008 (in ten years), which had gulped 6 trillion Naira within the period. The Newspaper cried out because the Boko Haram insurgency which the Jonathan and Buhari have used to justify huge defence spending has not abated; rather, the country has added other forms of insecurity beyond Bokoharam in banditry, kidnapping and cattle-rustling etc.

                The unending war the Generals are waging against Boko Haram has clearly been profitable. The war has become a conduit pipe with which the Generals are enriching themselves through spurious budgetary allocation and contracts for military supplies, which are awarded to their cronies. In most cases, these materiels are not supplied, or better still inferior, to maximize profit at the expense of the lives and wellbeing of the rank and file of the military and the defence of the country. Added to the above are the poor intelligence networks of the military in this particular campaign against Bokoharam, which submits hundreds and even thousands of troops to ambushes of a ragtag army of fanatics.

   The MSA roundly condemns this atrocious behaviour towards the lower ranks of the armed forces and call for the provision of adequate weapons and reliable intelligence in the fronts. We also campaign for the right of the rank and file of the military to a union for them to freely air their view publicly, and without recrimination. Our position is that the opinions of the rank and file be taken into consideration as opposed to the current ‘command and obey’ structure of the Generals, who are completely compromised by their inordinate quest for profit.

                More disgusting and disheartening is the statement from the Presidency, made by the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, GarbaShehu, that military clearance had to be obtained by the residents before the resumption of agriculture or economic activities in the states affected by the insurgency. This ridicules any statement by Nigeria’s government of progress in liberating any Boko Haram dominated area. Of what essence will it be of liberating such area(s), yet no practical economic activity could be executed? In such a situation, the residents are subjected to the extreme choice of either staying in-door to starve or risk getting killed by the insurgents while seeking their livelihood. Between January and September 2020 more direct attacks have been launched by the Boko Haram headed by AbubakarShekau and its splinter faction, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), against civilian, humanitarian, and military targets reportedly killing at least 363 civilians.

                When the country was yet to recover from the shock of the Zabarmari massacre, the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction attacked the Government Science College in Kastina and kidnapped about 343 students. These terrorists rode into the school on motorcycles and would have required hours to perpetrate a crime on such a large scale. Yet, they somehow overwhelmed the security apparatus in Katsina, at the time the President was in the State with, at least, a battalion of the Presidential Guard Brigade at his disposal. The general collapse of security in the country shows the complete backwardness of the capitalist hordes in Nigeria that continue to loot the country, impoverish the people, but without the slightest show of responsibility for the protection of these suffering people.

                The ruling elites and the Generals cannot conduct a war to end insurgency or genuinely combat poverty and all its ills, through the reconstruction of society, with a government of the working masses, made up of elected parliament of the workers, poor farmers, and rank and file of the military and police, which enshrines on its banner socialism, nationalized the commanding heights of the economy, and under the democratic control of the working masses; only then will the wealth of the country be available to boost food production, build schools and health facilities and create jobs for both literate and illiterate population. With capitalism still dominant over the economy so long will economic justice be served only to the rich and members of the billionaire club, the Generals and top hierarchic of the military at the detriment of the working masses. There is no ending war and corruption without ending capitalism and its insatiable greed for profit at the expense of the wellbeing of the masses.