[ Masterweb Reports: From Abia State ] – Abia State government says it will investigate the cause of the fire incident which engulfed one of the hostels of the Federal Government Girls College, Umuahia with a view to punishing anyone or group found culpable in the act.
Governor Theodore Orji gave the assurance at the school when he visited to see things for himself. He recalled that this was not the first time a fire incident was happening in the institution in recent times and assured however that it will be the last.
He sympathized with the students who lost their belongings in the inferno and donated the sum of N2 million to the principal of the school to help the affected students replace their destroyed items.
Governor Orji stated that it was his primary responsibility to provide security to the students and thanked God that no life was lost in the incident.
The governor described the institution as a great school which has recorded many achievements in academics and in other areas and stated that he was proud of the institution.
He maintained that he sees the school as his own as far as it remained in Abia.
Earlier, while conducting the governor round the affected hostel, the Ag. Principal of the school, Dr. Earnest Chukwuka explained that the fire started while the students were in the classroom for night prep, pointing out that all the 119 students residing in the hostel lost their personal belongings.
He thanked the governor for sending fire fighting trucks to put off the fire as well as his continued fatherly attention to the school, revealing that the governor always comes to their assistance when they call on him.
In his comment, the Parents Teachers Association chairman, Sir G.O.C. Nnaji stated that one of the problems confronting the school is accommodation, explaining that the insecurity situation in the North had forced many parents to relocate their children back home and appealed to the governor to come to their aid.
*Photo Caption – Governor Chief Theodore Orji
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] – Only a thief will give an award to a thief. Giving an award to a thief is not only a national insult, it is treason. Our pledge is to defend the nation's honour. The nation has been dragged in the mud once again with this centenary abomination. What just happened in Nigeria is very serious. This is no longer an issue of ethnic groupings or religious differences. This is sheer limitless wickedness to the poor, the dead and dying. Nigeria has now been taken over by frank evil. This is a battle between good and the hopeful's and supporters of good and evil and the aspirants and workers for the grand commander of evil. The devil. If the awards to Nigeria's thieves of the past were given in error, open public apology and public and private repentance is urgently necessary. Stealing, and a thief is not defined by what is given, it is defined by what is taken. Abacha was a thief. Babangida was a thief. Obasanjo was a thief. There is no mincing these words. There is no room in our national honour rolls for these thieves. This is not an example to be given to our kids and an image to be broadcast of our nation. N300 million in foreign media propaganda will never redeem Nigeria from this abomination. This senseless political desperate patronage of the evil men of Nigeria's painful past.
The United States has already smashed their foot in our bloodied wounds by seizing this moment of national disgrace to seize another $458 billion of Abacha's loot. America has certified us as sub-human. This was the conversation across America this week. Children of thieves, like Sadiq have been given the gumption after years hiding to come out and open their 'gutters.'
The $3-6 billion dollars Abacha has been confirmed to have stolen was not his right. It was money of the poor masses. Whatever 'good' the Presidency publicized he did is not reason enough to celebrate a thief, now or ever. Today it is clear to Nigerians who the President and his team of rulers and friends see as a mentor--Abacha.
The Bible in 1 Corinthians 6:10 says: ...nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. In John 10:10 it says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." And to those who partner with, defend, support and celebrate thieves, the Bible says in Proverbs 29:24 (KJV): "Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not."
Those northerners, the family of Abacha and southerners who defend Abacha are thieves. Those who defend this national insult by Jonathan are thieves. There is no dillydallying on this. Many of us are not saints, but we do not deserve honours if we are thieves. We steal and are quiet about it. Nigeria must never celebrate thieves. By stamping and accrediting thieves we have brought unmeasurable curse upon us if we have not had enough curse already. These awards must immediately be stripped. The nation deserves a national apology. Dear Nigerians, I am sorry. I am sorry for you, I am sorry for me, I am sorry for this nation.
Each penny stolen is amenities deprived and results in deaths. Each kobo stolen means no health care will be provided at some corner, some thief will be free, some road not built properly. They don't steal from the national cake. There is no national cake; on the contrary, they steal from the pauper's loaf. These government thieves are assassins. Killers of the poor. It is a sickness, they are compulsive thieves, this is why we see they steal more than they can ever use and eventually lose our national income to foreign nations. Hell will be filled with these.
For the Muslims who get carried away with thieves-in-power and denounce their creed in defense of such thieves, a story of the life of Hazrat Umar Bin Abdul Aziz, the celebrated Umayyad Caliph should hopefully juggle them up a bit. In the early days of Islam, Caliph Umar's empire stretched from the shores of the Atlantic to the highlands of Pamir (India). He commanded great territory and wealth of the early Muslim state. One day, according to the narration, the Caliph was sitting in his private chamber examining a pile of State documents. The dim light of the room was adding to the serenity and somberness of the place and the Caliph could scarcely feel the arrival of his wife, Fatima, till she addressed him, "Sire! Will you spare a few moments for me? I want to discuss a private matter with you." "Of course", replied the pious Caliph, raising his head from the papers, "But, please put off this State lamp and light your own, as I do not want to burn the State oil for private talk."[ Find ref online: http://www.renaissance.com.pk/novletfor95.html ]
For the pious leaders, more was at stake and more was expected. They slept hungry unless they were assured that all their subjects had eaten. This was because they knew they will be held to account for misappropriating the people's food if they ate while their subjects went to bed hungry. People used to run away and avoid positions of power for this very reason. Today we sign-up for executive suits and accommodation in hell by patronizing clear thieves, because they are 'of our clan,' or 'did something.' The only clan thieves and supporters of thieves belong to is the clan of the burning hell fire, be they government thieves or armed robbers. There is no honor here and nothing to defend, except among the thieves themselves. So if you defend a thief because you believe he is your 'brother' or 'clansman' then know what brotherly and clan relationship you share. The brotherhood of evil and clan of the doomed. It is a shame that thieves are now celebrated. Let them steal but cower in shame or hide away, but honour and awards for thieves only comes from thieves because today there is great honor among Nigeria's thieves.
These are now very evil times.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah (Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Late Sani Abacha
[ Masterweb Reports: Hon. Chuks Ibegbu reports ] – The Governor of Abia State Chief T A Orji recently forwarded the names of some notable and cerebral Abians to the National Confab as required by the authorities. The names forwarded by Governor Orji are no doubt among the best in Abia state and showed that Governor Orji is truly an Igbo patriot and a Nigerian statesman.
Nobody in the entire state or country can fault the quality of the nominees from Abia state. They are men and women that have proved their mettle in different fields of endeavour at both the state and national levels. The National Confab is a very serious business that will determine the fate and future of Abians, Igbos and Nigerians. It is therefore essential that only our best are there. Governor Orji has determinedly achieved that. From these galaxy of accomplished men and women it will be zeroed to the number allocated to Abia state.
The expectations of Abians and Ndigbo is very high from our representatives at the confab. Ndigbo clamour for more states, restructuring of Nigeria , equity, justice and fair distribution of federal resources. As we speak several oil wells that ought to belong to Abia state are in other states. The past census figures is biased against Abians and Igbos. Our representation in the National Assembly, the Federal civil service, and other federal agencies is minimal. A lot of things went wrong in the past that now need to be corrected once and for all.
As Abia delegates prepare to join other Igbo delegates to the confab, it is hoped that their patriotic mission will be rewarding and the reasons for their choice by Ochendo Abia will be justified
*Photo Caption – Hon. Chuks Ibegbu. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at +234 8035410176
[ Masterweb Reports: Eddie Onuzuruike reports ] – It was Winston Churchill, the great British statesman who said, ‘courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is what it takes to sit down and listen.
A lot of people today get involved in political activities in Nigeria for many odd reasons not necessarily bordering on ideology and philosophical principles which should be the potent factor. In most cases and probably due to the economic downturn, people are induced by hunger, an unquenchable love of money and unemployment of sorts, but there are still people who do so to provide genuine leadership and solve critical societal problems and in the process, endow the lacking needs to our people.
One of such men is Chief Onyema Ugochukwu: A renowned and accomplished Journalist. Chief Ugochukwu was the pioneer chairman of the NDDC and made news when he overcame all antics employed by the previous administration in Abia to deny him the exulted position. It was a case where surprisingly, the Abia senators were hoaxed into reluctance in supporting their constituent who had the rare privilege of being nominated to the celebrated chairmanship of the NDDC by President Obasanjo in the year 2000.
As the governorship candidate of PDP in Abia in 2006, except for the excesses of some overzealous followers, he ran a credible electioneering campaign, touring the cities and suburbs, making speeches and addressing issues. He engaged in a twisty aggressive legal battle against Chief T.A. Orji and the PPA party, over the results of the elections and the propriety of Chief T.A Orji’s candidacy. When the legal chips were down, it did not need any soothsayer to tell him that the political and legal games were up.
Not a man to hoodwink people, Chief Ugochukwu, in an emotion laden voice addressed his followers and acquainted them with the truth which was that having tried everything possible, that it may not have been the wish of God for him to govern Abia.
This frankness did not go down well with many members who thought that if they can’t win, that at least, they can subvert. But Chief Ugochukwu deftly ordered them to hold their fire and come out of their trenches. When the high-powered delegation led by the PDP Chairman, Mr. Okwesilieze Nwodo came to Abia 8in 2010, urging T.A. Orji to join PDP, Chief Onyema and the Governor made a genuine pact which was mutually adhered to. When we talk of exemplary and comprehensive peace process, the Abia state experience is of high repute and has provided a conflict resolution template at home and abroad. Every politically aware person in Abia knew the level of calumny and hatred where followers clashed in courts and engaged in name-calling and other unedifying acts. According to an Israeli statesman, General Moshe Dayan, ‘if you want to make peace, you do not talk to your friends, you talk to your enemies.’
T.A Orji’s courage and decision to cross the yawning chasm of opposition to initiate dialogue with Chief Onyema Ugochukwu watered the ground that encouraged other Abia leaders on both sides of the party divide to talk with each other, and Abia is enjoying a huge ambience of peace today because these leaders talked, agreed and have all kept their parts of the bargain.
From balanced deductions, much of these gains of Abia would not have cascaded down to the lowest party rung if Chief Onyema did not put his heart into it. He has granted interviews to the press and shocked most of his followers and admirers, who did not expect him to be brutally frank. In the Union weekly of December 1, 2013 page 10, Ugochukwu, the team player avowed, ‘Abia State PDP has never been more united than it is now. It has also never been more peaceful than it is now. And a lot of that credit goes to the governor, Chief T A Orji, who has done so well in bringing Abians together.’
As Chairman of the Grand Civic Reception organized by The Ikwuano/Umuahia people, the mammoth crowd of February, 15, 2014, at defunct Umuahia Main Market, was thrilled when he acknowledged the efforts of the governor in changing Abia, especially the legacy projects. As he observed, the primary school in Umule his village, which has been transformed into a model School is a huge example.
For many of us who cry more than the bereaved on either side, he affirmed that Ochendo has done most of the things he wished for Abia and probably borne in his manifestos, so why should he antagonize? As is manifest from his speech, his genuine quest was to work and build Abia, not the ego-driven ambition of many whose only wish was to be addressed as His Excellency.
As a huge lesson to us, the peace process in Abia wouldn’t have been encompassing if Chief Ugochukwu continued sulking and throwing spanners at work over his loses. In these days that duplicity has become a political virtue, Chief Ugochukwu placed all his political cards on the table and buried the hatchet with its handle. This further helped to douse the tension and acrimony which was simmering between the two inseparable clans of Ibeku and Ohuhu. Those who claim to be statesmen and those who are aspiring to be one should emulate this profuse liberalism.
Professionally, Chief Ugochukwu is an economist, trained in the famous UNN. Two years after a stint in the Central Bank of Nigeria, he abandoned a lucrative career in the apex bank as an Economic Research Assistant for his beloved journalism and made the best of it as he rose to the positions of chief Editor with West African magazine, Editor in Chief, The Daily Times and met over ten presidents like Clinton, Maggie Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, P J Patterson of Jamaica and many others.
Chief Ugochukwu having bagged the Commander of the Order of the Niger is qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize and other international honors. It should be noted that Peace at times becomes elusive like a moving target, unable to come into the shooting range: if in doubt ask the leaders of the State of Israel, Central African Republic, North and South Sudan, Mozambique and Syria.
From the above, those who arrogate to themselves to be the Master Strategists and scheme fruitlessly to sneak into the main lounge through the backdoor, when the front door is open, should consult chief
Ugochukwu or may as well sniff facts out of his modesty and humility Abia has been peaceful and instructively, many from the Ugochukwu camp who have been graciously appointed into the people-oriented administration of Ochendo Global have done their best in terms of service and delivery. Good leadership from the top is a tonic that catalyzes the masses. Let us not trivialize this political and social milestone in Abia. Peace is a two way thing between the leaders and followers and those involved should play fairly.
All these elucidations above fall in line with the prescription of Charles Keller, president, Rotary International who said, ‘if we do not find the part to peace, whatever else we do will not make much
difference.’ Ochendo sought the part to peace which has become a game changer in Abia.
Onuzuruike reports from Umuahia, Abia State.
*Photo Caption – Governor Chief Theodore Orji
[ Masterweb Reports: From Anambra State ] – Governor Peter Obi says the Nigerian Army has played fundamental role in sustaining peace and stability across the world and that His Government would sustain the relationship with them as well as other security agencies. Governor Obi was speaking when the new General Officer Commanding the 82 Division Enugu, Major General Shehu Yusuf led a delegation of top Military Officers on a courtesy call at the Governor’s Lodge.
Governor Obi recalled that the Nigeria Military had distinguished itself in various peace keeping operations in trouble parts of the world and contributed immensely in maintenance of internal security and building good image for the country. He explained that his administration had from inception established cordial and effective relationship with all security agencies and had continued to assist them in various ways to enhance their operations.
Earlier, the new GOC, Major General Yusus who said he was in the State as part of familiarization tour of his areas of responsibility, stated that he was impressed with the relationship established by the Governor with the military and high level of cooperation with all security agencies in the State as well as extolled him for taking the Sate to higher level within his tenure. He thanked the Governor for the various support given to military formations in the Sate and assured that they would remain alive to their responsibilities.
The GOC explained that security was vital for development and disclosed that they have involved a dynamic strategy in combating insecurity.
In his reaction, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Colonel George (Rtd) noted that the collaboration between the Governor Obi administration and all security agencies in the State had continue to yield the desired dividends in reducing crime rate and sustaining peace and stability. He expressed confidence that the new GOC had the wealth of experience and well equipped to excel in his new position.
*Photo Caption – Gov. Peter Obi (right), with the General Officer Commanding the 82 Division Enugu, Major General Shehu Yusuf(left), who paid him a courtesy visit at the Governor's Lodge, Amawbia.
[ Masterweb Reports: From Abia State ] – Abia state governor, chief Theodore Orji says contract for the Arochukwu- Ohafia federal road has been awarded while work has commenced on the road.
Governor Orji who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in his office was reacting to a statement credited to one Onwuka Ukwa of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in which he alleged that the governor said that he will not do the said road because it was a federal government road.
The governor said that the allegation by Ukwa whom he described as inconsequential was not true but was mischievously made up by him to make himself appear relevant.”People are insincere in government, they want to start blackmailing people”, he said.
He further stated that Onwuka does not come home and cannot claim to know what is happening at home, pointing out that he is speaking from a parochial point of view.
The number one citizen of Abia state who said Ukwa was a liability to APGA revealed that his government had already spent N400 million on the federalroad as palliative through New Idea construction company before the federal government awarded the contract.
According to him, the Abia state government would do all the roads in the state if it had the resources since it was still Abians that would use the roads whether they were federal or state roads.
He however disclosed that his government was currently working on the Ndioji Abam-Ndiokereke Road also in Arochukwu and has gone very far on the long stretch of road designed to give the people a sense of belonging and ease their difficulty.
He stated that he has severally visited the federal contractor handling the Arochukwu-Ohafia federal road to ensure that he keeps faith with the road.
Chief Orji regretted that Mr. Onwuka Ukwa was twisting facts and trying to bring Abia state and the federal government in confrontation. He recalled that that the Ohafia –Arochukwu road has been in bad shape over the years.”The road has been like that even during the time of Obasanjo and I have consistently lamented on the road”, he added.
*Photo Caption – Governor Chief Theodore Orji
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Join the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Honorable Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in a live, online conversation on the 2014 Budget from 4th to 6th of March, 2014.
The Budget 2014 Jam is a 3-day online interactive conversation between the Hon. Minister and the youth aged 18-40. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts/ideas with the Minister on the 2014 budget and its impact on the nation moving forward.
If you would like to be part of this free, online conversation please register now. Participation will be on a first come, first serve basis.
You can access the online discussion using a laptop or tablet device. Be advised that it is not optimal on a smart phone. Register at https://www.collaborationjam.com/jam4/budget2014/registration/
See you in the Jam!
What is a Jam?
A jam is an online event that brings together thousands of people from across the country to discuss issues in real time from wherever they are located. The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is hosting the online interactive session with youth this year on the 2014 Budget.
Objective of the Jam
The jam is meant to educate and engage participants on topical issues through a series of online discussion forums. All participants have an opportunity offer suggestions as well as exchange ideas on how to move the country forward. In this particular instance, the Ministry of Finance would like to hear from the youth on issues that affect them related to the 2014 Budget.
Target Audience for the Jam
The event seeks to engage as many as 20,000 people between the ages of 18 and 40. The jam is available on a first come, first serve basis with the first 20,000 to register able to participate in the online discussion.
How to Participate in the Jam
You can register from the 24th of February at https://www.collaborationjam.com/jam4/budget2014/registration/
The jam goes live on March 4th by 8am and runs continuously until March 6th. Join us at any point in those three days for as little or as long as you want!
The Proposed Areas for Discussion are:
1. Managing our Debt
2. Stimulating Job Creation
3. Keeping the lights on
4. Spending Wisely
5. Managing our Budget
6. Increasing Revenue
Log in and start jamming!
*Photo Caption - Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
[ Masterweb Reports ] – A 20-year-old Nigerian man identified as Malam Kamisu Baranda, was arrested for having sex with a goat in Baranda forest, in Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State, Nigeria. He was handed over to Jigawa State Police Command by his village head for the bestiality act of which he said he sought permission from the animal before engaging in.
Baranda was arraigned in court and the judge ordered him remanded in prison for two weeks while the case was investigated. The accused urged the court to set him free because the goat belonged to him and he sought the animal’s consent before engaging in the act. He said he had engaged in sex with animals “over 10 times” because it “satisfied his demand”, but had never previously been arrested. He said he took goats into the forest near his home to ‘avoid embarrassment’ and did not know it was an offence to have sex with them.
*Photo Caption – A goat.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, has called on politicians in the country to emulate the leadership qualities of the former Premier of Eastern Nigeria, late Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, saying that the sage rendered selfless service to humanity during his life time.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, Governor Orji who made the call at a book launch titled 'Dr. The Hon. Michael Iheonukara Okpara: Lessons In Leadership and Service', an authorized biography of the former Premier of Eastern Nigeria published by Center for General African Development and Studies in collaboration with Michael Okpara Foundation which took place at Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Centre, Abuja, described late M.I. Okpara as a loyal, humble and selfless accomplished leader.
According to him, "late M.I. Okpara was a Nigerian patriot, a role model in national service and was one leader who saw tomorrow. We loved and cherished him dearly." The governor who said that late M.I. Okpara laid a solid foundation for the growth and development of the Eastern Region noted that his visionary leadership led to industrialization of all the sectors in the South-east and South-south.
According to him, late M.I. Okpara's adoption of pragmatic socialism in governance led to agricultural and industrial revolution witnessed between 1959 to 1966.
Governor Orji who regretted that late M.I. Okpara's good works were truncated by the Nigerian/Biafran Civil War, noted that conflicts and wars rather than encourage development, diminish and retard development.
The governor who described President Goodluck Jonathan as a disciple of late Dr. M.I. Okpara, said the President's transformation agenda was drawn from the works of the former Premier of Eastern Nigeria.
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion and former President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof Joe Irukwu, called on leaders to imbibe a life of service to the people and expressed the hope that the book will inspire future politicians to know that politics is a call to serve and not to make money.
On his part, the book reviewer, Prof. Anya O. Anya, called on leaders to emulate the virtues such as determination, vision, integrity, selflessness which he said were exhibited by late M.I. Okpara.
Presenting the book on behalf of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekeremadu, Senator Uche Chukwumerije described the book as a fountain of inspiration and reminded leaders of their role of influencing lives.
The wife of the former Premier, Dame Adanma Okpara while unveiling the book noted that oil is the doom of Nigeria and prayed God to raise men like M.I. Okpara as well as endow those that will read the book with wisdom and knowledge.
Dignitaries at the book launch include Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe and Nkechi Nwogu, Representatives Okuchi Ibeji and Chinenye Ike, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Worgu, former Enugu State Governor, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Nigeria's consulate to South Africa, Okey Emuche, Prof. S.O. Emejuiwe, Chief Uche Ogah, Chief Bob Ogbuagu, son of the sage, Chief Uzodinma Okpara among others.
*Photo Caption - Governor Chief Theodore Orji
[ Masterweb Reports: Theophilus Ilevbare reports ] – News of the surging violence by the shadowy sect, Boko Haram, has continued to inundate us even if some no longer shudder at screaming headlines of dozens whose throats have been slit; the extremists have sustained the ongoing brutal campaign against civilian and security targets. The vicious group has showed no sign of slowing down in 2014 with a string of coordinated attacks from Borno to Adamawa and Yobe states. It is inconceivable and incomprehensible in a state under emergency, that terrorist attacks in villages and towns last for hours without any kind of security intervention. The escalation of violence between January and February alone has claimed over 650 lives between Borno and Adamawa. For now, Gwoza, Bama, Konduga and Damboa towns and all the villages around them are facing extinction! The insurgents have left on its trail: lives lost, properties destroyed and terrified residents fleeing their homes. Guerilla tactics in rural areas have made the people vulnerable where Christians and Muslims alike have been on the receiving end of the morally reprehensible sect’s abhorrent violence.
Borno, to Boko Haram, is their spiritual home where the ‘struggle’ began. Losing the battle on this turf to the federal forces will effectively signal the end of their insurrection. In this state, their attacks have been more vicious, somewhat sporadic but with a high level of coordination unexpected in a state under emergency. Their resolve is strengthened by the scores they slaughter in the wee hours of the night. The Nigerian military still has a lot to prove that it is capable of putting down the insurrection.
Guerilla wars (better known as asymmetric combat) are the most difficult to prosecute because the enemies live within the civilian population. Security operatives become vulnerable because they are identifiable but the terrorists are almost invincible. It might be asking for too much from the ill equipped and trained Nigerian military to wage a successful war against them. Such an operation is quite complicated and requires cerebral personnel. It is doubtful if the Nigerian military give adequate training to its men to fight guerilla wars – a 21st century security challenge. The unimpressive way the counterterrorism campaign has been waged by the combined team of security agencies have laid bare their conventional and stereotype inbuilt structure of warfare where there is a clearly defined enemy in a well-defined geographical location. The Nigeria military’s symmetric approach to an asymmetric counterterrorism battle in states under emergency, clearly, has failed. The spate of almost daily attacks on hapless civilians in Borno underscores this point. Their modus operandi is similar to all known terrorist groups in the world. The trademark of the organization is blood, tears and sorrow with both covert and overt violent assault against police officers, military, churches and civilian targets. These persistent and mindless killings from highly networked, richly financed groups waging insurgent war often from within civilian population, use a combination of traditional and modern weapons. There tactics can best be mitigated and/or quelled by military operations backed by the most sophisticated and technologically advanced security gadgets. It is a known fact that the structure and design of Nigeria’s national security is too outdated to meet present day security challenges. It has also been reported that the morale of the military and police is ebbing. In contrast, Boko Haram is better armed and motivated. Years of corruption in the military and police have robbed us of the best.
Consequently, the cruel marauders pose a serious threat to the nation’s sovereignty and the continual harmonious co-existence of the various tribes and religions. The possibility of overrunning the country is real.
However, Nigeria’s security challenges are not insurmountable. With commitment and a dogged political will from the government, the nefarious activities of the blood thirsty fundamentalists can be effectively contained. Furthermore, government should tighten what many now regard as the most porous border in the world! We would easily win any award in that category. There is still an ongoing war in Mali; it’s only been months since the Arab Spring ended. All these have put arms and ammunition in the wrong hands. Those who proliferate these weapons move them across our borders to a mix grill ready market of terrorists, pirates, hoodlums, unrepentant and backsliding ex-militants, 2015 election tugs and other criminal minded elements.
To quell this increasingly complex threat, the tangled-web of terrorist financing must be demystified and those found wanting brought to book. Collaboration like joint military action with our West African neighbours to combat threats along border towns and villages is a strategy the military should urgently explore as part of a comprehensive approach to counter the deadly extremists.
The fierce unrelenting assault on neighbouring villages bordering the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has highlighted the inefficiency and numerical disadvantage of the Nigerian military and police. With over 8000 troops deployed already to the subregion without any success, the International Criminal Court was spot on when it said Nigeria was embroiled in another civil war. Remote border towns with Cameroon like Banki, in Bama Local Government Area have been the worst hit as the remoteness of their location have made it almost impossible to respond to distress. Recently, the military decried insufficient personnel in such remote towns and villages, as its bane. Residents say in some villages, about six military men, poorly armed, and just about half a dozen policemen are present. This is grossly inadequate and easily outnumbered by over 50 insurgents who storm these target locations in vehicles and motor bikes, armed to the teeth. The presence of more security personnel in the remote villages will to a great extent improve the security situation.
It is ridiculous when our security chiefs give themselves a pat on the back for ‘curtailing’ the Islamic fundamentalists in the North East, preventing their activities from spreading to other parts of the country. This kind of attitude that promotes mediocrity in the rank and file of our national security must be discouraged.
Sabotage, negligence of duty and unhealthy competition among the security agencies are some of the reasons insecurity has been on the rise in the troubled states of the north east, particularly, Borno. The military offensive against the sect has been nothing short of a complete failure.
It is shameful that politicians under whose watch the insurgents evolved still strut the corridors of power, and are partisan politicians till today. It must be traumatising for the victims of Boko Haram. Unfortunately, those who sowed the seed of bloodbath are still at large. Sponsors of the terror group, directly or indirectly, must be brought to justice. Prosecuting the counterterrorism war without exposing and prosecuting their financiers will amount to an effort in futility.
The spirited attempt by the Jonathan government to fight terrorism with mass education of Almajiris is commendable. More of such schools is needed in northern Nigeria. It is an approach that should be encouraged to fight an insurgency that is firmly rooted in illiteracy and ignorance.
Dealing decisively with the grievances that are spawning terrorism and encouraging radicalisation as well as implementing reforms and policies are pathways to restoring lasting peace, security of lives and properties in the north-east and the nation at large.
Now, more than ever, decisive and sustainable victory against Boko Haram has become more elusive but imperative.
Theophilus Ilevbare ( Email: email@example.com ) is a public affairs commentator.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Borno State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT).