I was actually compelled to put down my thought on this discussion late last week. Somewhere in Lagos, I was part of a discussion on the imperatives of foreign military assistance. I was taken aback, when I raise the very important issue of sovereignty. I was arguing that despite the necessity of military assistance from the Global North, care should be taken by the leadership so that the sovereignty of Nigeria would not be compromised in the process. I was really shocked because, the mentioned of Nigeria sovereignty was waved aside. All that seem to be important to the eminent group is the bringing back of the girls. Not Nigeria! Yes, I agree, the girls must be rescued by all means, at the same time Nigeria is also very important, we are not just fighting to bring the girls back, we should also save Nigeria. I need to emphasize that yes we should find and rescue those girls, rehabilitate them and reunite them with their families. But for me this should go beyond #Bring Back Our Girls to #Restore Nigeria only then would we have some fortune from the unfortunate misfortune that is called Boko Haram.
The news of the military intervention, assistance, or cooperation from the Americas or the Global North, appears to be a welcome development. For many Nigerians, it is like a soothing balm. Indeed, in the face of regular terror activities, the more heinous tactics being employed by the Boko Haram terrorist group; the apparent ineptitude of the Federal and State Governments to effectively deal with the insurgency, Global North military assistance is more than a welcome development to helpless Nigerians. Even as we are happy with the prospect of whatever assistance, call it military intervention, or describe it “cooperation or support of the Global North”, it is important to begin to consider the implications of such military intervention, assistance or cooperation.
Cooperation, militarily or through economic initiative is an essential part of global solidarity and politics. To this end, whatever the case may be, issues of cooperation must necessarily be approached with tact and caution. That may likely explain the initial reluctance of President Goodluck Jonathan in accepting the offer of military assistance, particularly from the United States and United Kingdom. Sometimes, such offers could best be described as the proverbial ‘Greek Gift’ –which prescribes absolute caution in accepting gifts which might appear beneficial and advantageous but laden with negative consequences. However, since it appears that there is no other option left for him and the country, rather than accept the offer of military support or assistance, it behooves on Nigerians to continue to examine the implications of such military assistance, cooperation or support.
The tragedy of Chibok that eventually necessitated the acceptance of assistance from the Global North cannot be overemphasized. For me, it is not only the abduction of the girls that is very disturbing, callous and appalling, the comments and the insinuations that suggest that this is the peak or worst crime committed by Boko Haram sect is equally very disturbing. I believe every single life that has been taken by this evil group is as terrible as the abduction of our girls. The same hard situation being faced by the parents and relatives of these children, men and women of goodwill across the globe, could be said to be in the same proportion with those whose relatives have been murdered in cold blood by this band of murderers. Many lofty dreams have been cut short.
Their death is as gruesome as the adoption of these innocent girls. God forbid, if these children have been killed, I doubt if the present outrage and campaign against this terror group would have been sustained. We cannot, but thank the Global North, for sustaining this campaign, left to us, it would have been business as usual after two weeks. The credit of sustaining this campaign goes to the Global North. We owe them immense gratitude. We have had more than enough onslaught from this terror group, which should have made the Nigeria Government more decisive in dealing with this band of murderers. As we all lament the abduction of the innocent girls, and collectively seek their immediate release or rescue, we must not forget those whose lives have been brutally cut short by this evil group. We must always remember them. They must not die in vain.
Can the Global North military assistance in whatever means or shape really solve the security problems? Boko Haram is just one of them. Is this military cooperation or assistance simply for the rescue of the Chibok girls? I think there is need for more clarification from the Federal Government. Yes, the Chibok issue is presently the main issue, but there are other issues that must be properly addressed. Like majority of Nigerians, I hope and pray that whatever be the case, the military assistance would be a success. Despite our optimism, we should not forget that Boko Haram and other security challenges are the effects of years of bad leadership and poor governance. Whatever the gains that might accrue from military support or cooperation, it will only have short term effect(s). We must not forget that without tackling the issues of bad governance and healing the nation from the root, in my opinion, we are just dancing round the circle.
It appears that there is no concerted effort in bringing about a responsive and responsible government that would, essentially fulfill the core responsibility of government to its citizens. We should, therefore, not be too excited about the prospects of a successful military assistance or cooperation. In the same vein, it will be very important to study and critically appraise countries where the Global North has rendered security assistance in the past. A cursory survey shows that not all military interventions and assistance results in success, many has ended tragically, in some cases, the situation has become even worse off. It may not be out of place to consider, just in case…!
Finally, whether we like it or not, the Global North could be very snooping, and excessively prying. Even among themselves, think of Angela Merkel’s phone bugged by the NSA. This military assistance, may further make Nigeria vulnerable, at this point we stand at the danger of compromising our sovereignty. It would amount to complete naivety in global politics if we ever imagine that the Global North is offering military assistance for nothing, as the saying goes ‘there is no free lunch’. We must certainly pay some price. At this point, it appears we have no option, since our own leaders and system has failed us. We hope that the price to be paid would not be too much.
I am aware that this write-up might be grossly misunderstood by some of the readers and I might receive negative echoes as usual, but my thoughts herein are borne out of empirically and historical verifiable details. More importantly for the love of Mother Nigeria. The events of the after-years of the eventual destruction of the menace of the Boko Haram in Nigeria shall either justify or condemn this short write up.
Benedict Oladipo Koledoye
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters