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When The Wicked Reign, The People Suffer By Ola’ Idowu

September 17, 2014

If we had righteous men ruling over the nation, the solution would have been to reach out to Cameroon and block the easy passage of Boko Haram to that country. When we caught off their weapon supply through Chad, the borders of Nigeria/Cameroon should be well patrolled to stop Boko Haram from moving in and out of that country.

“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan” - Proverbs 29:2

It goes without saying that Nigerians are groaning day and night under the wicked rule they are being subjected to either through Boko Haram terrorists that have declared a fake Islamic Caliphate in the North-eastern part of the country, or through a government that has abdicated its responsibility to the people and in every way possible shown the wickedness of its reign.


How best can we describe an elected president of the most populous black nation in Africa sitting in the same meeting with an alleged Boko Haram terrorist sponsor, or providing him with over 200 soldiers during a private visit the alleged sponsor made to Borno days back?

The best way to describe it, is to call it sheer wickedness and disregard for the groaning and sufferings of the people.

An Australian self appointed crisis negotiator Stephen Davis who has worked with the Nigerian government on previous negotiations including that of the 2009 Amnesty declaration granted to Niger Delta militants indicted the former Borno state governor Ali Modu Sheriff and former Army chief Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika (Rtd.) as Boko Haram sponsors.

Ali Sheriff, for his part, everyone knows started the arming of the present day Boko Haram. From their days as street hustlers who sold petrol and diesel in gallons on the black markets of Maiduguri, to when he formed them into political thugs called ECOMOG and armed them for political enforcements.

Ali Sheriff however has never been free of accusations of supporting the group till date and a recent revelation by Nigerian intelligence services shows that he has been helping train Boko Haram terrorists in Abeche, Chad since 2011 as well as route their weapons through that country into Nigeria due to his relationship with the Chadian president Idris Deby.

In March 2014 Cameroonian forces arrested three suspects with a sizeable stock of weaponry they were smuggling through Cameroon to Boko Haram. The weapons were said to have come from Chad.

On the 28th of March 2012, Ali Modu Sheriff was arrested in Mora by Cameroonian police led by Commisioner of Police Hamadou Bello as he came from Ndjamena, Chad to congratulate his friend, the governor of the Far North of Cameroon Joseph Beti Assomo.

He was arrested according to the Cameroonians: “because this wealthy individual is accused of being a sponsor of Boko Haram sect”. He was allowed to leave for Nigeria and accompanied by his right hand man in Cameroon, a certain Abba Malla.

It was this same Malla that owned the house a Boko Haram terrorist was arrested in at Damboa, Borno state and he owned a house close to that of Sheriff in the same Damboa. Ali Sheriff was stopped again in Maroua on the same day by the police there - apparently his name keeps flagging up on their system in that country - which shows how much the Cameroonian security forces dread Ali Sheriff and view him as a national security threat.

He was only released when the Maroua Commissioner of Police’s was put under tremendous pressure due to the intervention of the Nigerian government.

This shows the credibility of Davis’s statement on Ali Sheriff but when such men reign in a country like Nigeria ultimately the people suffer. Ihejirika was also accused of sponsoring Boko Haram.

In defending himself he said in a sane country like the UK and US such accusations would be dismissed off-hand. On the contrary, in a sane country, its people like the former Chief of Defence staff (CDS) Admiral Ola Saa’d Ibrahim and and present CDS, Air Marshal Alex Badeh - who worked with him as Chief of Air staff - that should be speaking up for him if he really did a good job.

Its not his course-mates from NDA course 18 who did not work him in his three years as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who should be speaking on his behalf.

According to an exclusive report published by Leadership Newspaper Abuja in January 2014, when President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state, the CDS Admiral Ola Ibrahim (rtd.) was mandated to preside over its prosecution but Ihejirika insisted the Army should take over since they constituted most of the JTF forces.

This apparently is against the norm in sane countries Ihejirika pointed to in defending himself. Jonathan granted his request and Ihejirika promptly sacked the JTF and set up the 7 Division of the Army in Maiduguri claiming it would bring an end to the war.

The entire prosecution of the terror campaign under Ihejirika was unprofessionally carried out and this much can be seen in the disorganisation in the 7th division that led to mutiny of soldiers in that division who complained of inadequate weapons and welfare from their commanders. The cold war between the service chiefs led to Ihejirika’s sack in January 2014.

As we speak according to verifiable sources Damboa was captured by Boko Haram (BH) in July but retaken by the Nigerian Army, Marte near Chad was taken by terrorists but they left it, Gamboru Ngala taken but abandoned, same with Dikwa.

Bama was taken by BH terrorists in early September and is still being fought over, Gwoza was taken in early August and still being held by the terrorists which they have declared as the capital of their fake caliphate. Madagali including Michika in Adamawa was captured in September and still being held, while Buni Yadi was captured by BH in August and has not being retaken by Nigerian troops.

Their ultimate aim is the large city of Maiduguri where they hope to fully announce themselves and further humiliate the Nigerian state by taking it over but they were beaten back by a Nigerian army ambush in Konduga last week.

The question is if Ihejirika did such a good job while there as Army chief how come the army has suffered such reversals in the hands of the terrorists within just eight months after his sack?

Apparently there was no war on terrorism being prosecuted and the terrorists have been the ones dictating the pace and front-line of the battle in the last three years, when the reverse should be the case. If we have spent over $33 billion on Defence in the last five years alone and a large chunk of it under the tenure of Ihejirika as COAS how come BH are still able to declare a caliphate?

The amount we have spent on security is about 1.6% of our GDP equating us to the category of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) country. Only four NATO countries: US, UK, Greece and Estonia spend up to or more than 2% of their GDP on defence.

NATO requires its members to spend 20% of their defence budget on investing in new and quality equipments. Lets say Ihejirika and the Defence HQ invests 15% of the defence budget on quality equipments and 5% goes to waste and corruption, at least we would have a fighting force of international standard that would have put the BH insurgency to bed. But when wicked men reign, the people would always suffer.

The wicked men who reign in Nigeria are the ones who extradited the Nyanya bomb blast suspect Aminu Ogwuche from Sudan for his role in the bombing, and then after Australian Davis made mention of him, they present him to the press so he can deny his role in the bombing. What they forget is, there are Nigerians who don't forget easily.

The only reason Ogwuche was extradited to Nigeria from Sudan was because he had being investigated by the DSS and found guilty of his role in the blast, that was the only way the Sudanese were ever going to agree to extradite him.

Under international extradition laws you have to show proof to the extraditing country that a crime has being committed. The DSS through Interpol showed such proof to the Sudanese government and they arrested Ogwuche and extradited him to Nigeria, how come he hasn’t been tried in court and he is still being paraded to the press some months after and allowed to deny his role in the Abuja bombing?

It shows Oguwche is being used as some sort of bargaining chip by the wicked men who rule, he would be released when they strike a deal and the whole noise has died down and Nigerians have forgotten as usual at the risk of doing more harm to the same innocent people. When wicked men reign, the people groan in suffering.

The most pertinent aspect of Davis’s revelation was the mention of a Kanuri born Boko Haram bag-man in Egypt who collects funds through a CBN intermediary and helps the terrorist organisation purchase illegal weapons from Libya, Sudan and possibly Syria and ships it through Chad via Cameroon into Nigeria and then on to Boko Haram.

Rather than the government working hard to block that supply route and identify who these men are, the wicked men who reign are hushing it up. Instead of working hard to preserve the unity of Nigeria and have a peaceful election in 2015, we are preparing quietly for war.

I don’t know what revelations Ali Sheriff and President Idris Deby has given the presidency about his (Sheriff) activities or that of any northern politician allegedly supporting Boko Haram, but the solution is not to try and buy arms in retaliation from South Africa and prepare for a showdown in 2015. But when wicked men reign, the people are the ones who suffer.

There are already so much small arms in the hands of youths in the Niger Delta particularly Port Harcourt than there are youths themselves.

The National Task Force on Control of Small Arms, Ammunitions and Light Weapons (NATFORCE) Rivers branch has raised the alarm as to the amount of small arms in that state and yet we are flying out jets to buy more.

If we had righteous men ruling over the nation, the solution would have been to reach out to Cameroon and block the easy passage of Boko Haram to that country. When we caught off their weapon supply through Chad, the borders of Nigeria/Cameroon should be well patrolled to stop Boko Haram from moving in and out of that country.

This much the Cameroonians have to cooperate with because according to Peter Dorrie writing on the War is Boring blog: “If Boko Haram ever develops truly international ambitions, it could carve out an arc of instability stretching from Northern Nigeria via Cameroon, Central African Republic and South Sudan into East Africa,”

That would create a new region of global instability for the whole world. The Nigerian government as well as military hierarchy also need to call for more help. Lets put our soldiers under the command of the UN to temporarily fight BH terrorists and see if they wouldn’t perform wonders or if there would be any case for mutiny.

These BH terrorists are not a friend to either the northerners or the southerners, they are not a friend to any Nigerian but just pure evil killers like their ISIS colleagues in Syria and Iraq. At the moment though we have lots of wicked men reigning over Nigerians, and the people are suffering and groaning particularly in the North-east of Nigeria, its time to provide them relief.

On Ebola and School Resumptions

My personal view is there is no point rushing to re-open schools particularly Nursery, Primary and Junior Secondary schools no matter the pressure from private school owners.

It was just yesterday the nation was sent into shock with the arrival of the disease, the psychological damage it has done to the nation’s psyche is yet to clear, so why the rush to get our precious kids back to school? I believe we could still wait till October 13th at the least and the academic calendar would not be affected in anyway.

Its easier taking care of adults with Ebola - if at all it is - but having to take care of a child with Ebola and doing their personal care - toileting and bathing - would expose more adults to risks. Add to that the fact that parents have to do school runs in the mornings and afternoons and would cuddle their kids and run into each other, the risk of an Ebola outbreak in any school particularly Nursery/Primary school would be disastrous.

We might be fairly free as a nation from Ebola but I think for psychological reasons and the ability of the entire nation to be able to rebuild their trust in having human contact without general apprehension, we should at the least postpone school resumption till October 13th as intended before, or possibly till January next year.

The national academic calendar can be tweaked to have four terms in 2015 instead of three, by reducing the summer holidays next year ensuring the private school proprietors don’t miss out financially by missing a term from this year. Its all about using our common-sense please!!

Ola’ Idowu, a Management Consultant and Researcher, writes from the UK. [email protected]