In the end, Buhari will face the harsh judgement of history as the president that never was… What we want in a president at this critical decision point is a paradoxical combination of boldness and restraint… We must not be forced to choose between peace and justice. And freedom must not be taken away from us. This kidnap is a failure of governance, it is a failure of learning and a failure of common sense!
First it was Benue, Taraba and Zamfara. Now, the Dapchi 110 kidnap is another glaring failure of Buhari’s incestuous security architecture. We should brace up for more of these unfortunate occurrences. The security architecture of a country fighting many fires, on many fronts, ought to be manned by the patriotic, the competent and the smart. It is certainly not meant for the mélange of the dull and incompetent foisted on us. It is a shame that Nigeria could be felled by the same stump twice. Who would have believed another kidnapping straight from the playbook of the Chibok girls? The Dapchi 110 kidnap was neither a complex, military manoeuvre nor a logistic miracle executed by brilliant terrorists. It was facile and mocking. Students were there in the school unprotected, they were there to be taken. According to the Yobe State governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, troops were withdrawn in and around Dapchi before the kidnap, rendering the area defenceless and paving the way for terrorists to attack and abduct 110 girls! I am ashamed!! This kidnap signposts Nigeria’s poverty of skills, talent, imagination, learning and common sense.
We ousted Jonathan for his incompetence in handling the Boko Haram insurgency and the wanton looting of the treasury. What exactly is Buhari doing differently? From the killing fields of Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, to the raiding of farms and kidnapping in the South. His cabal, with as much conscience as a roulette wheel, are in a war of attrition and supremacy with themselves, when they are not shaking down agencies for money, instead of coordinating an action plan for a greater Nigeria. In a defeat of common sense, troops were withdrawn from Dapchi, a town with a technical college and a student population of almost one thousand, before the attack! Who does that? Was anything learnt from the abduction of the Chibok girls? Incompetence was laid bare when Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu of the Army Public Relations and spokesperson for Operation Lafiya Dole, the code name for Nigerian military operations against insurgency in North-East, tried making an explanation. Colonel Nwachukwu said soldiers earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed for reinforcement duty at Kanama, following attacks on troops at the Nigerian – Nigerien border. From this tactical blunder, it is one of two things. The military is either complicit in the terror war or they lack conceptual and contextual learning. I will like to think it is the latter. As human beings, we ought to learn from the past, as a lesson for the future. Learning and adaptation is what prevents extinction. There is a problem if and when an institution like the Armed Forces has a learning and knowledge chasm. There can be no human dignity in such a space with that kind of military.
It is perplexing that an administration who rode to power on the popular anger over the handling of the Chibok kidnap could be so complacent. The world received the news with doubt and horror!! How could it have happened again? We do not buy that redeployment explanation. There is more to this! The federal goverment and the Armed Forces have questions to answer.
Like the Chibok kidnap, this story is not adding up. When is Buhari doing to unearth the creators and financiers of Boko Haram? What is a 75 year old man afraid of? Are some individuals or groups more powerful than the state? Is Boko Haram a business? Is it a clandestine plot to divert resources? From media reports, we learnt that the terrorists were armed with sophisticated weapons through which they unleashed terror on Dapchi, stole food items and made away with the students. It was reported that the operation went on for hours before they retreated. Are there no cell towers in Dapchi? Are there no residents with mobile phones who could alert and inform the security agencies that an attack was ongoing in their town? We know the vehicle of choice for terrorists is the pickup truck. It will take at least eight pickup trucks to cart the girls away. How possible could it be that pickup trucks in such numbers can disappeared into thin air and no one saw the direction they were headed? Up till now, no one knows where the girls have been taken to. The military has a formation in Yobe State, and in this age of mobile phones, it is confounding that there was no robust response within one to two hours of the attack. One would think that the residents of the hotbed of insurgency will have military hotlines to call if they notice anything untoward or if there is an attack in their area. Are there numbers for residents of the North-East to call in case of an attack? If yes, do we assume no one called or made contact? If no one called, why? If someone called, how was the call treated? Once the report of the attack got to the military command, why were reconnaissance aircrafts not deployed immediately to follow up on the fleeing convoy to provide location information to ground troops?
This kidnap is a nightmare! Were there any lessons learnt from Chibok? None! It is perplexing that an administration who rode to power on the popular anger over the handling of the Chibok kidnap could be so complacent. The world received the news with doubt and horror!! How could it have happened again? We do not buy that redeployment explanation. There is more to this! The federal goverment and the Armed Forces have questions to answer. Who authorised the withdrawal of troops from the area and for what real and intended purpose? What alternative security measures were put in place to protect the people of Dapchi after the troops were withdrawn? Who is responsible for intelligence gathering in that area? Is there any preventive action plan in place to guarantee the safety of lives and property in that area? Who wrote and released the false rescue report which frustrated prompt action that would have led to recovery of the Dapchi 110? Why was that misleading report issued and whose interest did it serve? To we laypeople, one of the lessons from the Chibok kidnap was the urgency of now! The need to follow up and follow through immediately an attack happens. Otherwise, the victims may never be found. It will be a slap on our faces if those who dropped the ball on the Dapchi kidnap are not held to account for this unfortunate life-changing event.
This level of insecurity under a retired General is worrisome… He alone knows what legacy he wants to leave behind. There is no infrastructural project of note to point to. The anticorruption fight has become a farce and a cruel joke. Lives are being lost daily to terror groups and criminal gangs. Nigerians are terrified and edgy.
Will insecurity be Buhari’s legacy? This level of insecurity under a retired General is worrisome. No one can divine intent, especially for a man who he is notorious for what he does not say and what he refuses to do, even when such things are begging for action. He alone knows what legacy he wants to leave behind. There is no infrastructural project of note to point to. The anticorruption fight has become a farce and a cruel joke. Lives are being lost daily to terror groups and criminal gangs. Nigerians are terrified and edgy. In the end, Buhari will face the harsh judgement of history as the president that never was. It is his presidency. Abba Kyari, Mamman Daura, Kingibe and other members of his cabal will only be judged as opportunistic appendages. What we want in a president at this critical decision point is a paradoxical combination of boldness and restraint. We have a threatened constitutional order, a politicised military that cannot defend, a deflated and compromised intelligence organisation, a rotten bureacracy, a judiciary that trades in itself and a law enforcement beholden to the rich and long used to victimising the poor. We must not be forced to choose between peace and justice. And freedom must not be taken away from us. This kidnap is a failure of governance, it is a failure of learning and a failure of common sense!