President Muhammadu Buhari’ has listened to the call of Nigerians to sack service chiefs whom he appointed as soon as he was sworn in in 2015. The major name that was almost a household name was Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai. He was the Nigeria’s chief of army staff. This office is most prominent because the man in the saddle here is the one that faces the insurgents directly because he is the commander of the Nigeria army.
Buratai was pulled out of the army today, January 29, 2021. He has successfully completed his years of service in the army. and bowed out of the service. Ibrahim Attahiru has taken over as the new chief of army staff while Lucky Irabor takes over as new chief of defense staff. The security of this nation against the insurgents is now in the hands of these men along with the chief of naval staff who fights majorly sea pirates and sea robbers.
My emphasis here will be on the chief of army staff and defense. This is because the boundary security and the war against the deadly insurgents is in the hands of these guys. Nigeria does not have much battle on the high seas, hence the major warfare at the moment is against the deadly Boko Haram insurgents, Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers. These are the major troubles giving Nigerians sleepless nights across the country. From the North to the South, East to West, these are the only security challenges Nigerians are facing daily. Although there are other minor, these are major issues.
Therefore the new chief of defense and army chief are having a very big task in their hands which they must do. Many Nigerians called for the removal of the former service chiefs because of obvious failure in the war against insurgents and Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria. Although Buhari seemed to have been slow in executing the demands of Nigerians, now that it has come to be, the service chiefs must prove that Buhari did not make mistake to appoint them. Nigerians are looking up to them for the extermination of the insurgents in the nation.
Now, Nigerians are setting agenda for the service chiefs which they must meet within a specific period of time. They are not expected to be lazy or run away from the insurgents.
1. Thier first assignment is to clear the remaining insurgents from any forest they are hiding. The Boko Haram fighters have terrorised Nigerians enough. It’s time to remove them from existence. Since 2009, Boko Haram has been given Nigeria so much troubles, bombing churches, mosques and destroying properties and killing souls. It’s time to send them to their graves forever.
2. The service chiefs must deal decisively with Fulani herdsmen who are terrorising the people and put them where they belong. One thing Nigerians are happy about in the appointment is that Lucky Irabor is from the South South States, precisely Delta. This is one of the states that have received fair share of the onslaught of the Fulani herdsmen. The appointment was never expected. Nobody expected Buhari to appoint a Southern as chief of defense staff. So, the Fulani herdsmen must be made to be where they ought to be in Nigeria. They should only ply their trade but not at the detriment of others.
3. They must not fight selective battles. This is the present situation in the country both with the army and the police. Nigerians have painfully accused the security agencies of selective warfare. Examples abound all over the nation. When Fulani herdsmen kill anybody in the South nobody talks about it. Even when calls are made, nobody responds as if nothing has happened. But when ordinary cow or a Fulani man is killed or a fight between a Fulani man and a Southerner, the army and the police will immediately swing into action and find means of apprehending the killer.
The murder of people in the South East is a good case here. People have right to protest as far as the protest does not threaten peace and security of the nation. Eastern youths have continuously protested under the aegis of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). They protest without arms and ammunition but the army will swoop on them and kill as many as they can. This is injistice. Most Nigerians have accused the military and police of playing low when a Northerner goes against the law but wields the big stick when a Southerner commits same crime. This must stop.
4. Kidnapping and banditry in the Northern and Southern states, especially along the highways must stop. Almost everyday, the media is awash with reports of kidnapping by bandits in Northern states. Also in the South, it is a daily night mare on the highway. The army must join hands with the police to end this evil.
5. The new service chiefs must work to change the orientation of the military personnel. They need to know that Nigerian citizens are human beings like themselves. They must stop brutality of civilians with the slightest provocation. Nigerians are no goats. There are almost daily reports of army brutality and inhuman treatment meted to innocent Nigerians by members of the Nigeria army. This also needs to end. When we read of the beatings, the nature of punishment they inflict on harmless Nigerians it calls for concern.