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SK Usman: Idyllic Officer, Iconic Image Maker Bows Out Of Service – By Philip Agbese

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Certainly, a big gulf has been created in the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) with the sudden voluntary retirement of its current Director, Brig.Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman. This shining Army officer, communications expert and iconic image maker, who proceeded on terminal leave formally bowed out of the service of the Nigerian Army and our fatherland today, Friday, February 08, 2019.

Brig Gen Usman is one officer, the Nigerian Army and Nigerians would fondly remember his memorable service in countering Boko Haram Terrorism (BHT) disinformation and media hype for a long time. The devilish sect had mastery of propaganda, and circulated false, fabricated and concocted lies about their phantom triumphs and victories against Nigerians and the military in atrocious acts.

With SK on the saddle, insurgents’ propaganda suffered a big setback, when the COAS, Lt Gen TY Buratai who sighted his talents, decided to post him to retain him as the Army’s image maker. The Army Directorate of Public Relations is sensitive because it oversees the entire Army’s information management system.

Brig Gen Usman effectively dismantled terrorist’s propaganda and set new standards of disseminating information about the Army and counter-insurgency operations. To describe this humble officer and doyen of the media as endowed, efficient and proficient on the job is to state the least. But he validated his uncommon mastery of the rudiments and intricacies of managing wartime propaganda so amazingly.

Usman knew, wars are not won with arsenals alone. Propaganda plays an ostensible role. In fact, Nazi Germany wartime propagandist, Joseph Goebbels enunciated a guiding principle of war propaganda. He said, “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.”

The retired Army image maker embodied this perfection throughout his service years, wherever he served. It was his efficiency that earned him elevation to the position of Director, DAPR, and the Chief Image Maker of the Nigerian Army.

And he served in this capacity for years before proceeding on a Senior Executive Course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). Upon completion of his studies end of 2018, he was re-appointed as the Army spokesman because of his efficacy in managing information and dismantling terrorists’ propaganda against the Nigerian state until his voluntary retirement today.

A communications expert and member of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Brig Gen Usman’s most striking legacy while in service was the spirited propaganda war he mounted against cyberspace terrorism. As soon as Gen. Buratai sensed decimated and defeated Boko Haram terrorists, including their agents had relapsed into cyberspace terrorism to create fright in Nigerians, he mandated Brig.Gen. Usman to lead the cyberspace assault.

He never disappointed. SK Usman preempted and expertly deflated terrorists’ propaganda timely. He was weeks ahead of insurgents and their sympathizers’ in deflating their fake propaganda, a step which rekindled the hope of Nigerians on the victory of the nation against insurgency.

Brig Gen Usman’s dexterous handling of cyberspace terrorism earned Nigeria, accolades, as former American Secretary of States, Mr. Rex Tillerson publicly commanded the Nigerian Army for its expert tackling of emerging cyberspace terrorism trend. Tillerson urged other nations under the spell of terrorism to emulate Nigeria’s confrontation of cyberspace terrorism.

Brig Gen SK Usman was born in 1965. He enlisted into the Nigerian Army as a Soldier in 1983. His first stint in military service was the posting to Headquarters of 82 Division, Nigerian Army, as Army Public Relations, Enugu. In 1987, SK Usman proceeded on studies at Bayero University, Kano (BUK) and by 1991 bagged his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication. Thereafter, by 1992, he was granted Direct Regular Commission (DRC) as a Lieutenant into the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR),

It marked the turning point for a prosperous Public Relations career in the Nigerian Army. Brig Gen Usman, has projected himself as a star and national asset. After cadet training at the then Infantry Centre and School (ICS), Jaji, in 1993, SK Usman was deployed to the Headquarters of the DAPR, Lagos; shortly after, to the Depot Nigerian Army and Nigerian Military School. In both instances, he served in the capacity of Army Public Relations Officer (APRO). By mid-2002, Usman was posted to 20 Battalion Serti in Taraba State.

The communications guru became Military Public Relations Officer (MPIO) of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) as Nigerian Battalion 14 (NIBATT 14). He also served in acting capacity as MPIO to Nigerian Contingent/Sector West of the same mission.

By 2003, SK Usman was appointed, Acting Public Relations Officer to the then Chief of Army Staff. In 2004, he became Acting General Staff Officer Grade One in charge of Training (GSO1Training) at the Headquarters of the DAPR, where he doubled as the Nigerian Army Website Master.

The Military communications czar was in September 2005, posted to the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea ( UNMEE), where he served as Operations Officer at the Civil-Military Cooperation Coordination (CIMIC) G5 Cell and later, set a record as the first Nigerian to be elevated to position Chief of CIMIC.

Back to Nigeria in September 2006, SK Usman served as College Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Army College of Logistics (NACOL), Lagos. From there another posting in 2007 catapulted him to the position of Public Relations Officer (PRO-COAS) of the Chief of Army Staff.

He was again retained in the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and appointed Public Relations Officer (PRO-COAS), to the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff in June 2007. He served two successive COAS until 2010, when Brig. Gen. Usman left for post graduate studies by October 2010.

Upon completion of the course, Usman was moved to the Headquarters of the DAPR and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS). And in 2012, he was posted to 1 Division Nigerian Army and appointed Assistant Director, Army Public Relations. He was again posted to the 7 Division Nigerian Army, and appointed the Acting Director Army Public Relations and thereafter, appointed the Army’s spokesman.

Brig. Gen Usman has attended a legion of military and civil courses, much as seminars both in Nigeria and abroad. These include Basic Arabic Course at the Nigerian Army School of Education (NASE), Ilorin in 1994; a 2001 United States of America Department of Defence organised seminar on “Military Communications with the Public in a Democratic Government;” where he was awarded Certificate of Excellence. In 2002, he attended various Junior Staff Courses at the prestigious Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji .

At UNAMSIL in 2003, SK Usman attended the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Programme on “Peacekeeping and International Conflict Resolution;” Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Accra, Ghana in 2005 for a “Media in Peace Operations Course.” He also attended Estimate Process/Risk Management seminar held at the Nigerian Army College of Logistics, Lagos in 2006.

SK Usman was also in South Africa 2010, for a course at African Business School Johannesburg, on “Professionalizing Protocol, Information and Press Duties for Efficient and Effective Administration.”

The retired Army image maker also attended the United States of America based Peacekeeping Operations Training Institute (POTI) on ” Global Terrorism”, “Civil-Military Coordination” as well as “Principles and Guidelines for United Nations Peacekeeping.” In 2011, he obtained a Masters of Arts Degree in Media, Peace and Conflicts Studies at the United Nations Mandated University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica.

Before his voluntary retirement Brig. Gen. S. K.Usman bagged several prestigious awards and honours for his hard work and excellence, among which include Silver Jubilee Medal, Forces Service Star (FSS), United Nations Medal for Peace at Freetown, Sierra Leone in 2003 and Certificate of Merit by Naeem Muslim Youth Organization in Sierra Leone.

The United Nations Training Assistance Team (UNTAT) New York also celebrated him with an award of a Certificate of Appreciation for his excellent contributions to the success of a novel Peacekeeping Course for Emerging Troops/ Police Contributing Countries to the United Nations in 2004.

He is recipient of the Chief of Army Staff’s Letter of Commendation 2004 and Force Commander’s Letter for outstanding performance as CIMIC officer at UNMEE and the United Nations Medal for Peace from the mission among others. He is also a recipient of General Operations Medal (GOM) and has been feted with the prestigious River Niger Star (RNS) award by the Army Council for his gallantry.

Brig. Gen SK Usman has retired home to the warm embrace of his beloved wife Hajiya Hadiza Sani Usman and his children. In his message to colleagues both in the Army and the media, SK Usman endearingly recalled the fond moments in these parting words;

“I am leaving highly fulfilled after contributing my best to national development, the Nigerian Army, gaining great wealth of knowledge, experience, and inestimable network of friends which I will treasure forever.”

He was most grateful to the incumbent COAS, Gen. Buratai under whose leadership of the Army a plank was raised for him to enrich his knowledge to the zenith of both his military and Public Relations careers.

Agbese is a public affairs commentator and publisher based in the United Kingdom.

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Re: The Legend of Buratai: Why History Can Never Be Wrong! -By Philip Agbese

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“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots;” – Marcus Garvey.

Everywhere in the globe, great nations, societies and communities have had their today elegantly defined by history. History is today’s teacher and tomorrow’s fortifier against the mistakes, pitfalls and inaccuracies of the past. History is kind to everyone and very silent, but speaks a thousand immutable words of wisdom to a whole generation.

But mischievous persons seek to destroy history and there are no limits of perpetrating this act. It’s easy for people with such mindsets to twist history and everything under the sun insofar as it serves the purpose of damaging a noble cause. It is to such debased minds Marcus Garvey; a famed Jamaican publisher is warning in the insightful caution.

In an article by Charles Ogbu, titled, “Re: The legend of Buratai; Memo to the Army Chief,” the author sought vainly to vilify and demean the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and remarkable ombudsman of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria.

Ogbu attempted so generously to amputate historically time-tested and incontrovertible facts about the current leadership of the Nigerian Army and the stout battles Nigerian troops have launched against Boko Haram Terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria in the past three years.

Unmistakably blinded by an inexplicable self-consuming anger, the author went on a senseless and apparently envious, but unrewarding voyage against the Army Chief. Freedom of expression in Nigeria is a Constitutional right; but it precludes the spewing of gibberish, spurred by a clannish or sectional anger or some personal grudge.

The author’s angst is instigated by the planned presentation of a published book on Gen. Buratai, titled “The Legend of Buratai,” to school children at the Federal Capital Territory library, Abuja. The contents of the book mainly about the exploits of the Nigerian Army over insurgency and insurrections in Nigeria under the leadership of Gen. Buratai in a fictional style narrative of children’s literature, authored by a renowned scholar, Dr. Abubakar Mohd Sani.

Ogbu faulted the book and its presentation to school children by seeking to falsely re-write the history of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria under the previous regimes and what is obtainable now under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The namby-pamby article saw the author displaying a pathetic and eclipsed knowledge of the success story of the three-year counter-terrorism battles under the Buhari Presidency. He further sought to undermine Gen. Buratai’s leadership of the Nigerian Army and the successes Nigerian troops have recorded at the warfront against Boko Haram insurgents.

The obviously dazed, the article author gleefully forgot yesterday’s history on Boko Haram in Nigeria. He is experiencing the difference today, but lacks the competence to interpret or blend it with history. So, he decided on an easy escape by dissolving the cherished history of triumph and defeat of Boko Haram with his wayward idiosyncrasies’.

It is his type former American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower counsels that “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”

The author betrayed his mindset by crafting and peddling visible lies on this simple conviction of inappropriate timing. But facts are sacred and history cannot be obviated by a mere wish. First, the article author is devoid of procedural knowledge of the deployment of soldiers. So, he failed to understand that it is not the primary duty of the Army to jump into quelling insurrections; but that of civil security agencies.

The Army is only concerned when the proper approval has been granted by the President and Commander-In-Chief. Thereafter, soldiers launch specified operations in the areas concerned, but do not remain in such areas forever.

But irrefutable records have shown that across Nigeria where the Army were drafted to quell insurrections, they have posted positive results. The article author deliberately failed to understand that the Army tackled the armed banditry and cattle rustling in the Northwest region at different times with “Operation Sharan Daji” and “Operation Harbin Kunama I.”

These Army operations ended the reign of armed banditry in the region and it only resumed a long time after soldiers were withdrawn to other places and political leadership failed to sustain the peace and security. The Army has been re-ordered back to Northwest for a month’s battled tagged “Operation Harbin Kunama III” and results also speak for itself in pluses.

Soldiers also conducted “Operation Harbin Kunama II,” “Exercise Ayem Akpatema” and now, “Operation Whirl Stroke” to arrest the menace of herdsmen/farmers clashes in the Middle Belt region. Ogbu should research or investigate properly, Governors of Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateaus have made public statements in the media thanking Mr. President and the Army for the prevailing solace over herdsmen killers in their states.

There were similar problems in the South-South with bile militancy and the illegal/ armed secession struggles in the Southeast spearheaded by Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB. But the different operations of the Army in these regions have ended such “madness,” as peace and security have been restored courtesy of the Nigerian Army. Seeking to blight this history of the Army under the leadership of Gen. Buratai cannot annihilate the facts.

To use the wishy-washy contents of the article to berate and malign our soldiers over the nebulous and criminal activities of its assembled armed gangs under IPOB who embarked on extra-judicial killings of those opposed to their ideology is very uncharitable and a disservice to Nigeria. It is not surprising all together that Ogbu generously sided armed criminals masquerading as secession agitators, because it is innate with some Nigerians to support evil against their country.

The article author continued with the historical distortions and falsehood when he exhumed the treated and buried attacks on the convoy of the COAS by armed Shiites in Nigeria in December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna state. It is completely standing against logic and somewhat silly for quoting isolated accounts of submissions during Public hearings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry(JCI) set up by the Kaduna State Government, instead of the official report or its White Paper. It implies this armchair analyst is merely scouting for dark spots to blame Gen. Buratai and the Army.

Likewise, the author feels defaming the personality of Gen. Buratai or tainting the image of the Nigerian Army as an institution would be believable by forcing the stale belief that whatever Amnesty International (AI) reels out is gospel truth. But AI is suspected to be foreign agents supporting terror sects or groups to destabilize the country and cause its disintegration. Year after year, AI has been unable to substantiate or provide evidence against numerous allegations it keeps levelling against the Nigerian Army at lawful probe panels.

The author of the worthless article dabbled into the Boko Haram insurgency, which by all ramifications of his accounts are strange to him. He disgraced himself as someone who is ignorant of the intensity of insurgency in 2015 and the impacts the Gen. Buratai led troops have brought to bear through the counter-insurgency operations.

But where were his likes who feign ignorance now when Gen. Buratai stepped into the trenches with troops to know Boko Haram had full control and foisted their Jihadi flags in 17 LGAs and had partial control of another seven LGAs in the Northeast? Under Buratai’s leadership of counter-terrorism operations, all the LGAs have been reclaimed. The feared Sambisa forest has been demystified and has assumed the status of an international tourists attraction site. Can this history be distorted or countenanced by Ogbu too?

Aside the 276 Chibok Schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity, over 20, 000 Nigerians, comprising the young, the old, women and children were under Boko Haram hostage in various insidious camps in the Northeast. They were subjected to forced labour, sexual abuse and other dehumanizing treatments. Under Gen. Buratai’s leadership of the Army, over 105 Chibok schoolgirls; 107 Dapchi schoolgirls and over 16,000 Nigerians formerly under terrorist’s captivity have been rescued. Is this fact too controvertible?

To advertise the author’s ignorance, he convicted himself by claiming Nigerian troops are poorly equipped yet, they have been able to reclaim all Boko Haram seized territories, confine their activities to remotest parts of Lake Chad Basin and halted terrorists’ atrocities in other parts of Northern Nigeria.

And about two weeks ago, troops successfully repelled the insurgents attempted attacks on Damaturu, at Maiduguri, where scores of insurgents met their waterloo and weapons confiscated by Nigerian troops? It means this sort of “poor” equipment of Nigerian troops as hyped by the article author is best for Nigeria.

Perhaps, to Ogbu and his co-travellers, it is important to know Nigerian Army or troops have never protested over unpaid salaries and allowances under the Buhari Presidency or Gen. Buratai’s leadership. The only time soldiers attempted a protest at Maiduguri airport some two years back was spurred by the incitement and hesitation to redeployment to other areas by some soldiers. May be, the article writer should wait, when he becomes the COAS, he can allow his troops dictate to him preferences in posting locations for official assignments.

It’s understandable that in Nigeria, everybody is an expert in every field, but master of none! The writer misplaced his thoughts with the claim that Gen. Buratai “…has continued to grant suspicious pardon to “repentant” Boko Haram terrorists amidst reports of secret recruitment of these so called “repentant” terrorists into the Army.”

This is thoughtless propaganda. From the outset, Gen. Buratai made it public his adoption of the “stick and carrot,” approach in dismantling Boko Haram. It has seen the voluntary surrender of hundreds of Boko Haram foot soldiers and top commanders, who are de-militarized and de-radicalized over a period of time in designated military camps.

It is some of these repentant and de-radicalized insurgents that are absorbed into the Army and it is done openly, with the media buzzing with the news. A popular axiom says, sometimes, you use a thief to catch a thief. Why would this split anybody’s head?

No matter how hard the efforts to unfairly excoriate Gen. Buratai , the records will exonerate him. Its senseless to claim a COAS who probed and dismissed soldiers on election duty for professional misconduct and compromise of the electoral process will turn around to promote same. In the 2019 general elections, soldiers on election duty in some parts of the country rather resisted the temptation of financial inducement by politicians.

Gen. Buratai, a leader who has made these priceless sacrifices and accomplishments for his country is not qualified to be dubbed a Legend, who else on his present seat, stretched this far in the past? Unknown to the likes of Ogbu, a prophet has no honour in his village, but Gen. Buratai is celebrated both at home and abroad, as he has bagged the Brazilian highest military award for his daring punches on terrorism in Nigeria.

Another former American President, Harry S. Truman, reminds the likes of the bewitched critic the embodiment of history in Gen. Buratai thus; “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”.

Agbese is a researcher in international humanitarian laws and wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.

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Jackson Ude’s Impending Reckoning – By Richards Murphy

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Something profound happened in Nigeria in the month of April but it was lost in the hubbub of the socio-political grind of Nigeria. It was the sentencing of IG Wala, a self-style activist to 12 years jail term for criminal defamation. He is meant to spend at least seven years in the slammer.

What is noteworthy is not that Wala got canned. The profound aspect is that he was convicted and sentenced for what he posted on Facebook. The post that sent him to jail claimed that he had documents with which he was blackmailing the Chairman of the National Hajj Commission. Even when faced with the prospect of jail he was never able to tender the said documents because he never had them to start with.

A few of those that have reacted to Wala’s conviction and stiff jail term missed the point though. They failed to see that the courts have transcended the limitations that once made it difficult for electronic evidence to be admitted in the prosecution of cases. What has happened to this pseudo activist is a wake-up call that his co-travellers will ignore at their own peril. The era of unbridled flippancy on social media is over for good.

But it appears one Jackson Ude, an online militant of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), appears to be blissfully unaware of the much that has changed in what is acceptable and what is not when people interact with the rest of the world online. Ude, who continues to throw caution to the wind, is targeting Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), for blackmail by claiming about phantom contracts and ghost bureau de change in Abuja. He is also running a campaign of calumny against the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and just anyone that is connected to President Muhammadu Buhari in any way.

One amazing thing is that even in the aftermath of IG Wala getting his just dessert, Ude went on a Twitter rant making spurious accusations that are weighty but without proof. While his co-traveller had claimed to have document (that he was later unable to produce), Ude did not as much as mention that he has proof or that his allegations can be substantiated.

This is a long established pattern of Ude, who publishes Pointblank News, which is best known as a platform for publishing tarnishing lies against those that refuse to pay for the owner’s silence. His exploits are well documented when his attempts at blackmailing several politicians of Igbo extraction spectacularly landed him and his “boys” in trouble in 2014. It must be mentioned that even fellow publishers of online news are not safe from Ude’s activities.

Ude is also complicit of deceiving the reading public by failing to disclose that his so called exclusive revelation about General Buratai is in fact part of his brief to demonize the administration of President Buhari for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He was after all an aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, he was responsible for pushing online propaganda to obscure the corruption that went on in that government.

Additionally, he is among the online warriors paid to launder the election loss of PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
What is interesting is that Ude is trying to hide behind one finger believing that he can defame others, conceal his sins and shield him from consequences.

He is further complicating things for himself by antagonizing those that are enlightened enough to point him to the errors of his way. The comical height of this is Ude blocking those that are critical of his follies from interacting with his social media post. This posture in itself smacks of ignorance of how the law works. Blocking others from viewing his libellous posts will not shield him from legal consequences when his IG Wala moment comes.

Interestingly, the social media posts that will nail Jackson Ude are already written. All that is left is for the subjects of his serial failed blackmail attempts to approach the law courts. Should those targeted by Ude for blackmail decide to take their matters to the court, the hapless fellow will first be tortured by the sheer impracticality of hoping from one courtroom to the other across the country because he has, by virtue of his engagement, written enough defamatory pieces to spend the remainder of his natural life in jail and possible reincarnate to complete the outstanding custodial commitment in his next life.

One must however appeal to General Buratai to put any judicial response to Ude’s puerile behaviour in abeyance. This is because, with the benefit of judicial precedence, Buratai heading to court will earn Ude a one way ticket to jail and swiftly too. While this will serve the interest of justice and deterrence to other blackmailers, the urchin’s impish followers will not be able to distinguish between a conviction for criminal defamation and the suppression of free speech. They will take to town to allege that their warlord is being hounded for being outspoken and sadly there is a way that idiocy appeals to people with limited reasoning faculties.

So, in the interest of the institution of the Nigerian Army, which needs all the focus at the moment because of its responsibility to the nation, General Buratai should allow Ude’s reckoning to come from other quarters, and this is guaranteed to happen being the train wreck that he is. He continues to be an irritant, a minor one. The COAS must also avoid ever responding to Ude, who already has too many people after him, because accusing fingers will point the Army boss’ way if any of those he had scammed or blackmailed decide to take matters into their own hands, like some them tried to do in 2014 when the scammer alleged threats to his life.

However, Ude should not be deluded that the appeal to General Buratai not to waste time on his pettiness means that his day of reckoning is far away. It is here already. Plus, he should be afraid. Very afraid. Unlike his co-traveller, IG Wala, who is wearing prison issued uniform as a consequence of his defamatory shot at blackmail, Ude has strayed sufficiently into judicial perdition. Blackmail and defamation are the least things he has to worry about when he is dragged before the court since some of his posts and publications are directly promoting the ideologies of a terrorist organization, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Murphy wrote this piece from Calabar

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Buratai: Africa’s Encyclopedia On Counter-Terrorism -By Steve Jackson

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Basically, it’s not in the character of most Africans to appreciate merit and excellence, but warmly hug mediocrity. In Nigeria, this tendency is almost a national plaque.

The best hands in public service are undermined and unfairly criticized, so very sensationally. And it is sparkled for laughable and sentimental reasons in such region, ethnicity or even religion. So, performance becomes an ass in the eye of the critic, insofar as the target is outside his favoured lenses.

But very many clear-headed Nigerians appreciate and applaud the few best performers one can find in the country. Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai is a rare breed, performer per excellence and military juggernaut.

He speaks and acts with an uncommon splendor. It’s doubtful whether President Muhammadu Buhari had any inkling about the exact quantum of the professional treasures implanted in Gen. Buratai when he appointed him in 2015 to preside over the total dismantling of terrorism and allied insurrections in Nigeria.

It’s possible that the President himself must have been pleasantly shocked or marveled at the extent of Gen. Buratai’s dexterity in executing the national assignment assigned him. And surely, and in contrast too, most Nigerians are oblivious of the complexity and intricacies of battling and degrading insurgency.

When you read some withering commentaries from critics about Nigerian Army’s warfare with terrorists in Nigeria, it strikes you instantly of a pathetic gulf in knowledge. It informs instantly, these critics are unknowing on what it really entails to quench terrorism.

To some of these critics, quelling terrorism in Nigeria or anywhere in the world is akin to a distress call; a call inviting the Police to crush armed robbers in the neighbourhood. It’s far from such token of assumptions.

In fact, striking a superiority edge on insurgency, like Gen. Buratai and his troops have done in Nigeria in less than three years is a hefty task. It’s not all about the military’s intelligence of organizing, training and equipping troops to descend on terrorists. It’s beyond the sound of boots and guns or the worth of armoury or even competence of the field Commanders.

It demands much more! Those in doubt should ask America how tough it has been to rout out terrorists in the Middle East in the past 16 years, with thousands of American troops.

They should research into the history of terrorism elsewhere, like in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Britain, Kenya, and hordes of other countries around the world. It is not an easy task; it is a tedious adventure to battle terrorists.

Pre-war strategies and tactics are very essential. The intelligence of appropriately decoding the shrewd strategies and tactics of terrorists, which is ever dynamic as well as harvesting it to victorious advantage are the real recipes for victory in the battle against insurgents.

It was the revered Chinese war veteran Sun Tsu who echoed that a battle is won and lost at the preparation stage of troops. It means careless lacunas at the stage of preparation could make the best of armies lose the battle to enemy forces so easily.

But Gen. Buratai is an embodiment of this art of war. He is not just a fighter of terrorists, but a military scholar and expert in terrorism strategies and tactics. He exudes it; he acts it in the trenches; reels it out to his Special Teams on Terrorism, at training grounds and dazzles the academia in breathtaking lectures on terrorism.

Days back, at a lecture, Gen. Buratai delivered at the Centre for Contemporary Security Affairs, Igbinedion University, Okada, in Edo state, he reaffirmed his worth.

The lecture titled: “Military and Democratic consolidation in Nigeria, Appraisal of the Nigerian Army Counter-Terrorism And Counter-Insurgency Operations,” the Army Chief for the umpteenth time, proved to Nigerians that President Buhari made no mistake in appointing him leader of counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria.

The Army boss gave rare insights into the complex security challenges, unknown to many Nigerians. He was insightfully blunt that insurgency is not tackled with boots and guns alone.

It also inherently requires the infusion of political and security solutions, if Nigeria plans to secure its democracy and good governance. Only this can make the country emerge stronger after the multiple crises. It was a prophetic vision into the future.

Gen. Buratai shocked security dons in the academia by releasing what is known in Nigerian parlance as “expo,” when he gave a link to the success of Nigerian troops over terrorists. He bellowed, “One of the silent but radical changes in the operations was changing the orientation and mind-set of troops from a defensive to an offensive posture.”

To illustrate he is a leader, in touch with the tinges of his assignment, the Army Chief exposed the leakages prolonging the final defeat of terrorism in Nigeria. He does not consider himself a sit-com Army General, but a field defender of his people and so, quite conversant with where the problem lingers in the ongoing clearance operations by Nigerian troops.

That security is a collective responsibility is an overbeaten cliché. And Gen. Buratai pricked the conscience of Nigerians and stakeholders to wake up to some concealed realities.

The Army boss was articulate that porous borders, cross-border insurgency, and insufficient international support in terms of equipment and large space of operational environment for troops are the hindrances for a quick extinction of Boko Haram insurgency.

Buratai, the Generalissimo of the counter-insurgency operations again assured Nigerians of triumph over terrorism. He allayed the fears of skeptics that with him as direct overseer on counter-insurgency, insurgents neither have might nor energy to hold Nigerians hostage again.

He assured, “Success recorded so far is an indication that for Nigeria’s democracy to be consolidated, the military must not only play its part but must also fulfill the constitutional roles assigned to them.”

And those thinking Gen. Buratai has forgotten about the rescue of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls and other Nigerians still in the captivity of Boko Haram were reminded of it as the Army’s topmost priority. It means Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau who has been forced underground into the Cameroonian mountains will also not escape the swords of Nigerian Army, with President Buhari’s latest refunding of the MNJTF with $100 million.

It is pertinent to recount the history of Boko Haram terrorism in the country. Nigerians familiar with it since the 2009 resurgence and progression would attest to its ever expanding tentacles. Nigeria also experienced its manifest embryonic plots to make incursions to the Southern part of the country before the Buhari Presidency and the emergence of Gen. Buratai.

But that Gen. Buratai has defiantly led troops to confine Boko Haram atrocities to the Northeast and specifically to the Lake Chad Basin axis and the large Sambisa forest is significant. The heart of Sambisa forest-Camp Zero has already been conquered by the Nigerian Army and deserving of eulogies.

And it happened in less than three years. So, when President Buhari extended Gen. Buratai’s tenure of office, some Nigerians who cannot discern beyond the periphery staged out in dishonest and unpatriotic remonstrations. The remonstrators jealously overlooked Gen. Buratai’s splendous performance qualifying him for retention.

But the President, a military tactician himself, knew exactly the treasures in the “wonder boy,” Gen. Buratai in the trenches. And that’s why President Buhari feted him with tenure extension.

By Gen. Buratai’s depiction, routing out insurgency in Nigeria means both the security and political leaderships utmost agreement, which must snowball into the endorsement of a common agenda. President Buhari and Gen. Buratai share same concerns. And it explains why life has been animated in the Northeast currently.

At the moment in the Northeast, particularly Maiduguri, the hub of Boko Haram terrorism, local and foreign journalists, UN officials, philanthropic organisations, the Red Cross and special delegations of countries across the globe now freely visit and unmolested by insurgents to ascertain the extent of the defeat of terrorism in Nigeria.

Interestingly, in spite of the enormous pressure and stress on Gen. Buratai, he is not fatigued. He knows he covenanted with Nigerians upon his appointment as COAS and leader of counter-insurgency operations to end terrorism anywhere in Nigeria.

He renews this covenant in his heart, every day he wakes up, thinking about Nigeria. Gen. Buratai knows, Boko Haram terrorists will not have peace in this country, until Nigerians first reclaim their nation to savour the same peace.

Jonathan is a security expert based in the USA.

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