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My Stand for Nigeria, My Beloved Country! – By Philip Agbese

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I was very hesitant replying the tweeted blackmailing diatribes on my personage on social media. They were masterminded mainly by one pseudo-activist, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju who shares bemusing activism instincts with the first.

But after deep reflections over it in the course of the night, I decided to pen a response because the Englishman echoes in a maxim that silence means acquiesce to any propaganda reeled out on someone. So, I won’t quietly dignify their spite and hateful lies on me. Moreover, a lot of people who are not acquainted with my philosophy may gulp their tissues of assumptive thoughts as true.

Back to the kernel of the matter. The duo have accused me of being sponsored by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and the Chief of Army Staff and leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, my most admirable Nigerian in recent times of being commissioned to spearhead the campaign against the expulsion of Amnesty International (AI) in Nigeria. AI is a foreign-based human rights organization operating in several countries of the world, including Nigeria, my beloved country.

Undoubtedly, the declaration of the duo is borne out of an over-bloated ego to hit at those they assume have affinities with these two venerable leaders of Nigeria they hate so much for reasons best known. They may have genuinely expressed their thoughts, or merely exercised artificial activism impulse, or are even mercantile politicians who have absolute conviction in the continuous disordered nature of our country. I believe the latter seems high on the table.

I am not unaware that a handful of unpatriotic Nigerians, backed by foreign destructive forces place personal interests ahead of that of our beloved country, Nigeria. To assert that such people are unpatriotic is same as casting the dais too far or putting the cart before the horse. Unfortunately, I see Sowore, Adeyanju and many others in such illumination. I beg to be spared the nightmare.

Quickly however, let me scratchily replay my background to Sowore, Adeyanju and indeed, my beloved compatriots in Nigeria. I am a proud Prince from Agilaland, Ado Local Government Area of Benue state, Northern Nigeria. I was born and started life in my obscure village. But I had the rare privilege of having caring and responsible parents who were extremely keen about western education for their children. They sent me to school!

So, very early, my parents exposed me to the quest for knowledge outside my immediate vicinity to avail me the platform to mix, culturize and socialize with other Nigerians outside the confines and comfort of ethnicity and village life. And I immensely benefitted from it.

Each time I picked my ark of Noah box to resume back to school at Federal Government College, Ugwolawo in Kogi state, my father won’t mind to howl at the driver to a halt because he forgot to tell me these words-“love, respect everyone, abide by the truth, don’t fight anybody, be loyal to your friends and be patriotic always.” He must drum it into my ears over a hundred times, again and again!

I grew up with this counsel, which resonates even unconsciously in my psyche and actions. It serves as guiding principles ever since. I have friends all over Nigeria and beyond. Even as an adult now and in spite of our fault lines as a people, I still cherish the cord of fraternity immensely, acknowledge and hard work. I have been taught and grown up to cherish the virtues of love, respect for elders and hard work anywhere I find myself. No desire on earth can compel me to do otherwise.

Anyway, let me address the Sowores and the Adeyanjus properly now. I am one of the numerous Nigerians that are ever proud of the Nigerian Army under the focused leadership of Gen. Buratai. The achievements of the COAS as the overseer of the war against Boko Haram insurgents and ISWAP terrorists in Nigeria, in my estimation, should attract his worship like a demigod or the apparition of an angel by all.

I have lived long enough to understand what happens in my country. I knew what Boko Haram caused Nigeria before President Muhammadu Buhari became President of this country and appointed Gen. Buratai to lead the counter-terrorism war in the country. I have felt and relished the impact of the counter-insurgency operations under Gen. Buratai. No partisanship can blur this reality from me. It is borne out of personal conviction over time and keen observation of his unquantifiable sacrifices and achievements that brought the much needed peace and security in the North East.

Many of us, including yours sincerely, by providence survived the horrors of bomb blasts in Abuja and elsewhere in the North. Hey! The dangers, risks and psychological tortures that we went through in the hands of Boko Haram are gory memories unworthy of recollections. I pray we should not reverse back to such frustrating degeneration on insecurity anymore, with the gains on our hands. Any dispassionate Nigerian would attest to the difference now and then!

At the risk of flattery, Gen. Buratai has brought respite to us as a people against Boko Haram insurgency in spite of challenging and difficult circumstances. I see in him a defiant spirit of a soldier horned to succeed on any given assignment. Sowore is pretty aware the number of times the insurgents have tried to kill Gen. Buratai himself.

But he has remained undeterred and resilient. Rather, he is more determined and sleeping in the trenches with his troops to ensure that all of us have a peaceful night rest, including him who now either sneak in or out of Abuja to make such amusing jarring noise on Nigeria’s leadership.

By nature, I hate deliberate persecution of anybody in the pretext of politics. With due respect to Deji Adeyanju and his cohorts , I never heard their voices when Boko Haram peaked under the preceding administration in Nigeria. Frankly, I therefore need no personal relationship with President Buhari or Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, to express my opinion in favour of his stewardship at any point in time. I feel the impact personally.

In fact, the latest vituperations from Sowore and his minions would now encourage me to seek ways to reach out to these great Nigerian leaders. I think that’s what all of them wish to hear. I am therefore looking forward to an opportunity to meet with Gen. Buratai anytime soon.

However, I am not one of those publishers who will send out my reporters or go to solicit for help from anyone because I support the Nigerian Army or President Buhari’s government. I do it very honestly and from the bottom of my heart. I will never do it for all it takes in the name of the Almighty God I worship.

Perhaps, you need to know my political personage deeper. I am an ardent believer in President Muhammadu Buhari and not shy about it. And I have gone further to write a book on him which chronicled major events in his first term as our President. Yes, I published and launched the book in Abuja, sometime last year.

As innately with me, the book was not the usual praise-singing or sycophantic stuff on Buhari’s administration, which is now the creed and penchant of many Nigerians who pencil down anything on public office holders.
I am a critical thinker and critique. My African traditional religion and Christianity inclination teach me good conscience. So, I don’t belong to the herds who inherit the hatred of others. Like Femi Adesina adumbrates always, I cannot emulate someone’s hate for another person.

Therefore, the launch of the book on President Buhari didn’t attract the usual fanfare peculiar with such events in our country for reasons of my objectiveness. That hasn’t in any way deterred me in pursuing my convictions on President Buhari or Gen. Buratai or even diverted my attention from seeking to see a better Nigeria, my country. It will not restrain me from proclaiming my belief in the administration and no group of persons or individuals can change it as far as my learning and exposure are concerned.

These ideologies are deeply rooted wittingly or unwittingly in my writings in the freest expression of fundamental rights as a proud citizen of Nigeria. I have no apology to anyone, least of all, the assemblage of attack dogs on my person. And it is also an established fact that I have a right to associate with any person or groups of persons within or outside the country. That same rights do not extend to associating with those whose lifestyles and convictions do not blend with mine.

I want to make it emphatically and abundantly clear that Amnesty International (AI) is one of such groups, I hate and choose not to associate with, irrespective of how much money they offer. Not even on my grave! Times without number, I have been approached to lend my expertise in human rights to AI through fronts or proxies. I always decline.

My consistent position has remained unchangeably that I totally fault AI’s attitude, modus operandi, modus operandi, methodology and ideology in Africa as an NGO concerned with the promotion and promotion of human rights in Nigeria. If I had consented, I would have been part of their congregation conspiring against my own country by now. That will never be and no amount of blackmail or propaganda against my person would change that.

The difference is; I have sworn never to be a party to anything that will negatively affect or destroy my country. My patriotic spirit won’t allow me the liberty of such generous and inglorious indulgence. We all know the malfeasances of AI against Nigeria. I can’t enlist in the deviousness of conspiring with outsiders to build enemy camps against Nigeria.

Let me make a detour slightly and recourse to yesterday’s Boko Haram history in Nigeria again! Do they recall that the United States under the leadership of former President Barrack Obama refused Nigeria’s purchase of weapons or any military hardware and technical support to the country in the fight against Boko Haram because of alleged abuse of human rights of Nigerians in the prosecution of the insurgency in the Northeast? America referenced the prohibitions as contained in the Leahy Act and persuaded other foreign countries to also deprive Nigeria of weapons.

The records are there as regards those that masterminded the correspondences that formed the basis of such unfortunate decisions by the US.

President Donald Trump eventually unbanned that embargo under the Buhari Presidency having seen the truth under a new administration in Nigeria. But what led to such declassification and smear campaigns of Nigeria on human rights?

Some indigenous media in Nigeria, obviously hired by enemy foreign forces who are after the destabilization and break-up of Nigeria, aggressively played the false scripts of concocted reports of alleged human rights abuses in the fight against Boko Haram to allow terrorists triumph over Nigeria. Insurgents had sophisticated weapons to fight us; but Nigeria was deprived of same weapons by these persons.

And Amnesty International amplifies it with all venom. If I should ask, why is AI inordinately interested in the internal affairs of Nigeria? AI has transformed into daily reporters in Nigeria; pushing out news on alleged human rights abuses in a manner compelling the thought on this organization as the opposition mouthpiece in Nigeria. We are an independent nation!

We are all witnessed to how George Floyds protests and riots that rocked United States of America and parts of the world just recently. Did AI drop a word on human rights abuses in America or there was none in the course of the deployment of Federal Forces by President Trump to quell the protests which turned into deadly riots?
I am not a toddler. Therefore, I know several nations of the world as of today that are troubled or afflicted by various conflicts. But it behoves on their citizens to show patriotism by encouraging their leaders to surmount the difficulties or challenges.

I am aware that Sowore’s online publication-Sahara Reporters is funded by foreign organizations. I don’t know the interests and targets of these foreign organizations for funding his publication which exclusively focuses on Nigeria. But I leave it to his judgement of conscience, if he has any. So, everything about Nigeria is bad by his publicized judgment and thinks , it’s possible to brainwash everyone into their fold?

It is true that we are all brothers by the cord of “Nigerianity.” But the elevation of anyone to the position of a demi-god through the instrumentality of the social media is not my calling. I am aware, whenever Sowore visits a public official with his venoms of blackmail, they “shit” in their pants, running amok. Its not part of my thinking as a Nigerian.

But I have discerned the cause of the anger in them now. Only two Nigerians have had the effrontery to call-off Sowore’s bluff-(President Buhari and Gen. Buratai) and, it’s like a nightmare to him. Coincidentally, these two men who don’t care whether Sowore exists are the uncommon war Generals of our time who will not give a penny to anyone to stop press. They are after service to the motherland Nigeria.

The ever-courageous General Muhammadu Buhari and the indefatigable COAS, Gen. Buratai at whose feet the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists tremble and bow will not succumb to their evil machinations and antics.

Assertively, I am reiterating the good news I have for Mr. Sowore and his gods anywhere in the world. I will not bow to their unpatriotic ego within and outside Nigeria. The Almighty God in whom I serve, Oworitso Ad’ Om’Ofo, the one who kept my grandfather as a warrior to defeat the then Biafra soldiers at Agila in 1967, I put my trust forever, for love of our country and humanity .

Therefore, it was somewhat infantile for Sowore and Deji Adeyanju to display my numbers on their twitter handles, pleading with Nigerians to call me over the blackmailing stunt on Amnesty International. Gladly, the first 20 persons who called me instantly used the opportunity to read my profile and appreciated me more deeply for standing by my patriotic acts for the country.

I was moved to tears. I haven’t seen that kind of reward in serving one’s country since I was born. For that reason, I appreciate Sowore and acolytes for compelling Nigerians to understand me better.
I feel healthier not to belong to the clan of Nigerians recruited by foreign agents and interest groups to destabilize our country; but cannot stand us in an electoral popularity contest.

If I contest for the Presidency of Nigeria tomorrow like many of them; Sowore to be specific, I trust God Almighty, my scores would not be as low as 38, 000 votes. It implies that even in Sowore’s home state, he was rejected because of the penchant to disrespect and desecrate the revered palaces of Obas, our royal fathers.

In a presidential election, if I perform so badly to score below one million votes, then I will congratulate the winner and life continues! The morality embedded in me would restrain any action that seeks illegitimate means to dethrone the winner in the guise of street activism.

I am sure by now, Sowore is still unaware that his less than 40,000 votes in the 2019 presidential election under the banner of African Action Congress (AAC), in a population of 200 million persons in Nigeria advertises him as detached from the ideal youths of Nigeria, except hooligans who have an inclination for violence and destructions. So, Sowore’s excited trips to America, Australia, and the UK after he snatched the AAC’s ticket never helped him? In such countries, ideal leaders and not hoodlum look at the pedigree of those seeking political leadership.

Sowore’s recent fatally failed outing to enliven the #EndSARS protests are public testimonies of his steadily waning influence and popularity amongst our focused youths today.

An ideal young man should spare time to reflect, rather than cast unnecessary aspersions or midwifing imagery enemies for foreign organization’s with satanic agenda against the country he seeks to govern. I wish I could talk more on Deji Adeyanju who has no known legitimate means of livelihood.

I advise Sowore to stick to his expired #RevolutionNow agenda and revive it when time is ripe, but certainly, not now! I challenge both Sowore and Adeyanju as “good” politicians to pick up the challenge of contesting the presidential election in 2023 and kiss the dust again. For me, Nigeria is my beloved country and I will cherish it forever.

Agbese is a publisher and human rights activist.

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Opinion

Armed Forces Day : PMB Ushers In Salvation At Last – By Philip Agbese

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Jesus Christ acquiesced to his challengers because he was on a divine mission. So, it was needless disrupting the course of its divine fulfilment. Nigeria’s leadership by President Muhammadu Buhari aligns with the same tenor.

Like Christ, the President is on a messianic, redemptive and regenerative mission in Nigeria. He came with an unalloyed mind and spirit. Therefore, he silently accepts senseless tantrums hurled at him; he accepts the hurtful banters with admirable mien; the criticisms, spleens, the meaningless blabs and painful persecutions from his adversaries and powermongers resiliently. He has never bulged.

I watched the horrors of the expired Year 2020 and wished it ebbed with the speed of a tornado for a fresh year. The resurgence of insecurities; lethal political combats by muscle-flexing politicians; the economic saboteurs; the inconveniences of the global pandemic Covid-19 and it’s induced economic catastrophes consistently animated my anger against a world and a destiny I deemed cruel.

Nigerians were mesmerized; the President was troubled and terrified at the rapidity of these occurrences which increasingly reinforced the sermons of life’s nothingness. We wrongly assumed the afflictions visited on us is the symbolic failure of President Buhari to offer genuine leadership to the nation.

But while we moaned, lamented and ferociously kicked at Mr. President, particularly on the touchy resurgent insecurities, he was busy working undercover to birth respite to us. I was thrilled when it started manifesting in relieving surges. And from mid- 2020 to this moment, our tormentors; evildoers, satanic agents, detractors, economic sabs, their conspirators and forces of darkness have been compelled to boil in their own pot of hot water.

Mr. had President vowed never to allow the enemies cast Nigeria to the ravenous dogs and cartel of armed criminal gangs and their patrons for a feast. So, the Service Chiefs re- bounced back to assiduous work with a renewed presidential order on quelling insecurities.

Nicely, in the last months, and from Zamfara to Bayelsa ; from Damboa to Idiroko, it’s being incessant hell let loose on our tormentors by our resilient Army. Now, even without the aid of artificial lenses, I have sighted those who schemed furiously to snatch our peace and security. They are languishing in pains and the self-consuming fire they lighted on themselves. They can no longer breathe like America’s Donald Trump. They have lost the nerve, zeal and energy to tether us to the stalk of servile insecurities. Our President is alive; our Armies are ever combat thirsty.

And President Buhari has continued to sustain the fires of organized armed gangs amassed against Nigeria. Even five days ago, in the Northeast region, I learnt troops of the newly launched “Operation Tura Takaibango” under the flagship of “Operation Lafiya Dole” squeezed living juice out of over 28 rampaging Boko Haram criminals at Gujba LGA of Yobe state who assembled in the vicinity and plotted to ambush troops. But it backfired, as the insurgents were neutralized, others severely wounded and weapons, including Anti-Aircraft Guns were seized from the terrorists.

Our troops of “Operation Sahel Sanity” are very impatient with armed bandits, kidnappers and cattle thieves in the Northwest region. I was excited to read news on last New Year day of the arrest of suspected armed bandits at Maraban Maigora in Faskari LGA who had planned to shatter the joy of our festivities. And some of those napped had criminal nexus with a notorious armed bandit leader in Madachi village in Sabuwa LGA of the state. Soldiers are on his trail.

There are countless positive narratives of fruitful decapitations of armed bandits and kidnappers in the New Year. We have assailed them on all fronts. Troops of “Operation Hadarin Daji” accosted the criminal gangs and rescued seven kidnapped victims at Gidan Dan Nunu and Dutsi villages in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara state.

Likewise, on the eve of New Year, two women and a child kidnapped at Kimbisawa village of Batsari LGA in the same state were rescued by our gallant troops who are always gallivanting the troubled areas. In the same New Year, troops encounter with armed bandits in Kuriya village of Kaura Namoda LGA of Zamfara state also sniffed life out of no fewer than 50 armed bandits in a single operation.

Our determined troops are working day and night to deny all criminal elements the opportunity to operate freely in any location in the Northwest. Zamfara state has regained her lost peace. Furthermore, our courageous troops of “Operation Accord,” descended a sledge hammer on armed bandits and rescued some kidnapped victims, also on New Year day at Tungar Ruwa village in Anka LGA of Zamfara State; while soldiers of the “Operation Sahel Sanity,” crushed an armed banditry gang at at Garin Garus and recovered assorted weapons.

And the dossier of victories speaks volumes about the professional competence of the COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai. Also troops of “Operation Safe Heaven” apprehended suspected gunrunners at Kafanchan and at Ungwan Carpenter village in Jema’a LGA of Kaduna state as well as in Fobur village in Jos East LGA of Plateau state this year. What about the Kankara and Mahuta schoolchildren?

I was pained that since Nigerians loudly wailed about resurgent insecurities; critics had a field day in lampooning President Buhari and scolding of the Service Chiefs as “expired” military officers; while the National Assembly distracted itself by suspending legislation and oversight functions to resort to frequent passage of somewhat dubious resolutions against Mr. President and the Service Chiefs. But it’s a different tale now. Incredible positive results on extinguishing the fires of resurrected insurgency and insurrections have condemned the vilifiers.

Except some of us who are blind; or have chosen to be blind or veiled by partisan lenses, we can attest that in the last few months, Nigerian troops have neutralized over 2,403 terrorists and armed criminals throughout Nigeria. I believe it is a big blow on the human resources’ strength of these armed gangs.

And the good news is really troops’ rescue of over 864 of our brothers and sisters; whether adults or children from the claws of kidnappers in different locations in Nigeria. On the economic plane, troops have recovered a total of 9,684,797 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,000 litres of DPK from maritime specialized armed criminal gangs; 46,581.8 barrels of stolen crude oil and 22,881,257 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in Southern Nigeria in these few months.

And can we truly seek to obviate or beat the records of troops which shows that over 1,910 criminals have been arrested and large cache of arms, ammunitions and equipment are confiscated from them? Who is not excited that our troops overpowered these satanic forces; conquered these terrorists and armed gangs at the point of unleashing their planned heist on us very destructively?

Therefore, when I reviewed the year just ended and the magnitude of successes of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in 2021, I was religiously humbled. I must be economical with the truth, if I fail to admit in all ramifications that the disparaged President Buhari and the Service Chiefs have ushered in the much desired and long-awaited salvation for our country.

The enemies of Nigeria are now in pains. They have made up their minds to let us go; they have no alternative than to free us like the Biblical King Pharaoh who reluctantly released the Israelites’ from bondage by God’s divine command.

Let me ask Nigerians in truth; If we have our ways to sack the Service Chiefs, as vigorously campaigned earlier, would anyone be courageous to agitate for it again for any genuine and patriotic reasons? The answer is obviously NO! I can sense some quietness now. Those who wanted the Service Chiefs sacked have relapsed into what I can best describe as a state of amnesia.

Something pricks me fervently that if the Senate has any option today, they would rather demand that the current set of Service Chiefs be given another five more years to stay on board in order to thoroughly cleanse Nigeria of these conspiratorially armed gangs. This is nothing but the truth. But it’s rather unfortunate that the sack or sustained retention of the Service Chiefs is what only the Commander-In-Chief, President Buhari can determine. And he is satisfied with their performance.

However, let us be human enough to confess that truth has finally prevailed. Our salvation has come. The end of insecurities has come. Our total resolve that a full kinetic approach be given to the resurgent violence and bloodshed is now paying off. I appreciate the Chief of Army Staff for bringing salvation to us.

I eulogize the Nigerian Military for our salvation; I thank President Buhari for being the symbol of our salvation and the Nigerian Armed Forces for beating the drums of our liberation in loud symphonies and gingering exciting dance gyrations. Happy Armed Forces Day to all the citizens of our great country.

Agbese is a publisher and patriot writing from Agila, Benue State.

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Opinion

2021: As Nigerian Military Conducts Mass Burial For Wailers – By Philip Agbese

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All President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aides occupy a special place in my heart. It is not easy to discharge the arduous obligation of defending a leader who is deliberately and nastily persecuted. Of all the aides, however, Mr Femi Adesina and Mallam Garba Shehu have caught my endless admiration.

Each time I read their pieces and analyses of national issues, it gives me a feeling of soul-renewal and rebirth. Their catchy dictions, choice of words, simplicity, composition mien, conciseness and potency of the message expressed in a subtle ricochet of an otherwise, explosive national issue, disarms and impresses me infinitely.

Just on Sunday, Mallam Garba Shehu stole my heart again when he appeared on a Television Continental (TVC) programme. Mallam Shehu was expected to be all Greek to a question on his superior’s insistence on the current Service Chiefs. However, Mallam Shehu displayed bravery, calmness and aptitude with his response, stating that President Buhari sees what his critics don’t. It was a befitting reply that is not only true about a leader and his followers but an unassailable fact in every clime.

I know, some people hate President Buhari. The irony is that some of those who hate him cannot give any real reason. All they know is that some leaders must be hated; they must be despised and belittled. But my President does not care about it. He loves everyone and every Nigerian. He believes we all have a shared destiny in this country and everyone should act his part.

But in spite of his apathy to the invasive eruptions of haters and the indifference to their antics against his administration, others have chosen to become wailers. They are nervous that he does not care about their bellicose vituperations on him. So, this clan of Nigerians freely whine about President Buhari. They obtrude faces and cheeks with dry tears every now and then over his “change” administration. They condemn every of his decision.

Sometimes, certain people make me feel the democratic doctrine of the rule of the majority is an ass. But it is not! We cannot all perish with twine on our necks because of the silly and sinister indiscretions of others.

I know a few of the wailers. Where are the wailers now? The obsession now is with the Military and President Buhari’s discretion to retain the Service Chiefs. The wailers want them out by all means. We think President Buhari is brainless enough and so, must govern Nigeria with the template defined by each one of us. Where are those who want the military out of Borno? Where are the political jobbers who want the Service Chiefs sacked? The howling irony is that the campaigners fail to convince me and the man on the street over their verdict on the Service Chiefs.

They tell us the Service Chiefs have overstayed their tenures in office. This is too simplistic. The few sane ones say the Service Chiefs are not performing enough in quelling Nigeria’s litany of insecurities. Therefore, their sight is perpetually blurred to notice the much Nigeria’s Service Chiefs have done in securing the country.

But yesterday, the same scoffed Service Chiefs secured the freedom of the kidnapped Kankara and Mahuta schoolchildren. And today, it is public knowledge that the formerly invincible Boko Haram factional leader, Abubakar Shekau is crippled in the frontlines and cannot lead his co-fighters to battle against Nigeria. Today, Nigeria is no longer sharing any part of her territory with insurgents or terrorists. But our lips are too heavy to echo a simple and priceless “thank you.”

I am excited that the permanent wailers are silent now. They are hibernating in their cocoons and in shame. The Military has silenced them all. Our service chiefs have put all the naysayers to shame and conducted their mass “funeral”. And in conformity with our sworn idiosyncrasies, we have refused to recognize that the Chief of Army Staff and his men were fully on the ground throughout the last Yuletide/New Year festivities and thwarted all the plans of the enemies to cause us pains.

We never experienced the carnivals of bloodbath akin to such seasons. In Zamfara state alone, over 50 bandits were killed and several of their evil camps and dens, destroyed in less than 30 days by men of “Operation Sahel Sanity.” This milestone forced Deji Adeyanju, one of the paid critics of the Buhari administration to say, 2021 is a year of the Nigerian Army. Lt. Gen TY Buratai is doing the wonders. He is doing all the magic and performing the miracles on insecurities. He desires and labours to see all Nigerians sleep with two eyes closed.

Now, can we sight salvation at last or see the wisdom in President Buhari’s decision to maintain his Service Chiefs or forever remain blind critics. Like my brother and friend, Mallam Garba Shehu said; “it is indeed true that President Buhari sees what wailers cannot see.” The President knows the Service Chiefs by their names; he knows the traits of each one of them and he knows their professional competence. He knows the problem of insecurities in Nigeria and can still tell how best to resolve the challenges.

Not all valleys are decked by blue colours at sunset. The decisions of a leader may not appeal to the peripheral senses of some of us. But incontrovertibly, these actions are proven to be worthy with time, as the issue of Service Chiefs. No leader plans to fail; every leader angles to succeed. In the quiet moments of a leader, his mind is invaded with multiple incongruent thoughts; both genuine and fake. He must be imbued with King Solomon’s wisdom to break even.

Regrettably, unknown to a reasonable proportion of homo sapiens, the most dangerous and tormenting times, one’s life is the bubbles of undulating thoughts in sober moments. I initially underrated sobriety as merely one of the several mysteries of nature. But I have come to understand these moments as the most perilous of times in one’s life.

And it does not matter whether sobriety grips a leader, such as a President, Governor or parliamentarian. The unalterable truth is that sober moments are no respecter of persons, gender, marital status, biological roots or professional calling, urchins and even beggars. We find ourselves on the same plane.

At such lone moments, it becomes extremely difficult to filter from the surfeit of conflicting views, chaffs from the grain or perspectives which are genuine or fake. That’s when a man, especially a leader needs to be careful to allow his conscience and soul speak truth to his person. It’s worse for leaders, who are bombarded with irrationalities in the guise of advice and counsels. These advisory pressures emanate from disparate backgrounds and interests.

Any wrong step or decision automatically translates into an irreversible calamity proportionate to the prophesied apocalypse. Our leaders face this dilemma every day, they wake up and go to bed for a night rest. The faint-hearted hardly withstand these pressures; only the strong breed deflates them to the end in glorious ambience.

My heart is gladdened because President Buhari has overcome these leadership foibles. He easily wades off unnecessary pressures of lobbyists and critics. He sighted the treasures in the Service Chiefs and punched the pressures to retain them.

And like Garba inferred; “The engagement of the Service Chiefs is not a tenured appointment. There is no part of the law that says the Chief of Army staff must serve for two years. Then, after two years, he must go. He serves at the pleasure of the President. Now, the President has said he will make changes. When will he make those changes? It is entirely up to him. I think Nigerians should give him the benefit of the doubt.”

I am a proud nationalist and fully in support of the Armed Forces of Nigeria now. I am in support of Gen. TY Buratai and the Nigerian Army. I am a proud supporter of the Buhari Presidency. Nigeria must succeed. No turning back. And in 2021, the Nigerian Army will continue to conduct mass burial for its wailers and maligners. So help us, God!

Agbese is the Okanga 1 of AgilaLand and wrote from Benue State.

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Opinion

Call For Sanction On Nigeria: UK Parliamentarians Should Be Careful! – By Sharon Pande

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It is obvious that members of United Kingdom House of Lords who called on the UK Government to apply sanctions on Nigeria due to their shallow understanding of what constitutes the security problems in the country are, were not looking at the big picture.

From all indication, their conclusion is projected on a myopic mindset at variance with what can be referred to as the general good of the people.

They assume that the regime of sanctions is imperative only to an administration without scrutinizing the merit for such calls.

Since the EndSARS protest which ended in mass destruction of public property and loss of lives including those of security agents, those who had an axe to grind with the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari decided to add the call for sanctions on Nigeria as part of their demand to achieve the partisan and parochial aim of bringing the administration to its knees.

The projection is based on the belief that when the sanctions are imposed on Nigeria and things begin to get difficult for the government and people, then the opposition elements could use the scenario to tar the administration in dour colours and claim it has failed.

But there is no way anyone with a fair knowledge about what is happening in the country would call for a sanction on Nigeria because, 1) there is absolutely no need for that, 2) it willl compound the socio economic problems in the country, 3) it would further encourage the terrorists and their sponsors to step up the campaign towards destabilising the country and 4) worsen the security problem in the country.

Sanctions generally are of different types and they could be applied  either diplomatically, economically, militarily or through sports.

Sanctions in the UK is said to fall under the authority of several different departments like the  Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is responsible for negotiating international sanctions and has overall responsibility for the UK’s policy on sanctions and embargoes; the HM Treasury (HMT) which is responsible for making designations under UK domestic financial sanctions and for the implementation and enforcement of all financial sanctions in the UK; the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which implements some trade sanctions and embargoes.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (2018) allows the UK to impose autonomous sanctions which includes specific provisions for sanctions that punish human rights violations around the world, allowing the UK government to target individuals, organizations, and regimes (rather than countries) that violate international laws.

This is said to be intended to help the UK address the unlawful killing of journalists, media workers and campaigners, along with human rights abuses that are motivated by religion or belief.

From mere observation, it is from this provision that those calling for sanctions on Nigeria and their sponsors wish to take advantage of.

This is not the first time the misguided elements would try to take this route but each time they try it, they’re seriously rebuffed.

Last year, the House of Commons held a debate  on whether sanctions should be imposed on members of the Nigerian government and security services involved in alleged human rights abuses in response to the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian police and the alleged killings of protestors at the Lekki toll gate.

This did not sail through.

Days before that, a young UK parliamentarian incurred the wrath of Nigerians when in the attempt to call for economic sanctions on Nigeria, claimed that its former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon had ran away with half of the nation’s wealth.

It was clear he acting a script but has not done his homework well.

But from all available records, Nigeria does not fall into the category that warrants the call for the invocation of such measures.

This because since the Boko Haram terrorism started in 2009, the various Nigerian governments have tried to deal with it in ways they considered appropriate but none has been able to take the bold initiative of the current administration.

President Buhari for instance on assumption of office in May 2015, gave orders to the military to deal with threats to internal security in the country.

Within six months of the order, the operational headquarters of the millitary action against terrorism and insurgency moved to the Northeast of Nigeria leading to defeat of the terrorists and the capture of their operational headquarters while their leaders and few of their commanders fled.

Territories held by the insurgents were recaptured and many that fled from their homes and were putting up at camps for internally Displaced Persons returned to their communities.

The military has since then secured such places and have constantly repelled the terrorists from launching further attacks on towns and communities and driven them further to border communities.

The Nigerian military has also been commended for the professional manner it has conducted itself in the fight against terrorism and insurgency by avoiding civilian casualties and causing genuine repentant terrorists to surrender.

On the economic front, the Buhari administration has also been able to recover large sums of money that were stolen in previous administrations and has been able to put in place measures that have it made it difficult to siphon public funds which has revived Nigeria’s economy.

So it is shocking for anyone with a fair knowledge of Nigeria to call for sanction on this administration that has done so much to make life better for its citizens.

It is therefore in order to call the misguided House of Lords members to stop embarrassing themselves by getting their facts about Nigeria right before delving into issues they know nothing about.

It is also most appropriate to warn the UK parliamentarians against promoting meaures that would encourage activities of terrorists in Nigeria as calling on the UK to sanction Nigeria over organized falsehood promoted by terrorists and their sponsors will amount to promoting terrorism in Nigeria. It is a route no House of Lords member should contemplate. Nigeria and Nigerians deserve their peace.

Pande wrote from the United Kingdom.

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