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How John Campbell Lied About Security In Northern Nigeria – By Musa Sani

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Northern Nigeria is at the cusp of a new era. It is caught in that moment of separation between a gloomy past and the imminence of a bright future. Those who choose to look at the past would see the gloom that shaped an unfortunate era worsened by lack of capacity in leadership; while those that choose to look at the present would see the rising sun of a beautiful new beginning.

American journalist, John Campbell, betrayed his calling as a writer, when he failed to confront the present while doing a report on the security  situation in Northern Nigeria but chose to dwell in the past.

Campbell’s published report entitled, Darkness in Northern Nigeria, indicated that the writer was conspicuously missing when he was supposed to deconstruct the fable woven around happenings in Northern  Nigeria with his mandate as an investigator; it showed that he only chose to go with a mob mentality and relayed a forlorn tale being told in years gone by, as the current security situation in Northern Nigeria.

I can bet my last penny that Campbell did not go close to many of the areas he reported on but relied mainly on stories from old newspapers and internet junk sited to put out his report. 

Since he has failed in his task as a journalist to confront fresh facts and new realities,  I consider it incumbent on me to report the true situation of things in Northern Nigeria today and I dare Campbell to contradict the facts I’m going to put out.

Campbell, in his report lied that there are signs that the Nigerian army and the police have continued to fail to meet the security needs of the Nigerian people and often turn toward repression. 

He said in November, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen.Tukur Buratai called on troops to put themselves in a “war mode and that he obtained an internal army communication  where Nigerian soldiers were exhorted to treat all individuals in places where Boko Haram is active as suspected jihadists until they are properly identified and claimed that by this, the door has been opened to yet more human rights abuses by the security services. 

There is however no one leaving in the Northeastern part of Nigeria that can claim that the Nigerian Army and police have failed in providing security to the people of the region as reported by Campbell. This is because it’s simply not true.

In the middle of this year, for instance, several independent groups working in the Northeast of Nigeria, have reported how the Nigerian military have freed hundreds of communities from constant harassment and attacks by the insurgents. Campbell, in his fictional report did not find out that about 20 local governments in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe were overran and taken over by insurgents prior to the coming of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

He failed to discover that since all the local governments and communities were liberated through sustained military operations, that no Nigerian territory has again fallen to the insurgents since 2015!

On the claim that the Army Chief is trying to goad the Army into human rights abuses by asking soldiers to be vigilant, Campell seemed not to be aware that the Nigerian Army is one of the highly professional in Africa.

He did not realise that for an asymmetric war that has lasted over 10 years now, the Nigerian Army has conducted itself with high sense of discipline and professionalism that it is being commended the world over for the least number of civilian casualties and for observing rules of engagements even while fighting a murderous group like Boko Haram who have shown no mercy to security agents or the civil populace. The military has even been criticised for accepting surrender from insurgents.

The growing military- civil relations is why communities go out of their ways to request military presence around them and even come out to applaud troops when they see them.

This wouldn’t have been the case if the military have shown tendencies of harassing civilians as Campbell claims.
Campbell relied on a contrived statement by an amorphous group called the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), to buttress his claims that the Nigerian military is failing.

He reported that the group is calling on local communities to defend themselves against Boko Haram and “bandits” because the Buhari government is failing to protect them adding that the group said “northern Nigeria has been abandoned at the mercy of various insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists, and an assortment of hardened criminals,” with a “huge vacuum in the political will and capacity of government to challenge” such violent actors. 

But Campbell failed to mention the numerous groups that have commended the Nigerian military for the success of the fight against all those crimes he mentioned.

Within the last one month, no less than 15 verifiable groups have commended Nigerian military for their various operations.

Again, Campbell claimed that around Nigeria, numerous state governors are organizing and supporting informal militias, which are likely  acting independently more often than in conjunction with security forces.

This is why I make bold to say that Campbell was not reporting 2020 but the situation in Northern Nigeria prior to 2015.

Under the current administration, vigilante groups have been disbanded and the Civilian JTF and most of the existing state security outfits came about during past administrations. The only regional owned outfit that came under the current administration is the Amotekun, but it has never acted independently of the state security forces hence could not have contributed to the alienation of the population from the government or help drive jihadi recruitment.

Contrary to his claims that the Nigerian state is losing an attribute of sovereignty and that the government is also failing to fulfill its obligation to provide security for its people, the Nigerian government has proven several times that it is in control and has the capacity to protect citizens. 

In March, for instance, during an operation that was carried out in Gorgi, Damboa local government of  Borno State, more than 100 Boko Haram insurgents and their top commanders were killed.

In April, Nigerian troops also killed 105 insurgents in confrontation at a town called Buni Gari with remnants of Boko Haram and ISWAP that attempted to infiltrate the village. They captured  five AK-47 rifles, three GPMG, one Duska anti-aircraft gun, one PKT gun, two handheld radio, while one terrorists’ gun truck was destroyed and several ammunition and ammunition links, two hand grenades, two magazines with ammunition and assorted hard drugs in that operation. 

When the Army launched Operation Kantana Jimlan, 78 members of ISWAP and 56  Boko Haram members were killed.

Nigerian troops also arrested 28 informants of the groups and recovered lots of ammunition from them.

In an operation on the Timbuktu Triangle and another artillery engagement in Buk,  Damboa LG of Borno State, Nigerian troops killed134 number of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists.

Between March when Lt. General Buratai relocated to the theater of operation and now, Nigerian troops have killed no less than 2000 of the terrorists that the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau gave an indication that he was considering turning himself in in an act of surrender.

In July, the Nigerian Army, received a big thumbs up over the killing of 8 top Boko Haram commanders and their spiritual consultant when counter-terrorism troops of Operation Lafiya Dole engaged Boko Haram fighters who were attempting to infiltrate an Army Super Camp in Damasak, Borno State.

Those killed included their Imam,  Mansur Abu Fatima, Tumbun Dabino – Ba Issoufo, Tumbun Bororo – Amir Batam, Tumbun Jaki – Almustapha, TumbunBagaruwa – Modou Kollo, Dogon Tchoukou – Issah, Tumbun Rakke  – Mustapha Woulama, Tumbun Dila – Boukar Kowa and Tumbun Mita – Abou Aisha.

While items recovered from the Boko Haram include three AK 47 rifles, magazine with 48 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, one Honda Salon car, one motorcycle, eight bicycles, three mobile phones with multiple SIM and memory cards and five copies of the Qur’an, a letter written in Hausa to the top commander, documents and other logistics.

A report by Andrew Granit,  President, Preventive Diplomacy, United Kingdom, who was in Nigeria earlier contradicts and rubbish the Campbell report. 

Granit had reported after his tour of the Northeast that the vigilance, hard work, commitment and the undisguised patriotism of the Nigerian Arny have consistently frustrated the agenda of the ISWAP terrorists. 

He said, “Of course, flashes of terror attacks on communities, ambushes of troops in the battlefields and casualties on both sides would continue to occur because of the drowsy and aberrant character of managing terrorism combats and conflicts to its conclusive end.

“However, I am impressed with the courage, bravery and tenacity of the Nigerian Army. Troops in the frontlines have displayed determination, rather than fatigue. “And the counter-insurgency leaders have displayed ideal and focused leadership; it has not flinched from support to troops, which are the greatest psychological weapon a soldier needs in war.” This is the reality and not the imaginary picture painted by Campbell in his highly fictional report.

Sani PhD is a political analyst and wrote from ABU, Zaria.

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Opinion

Nigeria And Her Betrayal By Diaspora – By Thomas Uzah PhD

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Interventions on the political and economic fronts by Nigerians in the Diaspora have been anything but complimentary of our leaders, systems and policies.

It is as if once our intellectuals find their feet in other shores, they develop a contemptuous mindset towards their country and anything happening in the country is viewed from negative prisms.

These Diasporans become perpetual critics whose thirst for castigating Nigerian leaders and their policies is hardly satisfied.

This posture had made many patriotic citizens to conclude that most of these Nigerians living in foreign countries are driven by regime hate hence are not capable of critically and objectively dissecting the situation they choose to interrogate not to talk of proffering  positive solutions.

Rather than come up with ideas for the political and socioeconomic upliftment of their people, Nigerians in the Diaspora have constituted themselves into a nation of nay sayers, cynics and pessimists trying hard to drag the Nigerian state down. 

It is typical of comments from there to reduce every economic breakthrough to happenstance, every good policy to a mere mistake while challenges are elevated as the norm.

While the nationals of other countries seek ways to better their country through researches and pooling of funds from their host countries, the Nigerian Diaspora community is more interested in seeing itself as an opposition party. 

In the 70s, it was a group of Malaysians in the Diaspora who stumbled on the Nigerian palm fruits  and through researches, were able to extract pure vegetable oil from the fruit which they now export to other countries.

But decades after we have sent our sons and daughters to the most technologically advanced countries, our mothers and sisters are still using grinding stones to grind pepper while our men are still using raffia to climb palm trees.

Good and commercially viable agricultural products still perish on their ways to the market because there’s no means of preserving them.

While they have failed in their patriotic duties of using their experiences to help in the development of their country, they appear unrelenting in the bid to rubbish whatever progress Nigeria is making.

This was why when Nigeria was categorised as one the fastest developing economies in the world, it did not make an impression on these set of intellectuals, neither have they said anything since our military turned the tide against terrorists and insurgents that have been disturbing the peace of the country.

Unofficial reports state that there are about 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora and can be found in most countries of the world especially the United States and the UK, followed by South Africa, UAE and other European countries such as Italy and Spain. 

The largest Nigerian Diaspora community is in the US with around followed by the UK.

A survey conducted in the US indicated that Nigerians in the US are one of the highest educated migrant groups.

The survey found that 29% of the Nigerian diaspora older than 25, held a master’s degree, Ph.D. or an advanced professional degree compared to 11% of the US population overall. 

It is said that no country in Sub-Saharan Africa receives more remittances than Nigeria, estimated by the World Bank at around 24.3B per year and 6% of GDP.

This makes Nigeria the sixth country in the world in remittance inflows. 

This ordinarily should have been celebrated as it is quite huge, but the benefits of such potentials are hardly seen at home. This id because they are only channelled towards luxurious and personal interests. Hardly are the inflows invested into the Nigerian economy with a view to ensuring a multiplier effect.

They are remittances through family ties and have not been substantial enough to jump start any aspect of the economy, let alone develop one.

Even the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, which “has the responsibility to coordinate and organize Nigerians in and from the Diaspora to contribute human capital and material resources, including their expertise, for the development of Nigeria and its constituent states,” has not been forthcoming in that regard. 

Worse still, many of the Nigerians in the Diaspora, wreak havoc of the image of Nigeria by their involvement in crime across the continents.

A release by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for America in year 2020 showed that Nigerian citizens are among the leading nationals in crime.  

Clearly, they have become bad influences on their home country by becoming emergency activists who go out to ruin the peace of the country . 

It has even been alleged that some of their unpatriotic interventions are sponsored to destabilise Nigeria for which they receive financial gratification. 

But these have got to stop. Nigerians abroad must start seeing the good in their country and project same to the world. They must serve as the catalyst for technological advancement and steer clear of the underground moves to use them to destabilise their own country .

Uzah PhD is Head, Mass Communication Department, Kwararafa University Wukari.

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Opinion

ICC: Understanding The Insurgency Within Insurgency – By Richard Murphy

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Nigeria has for over a decade been enmeshed in an intractable insecurity mess due to the unfortunate conspiracy against it by notable international bodies like the ICC and Amnesty International among others, and kowtowing the script of the renegade and insurgents on its soil.

This is indeed a very unfortunate and dreadful situation, as the plot of these people is to ensure a systematic breakup of the country, after it has inexplicably defied all their wicked predictions.

What is unclear or absurd to some, is how it is taking the Nigerian Armed Forces so long to totally bring the insurgents to a complete halt. Given the dare-devil and mindless mindset displayed by these faceless groups, such people are unaware of the huge obstacles strewn on the paths of the Armed Forces in curtailing internecine wars.
In the first place, the Armed Forces of every country is primarily trained and conditioned to wage wars against external aggression and defend its territorial boundaries only.

So, the Nigerian Armed Forces are saddled with a task that they were never prepared for, against their professional ethics to turn their guns against the very citizens they are supposed to protect. This is made more complex when one notes that the insurgents and terrorists are mingled with the civilian population, while the troops are in clear view of the renegades to pick out as guinea pigs.

It is indeed a very sad and miserable situation the Nigerian Armed Forces have found themselves in.
It is therefore most uncharitable for hitherto respected international bodies like the ICC and Amnesty International, to always rise up to the defense of the insurgents, any time the scale of balance is tilted against them.

It is a monumental shame for ICC that ought to know better to allege that the troops are either using excessive force or committing crimes against humanity, when routing the same insurgents that could stop at nothing and deploy any means to prosecute their macabre insidious agenda.

While it is understood that the Armed Forces are under obligation to ensure civilian casualties are minimized in the course of their operations, there is no justification for setting any standards for the Nigerian troops, unless to incapacitate them, faced with the potent danger like terrorism and insurgency.

It is absurd and lamentable that the ICC and its cohorts rather than call these deranged elements to order, or chart a path to ease the crisis, would prefer to stoke the embers of the inferno and tactically fuelling the insurgency further. Less we forget, the International Criminal Court is an international organization and as well a Tribunal that sits in The Hague, in Netherlands, is the first and only permanent International Court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

It is in every material fact intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction, only when National courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute such crimes.
Against this backdrop, the antics of ICC and it’s cohorts to level allegations of excess force or crimes against humanity on Nigerian troops, smacks of deep hatred for the Nigerian people and a deliberate ploy to frustrate the Government from overcoming this scourge. If the ICC is sincere in its obligation to protect humanity and human rights, what stops it from condemning the posture of the insurgents and terrorists who are bent on rubbishing Nigeria’s Sovereignty?

It is evident and crystal clear that the ICC’s claims must be aimed at discrediting the gains being recorded by the Nigerian troops, which according to the National Coordinator of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, (CNM) Patriot Sabo Odeh, is a vivid attempt to undermine the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

This explains why ICC and Amnesty International, always abashedly raise their voices to stop the momentum in their nefarious bid to not only prolong the insurgency war but to as well demoralize the Nigerian troops and invariably embarrass the Government.

It is in the light of these facts that the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and the CNM boss , earlier urged the troops to discountenance ICC allegations and remain focused on the task at hand.

ICC, Amnesty international and their cohorts have no moral fabric to question how Nigeria deals with its internal security challenges, not after they have demonstrated times without court that they mean to derail our territorial integrity, rubbish our sovereignty and have openly displayed their contempt for our heterogeneous setting.

So, Nigeria needs to brace up to decisively tackle this scourge regardless of empty charades of the promoters and sympathizers of the terrorists and insurgent groups. God is always on the side of the just and would surely see Nigeria through these harrowing hard times.

It is therefore imperative to now know the enormity of the task at hand. We must all rise up to the challenge and speak with one voice, because ICC, Amnesty International and their cohorts are only exploiting our fault lines to achieve their nefarious plot against our collective wellbeing.

Since ICC has abandoned its statutory mandates and takes delight in compounding our insecurity challenges, it is inevitable to embark on concerted efforts to woo well meaning international power blocs to see reason and check-mate this evil plot.

The international community should put its searchlight on ICC and it’s co-travelers, as they have derailed, compromised and doing the bidding of face-less paymasters.
The insecurity challenges in Nigeria really appear daunting, but with resolute determination, valour and dynamism we can overcome this malady.

The agents of destabilization have perfected their inglorious plans to make a mockery of our democracy.
Nigeria can no longer afford to treat the ravaging insecurity challenges with kid gloves, since our troops understand the danger posed to our democracy by this intractable insurgency, we should rally round them and give all the support they need to check this debilitating menace.

All those either colluding or conniving with these renegade elements do not deserve any sympathy or mercy. Anyone feigning support for the insurgents and terrorists, are in all material fact enemies of our dear fatherland and should be so treated. As an international organization that courts global relevance, ICC cannot and should not be seen to be with the hunt and the hunted.

The territorial integrity of Nigeria supersedes any veiled inordinate ambition of any group, no matter the immense resources at its disposal.  There is no doubt that ICC, Amnesty international and their ilk have hidden agenda and would stop at nothing to play out their given scripts, but we must resist them stoutly, with total vehemence and bravado.

Thank God, the whole world is keenly watching and we should press for overhauling of the structures in ICC, to ensure the intendments that necessitated its existence, are duly served.
Institutions may be noble in frame work but the human angle if left unchecked, could mar, imperil and rubbish its essence.

This is the crass state the ICC has presently degenerated into; hence the UN as a family must save ICC from itself.
The leadership of ICC having derailed since, are now overwhelmed with scheming to appear playing to the gallery while in fact acting out given scripts of their paymasters to the detriment of the sacred responsibilities, they ought to be upholding.

In such a scenario, ICC stands discredited, compromised and lacks the moral fabric to question how Nigeria prosecutes this nauseating insurgency strife. It cannot be working in partnership with our enemies and yet expect us to take it seriously, this is simply because ICC is yet to come to terms with the stern stuff Nigerians are made of.
In the light of the foregoing, Nigerians must eschew tribal-religious differences and work concertedly to stamp out the insurgency threat.

As it is, Nigeria is facing the terrorists cum insurgents at the war front and in the same breath being distracted at will by ICC and Amnesty international, whenever the scale of balance tilts against the renegades.
Since the infractions of ICC and Amnesty international are getting bolder and unceasing, it is imperative to change our approach to the manner of dealing with this itch.

ICC and Amnesty international must not wish us well before we survive. Our survival is from God, who has ordained our existence and weathered all our storms, so it is high time we called the bluff of ICC and its cohorts.
Nigeria is indeed destined for greatness. To attain such a height is a matter of dint of hard work, overcoming all obstacles with total focus on the goals. The present insurgency scourge will in no time fizzle out, once our leaders summon the political will to do the needful. What is fueling the insurgency craze is ineffective planning of our affairs and now that Government is tackling the issue frontally by ascertaining who every Nigerian is, we are sure to soon get there and ICC and its cohorts can go to blazes.

Murphy is a security expert based in Calabar.

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Opinion

Understanding Diaspora Activists And Irrational Demands – By Elijah Attah

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I would start this article on a high pitch because of the activities of some supposed Nigerian activists holed up somewhere outside the shores of Nigeria barely surviving and waiting for that opportunity to make a living through ignoble ways, including selling their conscience for a plate of porridge.

They call themselves all sorts of names. They arrogate certain imaginary powers to themselves all in a bid to increase their negotiation value when it is time to wreak havoc in Nigeria as this is the only business they can engage in, as most of them were societal misfits before they scampered out of the country for a breather in their quest to give their lives a new meaning.

I am sad that such a critical constituency that is meant to be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria in the Diaspora are the very ones that have allowed themselves to be used as clogs in the wheels of our progress as a country. It remains to be determined how things went so awry for us as a country that Nigerians in the Diaspora would be willing to set the country up in flames in return for a plate of porridge.

This is where I have frequently questioned the rationale for the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission. I dare to ask of what benefit is the organization to the socio-economic development of Nigeria if the activities of Nigerians in Diaspora has been most despicable and inimical to sustainable growth and development in Nigeria.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission according to information gathered from their website provide for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the policies, projects and participation in the development of Nigeria and to utilize the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria and for related matters.

We must agree that this is indeed, strategic. If the above could be achieved, Nigeria would benefit significantly from Nigerians’ rich resource base in the Diaspora. But ironically, the reverse has been the case. I won’t state categorically that the organization has failed. However, I would say that the organization’s leadership has not come to terms with the reality on the ground. It has continued to feign ignorance to the nefarious acts perpetrated by some Nigerians in the Diaspora that aims to undermine national security in Nigeria.

Interestingly, there has been an unholy silence from those that are meant to be vocal in condemning these acts of sabotage perpetrated by some Nigerians in the Diaspora. The question thus is, could the silence an indication of complicity? Could the silence mean an endorsement? And could the silence mean that those at the helm of affairs at the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission are ignorant of the commission’s critical role? All of these questions beg for answers in the true spirit of patriotism in our quest for the Nigeria of our dreams.

We must ask critical questions as the activities of these charlatans gathers momentum daily. We must also do well to identify those amongst the lot that have turned themselves into agents of those against the peace and prosperity of our country.

They have been very vocal in making demands that serve their pockets, not minding the implication of their actions. This, in my opinion, is most despicable and should give all well-meaning Nigerians a cause to worry. We might not understand the larger consequences of these diaspora activists until they achieve their overarching aim of seeing Nigeria’s disintegration.

I consequently challenge the leadership of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to initiate programmes and policies that would harness the potentials of Nigerians in the Diaspora towards the socio-economic well-being of Nigeria. This is not a time for grandstanding and playing to the gallery as all hands are required to be on deck.

I know for a fact that with the right template, the vast resource base of Nigerians in the Diaspora can be utilized for the benefit of Nigeria in critical sectors of our national life. And if this is not done, then we should be ready to deal with more Nigerians joining the ranks of those who have sold their conscience for a plate of porridge.

This is indeed a clarion call and an SOS to all well-meaning Nigerians to come to terms with the reality on the ground regarding the activities of those Nigerians in the Diaspora. They like to parade themselves as activists, but their activism is centred around their pockets in truth. The bigger your offer is, the louder their voices make irrational demands and ever ready to sell the country of their birth.

Nigerians indeed must be wary of these individuals as their footprints pervade the nook and crannies of Nigeria in search of the slightest opportunity to turn the heat on. Thank God for the security agencies’ efforts so far that beamed the searchlight and exposed their nefarious plots. Even as the security agencies continue to address the threats posed by these diaspora activists, we are citizens of Nigeria also have an invaluable role to play towards ensuring that Nigeria stays united and in peace. My two cents.

Attah wrote from Abuja.

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