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PMB And Burden Of Healing Broken Bones: My New Year Epistle To Nigerians – By Philip Agbese

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This present generation has had their diaries well filled with details of their vivid share in first-hand history experience of insurgency in their life time, in which these verbose experiences may well be defined by the success or failure of the anti-terrorism efforts across our country. Since al-Qaeda first emerged in 1988 and subsequently carried out attacks on American soil in 2001, terrorism has manned the stage as its religious oriented versions spread across the globe. Rescuing the world from the mindless savagery, which is the hallmark of terrorism, requires sincerity and focus.

However, it also requires that differences are set aside to deal with what is proving to be a long- term threat to the survival and continuity of the human race. The terrorists had grown to their strongest when these same parties had been at each other, which go to prove that terrorism requires a divided society to thrive. Undoubtedly, we would say that insincerity, disunity, low level of transparency, and disruptive solidarity in our armed forces has been the bane of their existence over time before the current service chiefs were appointed under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. This has made them looked like a rooted mountain which is unmovable.

Tragically, much like the early days of fighting ISIS, when nations and world powers were divided on how to proceed, Nigeria’s war against terrorism has been massively crippled by the factors that have handed the advantages over to terrorists. The early days of Boko Haram, when the terror group could have been nipped in the bud, were characterized by denial and blame trading. It was a season when those who should have effected changes were more interested in finding faults and persons on whom to pin a complex problem. The halfhearted tactics and approaches adopted at that time allowed Boko Haram to thrive and to commit acts of terror without hindrance or being halted.

The national awakening to the true evil nature of Boko Haram in recent years has fortunately been matched by a military that is committed to defending the country from terrorists. This development has seen genuine efforts to fight terrorism even amidst intractable problems that tend to make solutions futile, simply on account of the divisiveness that persists even in the face of the threat to the collective wellbeing of the Nation.

Instead of seeing Boko Haram and other terror groups as the enemies, Nigerians are being manipulated into seeing the military as their enemy while inconsequential differences like religion and ethnicity are highlighted to the zenith.
I applause the statement made by Lt. Gen. William G. Pagonis, which goes thus, “Combat is never a comfortable or enjoyable experience and can’t be made so. But the soldier who is eating well, has adequate supplies and modern equipment, and also feels that he is being supported both by the Army and the civilian population, will perform far better than the one who feels neglected.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has been working tirelessly in order to bring the country Nigeria out of the rubbles and dirt the past administrations had brought it down to. It is therefore surprising to hear a cleric spit out baseless criticisms and vile statements aimed at the President and his administration.

Bishop Kukah’s statements at the funeral mass for a seminarian who was killed after he and some others were kidnapped from a seminary in Kaduna state were nothing but fallacious statements aimed at aiding inimical propaganda and create unnecessary hostility. The statements made by the bishop was only intended to demoralize the president, the service chiefs and other members of parliament who have relentlessly given their all to the country in spite of the many challenges that they face. This is a very mindless act to stir up rancour in the hearts of Nigerians.

We have all enjoyed a peaceful yuletide thanks to the efficiency and dedicated efforts of the service chiefs. It is imperative to note that these crop of service chiefs which the bishop so blatantly criticized have made numerous achievements than all their predecessors in the history of Nigeria. These men were appointed at a time when the Nigerian military was in shambles and on the verge of being overrun by these barbaric terrorists. In spite of all these, they have successfully restructured the Nigerian military and shaped it into one of the best in the world. Today our children can enjoy and celebrate the season in peace.

We all know that the people of Nigeria are highly religious people and they follow the teachings of their various religious leaders. In lieu of this, It is highly immoral and witless for Mr Kukah to use his seat as an instrument to create discord and tarnish the image of the Nigerian government. No religious leader should use his position to propagate malicious propaganda as Mr Kukah has done. It is a big shame to the bishop and doesn’t speak well of the Christian community. The bishop is a man people admire so much, but his malicious comments are rather unfortunate. His statements are misleading and only serve to pulverize the confidence and love the citizens of Nigeria has for the current president and his administration. Mr Kukah should use his pulpit to spread the gospel rather than to carry out the biddings of disgruntled elements who are ‘Anti-Buhari’. The bishop would do well to remember that the pulpit is for the gospel and not for politics.

In contrast to Mr Kukah’s statements, Nigeria’s economy is on the steady rise under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Insecurity is gradually being defeated, and there has been a significant decline in unemployment compared to about six years ago. President Muhammadu Buhari is not a magician who could just wave a wand of leadership and all the current problems of Nigeria would go away. It is a very daunting task and doesn’t take a short time for any leader to correct many years of mistakes and poor leadership by past administrations.

The year 2020 has left the nation unperturbed about the news of insurgency, but only by political aspirational battles which they masked with the name “INSURGENCY” in vile manner in order to destabilize President Mohammadu Buhari’s regime, unlike how heartbroken it has been in recent years.

Unlike the vivid happenings that persisted for more than ten years now, the dreaded and blood-thirsty members of the insurgent group called Boko Haram have held the nation and some African states in the jugular. They have continued to spill blood and bile, kidnap, rape and rob, especially in the North Eastern part of the country and beyond, without restraint.

On their part, the Nigerian armies have embraced the challenge with vigor, and vivacity. They have exhibited unequalled and unrestrained gallantry. They have put their lives on the line to see to the end of insurgency and banditry which they fought tooth and nail.
As reported by The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the President addressed the issue of insurgency this year in the Combined Passing Out Parade for 67 Regular Course and Short Service Course 46 (Army) at the Nigerian Defence Academy , Kaduna.
The President was the reviewing Officer during the passing out parade
“We remain focused in the fight against insurgencies arm banditry and others forms of criminality across the nation. “ We remain committed to ending the security challenges bedeviling the country.“ I am confident that the training received by the passing out cadets has adequately equipped them to face any challenges in their line of duty. ”

Buhari noted that the cadets had gone through rigorous and demanding tasks, and were undoubtedly infused with a sense of self-esteem, efficacy and accomplishment
Global Amnesty Watch also revealed why the Nigerian military has been able to sustain its victory over insurgency within the year. The UK-based organization also revealed that from its findings, the military operation in the northeast has successfully liberated the towns and villages that came under the control of insurgents. According to GAW, the military has been able to achieve all these feats due to its highest level of transparency and intelligence in this present administration.
Part of the success recorded in these years was how the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East have engaged some Boko Hara terrorists who attempted to infiltrate the Nigerian Army location at 3 Battalion in the Gamboru area of Borno state, during which scores of the fighter were shot dead. The troops seized three gun trucks, two anti-aircraft guns, two AK-47 rifles and one rocket propelled grenade tube from the insurgents.

Before the current president assumed office, the evil Boko Haram sect and other clandestine forces rained havoc especially in the Northern Eastern Part of Nigeria. Bomb explosions and senseless killings were left unchecked by the Nigerian military due to poor leadership back then. But today, we saw the gallant act by the Chief of Army Staff who relocated to the North-Eastern part of Nigeria in order to lead the war against terrorism at the forefronts.

The president has done his best to combat corruption, tackle insecurity, tackle unemployment, grow the economy and many others. He has made significant progress in all these areas despite the many challenges he has been faced with. Let us all shy away from criticizing the government at every given opportunity. Let’s give the president more time to heal the broken bones of our country Nigeria. Let us also work together to provide all the necessary support that he needs in order to achieve this.

By now, we should understand that what Baba has achieved so far is to first rescue the nation from drowning into oblivion. He has spent his first 4 years rebuilding the nation from its decay, and now it’s time to build on that foundation.

Amidst the passion and vibrancy of the Nigeria armed force put into this fight, and amidst the emotions shared with every broken bone, the President, Muhammadu Buhari has pledge his unending support in cash, kind and military equipment purchase, in bid to foster peace and unity in the country by putting an end to insurgency and Banditry. Healing will come in 2021, let’s give PMB all the unending support needed to achieve this vision.

Agbese is a human rights activist based in the United Kingdom.

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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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