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Chibok and America’s blame game

BY the time the Chibok girls were abducted, it was clear to the whole world that the Nigerian forces, do not have the capacity to contain the Boko Haram insurgents and so, many countries volunteered their assistance.

This is not unusual because Nigeria has in the past, been in the vanguard of sending troops to countries requiring stability in their systems – Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Mali, Somali and so on. The response of the whole world to assist us is indeed good.

However, we must frown at the methods of the Americans in the Chibok issue. So far, what we have seen is a continuous demystification of the Nigerian armed forces. Every day, they have gone to the press, condemning one aspect of our operations or the other, even in their House of Assembly, this is indeed bad.

Even with our poor military capabilities, we are still an independent nation. If we reject their request to assist, they will not be in this country, so since they elected to assist us, it is expected that, they will be in top level discussions with our senior military and government personnel and, any observations made handled confidentially at that level.

The whole world knows that Nigeria does not have the capacity to engage in this type of guerrilla warfare, so, going to the media every now and then, to harp on the shortcomings of our military, will not do the operations any good. First, it serves to glorify the strength of the Boko Haram forces and secondly, it is a dampener to the morale of our troops. And if this situation persists, it will affect relationship between the Americans and our Nigerian troops. The two sides must co-operate to get the job done.

America is not the only country involved in the operations.We have France, Britain, Canada, Israel, China and others. America should not assume an imperial disposition, as if they are infallible. It took over ten years to get hold of Osama bin laden, up till today, the continuous insurgency in Iraq is the product of America’s mishandling. They were in Afghanistan and had to withdraw, when they found the going too costly to handle. Pakistan, Yemeni, Syria are a few examples of countries America failed to bring insurgents under control, why are they making so much noise about Nigeria’s military shortcomings.

It would be recalled that if action had been taken by America and the rest of the world, when the Boko Haram insurgency was at its tutelage stage, the situation would not have degenerated to this level.

The CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and other focussed and forward looking Nigerians, did cry out to the world to declare Boko Haram a terrorist organisation but America, with the same Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State, claimed that it was a localised uprising, caused by poverty and other negligible factors. Today, the wool has been removed from their eyes. Pastor Ayo Oritsejeafor, the President of CAN, was in America parliament to lobby for America’s prompt action but his pleas were ignored. Why is America now playing the saint in this instance.

Because of her role as the policeman of the world, America is indirectly culpable in the present situation that we have found ourselves. When they were to take action, they prevaricated and when they were to prevaricate, they acted hastily. That is why Syria is where she is today.

Those who condemn the Nigerian authorities today, were the ones who advised President Jonathan, not to be too hard on the Boko Haram Islamist, when the situation was within control. We all know President Jonathan as one that is easily swayed, he has even come out publicly to say that he is neither a lion or a general, so he takes his time.

Because they know that he listens and takes his time, they go to him with different proposals, when he adopts their recommended approach and it fails, the blame is placed on him.

The Americans once advised Jonathan to deal tenderly with the Boko Haram insurgents, others advised that they should be granted amnesty. This is after they (Boko Haram) have committed heinous crimes like the bombing of the United Nations office, the Police head quarters attack and the attack at the mobile police base at Abuja. Several bombings of churches and innocent citizens, they claim it is a local thing, now the whole localised thing has gone out of proportion and we are now trading blame.

The army retaliated hard on the insurgents when Ihejirika was Chief of army staff, the shameless northern elders forum threatened to take him to the United Nations special tribunal for genocide. The whole world watched and nobody said anything to condemn such statements.

Whole towns have been destroyed by these mindless insurgents, very important professional institutions like the School of Agriculture, Mubi, were attacked and innocent students slaughtered, the leadership of the north found nothing wrong in such actions. Instead of settling down to find viable approaches to the enormous challenges facing them, they went about trading blames and lobbying countries like the United States to tow their line.

If the people whose lands are being destroyed, are not interested in protecting the lives and properties of their people, who will help them?

When the local village vigilantes took it upon themselves recently, to take their destinies in their own hands, several insurgents were killed and a few of them handed over to the authorities. The CNN reported it, that is how it should be. The affected regions must first show commitment in ending this insurgency challenges before outsiders can join in the crusade.

The Americans should concentrate on what they came into the country to do, bring back the Chibok girls in safe conditions and collaborate with the Nigerian authorities, in other ways to stop the activities of these insurgents.

It is the responsibility of the whole world.

Mr. Sunny Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.


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