By Obi Nwakanma
If anyone is in doubt that Nigeria is under siege by a foreign military invasion, directed by a shadowy, subversive group possibly at the top of Nigeria’s national security platform, the recent outburst by Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, one time Chief of Army, and one time Minister of Defence under Obasanjo should now put doubters to rest. Danjuma has a chequered history too in the annals of violence in Nigeria, being as he was, the officer who led the party that assassinated Nigeria’s first military head of state, General Johnson T. Aguiyi-Ironsi, and his host, the military governor of the West, Lt. Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi in the July 29, 1966 putsch, which was described as a “Northern coup.” That coup was the first targeted act of ethnic cleansing in its broadest sense in Nigeria.
The surge of violence that enveloped what was then known as “ the Northern region” of Nigeria swept through the South, and anchored in the West, particularly in the critical epicenters of Lagos and Ibadan, where Northern troops had been entrenched. As always, the West of Nigeria was evenly divided between supporters of the putchists who participated actively in roasting out and killing Igbo in these places, and the Yoruba resistance, which was active in hiding and smuggling many Igbo victims to safety.
In the North, Igbo residents of the North were specifically targeted, and using the support of troops and local militia, and an organized mob, a pogrom was staged. That pogrom compelled the East to open its gates to the surge of Easterners fleeing as refugees from across Nigeria, particularly from the North. In that moment of madness, although the targets were the Igbo, not many knew the difference between the ethnic Igbo from the Ijaw, the Efik, the Ogoni, the Ibibio, the Edo. Even some of the Yoruba and Middle belters who were mistaken for the Igbo, were targets, and they all ran. Many analysts have contended that Ironsi’s dismantling of the Igbo State Union undermined the capacity of the Igbo in the North to respond tactically to the wave of killings.
Even though it provided, through its own intelligence gathering mechanism in the North verifiable and actionable intelligence about the build-up of the plans for a pogrom in the North to Ironsi, the General ignored it, and indeed shared the intelligence with Yakubu Gowon, and thus, with that shadowy group of plotters intent on his liquidation. The chickens have of course come home to roost today. First, the concept of the North has evolved significantly. There is now the “Muslim north” and the “Christian north.”
The northern behemoth is not only fractured politically, it is fragmented now religiously, and one is seeking to consume the other. Theophilus Danjuma knows a thing or two about violence, and about plots, and about the use of force and subterfuge. He is a man whose vast resources also offers him the kind of intelligence that permits him to know what the rest of us do not know, and to therefore make the kind of categorical statement he made just last week at the convocation of the Taraba State University. He said that the Nigerian Armed Forces and the police were complicit with the so-called “Fulani Herdsmen,” in killing Nigerians, in what Danjuma categorically called “ethnic cleansing.” And there is little doubt that this is exactly what’s taking place. This is what the IPOB had been saying. This is what many have said before it. There is very little doubt now that Nigeria as nation is under a highly organized armed siege; and its build-up was slow, and its operations have been determined, and in your face.
Many who once dismissed talk that President Buhari’s narrow appointments, particularly of his national security organogram; the military’s selective dismissal of senior officers of the Armed Forces from a particular region of the country, and the various activities of the Nigerian police force in respect to law enforcement in areas attacked by these shadowy armed militia called the “Fulani Herdsmen,” as all part of a grand project, are now having a rethink. Indeed, the situation ought to be clear even to the blind. The Federal government is not incapable of containing these attacks.
Nigerians are saying that they are like those whose hands are tied behind their backs and sent into a ring to fight spirits. Across Nigeria, these cries are rising, and this president who was elected by a groundswell of forces mobilized against the former administration of President Jonathan, who was accused of corruption, of not containing Boko Haram, and of being “clueless” about governance, has quite sadly for his supporters, turned worse than Jonathan. In the last months of his administration, President Jonathan basically drove Boko Haram towards the Cameroon. They were trapped, and were at the verge of surrender.
While Jonathan’s administration was busy fighting Boko Haram, Buhari was on record accusing him of “bias against the North” over his Boko Haram policy. Buhari was all about amnesty for Boko Haram. He was about negotiating with Boko Haram. And that policy has not changed. Boko Haram is not a “terrorist” organization. It is a military operation serving certain shadowy interests in the north, and it is founded and supported by people who are high up in Buhari’s administration.
The fight against “Boko Haram” is also a “national security operation” – a ploy to create a permanent security state and to maintain a national security vote so large that it now overshadows Nigeria’s National Defence budget.
The beneficiaries of this “state of permanent insecurity” are in government, and this requires the intervention of the National Assembly. If this president proves unable, and unwilling to defend the sovereignty of this federation, he has no business being president. He must be put on notice therefore, and given a deadline to produce an actionable plan, backed by legislation, and a timeline within which to clear Boko Haram from the Sambisa forest; arrest and degrade the armed militia that has invaded Nigeria and that is sacking Nigerian communities and killing Nigerians under the guise of “Fulani herdsmen”.
The National Assembly must also establish an inquiry into the allegations by Nigeria’s former chief of Army and Defence Minister, that the Nigerian Army is no longer a national Army, but a partisan and complicit force no longer capable of defending the people and the federation of Nigeria. We also need to ask fundamental questions: how did Boko Haram seize 110 girls from Dapchi right under our noses? No one raised an alarm. The police; the military; the Department of State Services, neither knew, nor acted, nor reacted. It would take a convoy of buses to take these girls from Dapchi.
It would take a major operation to return them to Dapchi. Boko Haram just came to town, returned the girls, shook hands and went back into the shadows? It is either we have the most incompetent armed services in this world, or something very fishy and devious is happening right under our noses. It smells. And it must stop. This operation by Boko Haram has run its course. It is about time that the National Assembly defunded the Boko Haram operations.