I have no hesitation that fighting terrorism anywhere in the world is a serious task. It’s a nut, only formidable nations and troops crack with ease.
My experience in insurgency warfare also enables me to know that combating terrorism requires time, planning, commitment of huge resources, qualified/trained troops and dedicated leadership of the Military and its subordinate commanders. Terrorism has zero tolerance for half-measures, sloppiness and strict adherence to operational plans.
And Success in any anti-terrorism warfare is only standardized in relentless heat against enemy forces and the courage to remain defiant on the warfront.
Some Nigerians have deliberately refused to acknowledge the respite they now enjoy from the deadly terrorism, forgetting completely the dire situation in 2009, when Mohammed Yusuf, founder and pioneer leader of Boko Haram sect made his debut of violence on Nigerian soil.
And from 2011, I was confronted with horror, agonies, bloodbath, destructions, abductions, forceful seizure of Nigeria’s territories by the terrorists. These are facts are the fingertips of every Nigerian.
This was when insurgency amplified in Nigeria. I can vouch that every day, the nation experienced one national calamity from Boko Haram terrorism until President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as elected President in 2015 and elected to lead the war on terror from the front.
His re-organization of the leadership of the Nigerian Military and provision of weapons to combat Boko Haram terrorism and prioritization of troops welfare were sound initiatives’. I have no reason to doubt, these right steps paid off handsomely in our collective wishes and struggles to rout out Boko Haram and extinguish the fire of terrorism on our lands.
Currently, Nigerians stay for weeks or even months without any sad news of Boko Haram terrorists’ infliction of physical and psychological pains on the nation which is a stark contrast to what was obtainable in the recent past.
Those who refute the defeat of terrorists and chose to employ selective amnesia are just wishing that Nigeria revert back to its terror saga of 2011 to early 2015, when insurgents’ orchestrated hell was headquartered in the country. God forbid.
Whether some of us accept this pleasant reality or not, Nigeria has gone past the era of terrorism torment, catastrophes and mindless atrocities. This is not just marvelous, but great performance of the Nigerian military by any yardstick of assessment.
But some Nigerians have vowed never to recognize these efforts, including those whose villages and communities have been liberated from terrorism. It’s very abhorrent disposition and unpatriotic.
The Nigerian Army in particular has borne this burden very patiently and even tolerated malicious criticisms and attempts to malign soldiers. The Nigerian Army has refused to be cowered, with the clear concerted efforts to drag its image and reputation, as an institution into the mud. But it overlooked these stoking of its tempers and stepped out more stronger and focused on its national assignments.
I have heard a dozen times from the lips of conscientious Nigerians, the persuasive preachments about appreciation of Nigerian troops on the battlefield in order to spur them into greater performance.
In same vein, our leader, President Muhammedu Buhari has also severally pleaded with Nigerians to encourage members of the armed forces battling insurgency by a token of appreciation in whatever way they deem fit, including a mere thank you.
It is in this regard that i consider TheNigerian News’, special recognition and honour to Nigerian Army, as an institution during its 2nd anniversary celebration recently in London as worthy of acclamation and emulation by men and women of good conscience in Nigeria.
TheNigerian News’ evolutionary celebrations also featured an Award Night; in colorful pomp and pageantry. It held at the The MontCalm city of Westminster in London. The news medium surprised the Nigerians by presenting a totem of appreciation to the institution of the Nigerian Army for its wonderful good job on the war against insurgency and other allied terrorism around Nigeria.
The totem of appreciation to the Nigerian Army triggered loud ovations from the special guests and dignitaries, as all personalities in the hall stood up for the Nigerian Army as mark of respect. And for the first time in Nigerian history, the excitement compelled the assemblage of prominent Nigerians to recite the Nigerian National Anthem in honour of the Nigerian Army. It was a great honour, as only Nigeria’s national team is so honoured, outside the President and Governors.
This unique celebration took place almost simultaneously with the conferment of TheNigerian’s “Millennium Achiever,” award on the Numero Uno soldier of Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the anti-terrorism combat in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai.
The coveted award was collected on his behalf by the Chief of Civil/ Military Relations (CCMR) Major General Nuhu Angbanzo, who led the COAS’s emissary to the celebrations. It was presented to the Army Chief by an acclaimed Nigerian UK-based scholar, Dr. Hale Longpet.
Other renowned Nigerians like the Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), National Agency for Science And Engineering Infrastructure [NASENI], Engr. Professor Mohammed Sani Haruna; Sen. Senator Mrs Oluremi Tinubu and the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (DG-NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja were equally honoured with different categories of awards at the event.
The event was also graced by the Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong in representational capacity and witnessed by a dozen other friends of TheNigerian News within and outside the UK.
However, the special honour and award on Gen. Buratai caught my fancy for many reasons. He is the first COAS in Nigeria, who has led troops with the greatest number of successful operations across all regions of the country within the specified time of three years. This Number one soldier is also the first to sustain his winning streaks on all assorted terrorism sects which held the country at the jugular.
The Army Chief has also scored first by implementing the Nigerian Army’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in diverse sectors in all its host communities in Nigeria while on special assignments. He is the first Army boss to establish the Nigerian Army University, in Biu, Borno state; the first in Nigeria and Africa; just like the first Nigerian Army Aviation School.
Gen. Buratai’s leadership also resonates in initiating and implementing the first Nigerian Army Female Corp to combat the incidents of female suicide bombers and the first Army Chief to demonstrate uncommon zeal in legally safeguarding the human rights and dignity of Nigerians from violation by soldiers, with the establishment of the first Human Rights Desk at Army Headquarters (AHQs) and its Divisions.
He is the first COAS to personally lace his boots and lead his troops into the trenches to battle terrorists and a legion of other achievements to his credit within just three years of his leadership of the Army.
So, when the guests in London stood up in loud ovation for the Nigerian Army and its leader, Gen. Buratai, it flowed from the heart and passion of a people truly inspired by soldiers’ exemplary performance and leadership. I say, a loud congratulations to the Army Chief and soldiers; and indeed, we are lucky to be blessed with these indomitable lions of the trenches.
By Kasha Iliya
Iliya writes from the United Kingdom.