ALLEGATIONS of collusions between some criminal elements in our security and armed forces with terrorists have become too rampant to be ignored.
Questions are being raised as to whether these rogue elements are still committed to their professional calling of defending the nation or are now pursuing a hidden agenda that could derail the unity of the country.
On April 4, 2014, the Voice of America had quoted Africa Centre Director, J. Peter Pham, on reports that units within Nigerian Army had been colluding with Boko Haram. Pham said of the report: “It certainly would not surprise me that it is happening”.
In October 2018, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, during the launch of his book, Nigeria: What Everyone Needs To Know, said Nigeria’s security service abuses is a driver of recruitment by Boko Haram.
Many people believe this collusion is the major reason the war on terror had not been won. Pointedly, on Saturday, March 24, 2018, retired Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, told Nigerians that: “Our armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits to kill Nigerians…”. But the Army authorities denied the allegations.
Earlier on February 15, 2018, the media had reported an incident in which a vigilante member, Efe Igbinovia, was shot dead by some soldiers at Obadolovbiyeyi community in the Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State. They had arrested some herdsmen for alleged armed robbery and asked Igbinovia to watch over them while his colleagues went after other fleeing gang members.
Some military men were reported to have arrived the scene, shot Igbinovia dead, and freed the suspects. In response, the Nigerian Army said Igbinovia was shot after he was mistaken for a robber by military troops deployed in the area.
This seems like a foreplay of the recent killing of police detectives in Taraba State. On August 6, 2019, three of the policemen and a civilian who had arrested a suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume, were killed by some soldiers of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army.
The Nigerian Army again claimed that the three policemen were shot in error after they were mistaken for kidnappers. The soldiers also released Wadume.
These are just samples of the same trend too numerous to mention here. They cannot be mere coincidences. It has never happened like this at any other juncture of our history.
There had been unsubstantiated stories of support for armed herdsmen and bandits in the forests which were ignored by the authorities.
The country has survived many upheavals. We do not think it can survive collusions between elements in our armed forces and terrorists, bandits and armed herdsmen.
We appeal to the Federal Government to address this issue before total anarchy envelopes the land.