On Wednesday, terrorists operating in Shiroro, Niger State, massacred numerous people, including about 42 Nigerian soldiers and policemen, and an unknown, unaccountable number of civilians at a mining site. Among those missing, according to certain media reports, are some Chinese. Just for context, the areas around the Shiroro Dam are where ISWAP fighters months ago mounted their flag, claiming them as their territory.

The story of this attack seems to have very plainly justified their assertion of sovereign control over that part of Niger State, or any other part of Nigeria, where security reports indicate, to all intents and purposes, that the Nigerian authorities seem to have lost control.

Read Also: Shiroro killings, an attack on Nigeria — Buhari

According to media reports, these attackers came heavily armed and started shooting in the Ajata-Aboki area where the mines are located. What they are mining with the Chinese, nobody knows. But the soldiers in the nearby town of Erena, not far from the scene of the massacre, were alerted, and deployed.They fell into an ambush. In the  firefight, about 32 soldiers were said to have lost their lives. Wrap your heads around this figure, dear reader, and it will slowly sink in: that what was destroyed is an entire battalion!How did this happen?

What operational faux pas could have led to the wiping out of an entire Nigerian battalion inside Nigeria in a situation which is currently not even classified as a war situation. What is the nature of this conflict?  Here is the most infuriating thing: the president of Nigeria and his aides continue to lie to Nigerians with little compunction and with little consequence. Why? Because Nigeria’s National Assembly is a toothless bulldog. Or its key members are complicit with the President in what is possibly unfolding as the largest, most complex conspiracy against the federation of Nigeria. 

On Thursday, following the attack, the President’s Senior Aide on Public Affairs, Garba Shehu said the following on behalf of the president: “We honour our security forces, and particularly those brave souls who have given their lives fighting against the evil that is terrorism. They constitute the best that Nigeria has to offer and we remember each of them. Sadly, Nigeria’s fight against terrorism continues. It is a battle that is taking its toll on all of us. But we shall not relent, nor shall we surrender. We say it again that we have reduced Boko Haram to a shell of its former self. But terrorists are parasites. They thrive when the world is suffering.” This statement from the President’s office sounds too much like tongue-in-cheek. It lacks sincerity. It is the repeat of the ineffectual hogwash which Mr. Buhari and his inner circle have been mouthing since 2015.

All that bull about reducing Boko Haram “to a shell of its former self,” is false in all its material particular. Okay, you did not “reduce” or degrade Boko Haram, Mr. Buhari. Rather, Boko Haram expanded by integrating its mission with ISWAP which is currently an alliance of the Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram, and the ISIS in West Africa. Boko Haram was given a new lease of life under Buhari. It became embedded inside the Nigerian military and security forces. It expanded its strategic contacts. Many of its fighters were integrated into the Armed Forces of Nigeria and circulated through the various military formations across Nigeria where they operate as sleeper cells, in some instances, and active cells, in other instances. 

Our security failures cannot be without explanation. Those who doubt me should go and look at what Buhari himself said about Boko Haram and the Jonathan campaign against them prior to 2015. The plot to change Nigeria politically is an on-going game, and it is taking all kinds of shapes.There are whispers, in certain knowledgeable quarters, that insist that the current rapid degeneration of Nigeria’s security is manufactured. That the current situation is designed, and intended to secure leverage for key operators of the system.

Nothing else can explain the sudden inability of the Nigerian Armed Forces to defend Nigeria. It has been deliberately, operationally compromised from the highest quarters. Imagine therefore that at the heights of this, the institution of state is deliberately collapsed, and an extraneous force, like ISWAP takes over the country and acquires the power to govern and execute consent. This is a power game. National security is at the very heart of this power game. When a country is under external and internal attack, it is in a situation of war. Nigeria is practically in a war situation given developments that currently confront her. 

The image Nigerians now see is that the Nigerian Armed Forces seem currently overwhelmed by the external aggression by an external force now called ISWAP whose strategic goal is to occupy Nigeria and overthrow its national government, and impose a strange Islamic rule called Sharia. Let me build a scenario that is likely to occur as we move through the election year 2023. As every Nigerian knows who follows the news, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari declared about three weeks ago that he was not in the business for “a third term” – which would be an illegal extention of the tenure of the Presidency.

The interesting part of this is not what the President said, but why? Why is he suddenly saying, in spite of the clear unneccessity of it, that he is not interested in a “third term.” Who asked him? What prompted him? As we have since come to see, everything Muhammadu Buhari says or does is coded in some layer of subterfuge. But here is the critical point: as the election season draws nearer and unfolds, we are going to see a rapid surge in these so-called terrorist attacks.

They will heighten their campaigns across Nigeria, where many are already located and embedded in the Military barracks. From now to February 2023, Nigeria is going to witness a high rate of external attacks, like what happened in Shiroro, by so called ISWAP fighters, and internal, deadly attacks – kidnappings, violent sackings of communities; city lock downs, etc., because of insecurity. 

A huge event in Abuja will trigger a massive national response. Because just as conflict is manufactured, so is consent. There will be a further closure of businesses because the roads – the routes of National exchange – can no longer be travelled. Increasingly, as they cut off Nigerians; and as it becomes increasingly difficult and unsafe to fly, the prospects will be lowered for the long political campaigns. The deliberate economic strangulation, aimed very strategically from the very beginning of Buhari’s administration to equalize poverty – that is, pauperize and reduce every Nigerian irrespective of status to the same level of desperation,and therefore weaken them, would have achieved its strategic aim. Hunger afterall is a strategic instrument of war. 

You may have all the naira or dollar in your pocket, but you may not see gas, or fuel, or bread, or beans to buy, because there is no road to move them. You exist in radical confinement and fear. This is what is going on in Nigeria and it will grow worse.Because the infrastructure of movement would have been reduced, there will be no political campaigns. The candidates will have a situation whereby their ability to travel up and down Nigeria would be reduced, lest they be kidnapped, assassinated, or disappeared on the campaign trail. Moreso because of the scarcity of Aviation fuel, that will close down many airlines, but as well for a growing uncertainty about air travel, because if these “terrorists” can hijack a train, nothing says they cannot hijack and crash a plane in Nigeria. 

All these would come to a head around February 2023, I predict, when it would all become clear that the Federal Government may not be in a position to conduct elections in Nigeria as a result of insecurity. By this point, Muhammadu Buhari would have assumed the guise of a disinterested and neutral party. Even if the parties and Nigerians manage to pressure him into conducting an election, the results will be so disputed and disreputable, that it will snowball into a national security situation  which “a responsible government cannot ignore.”

It is on this basis, therefore, that Mr. Buhari and the National Assembly, under its current leadership, will trigger article 3 (Section 180) of the Constitution: “If the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may be(sic) resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection (2) of this section from time to time, but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any one time.”

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