Against the backdrop of incessant killings of Military personnel in the country the United Nations, UN, Humanitarian Ambassador on Habitat Youth Programme, Dr Raymond Eboh, on Monday, pleaded with Nigerians and other crime perpetrators to stop the killings of the country’s soldiers, Police among others.
While addressing Journalists, in Abuja, during a press briefing, he said that “people’s children were not incorporated into the military to die anyhow. They are there to secure our national sovereignty against external attacks, and thus, they have the right to live their lives to old age.”
According to him, soldiers are from amongst us. They are peoples’ Sons, Daughters, Uncles, Aunties, fathers, cousins, and nephews and they occupy sundry levels and degrees of relationships in our communities.
“Thousands of our young people in the name of being a Soldier have been killed since 2009 when the Boko Haram insurgency broke, while other criminal activities being called by different names have also taken a toll on the Nigerian troops.
“Terrorists loyal to ISWAP and Ansaru have infested many communities in Niger and other states in North Central and North West, years after destroying many others in North East.
“I can’t forget this ugly event on Monday, November 19, 2018, where members of terrorist sect Boko Haram, stormed a military base in Metele village, Guzamala local government area of Borno State and killed over 100 soldiers on the premises.
“The fight did not last for more than 45 minutes, but it was bloody because the Boko Haram fighters had more armament advantage than the soldiers”, he added.
While quoting some media trusted sources, he said: “when the soldiers realised the fight would be against them, they decided to retreat from the camp, but it was rather too late. The camp was surrounded by barbed wire, and enemy fire was coming from the direction of the entrance. They were surrounded.
“One of the drivers of the gun trucks decided to push through the barbed wire so that other vehicles could follow and escape, but the truck got stuck, that was how many of our soldiers in other vehicles and those on foot were massacred.
“Just last month in Maiduguri, Nigeria, at least 30 Nigerian soldiers, and 7 police officers were killed in an ambush after gunmen attacked a mine in the Shiroro area of Niger state.
“Just last 2 weeks, not less than 2 soldiers were killed close to Zuma Rock, and 1 police officer just this morning shot dead at his duty post in Jikwoyi, here in Abuja.
“We are tired of these killings. If it continues like this. In the nearest future, I doubt if we would have people recruited into the forces. None would be allowed from any family to join the armed forces.
“Terrorists on the rampage across the country have attacked about 16 military bases in the last 18 months, fuelling concerns that the military was overstretched and needed to restrategize to deal with the criminals, protect its personnel and tackle the security challenges.
“According to Findings by Sunday, PUNCH revealed that while some of the attacks led to the killing of soldiers, some were repelled and insurgents killed. It was also gathered that 750 soldiers lost their lives between the third quarter of 2020 and July 2022. Sunday PUNCH reported in April 2022 that no fewer than 714 soldiers were killed as of April. Findings however showed that about 35 soldiers were killed between May and July, 2022. Too bad and too unfair for our soldiers.
“In 2022 only, there were six major attacks on military bases, witnessed in Borno, Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba and Niger states. These were independent of other attacks on the military, including ambushes, attacks on their convoys.
“On some of the attacks on military bases, terrorists attacked a military base in Sarkin Pawa Town in the Munya Local Government Area of Niger State on July 18, 2022.
“On May 10, terrorists suspected to be members of the Islamic State West African Province launched an attack on the perimeter of the 6th Brigade military base in Jalingo, Taraba State. They were said to have thrown an explosive device into the base around 8:44pm. No casualty was recorded.
“Also, on April 4, suspected Ansaru terrorists attacked a military base at Polewire on the Kaduna-Birnin Road in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, during which about 11 soldiers were feared killed, while 19 soldiers were reportedly injured by the terrorists. The terrorists, who used Rocket-Propelled Grenade, also killed three members of a vigilance group and injured two.
“In a similar vein, it was reported that ISWAP fighters attacked the multinational military base in Doron Baga, Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State on March 19. They were however repelled by soldiers attached to the Operation Hadin Kai, killing some of the terrorists, according to report.
“Also, reports on January 21 noted that terrorists stormed the military base located within Government Day Secondary School, Shinfada, in the Jibia Local Government of Katsina State. A soldier and a member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were reportedly killed.
“September 12, terrorists also attacked the Forward Operating Base, Mutumji, Dansadau LGA, Zamfara State, killing at least 12 security operatives. Nine Airmen, two policemen and one soldier were reported as casualties of the clash between the soldiers and the terrorists.
“On September 26, suspected bandits killed an unknown number of members of a joint patrol team when they attacked ‘Burkusuma camp,’ a joint military base in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
“On November 8, 2021, suspected ISWAP fighters attacked a military base in Tamsukawu, a village in Kiaga Local Government Area of Borno State. The Commander, Sector 3 of Civilian Joint Task Force, Modu Fannami,
“In November 2021, it was reported that a brigadier general was killed by ISWAP fighters when they attacked a military base in Askira in the Uba LGA of Borno State in the same month. Three other soldiers were reportedly killed at Bulgama, a few kilometres from Askira town.
“In December, members of ISWAP stormed the military base in Rann, in the Kala Balge LGA of Borno State. Six soldiers were reportedly killed while about 20 terrorists died in a battle to overrun the base.
“There are concerns over the spate of attacks on military institutions and soldiers in different parts of the country.
“Also, the Nigerian Police, in March this year, only in one attack, 24 police officers were killed by bandits in Ngaski town and Gafara community of Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State, and several other Police killings all around the parts of the nation. Like another unfolding around the Airport express road. Where bike riders blocked the road this morning, Monday, 8th August, 2022 and dearing soldiers deployed to the scene to calm situations down. This is uncalled for for goodness sake!
“The list can go on and on, but time wouldn’t permit us. However, we call on the Generals and Major Generals in the Army to please make available sophisticated weapons for the field soldiers and support them morally. They are fighting for us individually and as a nation. They deserve the best of weapons, arms, and ammunition. They deserve fantastic remuneration and welfare generally.
“We, the civilians, please, let us continue to encourage them. We should be able to applaud them where they got it right and criticize constructively where they might have done wrong, that is if need be for critics.”
Dr. Raymond, however, thanked the Nigerian Custom Service, Federal Operations, Ikeja Lagos for their resilience and total resolve in curbing drug importation into the Nigeria Communities by working heartily in making sure that the imported drugs are seized upon arrival to the Nigerian shores.
“One of the major reasons why we have this alarming insecurity is not far fetch from high intake of drugs by the Nigerian youths. But, I tell you the truth, my heart belted at the efforts put in place by the Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Operations, Ikeja Lagos after I was taken on a tour to have a sightseeing of containers of drugs seized under the leadership of the acting Controller of the command, Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibinu.
” I was astonished to see massive quantity of seized drugs ranging from diazepam, Flunitrazepam, Pentazocine injection, Methamphetamine, Cannabis sativa, tramadol, Ecstasy, Hallucinogens, Heroin, Inhalants, Ketamine, Marijuana, Meth, synthetic Marijuana, and others.
“Honestly, I am bent to laud the efforts of Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibinu and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s boss, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) for showing capacity in what they are known for doing best.
“I also want to appeal to the Buhari-led government to increase their logistics to enable them to go beyond the usual in discharging their duties to achieve a sane Nigeria.
“As the UN Ambassador, I would be committed in encouraging all and sundry, especially these two individuals in presenting them to the wider community, the United Nations, because they are not only doing their jobs diligently and faithfully but have lied down their lives for a better Nigeria both for the now and the future.
I am also alongside other youth leaders in Nigeria open to helping or assisting in any form to making sure that National goals are achieved in it’s brim.
“We the Nigerian youth leaders wouldn’t tolerate any youth that would want to distabilize the efforts of these patriotic Nigerians”, he added.