Tag Archives: Nigerian army

Opinion: The ‘defeat’ of Boko Haram by Sonala Olumhense

Editor’s note: The author Sonala Olumhense in this piece talks about the declarations made by different officials in authority that the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram has finally been defeated.

Last Monday, Nigeria’s highest authorities declared Boko Haram, the militant group which has caused tremendous violence and agony for nearly 10 years, finally contained.

Speaking during a Town Hall gathering in Maiduguri, the ground zero of the menace, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, the Minister of the Interior, described the group as “completely decimated.”

He added that the group’s structure was degraded and its leadership, dismantled.

Minister of Information Lai Mohammed cited the “resumption of flights, bubbling nightlife, and football matches in Maiduguri” as signs normalcy has returned to the Borno State capital.

It is interesting to note that the report of the event was filed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), and nobody explained why the national and international media in the area appeared unable to find the venue.

As part of the back-slapping, Defence Minister Mansur Dan Ali announced that at least 30,000 hostages kidnapped by the insurgents were freed by the troops.

Two days earlier, also in Maiduguri, Rogers Ibe Nicholas, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, also declared Boko Haram “completely defeated.” Speaking at the inauguration of the Nigeria-Cameroun Military Joint Mission, he explained that only the previous day, his troops had overrun Boko Haram’s “Camp Zero,” dislodging the militants and occupying the area.

“We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau’s group, taking over the camp and its environs,” Nicholas said. “They are on the run and we are pursuing them to wherever they go. This time around there is no place for escape anywhere.”

The news comes some six weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari first made the announcement of the militants’ fate. In a statement on the eve of Christmas 2017, he declared “the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa Forest.”

That was followed on January 7 by another affirmation by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, that his troops have won the war against Boko Haram.

The declarations come exactly three years after President Buhari said Nigeria had “technically” won the war. But the militants had then mounted more attacks against troops and populations.

All of this comes six months after Mr. Buratai gave the soldiers 40 days to capture Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the terrorist group, “dead or alive.” He ordered the then Operation Lafiya Dole chief, Ibrahim Attahiru, to spare no trick in his wine-skin bag “to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.”

Given Shekau’s habit of re-appearing each time the army claims he has been killed or wounded, there was little surprise that after 40 days, the army could present to Buratai neither the militant nor his head.

On the contrary, there followed a new wave of Boko Haram attacks upon Nigerians, and an embarrassed military early in December went on a face-saving mission. Major General Attahiru was summarily removed and shoved to a desk assignment described as “policy and planning.”

While it would be incorrect to attribute the latest developments to the military wizardry of Nicholas, what he has achieved in such a short time is highly impressive. Despite that, using such language as “totally defeated,” or “crushed,” or “completely decimated” seems overblown, particularly with Shekau still in play.

And he didn’t take too long last week to announce himself. On Wednesday, he published a new video in which he declared Nigeria’s version of recent events to be false, affirming that he is in, and still controls Sambisa forest.

Obviously, until the challenge of finding Shekau is answered and his means and methods decapitated, the claim the insurgency has been defeated will continue to sound hollow. Among other questions is: where are the remaining Chibok High School girls? Where are the members of an oil exploration team the militants snatched in July last year which included policemen, NNPC researchers and University of Maiduguri professors? It is notable that Shekau brags about this point in his latest video, which he autographs as “the one that is an invincible enemy that you are fighting.”

These evident elements of doubt may explain why only NAN directly reported the government’s landmark celebrations last week. But the declarations of victory raise a key question about the $1bn the government announced in December it wanted to take from the Excess Crude Account allegedly to fight the insurgents.

Where do we go next? Despite the giant strides the Nigerian military has made in the combating Boko Haram, Buhari lack of both vision and patriotic ambition as a leader have become apparent in the past three years, and one of those areas is in sadly mistaking propaganda for action.

To that end, how does the government intend to handle the huge rebuilding and restoring challenge in the northeast, given how much officials such as the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal have taken advantage of Buhari’s weaknesses to exploit the poor and dispossessed.

In November 2016, the United Nations said in Abuja that Nigeria faced a massive humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency, and that 26 million people would be affected by the crisis into 2017. At the time, it also warned that about 75,000 children could die from hunger within just two months.

On March 30, 2017, the New York Times reported that over 130,000 people fleeing Boko Haram had amassed in Niger’s Diffa region, along National Route 1 in the southeast of the country, with nowhere to go. In May, Medicins San Frontieres, quoting the authorities, said that number had almost doubled, to 240,000. Nigeria has never responded to their presence.

Only last week, UN-OCHA announced that over 8.5 million persons need life-saving support due to the humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency; in 2017, it had targeted 6.9 million displaced persons.

This is a good time for the government to come up with a massive plan not only to help victims of the insurgency, including those outside our borders, but to address the national problems that facilitated the rise of Boko Haram in the first place. Sadly, those problems exist all over the country, and we have seen how they drive Nigerians into desperation, and sometimes out of the country into slavery and death.

The question is whether Buhari, given his alarming and disappointing record in the past three years, and confronted over the next with trying to remain in power in 2019, can summon the inspiration and strength he has lacked in three years, to tackle these problems.

The truth is that in view of Nigeria’s burgeoning population, business as usual is no longer an option. The tens of millions who have barely survived Boko Haram, in addition to the tens of millions all over the country who continue to be neglected while officials connive and help themselves to a lifestyle of opulence and privilege in the face of a weak anti-corruption preachment, is a tinderbox waiting to consume the unwary.

The poverty of purposefulness in high places must end now. Hopefully, it is clear to all that the days of hoodwinking the populace—like the days of coup-plotting and election-rigging—are over.

Boko Haram is not defeated until Nigeria is not just a political playpen.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of africanentertainment.info

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History of Nigerian army force(Must Read) 

Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and its armed forces are the biggest on the western part of the continent. Unfortunately, the big size doesn’t mean modern gear, best aircraft and ships, and other innovative equipment. Many soldiers can only perform the basic protective operations due to the lack of innovation and modernization. Still, the history of Nigerian army goes back to 1860s and thus we must recollect how it was formed and what it had to go through until today.

History of Nigerian army force

History of Nigerian Armed Forces

The country celebrated its independence from Great Britain in 1960, however, the history of Nigerian army began nearly a century before this. The first local force was formed by Sir John Hawley Glover nearly 100 years before the nominated date.

Sir John was a respected person in Nigeria. He was the officer of the Royal Navy, and, however, he was a military man, he disregarded many rules while serving as the governor of Lagos Colony. In 1863, he chose several native Africans who used to be slaves grouping them into so-called Glover Hausas.

History of Nigerian army force: Sir John Hawley Glover

The first military force wasn’t big. It only counted 10-18 soldiers who helped their founder to guard local trade routes. However, this quickly changed. By 1865, the small organization grew so much, it was renamed first into Hausa Constabulary and then into Lagos Constabulary that was helping the colonial government to guard territory near Lagos and accomplishing army, police, and other tasks.

Nigerian Regiments (NR)

The next 40 years helped the army grow and become stronger. In the early 1900s, the name was changed again. The force was called Lagos Battalion and it consisted of different units under the WAFF and command of soldier Sir Frederick Lugard. WAFF was an abbreviation for the West African Frontier Force.

The foundation of WAFF united all the known units into two NR regiments:

  • Northern
  • Southern

West African Frontier Force

Both big units of Nigerian armed forces helped with the country’s annexation by Lugard in 1901-1903.

The uniting of the country in 1914 also combined the regiments into four Battalions: the Northern NR consisted of the first and second Battalions and included field artillery and the Southern unit accounted the third and fourth divisions.

The next big changes took place in winter 1956. It was the time when Queen Elizabeth of Britain arrived to Nigeria. The Nigerian army got a new name that sounded as QONR (the abbreviation stands for Queens Own Nigerian Regiments).

Queen Elizabeth of Britain arrived to Nigeria

Nigerian Army (NA)

Soon the West African Frontier Force was reorganized providing all the units within it full independence from each other.

Two years later from the Queen Elizabeth’s visit, the army was renamed into NMF which stood for the Nigerian Military Force. This military unit has been finally controlled by the Nigerian Government, ever since 1958.

The independence two years later once again renamed the Nigerian army from NMF into RNA (Royal Nigerian Army) and later into NA (Nigerian Army).

History of Nigerian army force from 1863

Nowadays

The long history of Nigerian army counts over 250 years. The modern green khaki uniform was introduced in 1960. The structure also changed that year from what used to be in WAFF into what Nigerian army is like today.

The President of Nigeria is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian armed forces that have over 100,000 officers and soldiers. The unit receives all the directions from the Army Council.

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Nigerian army takes delivery of Innoson motors for its operations

The Nigerian army has made good its promise to partner with Innoson motor.

The army has started taking delivery of some of the vehicles it ordered from the indigenous car manufacturer

– The vehicles will be used for the army’s operations in the northeast

The Nigerian army has started taking delivery of some of the vehicles it ordered from Innoson motors.

This was disclosed by the director, army public relations; Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, via a Facebook post.

The army spokesman also stated that the vehicles have been configured fit for deployment into Operation Lafiya Dole theatre of operations in the northeast.

Nigerian Army takes delivery of Innoson motors for its operations
The vehicles were specifically configured to fit into the Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-east. Photo credit: SK 

He also shared pictures of the vehicles already delivered by the Nnewi-based indigenous car manufacturer.

African Entertainment gathered that the specific areas of partnership between the Nigerian army and the company includes immediate supply of 100 vehicles, supply of appropriate gears, engines and chassis required for immediate modifications and repairs of armoured fighting vehicles in the northeast theatre of operations.

It also includes identifying requirements for production of armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing capacity of Nigerian army personnel to actively participate on the successful implementation of these joint ventures.

Innoson motors had earlier shared the photos of the vehicles on their social media platforms.

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