Six days after his appointment, as Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), in July 2015, with the extra responsibility of chief armour bearer of the counter-insurgency war, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai , burst out in emotions that defined his focus on his new assignment. At the 103 Battalion of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army (NA), Maiduguri, in Konduga, the Army boss assertively thundered to troops; “….the time to crush Hoko Haram and other criminal activities in this country is now or never.”
And in less than 18 months Gen. Buratai walked the talk by crushing and subsequently, defeating Boko Haram Insurgents (BHI) in Nigeria and sundry other evolving acts of terrorism around the country. But some insignificant cynics are not elected to believe him because once in a while, bombs explode in Maiduguri. It’s almost a consensus that the mindset of cynics is not prone to cognizance of good. They are not good companions in that they sight more loopholes and failures in a project than success.
Frankly, cynicism isn’t just a good virtue, but it also weakens the spirit and tither positive thoughts to servile aprons. It’s better to avoid cynics in life because they blind you and themselves in the desperation to satisfy their appetite.
Every man appreciates himself, standing on the tripod of sensitivity or cognizance of his immediate milieu; the reason for the serenity or violence around him and the respite he relishes from such predicaments. But cynics are blind to all these and no matter the extent of persuasions; they hardly relinquish this innate “treasure,” preferring, instead to be dogmatically staid in besmirched convictions. Never mind, they can pursue a cause to extreme limits, provided they sense the possibility of finding infinitesimal splashes of failure.
It explains why some Nigerian cynics, most of whom clothe as security experts analysts, social or current affairs commentators’ would not acknowledge the defeat and dearth of Boko Haram Terrorism (BHT) in Nigeria. So, the Nigerian Military and emphatically, the Nigerian Army, must be discredited and diminished because bomb explosions still vibrate in parts of Borno state.
The analysts or commentators of whatever persuasions are pretty aware of the complex and delicate nature of terrorism wars. They know too well that terrorism wars, all over the world do not end in a jiffy. It is common knowledge that even when terrorists are defeated, snippets of terror attacks would keep manifesting for a while. And the world is replete with such examples, in public domain. But some people look at the phenomenon in Nigeria as something different and unusual just to find the grounds to discredit the performance of leaders.
It’s nearly seven years now that former America President Barack Obama assuaged the psychological pains of Americans by trapping and coldly murdering, Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda leader and alleged ring leader of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorists attacks on Pentagon House and the Twin Tower of the World Trade Center. The casualties, and the destructions were baffling, as some news account placed the death toll at 3,000 persons. Former President Obama historically declared in an address to the nation after the killing of Bin laden by U.S forces that, “Justice has been done.”
Giving everything to chance, America’s murder of Bin Laden in the Pakistani Abbottabad cave, more than a decade s later would have humbled and induced fear in terrorists. The action is enough for terrorists to dread America because of its unflinching “vengeful” heart and capacity to go after them. But no such luxury was never offered America by these terrorists.
But terrorists waxed stronger and kept plotting their revenge against the American nation. Documents seized by America from Bin Laden’s cave divulged their plot to attack former President Obama slated on the day of the 2011 memorial anniversary of 9/11 terror attack before his murder. And even in 2016, terrorists penetrated America’s fortified security; which dims that of Nigeria tenfold, in sophistry, to detonate lethal explosives at locations in New York and New Jersey same day as well as Ohio State University in Columbus, days after.
Saudi Arabia , the fountain of Islam lives under the choking yoke of terrorism. Last year, during the Sallah celebrations three cities in Saudi Arabia including Medina, near Prophet Mosque were rocked by terrorists bombs. Saudi Arabia has also had its fair share of terror attacks in the just concluded Ramadan fasting, as recently as June 23, 2017 a suicide bomber terminated his mission abruptly by exploding himself during a police raid in the city of Mecca. This is not terrorism fiction, but realities in countries far better than Nigeria in all gradations.
Back home in Nigeria, each time sporadic bomb explosions occur anywhere in Borno state, perpetual detractors rush to the open space to rubbish the claim of President Muhammadu Buhari in terminating Boko Haram terrorism. They also express bile sentiments against the Nigerian Army for “claiming” to end Boko Haram insurgency, while it “smoulders.” Unfortunately, the loudest voices about it know deep-down their hearts that they are economical with the truth. But for the sake of fulfilling the mission of veiled interests, they conceal the truth and illogically push the arguments, even if for the fun of it.
Meanwhile, as they disparage Mr. President and the leader of this terrific war, Gen. Buratai, it registers in their sub-conscious that terrorism does not cut off its wailing wings instantly like a regulated machine. They know, terrorists bombs no longer explode on special religious festivities, like Sallah, Easter or Christmas in Nigeria, but they are not consigned to admit it, least, some hated persons, earn glory.
The cynics are challenged to doubt that the current 2017 minor Sallah celebrations for Muslims, like the preceding ones in the last two years were not tainted by the cracking and murderous sounds of explosives from terrorists. Nigerians savour the peace and the respite. Their problem is the simple gesture of impartial acknowledgement that some security personnel somewhere are spending sleepless nights or making rare sacrifices to give them this priceless comfort.
It is in the character of some Nigerians to dismiss security agents efforts for peace at Sallah and at all times, from terror attacks as “ they are doing their job.” They are more interested in fault-finding, than encouraging Nigerian soldiers to bolster them into greater performance. But they shout loudest in chastisement each time a bomb explodes somewhere.
While even Saudi Arabai, the hub of Islamism has no respite in the Holy Month of Ramadan, it is indisputable that Nigerians have celebrated the festivity without the numbing sounds of terrorists’ bombs. It was the same experience last year, as major religious festivities were observed by both Muslims and Christians’ very peacefully. Yet, these are the prime times terrorists vent their spleen by visiting humanity with heinous atrocities.
Whether cynics accept the reality or prefer to look the opposite side, terrorists, the global monsters are no longer enabled to either torment Nigerians recklessly or where they operate anywhere close to Nigeria at such occasions, it is on a very minimal scale. Those who still doubt the Buhari Presidency and the Gen. Buratai’s solemn pledges to end terrorism in the country have been offered another chance to appraise the benefits of the anti-terrorism war in the country.
There is evidential proof between time now and time then. The pains and sorrows’ from Boko Haram terrorists’ rude interruptions of such celebrations have been replaced with unrestrained joys and celebrations. It is a proud chapter in Nigeria’s regenerative history.
The Nigerian Army leadership and Nigerian troops deserve unbridled accolades from Nigerians for keeping faith with the promise and covenant they made with the Nigerian people of extricating Nigeria from terrorists. It therefore behooves on all citizens or men and women of good conscience to keep and work harder to sustain the peace.
It is an obligation every Nigerian owe to himself, the nation and humanity world-wide to ensure, like President Buhari noted, these “…. mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of,” do not take Nigerians for granted anymore. All Nigerians must work to ensure these terrorism monsters are permanently exiled to climes outside of Nigeria where their comrades in evil dwell. For the Nigerian Army, they have walked the talk, but the onus of preserving the treasured peace rests in the hands of all Nigerians.
Okanga writes from Agila, Benue State.