The poor leadership command provided by President Goodluck Jonathan and the politicisation of the Nigerian Army have been identified as some of the reasons responsible for the inability to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
A Kaduna-based retired army officer, Capt. Abdulhakeem Adegoke Alawuje, spoke while fielding questions from reporters in Kaduna at the weekend.
Capt. Alawuje, who served in the 29 Motorised Infantry Battalion of the Nigerian Army, said he participated in peacekeeping and during such assignments, the army never failed to crush insurgents.
Said he: “If there is anything worse than poor command, I will use such word. There is no effective command and no sincerity from the commanders. These are the two things I see. There is no sincerity in the command and it is very poor.
“When you look at the Army of yesteryear compared to that of today, it is still the same Army. But in the past there was no serious politics. When you look it at it now, it is different. When there is politics in the Army, definitely it will be very difficult for it to deliver. This is the problem we are facing.
“The chief security officer of the country is Mr. President. He is the one everyone will cry to in a time as this. But in a situation whereby the President is politicising security matters, there will be a serious problem. I am speaking from experience.
“This Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast has been ravaging the country for almost five years. With my own experience, I don’t believe this thing is just happening. I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that some people, even in the government, are involved in this thing. If not, the Nigerian Army, which has been in every part of the world to keep the peace, would have crushed the insurgency.
“I thank God, I was part of the operation in Sierra Leone. I was involved in that operation. We know the order with which we left Nigeria. We know how we penetrated Sierra-Leone and we know how we dealt with the rebels there.
“But, to my greatest surprise, we are facing the same problem in our country. It is still the same here. I know the competence of the Army. I know what they can do. But in this situation, they find it difficult to solve the problem. Nigerians should unite. They should forget about their religious and ethnic differences. We should ask President Jonathan what he has been doing.
“I discussed with a friend recently and he said the President has been doing his best. But, I said, if he has actually done his best, then it means his best has not yielded any positive result, he should re-strategise. The President said he knows those behind Boko Haram. Nigerians have failed to ask him to bring those behind the insurgency to book.
“Let us ask them what they want. What are they up to? Nigerians have refused to do that and Mr. President has refused to bring them to book. They keep killing innocent people. If we keep quiet, the situation will worsen”.