From Day One, the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency has been a big mystery to most Nigerians. How an otherwise “rag-tag” band of religious outlaws ballooned into one of the most notorious terror machines in the world, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Nigerians and rendering more than two million people homeless in spite of the gallant efforts of the Nigerian Army and Air Force, is something difficult to fathom.
The mystery deepened in the evening of Sunday, November 18, 2018 when a group of Boko Haram fighters backed by the Islamic State in West Africa, ISWA, attacked a Nigerian Army base in Metele, about 260 kilometres from Maiduguri, Borno State. Independent reports have it that about 118 soldiers were killed and 150 declared missing one week after the attack, leaving the nation in deep mourning and utter bewilderment.
Unfortunately, while the terrorists were putting final touches to the attack, the Service Chiefs were spotted at the launch of President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential campaign at the State House, Abuja. They were later prompted to quit the venue before the President arrived. The questions agitating the minds of millions of worried Nigerians are: Why is it that Boko Haram, which Army and Federal Government officials had consistently insisted no longer occupied a single inch of Nigerian territory, are still able to do this to us? Weren’t we told that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated” back in December 2015 when this regime was barely six months in power?
What is the veracity of the unconfirmed claims in videos posted by soldiers in the front lines that they were outmanned and outgunned by the terrorists? What happened to the $1 billion withdrawn from the Federation Account by the Federal Government without due process between December 2017 and April this year?
In what ways are we unwittingly re-arming the terrorists through the reported concessions in money and prisoner exchanges? What role have corruption and profiteering played in sustaining the enemies? Why is President Buhari keeping the Service Chiefs in office when they appear to have no further ideas to nail the terrorists once and for all? What has happened to the Multinational Joint Task Force, MJTF, consisting of Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad and Niger, as well as assistance from friendly Western nations?
The National Assembly must conduct a comprehensive and unbiased inquiry into our prosecution of the Boko Haram war with a view to helping the Executive refocus it. Meanwhile, our hearts are with the families of our fallen heroes. We call on Nigerians to eschew partisan politics and fully support our gallant troops to finish the good work they have been doing. We cannot give in to the enemy!