The war against Boko Haram has dragged on because none of the children of politicians and army top brass are in the warfront- writer Odega Shawa opines


Writer, Odega Shawa, yesterday 27 December shared an article that centered on reports of the 190 police officers that allegedly absconded from their training camp in Buni Yadi, Yobe state recently. The police officers who were reportedly being trained to join other security agents prosecuting the war against Boko Haram in the NorthEast, absconded from their training camp.

Odega in his piece, gave an insight into why the policemen might have absconded. He opined that the war against Boko Haram sect members have dragged on for so long because children of the elites in the society and even in the military, are not in the war front. Read his piece below


First reports I read said they wee 167.

Other reports said 190. Over 90% of them, if the list floating around online is anything to go by, were Southerners, most of those Christians. The list has been denounced as ‘fake’ in official circles.

Doesn’t matter if they are 10. They are policemen being sent for training to operate in Boko Haram infested areas of the country.

And they ran away, went AWOL.

Police official statement has denied any such thing. Jimoh Moshood, police spokesperson, stated: ‘All 2000 Policemen deployed by the Force to the North East have reported and are on ground on combat operation in the North East fighting along with the Military in the front line against Boko Haram insurgency.’

Who do you believe? What do you believe?

PDP opposition members were not in a rush to disbelieve the story. Honorable Ben Bruce reportedly stated that the men ran away because they were demotivated.

It has gotten to that point.

First off, the Boko Haram war is a mystery that refuses and continues to refuse enlightenment. As far back as 2013 then President Goodluck Jonathan stated openly that facilitators and agents of the deadly terror group had infested top levels of his government. We waited for President Jonathan to mention names. Nothing happened. A couple of politicians later did get exposed. It didn’t affect the situation either way.

Part of why a lot of Nigerians voted for President Buhari in 2015 was that he was a military man. He would deal with the Boko Haram insurgency surgically with effect, as a military man.

That expectation fell flat on its face.

The terror group has now even caused as much fear and devastation under President Buhari, despite the army’s pronouncement after clearing out the notorious Sambisa forest that BH has been ‘technically’ defeated.

That pronouncement and its attendant embarrassment since then every time the terror squads strike is why the army is getting paranoid about reporting the war. Army top brass will rather control the narrative of the situation. They will rather have us believe they are on top of the mess.

I want to believe the army. So much. I also don’t think any Nigerian: Christian, Muslim or pagan wants the army to lose.

On the other hand BH makes videos.

In one of their last videos, posted online for both the army and its supporters to see, we saw the insurgents attacking and over running an army outpost, then we saw them walking around shooting wounded soldiers in the head, like ducks in a barrel.

In another video there was beheading of an allegedly captured officer attached to one of the battle commanders. 
These videos make it clear that the army is nowhere near being on top of the situation.

Then just before Christmas there were media reports of the terror group taking over and holding large swaths of areas around Maiduguri, including a military joint task force command post. Suddenly it is 2014 all over again.

Boko Haram is back from technical defeat.

Then right in the middle of this salient awareness a bunch of policemen, most of them non muslims, were gathered to be sent to meet the terror head on. They will be direct combatants of course. I assume they will also be taking part in the security of insurgent areas of operation. Soldiers are there of course, yet even that major consolation was nowhere near enough to subdue that primal dread occasioned by the heartlessness of well armed and seasoned terrorists we all feel. The recruits allegedly stumbled and scattered, as the late reggae musician Ras Kimono would have phrased it.

Why not if not?

The army, to be frank, has so mismanaged this particular war that if you had been paying attention by now you would have started developing the sinking feeling that maybe this war against terror may never be won. How could a group that is completely land locked in their area of operation and as completely surrounded by hostile countries find resources to move men and battle equipment enough to allow them keep operating after almost a decade? Or over. Who funds them? Does the army even know? If they know why hasn’t the funding sources been cut off?

We all saw the tidy column and convoy of war trucks of BH fighters that turned up, out of thin air, to release Leah Shuabu’s school mates. Then as enigmatically again disappear into thin air after dropping off the girls they felt like releasing.

What exactly is going on here?

We have seen reports of frontline soldiers saying they were expertly ambushed in the past. Almost as if the insurgents have pre-knowledge of troop movements.

What is going on here?

There has been reports of BH fighters being secretly aware of what the army is doing, instead of the other way round.

What is happening?

How is it possible for a terror group the army has been fighting for years able to surprise an army outpost, killing over a hundred soldiers at a go? Why are we still hearing that the terrorists have better fighting equipment than the army after billions of dollars spent in the fight against Boko Haram? Where do they get these better equipment? How come the Nigerian army does not know the road to that place?

Nobody has come out with clear answers to these questions, and many more.

Then someone decides to send police special recruits to the hot zone and that same someone expected them not to abscond and disappear?

One of the reasons the terror fight has dragged on for so long is that none of the children of politicians and army top brass are among those doing the actual fighting and actual dying. None of the gallant and brave heroes we saw Boko Haram attacking and shooting in the head is the child of the president or the national assembly members, or security service chiefs. None of President Buhari’s children is even a soldier. Let every army service chief and every politician in the country contribute two of their children each for the fight against Boko Haram and put this special force in one command post. Do you think it possible then that Boko Haram will have better fighting equipment than those in this special force? Do you think it will be possible for Boko Haram to ambush and slaughter a unit from such a post?

I don’t think so.

At the speed of light, or close to the speed of light (we were not there for precise measurements), the president rushed to the hospital bedside of his son when the young man fell from his play play bike.

Do you really think if that gallant speed biker was the one sleeping inside bush every night with his weapons between his legs stalking Boko Haram fighters that the terrorists will have better fighting rifles than he has? Or that anybody, Boko Haram or not, can over run his camp with secretly acquired information to shoot him and his friends in the head like mad dogs?

Tell me what you think. Let me not think for you here.
Yes, it is cowardly what the policemen gathered for the Boko Haram struggle were supposed to have done. It is cowardly running away from your point of duty.

In this case I think cowardice is begging to eat with wisdom. Wisdom can either say yes or no.

As it is going now the fight against Boko Haram is painful to watch. In video after video I have looked into the eyes of the young men doing the actual shooting and dying. These are soldiers to be remembered forever, a far cry from the brass of corruption that has dogged the command of this fight for a very long time now, from Dasuki to Badeh – to the current commanders not really making any difference.

To those on the frontlines: I salute you. I salute your commitment and the blood you are ready to sacrifice. I salute your courage. It shall ever be well with you.

To the commanders: do better. Simply do better.

To the disappeared (or not disappeared?) policemen? What can I say? I wish your running (if you did run) can solve your problems. Amen.


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