By Charles Ogbu
Yesterday’s clash between men of the Nigerian army and members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) in Afara-ukwu, the hometown of the Biafran leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has further proven that indeed, for Nigeria as a country, the Colonial Masters left too early.
According to Abia state police chief, Leye Oyebade who spoke to Premium Times via phone, the military were parading a new Armoured Personnel Carrier and passed through Nnamdi Kanu’s residence.
On the side of the Military, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, stated that troops of 145 Battalion were carrying out a “Show Of Force” near the residence of the IPOB leader when IPOB members blocked them and they fired shots in the air to disperse them.
IPOB insists their leader’s home was invaded by Nigerian soldiers leaving 3 of their members with gun shot injuries.
Beyond these claims and counter claims and regardless of the account you chose to believe, there are fundamental questions that must not just be asked but equally answered by those concerned.
And here are the questions:
What is the Nigerian Military doing on the streets of the Southeast which is adjudged the most peaceful region in the country?
Has the Military now replaced the police as law enforcement agency? The army has absolutely no business with unarmed peaceful agitators. Even in countries with voodoo democracies, routine law enforcement is the job of the police.
What manner of national army carries out “Show Of Force” by 6:30pm with armoured tanks in a rusty village in a region filled with tension and widespread perception that the military has been deployed with the sole intent to kill and maim?
Where is common sense in these?
Who deploys heavily armed soldiers against unarmed youths peacefully asking to be allowed to determine their future via a referendum?
If this was not a calculated attempt to provoke IPOB members so as to have a justification for mass murder, why would the army leave every other road and chose Nnamdi Kanu’s residence to do “Show Of Force”?
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This same Military is not doing “Show Of Force” with the boko haram terrorists who have killed thousands of Nigerians and displaced millions.
This same Military is not doing “Show Of Force” with the marauding fulani herdsmen who have acquired a reputation for killing and maiming non fulani-Muslim Nigerians and even going to Defence Headquarters to own up to it.
Few days ago, about 28 innocent villagers were mercilessly slaughtered by fulani herdsmen with known faces, names and addresses in Plateau state.
Our almighty military with their armoured tanks and “Show Of Force” were no where to be found. Where is state-sanctioned violence when you most needed it?
Criminally funny enough, boko haram terrorists once rated the world deadliest terror group are currently enjoying a juicy amnesty package while fulani militants once rated the world 4th deadliest terror groups currently have a dedicated taskforce made up of these same Nigerian soldiers gifting them with 24/7 protection.
A govt that negotiates with terrorists from the same religion and region as the President but turns around to visit unarmed aggrieved youths from another religion and region with armoured tanks and “Show Of Force” is a rogue govt.
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Quite frankly, there can be no argument that under President Muhammadu Buhari, the Tukur Buratai-led Nigerian army has almost completed its metamorphosis into a bunch of commonsensically bankrupt killing machine full of brawn but devoid of brain.
The fact that the Military appears oblivious of the fact that its invasion of civilian neighbourhood with tanks is a grave legal, moral and commonsensical anomaly is the greatest tragedy of it all. But in fairness to the soldiers, the fault is not entirely theirs. When you have a Commander-In-Chief who thinks its normal for his soldiers to kill hundredS of Shiite youths, women and children in Zaria just to make way for his army Chief, you’d be tempted to see the invasion of civilian space with tanks as nothing.
It does appear though that in Buhari, this country has the singular misfortune of being cursed with a president who seem very determined to escort her to Golgotta. The Daura born ex-soldier seems more committed to dissolving this country than a million Nnamdi Kanu.
Let me quickly leave this here with a piece of advise for those who think guns and tanks will stop this current Biafra agitation:
The best way of fuelling an agitation is by trying to suppress it.
As for those standing commonsense on its head in a desperate bid to justify this thuggery, I quite understand your plight. Ours is a broken society presided over by broken men. Being born a Nigerian and having to live in Nigeria with no means of having a first hand experience of how things are done in a civilized clime is one of the worst misfortune Mother Nature could gift anyone with.