by Solanke Abiola
His allegations are not only grave but capable of inciting ethno-religious crises. It is reckless, careless, wild and unbecoming of a public official of his magnitude. What could have been responsible for his outbursts? Could it be his perceived ‘hatred’ for President Jonathan? Could it be a way of inciting Northerners against President Jonathan and the Federal Government?
Governor Murtala Nyako has once again stirred the hornet nest with his unguarded outbursts. In a widely circulated memo to his fellow Northern Governors, Governor Nyako among other things accused the Federal Government of carrying out Genocide against Northerners in the guise of waging war against insurgents. According to the memo dated April 16, Nyako accused the Federal Government of using security operatives to eliminate Northerners. According to him ‘’ while every state Government is doing everything possible using virtually all its resources to stem the tide of near disaster facing all of us especially in the North, it is a well-known fact that the present Federal administration has now become a Government of impunity run by an evil-minded leadership for the advancement of corruption that is apparently enjoying the protection of the Federal administration as a citizen of this country should enjoy but is being denied by the administration using its mass murderers/cut-throats imbedded in our legitimate and traditional defence and security organisations’’.
Vice Admiral Nyako went ahead to accuse the Federal Government of promoting ethno-religious crises in the North. He also alleged that the Federal Government is complicit in the serial kidnappings happening in the North as well as attacks on Muslim cleric and traditional rulers of Northern extraction.
Unfortunately for Nigeria, just like the wave of terrorism blowing across the world, the country has been under the attack of insurgents for some time now. The Boko-haram insurgency came into full force following the killing of its leader Mohammed Yusuf by security operatives in 2009. Ever since then, it has wrecked series of havoc on the country and Northern Nigeria mostly. It has claimed responsibility for several attacks on places of worships, bombings of Police Headquarters and United Nation headquarters ( both in Abuja), attacks on schools, military formations and most recently the Nyanya car-park in Abuja. The attacks by these insurgents has caused untold hardships to many families and as a way of flushing out the sect, the Federal Government declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states which are the hot-bed of the attacks (Incidentally, they are all APC-Controlled states)
Though the FG appears to be losing the war against the insurgents, reckless statements by prominent Northern elites and clerics have not helped matters. Religion and politics have taken the centre-stage thus complicating the whole scenario. The recent memo by Nyako to his Northern colleagues is one of such statements which ought not to have proceeded from the mouth of a leader not less a State Governor. The memo is not only capable of inciting ethno-religious conflicts, it is also capable of undermining the war against the insurgents. The war against terrorism is such that requires the co-operation of all political parties, religious organisations, ethnic groups and individuals. It is thus unfortunate that highly placed persons will seek to stoke embers of disunity among the populace who are already affected by attacks of extremists.
His allegations are not only grave but capable of inciting ethno-religious crises. It is reckless, careless, wild and unbecoming of a public official of his magnitude. What could have been responsible for his outbursts? Could it be his perceived ‘hatred’ for President Jonathan? Could it be a way of inciting Northerners against President Jonathan and the Federal Government? Could it have been a way of creating hostility before the visit of the President to Adamawa state to receive Major General Burba Marwa who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)? Or could it be an attempt to stampede the President from extending the state of emergency declared in the state since last year? It is expected that Politicians will know how to delineate politics from issues of National importance. Security is a very delicate issue which must not be politicised Irrespective of Political affiliations. Governor Nyako needs to be reminded that Boko Haram attacks predates the current administration and so attempting to nail the President is out of place. Incidentally, the worst hit of those states affected by Boko-Haram insurgency are states being governed by the Opposition (APC). One would therefore expect that these State Governors will co-operate with the Security apparatus to jointly eliminate terrorists.
Of all the allegations made by Nyako, worse still was when he went ahead to stoke a dangerous fire by accusing the Military high command of carrying out elimination of soldiers of Northern extraction. According to him “Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that virtually all the soldiers of Northern Nigerian origin recently recruited to fight Boko-Haram have been deceived in that aspect. They are being poorly trained, totally ill-equipped, given only uniform and are killed by their trainers in Nigerian army training centres as soon as they arrive in the Nigerian Army camps being used by so-called Boko-Haram insurgents.’’
It is unfortunate that a retired uniform man who once served as Chief of Naval Staff will seek to stoke division and mutual suspicion between security operatives! It is unfortunate that those who should know better regarding operations of security operatives and the connection with politics and religion have thrown caution to the wind and engaged in tomfoolery. This is the height of recklessness which can consume an entire country. Attempting to create mutual suspicion among troops fighting against insurgents is the most suicidal thing that any citizen can think of. Security operatives are trained to discharge their duties professionally without religious, ethnic and political sentiments and so the fact that a citizen more so a state Governor seeks to divide the security agents along religious, Ethnic and Political lines is not only condemnable but unpatriotic.
The memo by Nyako should not be discarded as it suggests that the Governor knows more than the average Nigerian about the killings in the North. I think the Nigerian security agents need to extract more information from him in a bid to make him substantiate his wild claims. Public officials and elites must realise that their positions and offices places a burden on them as to what they are expected to dish out to the public. Statements emanating from these people carry weight and can incite the public to resort to violence thus requiring that public officials exhibit some level of caution in the statements they make publicly.
The bomb blast at Nyanya and kidnapping of over 200 girls by these extremists are attacks too much for us to bear. There is the need to re-strategize and review our counter-terrorism approach. The war against terror has to be fought and won by all, not just the security agents. The Government should also see to the welfare of troops fighting these insurgents. State Governments especially those of the Northern axis must begin to take practical steps to discourage their youths from being recruited by the insurgents. There is a need to create massive job opportunities so that the youths can be engaged in productive ventures. The time to end this carnage is now. While we eagerly await an end to this carnage, some people who cannot contribute to the collective war would do better by keeping their mouths in its stead.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.