7 months after claiming that Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau had been killed, the Nigerian army has come out to say that this was, as many people already either suspected or firmly believed, not the case.
This is, quite simply, a tragedy of epic proportions, and here’s why in particular.
1. Nigerians cannot trust their own military
There’s nothing new here, in a sense. Nigerians already regard law enforcement with the same suspicion with which they view politicians and other leaders. But the fight against Boko Haram has been such a long, painful and desperate one that Nigerians had no choice but to put the collective faith of the country in the military. Given that the army insisted that Shekau was dead, even going so far as to release a video purporting to display the attack in which he was ‘killed,’ the military has just confirmed to Nigerians that trusting them is an exercise in futility.
2. The Nigerian Army has no respect for its own people
Countless Nigerian lives have been lost to Boko Haram, not just everyday citizens, but also the great men of the military who have given their lives to protect the rest of us. The fact that the Nigerian army has now confirmed yet another instance of misinformation points to them either not knowing the true situation of things, or being deliberately dishonest with Nigerians. Both situations serve only to undermine the efforts of the soldiers who fight everyday to protect Nigerian lives. This is not a joke. Men and women give their lives everyday. And this sort of runaround implies that even that is not serious enough to make the army get their story straight. Hell, even the soldiers have spoken out about the deception that they themselves face from their leadership.
3. The Nigerian army is a microcosm of Nigeria
Seriously. The Nigerian army is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Or maybe they aren’t expecting different results. That would even make some form of sense given how much we would expect them to have learned in the past couple of years. Take the Chibok saga, and the statements, retractions and obfuscation that took place back then. It was easy to blame it on the previous administration but we’re two years into a new presidency and new army leadership yet here we are again. The fact is, claiming that Shekau died, insisting upon it several different times, are the kind of behaviour we decry everyday in ourselves as Nigerians. Seeing it so blatantly and boldly exhibited by our leaders and protectors, who are supposed to exemplify the best of what is possible from, for and by us, is disheartening beyond measure.
4. This administration is turning out to be more and more of a farce everyday
The one thing that President Buhari would have been scored highly on over the past 2 years was his handling of Boko Haram. There’s no point in listing all of his other failings here, but the fact that this now appears to be yet another of them is a terrible shame.
5. This is all, sadly, nothing new
We’re sorry to continually getting proven right, but we said it already: The Nigerian Army is incapable of self-correcting, We were right then and we are right now. We don’t know how it is that the change can be made to happen, but one thing is for sure, things cannot go on this way.
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