Nigeria: Be Your Own Superhero.
These people when they attack towns, they kill boys and enslave girls… People must stand resolute in the face of attack and not abandon their towns, women and children. People must not assume that the crisis will not reach their area… If it comes, we are asking God to give us fortitude, but if He wishes to take martyrs from amongst us, we should be ready to give our lives. People must not wait for soldiers to protect them. There are even instances where soldiers on ground ran away in the face of attack.
– Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano.
In 2014, N968.127B ($5.86B) was appropriated as the budget for security of which 90% ($5.27B) was allocated for salaries and administrative costs and 10% ($589.2M) allocated as capital expenditure for procurement of ammunition for the army, security equipment for the national security adviser, firearms and ammunition for the state security service and seven helicopters for the air force.
The disturbing question that gnaws at my mind is whether Boko Haram is spending up to $5.86 billion to give the Nigerian Armed Forces a run for their money. I agree that it is a bad pun but such is the irony of the war against terror where the leader of Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, has been killed by the Nigerian Army about half a dozen times and returns from the dead like a cat with nine lives to hoist more black flags over captured territories in his self proclaimed Islamic Caliphate.
Truth be told, the Nigerian Army has won many battles and in recent times is reclaiming more captured territories but Boko Haram, like a marauding beast, seems to be claiming new territory as they retreat.
The disconcerting fact is that Emir Sanusi would know firsthand the state of security in the country having served as Central Bank Governor for four years before his controversial sack. As CBN Governor he paid for military procurements from the national treasury just as he doled out N100M as aid to his kinsmen in Kano after the coordinated detonation of 20 bombs in 5 police stations including the State Police headquarters and State Security Service quarters in 2012. Now as King, he has charged his kingdom to protect themselves because the soldiers on ground are running away from the battlefield.
Deeply saddening is the reality that every Nigerian trapped in Boko Haram’s Islamic Caliphate must fight this battle for survival. The 360,462 internally displaced persons (according to Nigerian Emergency Management Agency’s June 2014 figures) have testified that the calvary with their armada may not arrive in time to save the day or may themselves flee into neighbouring Cameroun in the face of attack. Such has been the story these past 5 years the war on terror has raged.
Forget about food, water, shelter and clothes; lay aside every desire for electricity, telephones, internet, school and work because the Nigerian living in the North East is fighting to keep breath in his nostrils. Like the Emir of Kano advised, people cannot afford to wait for soldiers to protect them.
The hunters that assisted the Armed Forces with their Dane guns, bows and arrows reclaimed Mubi, the second largest city in Adamawa State which was captured by Boko Haram and renamed Madinatul Islam. It was Alhaji Abubakar Isa, the Emir of Mubi that initiated the hunters’ offensive against Boko Haram after they invaded his palace and murdered his son.
We simply cannot wait for Boko Haram to attack us first. We, private citizens, must take up the gauntlet and protect ourselves from this genocide. We may not have guns but nonetheless we must stay vigilant and united in the wake of terror to find the courage to do what we must to protect ourselves and our children. We must expose sleeper cells waiting for instructions from Abubakar Shekau to kill and cause carnage in Abuja, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Jos, Sokoto, Taraba, Yola and even Lagos State.
But we must not take laws into our own hands and lynch suspected terrorists without trial. This jungle justice must stop as it makes us no better than Boko Haram who kills in cold blood. We must instead assist our Armed Forces and each other in this battle with information and intelligence as we fight the battle together, in the field, on our knees and with our donations to displaced Nigerians scattered in refugee camps.
Most importantly, we must force the government to fight back. Enough of the election gallivanting and blame game. It has been five years since this set of insurgents attacked our sovereignty. Today, hundreds of teenage girls have been enslaved, tens of thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. We can no longer afford to ignore the battle for the soul of Nigeria. For decades, they have been coming for us slowly but surely. The mission of Boko Haram and the ones who came before them is to occupy Nigeria. Let us remember this as we choose who will go before us in battle, our Commander-in-Chief in 2015.