Nigeria’s government continues to resemble movies about rogue regimes, the mafia, organised crime and a set of badly written tragi-comedy. Reports, Thursday ,that its army stopped a unit of intelligence police, killed them and set free a kidnapping Lord reminds me of the movie, Clear And Present Danger ( 1994) starring Harrison Ford and Willen Dafoe. According to reports, the kidnapper, Alhaji Hamisu, a Fulani, is an inlaw of Mr Buhari’s ADC. The games and intrigues since then which also meant that Mr Buhari had to be dragged to a “security meeting with service chiefs” ,all bear the standard hallmarks of a government that has gone the way of crime.
Before we theorize ,as we always do,about why Nigeria has become a classic madhouse, below is a precise’ on the movie
“Agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) becomes acting deputy director of the CIA when Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed with cancer. When an American businessman, and friend of the president, is murdered on a yacht, Ryan starts discovering links between the man and drug dealers. As CIA agent John Clark (Willem Dafoe) is sent to Colombia to kill drug kingpins in retaliation, Ryan must fight through multiple cover-ups to figure out what happened and who’s responsible.”
And here is a report by the spokesman for the Nigerian Police who some credit with a lot of courage given the dark clouds he must work in.
NAN reports that the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, had earlier issued a statement that the Police Operatives, led by ASP Felix Adolije of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) reportedly came under sudden attack by soldiers along Ibi–Jalingo Road. Mba said that the operatives, who were taking the arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo, were shot at severally by the soldiers in spite of sufficient proof that they are Police personnel on legitimate duty. He said that three Policemen comprising one Inspector and two Sergeants and one civilian died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained in the attack while others sustained serious gunshot wounds. According to him, THE SOLDIERS THEREAFTER RELEASED THE HANDCUFFED SUSPECT, ALHAJI HAMISU WHO IS NOW ON THE RUN.
Like in the movie, in today’s Nigeria, there are too many soldiers on the roads, streets,and in the forests whose missions are shrouded in mystery. Some air-drop guns and supplies to Boko Haram and Herdsmen. And the Nigerian police, a very demoralised set of badly clothed men and women don’t know which soldiers are which and on whose orders they act. Worse still, whose side the soldier are on. Reports have been rife about how soldiers set free criminals who are from a set apart tribe but the government propaganda machine has always denied this .Until Thursday, that is. Even after Mr Frank Mba made public the assassination of his men, the army tried to paper over the cracks. In the past, they might have succeeded but credibility has eroded.
What’s more, had all the policemen died, with none to tell the story, Nigerians and the families of the victims wouldn’t have known about it. They hear news and see videos about this sort of government sponsored killings. But the government is often able to dismiss them as fake news from the opposition. But this episode is real and eerie and thus, can’t be wished away.
In June, some soldiers paraded and punished Fulani herdsmen who tried to kidnap travellers on Ibadan-Ife road, South West Nigeria. The soldiers didn’t get a commendation. They got pains in return. They were probably those who are still in the army but clearly unaware that the enemy is not the killers but the helpless farmer, traveller and villager. That the army and very armed criminals are on the same side.
In the past, for whatever reason, the spokesman for Nigeria’s Army used to be from the South. Mr Buhari experimented with one ,Texas Chukwuma ,and was soon redeployed. He probably began to know too much and one who knew the rules of engagement, a Fulani, took his place.
The result of all this, the evidence from Wednesday’s wilful assassinations of policemen is symptomatic of a personalised military. All of the top brass are from Mr Buhari’s tribe who often order captures Boko Haram fighters free as they have become “repentant”.
One of the government’s spokesmen at Thursday’s emergency meeting was Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar. He tried to explain away the tragedy. But what people didn’t know about Mr Sadique is that he is used to literally getting away with mass murders.
On January 17, 2017, as Chief of Air Staff, (a position he still holds) his pilots bombed a Nigerian IDP camp with the nation’s flag and that of the Red Cross in public glare. The horror took place in Rann, Borno state. The final death toll would be about 236 ,including Red Cross Aid Workers. Mr Sadique who said it was a mistake and that the camp “was not on the map” was promoted to a full Marshal as a reward. No enquiries ,even as Femi Falana, a prominent lawyer, called for one, and Nigeria’s for-sale media went to sleep.
The deliberate killing of those policemen and a civilian by bullets of Nigeria’s army which looks like an established pattern gives the lie to Mr Buhari’s fight against insecurity. If anything, it shows that his men and women forment and profit from it.
It is not to be wondered at then, why some governors just go ahead and pay bandits. Afterall, the army is behind them. How low can a nation fall?