By Christie Doyin
Haaaa! That was my first reaction when I read the statement credited to Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, that Libya was responsible for insurgency in Nigeria. Haba!! The headline
‘Boko Haram: Libya causing Insurgency not Service Chiefs, Garba Shehu says’, was a ‘no, no’ for me. I didn’t like it one bit and when I tried to discuss with some friends, their reactions were worse than my haaaaa!
For crying out loud! Would any one consider this statement appropriate as response to issue of insurgency or see the government as being responsive and responsible to the citizenry? My heart weep!
How any serious government would claim to know that another country is responsible for terrorism especially and would fold its arms is something that has left flabbergasted. The report, “Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has blamed the Boko Haram insurgency on the conflict in Libya”.
Really, I cannot but agree with the SSA that our “Our Armed Forces are doing an enormously good job, they are not sitting on their laurels but the challenges have mounted because of factors extraneous to the region …”
“and Nigerians should have an appreciation and be sympathetic and see that all of the things about the collapse of Libya is no fairy tale.
“Europeans for their competing interests in Libya were dropping weapons into villages in Libya. A lot of these elements have found their way into ungoverned spaces in the Sahel”.
What Shehu is trying to prove by saying the president is no novice is what I don’t know. He wrote, “…Could it be better with the sacking of the service chiefs? My sense is that the President as the Commander-In-Chief is not a novice in the first instance.
And when I read – “My sense is that the President as the Commander-In-Chief is not a novice in the first instance”, I realised that indeed, something is wrong somewhere.
I’m dammed to think Garba Shehu seems to be moved by something that gave him the impression that we all want to be members of the armed forces and perhaps commander in chief. Would someone just tellvthis man no, we’re not interested but only care for the good of our nation and the citizens. No one is disputing the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was I military General and now head of state. I couldn’t helped being pissed off reading the following from the President’s spokesman – “He was a military commander, a military head of state and the latitude of opinions intellectual, security, military available to him is not available to most of the critics.
“So, it is wrong of them to interlope in a way and begin to speak on matters of which they do not have the competence to pass judgement. I hope I don’t seem arrogant but I am stating facts as they are.”
I’m not going to be crude or rude but oga Shehu is only rubbing salt on our injury as he tried boosting the ego of our dear President. Please don’t insult us! Nigerians, I believe Nigerians are not in any competition with the President and his men, no, not in the least, all we care about is our security, good infrastructure,food on our tables and employment opportunities.
The worst of what is happening now in the country is that people are reluctant to talk because they are scared the DSS, EFCC and other security agents will be let loose on them under any guise other than the fact the they proffer opinion.
This therefore brought me to the altercation between the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai and the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Babagana Monguno, which according to reports has led to the withdrawal of officers attached to Monguno, after battles with Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
As reported, “It was gathered that seven Colonels and three Army Generals serving at the NSA were ordered to leave without being replaced on February 4; the remaining team of 13 Army officers serving at the NSA were notified to report elsewhere on February 10, leaving the fortified ONSA facility without any army protection.
“Recall that the Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, accused President Mohammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, of undue and dangerous interference on matters bordering on national security”.
The online medium reported that Monguno has fired a warning memo to all service chiefs to desist from taking further directives from Mr. Kyari, stating that Mr Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were sometimes issued without the knowledge much less approval of the president, a practice he said has added to government’s failure to contain insecurity.
“Chief of staff to the president is not a presiding head of security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country,” Mr Monguno, a retired major-general, said in the December 9, 2019, letter.
“As such, unprofessional practices such as presiding over meetings with service chiefs and heads of security organisations as well as ambassadors and high commissioners to the exclusion of the NSA and/or supervising ministers are a violation of the Constitution and directly undermine the authority of Mr President.
“Such acts and continues meddlesomeness by the chief of staff have not only ruptured our security and defence efforts but have slowed down any meaningful gain that Mr President has sought to achieve.”
I’m learning so much about Nigeria and governance in this our ‘great nation’ everyday. I believe you and I can learn from unfolding events.
I wonder what the role of Libya is in all this and what the Federal Government plan to do to checkmate Libya and other countries perceived to be causing problems for us and increasing the festered terrorism in the country.
From the foregoing, it appears that Tukur Buratai have taken sides with Abba Kyari in the chief of staff’s raging battle against the national security adviser, Babagana Monguno the report further revealed.
“But Mr Monguno allegedly insisted the officers would not leave the NSA, dismissing their transfer as a vindictive measure taken by Mr Buratai to stand in solidarity with Mr Kyari, who is allegedly helping to keep the service chiefs in office despite public outcry and a resolution by both chambers of the National Assembly”.
If this report is right, then we have a very serious security challenge in our hands it will surely need the expertise and superior intervention of the versatile President to intervene as Buratai’s determination to cut army support to the ONSA and Monguno’s decision to spurn it has resulted in a stand-off that could threaten the country’s stability, as military officers are caught between obeying their most-senior commander and another authority that supervises the entire military architecture, security experts said.
For instance, Senator Abaribe on Wednesday, January 29, asked President Buhari to resign over the security situation in the country.
During plenary, the lawmaker asked the President to resign, arguing that the APC-led government has failed on its promise to secure the nation.
But reacting to Abaribe’s comments in his usual way, Garba Shehu said the call does not represent the opinion of the country, stressing that the lawmaker’s take on the matter is the opinion of an armchair critic, known for making stray comments.
Shehu was also reported to have said that, “if a leader like President Buhari needs to resign, there are millions of other Nigerians who need to resign, including Senator Abaribe who unlocked the door to enable the escape of traitorous and treasonable suspects”. Uhmmmm, isn’t there trouble already?
Actually, I don’t want to be caught in the web being spined by powerful individuals in the corridor of power by delving too much into their matter, though widely reported but I must say that those powerful people not directly affected by the security lapses and acts of terrorism should be our main focus and not Libya or any other country or body.
I rest my case.
*Doyin, writes via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org