Tears of hapless Nigerians under the bondage of kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram continued for most of the week, after bloodthirsty Boko Haram murdered Pastor Lawan Andimi, who was the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government of Adamawa. The terrorists rejected the N50 million offered them and slaughtered Andimi. These bastards have done their worst; they can only kill Andimi’s body, not his soul. For sure, his spirit will hunt down these killers one by one. The murderous Boko Haram fighters are emboldened by our coldblooded and unabashed failed leaders. Andimi was abducted on January 2, and for 18 days, he begged to be rescued by the Nigerian state. Nothing happened until he was beheaded by the cowards called Boko Haram last Monday.
While in the dungeon of Boko Haram, Andimi, 58, and father of nine children showed uncommon courage. I will never forget the cleric in a video posted by the terrorists saying if it pleased God that he be released, he would be freed, but if God decides not to get him out, his wife should be patient and his colleagues should look after his children. He requested his colleagues in CAN, as well as his family members, not to be weary, “since God’s will must be respected in our lives.” He was courageous and unwavering in his faith in God, even at the point of death: “By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, children and colleagues and if the opportunity is not granted, then maybe it is the will of God. All well-wishers and colleagues should be patient. Don’t cry, don’t worry but thank God for everything.” My beloved Andimi, remain blessed in the bosom of the Lord. Your killers have murdered sleep. They will never sleep again.
In his usual rhetoric, President Buhari condemned the killing of Andimi, describing it as cruel, inhuman and deliberately provocative. Mere rhetoric, no action followed. More often than not, killers are never apprehended by the Buhari government. I am shocked that our President, in his statement, said the insurgents would continue to pay a heavy price for their actions, adding that they would eventually be defeated. Haba! But the President told Nigerians that the terrorists had been defeated. Perhaps, his aides did not read the statement very well before issuing it. Besides, who has been paying “heavy price”? Certainly not the terrorists.
Our gallant soldiers and innocent Nigerians are the ones paying heavy price, with scores killed daily by Boko Haram and ISWAP. Just on Tuesday, eight soldiers lost their lives after Boko Haram ambushed a military patrol team in Mainok, Borno State. Five soldiers were wounded and two are still missing in action. Last weekend, 17 soldiers were killed in confrontations with Boko Haram along Bama-Gwoza road.
Also last week, a 200 level student of the University of Maiduguri, Dalep Dachiya, was beheaded by Boko Haram and. The video of his gruesome murder was released by the terrorists on January 22nd. Dalep was on his way to school on January 9th when he was abducted by the sect.
The National body of CAN was right when it blamed the murder of Andimi on the poor response to his abduction by the federal government. Our security agents lack the capacity to respond appropriately. This is the truth that must be told. The terrorists were communicating with the family of Andimi, using GSM phone and security agents could not track their location. This continued for over two weeks, until the insurgents severed negotiations, called the wife of the abducted pastor and told her that they would kill him on Saturday but postponed the execution to last Monday. What a country.
I agree with the Chairman of Kaduna State CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, who said the usual condemnation of these killings by the federal government without any concrete action was not enough. “We have said condemnation of atrocities without any concrete action is not good enough. What we are hearing and seeing is increase in fear by our people,” he said.
The national body of CAN adds: “The church views the unabated kidnappings, extortion and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency. It is reprehensible and saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgents, more killings of our people are committed.
“What is the essence of SIM card registration if the authorities cannot use it to track down these killers who rely on phones as a means of communication? What has become of intelligence gathering of our security agencies? Is this government and its security agencies still claiming that the war against these criminals in religious garments has been won despite all the killings? Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency?”
Boko Haram killings are embarrassingly-unending. On Christmas eve, a faction of Boko Haram affiliated to the Islamic State, killed 11 Christian captives in Borno State, saying the action was taken to avenge the deaths of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir, its spokesman, who were killed in Syria, last October. Four abducted aid workers of the Action Against Hunger, an international non-government organisation, were also killed by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) last December. The insurgents said the aid workers were killed because of the breakdown of talks with the federal government.
The European parliament was correct when it stated that there’s been no progress in the fight against Boko Haram. In its resolution on January 16, 2020, the group of 28 countries that operates as a cohesive economic and political block lamented the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria. The EU is unhappy that “progress has stalled in the fight against Boko Haram, ISWAP and the increased occurrence and severity of suicide attacks and direct attacks against military positions.”
It recalled that Buhari was re-elected in 2019 on the promise of defeating Boko Haram and other terror groups, and urged the President to implement his campaign promises.
On the flip side, Kaduna can be conveniently described as the epicenter of abductions and killings in Nigeria. Early in January, bandits attacked 10 Gbagyi communities in Chikun and Birnin Gwari council areas of the state and kidnapped 58 people. They are asking for N100 million ransom from the families of the victim, who are in a refugee camp situated in an uncompleted Community Secondary School, Unguwan Bije in Gonin Gora. The 58 victims have been in captivity since January 6, 2020.
Their Spokesman, Habila Rumana said: “What we know is that the attackers are well armed and they are Fulani. They would graze on our crops and threaten to kill us if we protest. Sometimes they could attack and take our people captive. We will manage and pay ransoms and even after paying, sometimes they kill the victims. But the January 6, 2020 attack was the worst. Hundreds of armed gunmen invaded about 10 of our villages at the same time. They carried out deadly attacks and looted our villages. At the last count between 34 and 36 people were killed. In fact, 58 people were kidnapped. But we still can’t account for many of our people.”
This is the organised wickedness going on in Kaduna State for so long, and unchecked, under a constituted authority. The affected villages in Chikun Council Area are Badna, Zankoro, Hayin Damisa, Unguwan Badole, Badimi, Kuderi and Unguwan Doma, while those in Birnin Gwari Council Area are, Rumana Gbagyi, Rumana Hausa and Malomo.
The bandits also attacked Gora-Gan village in the Zango-Kataf Local Government Area of Southern Kaduna on January 17, killing and maiming. The gunmen had invaded the village market square and opened fire on the youths, killing two of them on the spot. Governor Nasir El-rufai has to rise above religious sentiments and tackle the crisis in this state.
The bandits in Zamfara and Niger states are also still rampaging. On January 14, they killed 14 people in Babban Rafi village of Gunmi Local Government Area of Zamfara.
In Niger State, the village head of Rumathe, in Shiroro Local Government Area, Ahmad Yakubu Rumathe was killed on January 17. 22 villagers from the community and nearby villages, including the son of the slain village head, were also kidnapped by the bandits. Two weeks back, bandits in separate raids on the nearby Munya Local Government Area, killed an army officer, three soldiers and four other villagers.
Our security agents clearly lack the capacity to handle Boko Haram, ISWAP, kidnappers and bandits. Our dear country must seek help from developed countries. For me, I will always point in the direction of Israel and Russia.
A Word for Power Minister
With the way the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has been going about his job since assumption of office, I can safely say that he has a personal agenda in the ministry. This minister is out to execute this personal agenda. First was the strange suspension of the hardworking managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi. It was followed by his bizarre dismissal of Marilyn Amobi as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited (NBET). Mamman was clearly reckless. It was good that Buhari reversed the two actions.
Mamman has also appointed two of his kinsmen as directors into the REA, with instruction that the directors be in charge of procurement and funds within the REA. The directors are Lawal Ibrahim (Funds) and Bulus Maiyaki (Procurement). Maiyaki was internally redeployed while Ibrahim was brought in from outside REA. Even the junior minister that supervises REA, Jedy-Agba, is unaware of these appointments.
The way Mamman has been going about his job portends danger for our vital power sector that has been a big drawback to Nigeria’s economy. This minister goes about without respect for due process and proficiency. The display of nude power and nepotism by Mamman must be curtailed. He must stop personalising decisions in the ministry and learn to work with Jedy-Agba. The collective interest of Nigerians must be paramount. This is what Mamman has sworn to do and he must abide by this oath or be shipped out.
Amotekun: The Wisdom of Afe Babalola
Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afe Babalola was on point on his perspective on the raging debate over the legality of Amotekun, the South-west security outfit. Any attempts by the federal government, or its appendages, to terminate the security outfit will fail, because the initiative is deeply rooted in the 1999 constitution, so says the legal luminary.
Babalola argues: “The South-west governors have the right to protect their people because that is the ultimate responsibility of responsive government. Amotekun doesn’t only have roots in the 1999 Constitution but other previous constitutions. The Minister of Justice relied on the Article 45, second schedule of the 1999 Constitution (amended) that gives the FG the exclusive power to manage the police, and forgot that sections 24, 40 and 45 impose clear responsibility on citizens to ensure security of their lives and property.
“Section 24 of the constitution provides that ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen to make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides’. Well-being means security of life and property etc.
“Section 40 goes further that ‘every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests’. When you put these two together, it shows that all of us have the duty to associate whether as Yoruba people or as state people to ensure that lives and properties are safe. The Amotekun outfit has its roots in the constitution. It is constitutional, it is legal and proper.”
Babalola nailed it. The federal government should embrace and key into the Amotekun instead of trying to kill it. Sections 20, 40 and 45 of our Constitution evidently back Amotekun. These sections are superior to the schedule our languid AGF, Abubakar Malami has been quoting.