8 December 2012

Nigeria: Jaji Bomb Blast and the Military Response


The bomb blast that occurred on 27th November 2012, in Jaji was the most serious assault to our military establishment in peace time. 17 people lost their lives and the damage caused was extensive. It was a grave damage to our most secured and important military institution and inflicted such damage that nowhere is safe in Nigeria. How they managed to gain access into Jaji is still very sketchy. Initial reports indicated they entered Jaji from outside, that Sunday.

While speculation making rounds presently is that the bombs were assembled in Jaji. Whatever the case, it was a very serious affair that demanded swift national response. The Chief of Defence Staff visited Jaji two days later; this visit should have been much earlier.

Five days later, the top two military commanders in Jaji, AVM Abdullahi Kure, the Commandant of Armed Forces Command and Staff College and Major General Mohammed Isah, the Corp Commandant of School of Infantry, the two prominent military institutions in Jaji were removed. A military Board of inquiry has been set up and investigations are still ongoing.

Reactions by Nigerians to the removal of these military commanders, who are both Muslims, are still being expressed. The Secretary General of Jamatul Nasir Islam, condemned this action. According to him, it was religiously biased. However, another section of Nigerians including Muslims, are of the opposite view. The debate is still going on. Whatever position we take on this issue we must never lose focus of the bigger picture, which is our beloved country is today almost in a state of war. The bomb blast in Jaji only serves to highlight this fact.

The national response to this calamity was not swift and sufficient enough. The overall military response has not been adequate. Within the last two years, three key military establishments were attacked: Mogadishu barracks in Abuja, Shadawanka barracks in Bauchi and One Mechanized Division headquarters in Kaduna. We expected the military to tighten security in all their locations, but apparently they did not do enough.

The question that we need to ask them is. How can they protect us if they cannot protect themselves? We do not want to hear of any assault on any military location in Nigeria again. They must sit up and tighten security not only in their formations but all important locations in Nigeria.

By removing the two commanders of Jaji they have set a new precedent and we expect this to reverberate to the top echelon of the military command and indeed the leadership. For now, we must stand firmly behind our military and give them all the necessary support. They are still the most nationalistic institution in Nigeria and a bastion of hope for our dear country.

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