During the week, Nigeria's Army Chief, General Azubuike Ihejirika announced that the service is recruiting about 9,000 men.
This is obviously yet another strategy of confronting the insurrection mainly in the North Eastern flank of the country. Ordinarily, this may pass for a simple strategy of addressing the problem that seems endemic and that has caused so much pains, lives, property and reputation for not just the region, but the country as a whole. The problem, however, is that a lot of us see obvious flaws in the manner the army high command has attended to this pogrom.
What seems clear these days is that conspiracy theories are flying all over the place and suggestions as to the readiness of the army to see to the end of the insurrection is increasingly becoming suspect in view of claims and counter claims from several quarters.
At times like the one we are in, the magic that does the solution is primarily anchored on intelligence. The army has a specialized unit that deals on intelligence, apart from the other numerous intelligence services that are supposed to play complimentary roles on matters of national security. It is increasingly becoming doubtful if the nation's intelligence community is up to date or in reality capable of justifying the huge expenditure on them.
What we see visibly in the air and all over the place is the seeming over-reliance on brute force in addressing insurgency that has since taken the form of guerilla warfare. It is doubtful if since the commencement of the Boko Haram menace, the Nigerian Army has changed its tactics in confronting the situation.
Every turn along the way and on a daily basis, what we hear is the number of soldiers killed, number of insurgents and civilians killed to the extent that Nigerians seem to be losing count of the fatality especially amongst the population. The fear now is that innocent citizens are often summarily executed by soldiers in the name of Boko Haram. The case of the eight lumpen elements killed in an uncompleted building in Apo quarters and the response we got from the army high command which run contrary to dominant view of public opinion.
Some Nigerians are already seeing the persistence of the insurrection and the inability to end it by those who officially carry arms on our behalf as simply a confirmation of the economic argument which says those at the top in the army are reaping so much that as soon as they declare the insurgency over, the cash cow would no longer be there.
It is against this background that the current hypothesis suggests that recruiting 9,000 men into the army just to fight insurgency is ill-advised and an indication that the army high command has lost control and is merely employing tools and strategy to continue to guzzle scarce national resources that are needed in critical sectors of the nation.
I think the best way out this insurgency lies in the need to review strategy and call the army to order. If all the force so far used has not yielded the desired outcome, it is necessary that a re-strategization be thought of at this material time and I am of the view that recruiting 9,000 men into the army is an unnecessary expenditure which must be resisted and discontinued.
If we are to believe the army that they are on top of the insurgency as they constantly claim, why then the need to hire more men for the same purpose? I think something is missing somewhere and Nigerians must not just sit back and lose their intelligence quotient while the army high command continues to speak from different sides of the mouth.
If the army is on top of the situation, then there is no need to hire more men. If they are not, the recruitment would not make any better. Instead, those who are responsible must devise new strategies for the army in particular and the military in general as well as the intelligence services so that we may see the end of this disaster that has consumed the nation.
The double speak is obviously embarrassing because at times like this, it is dangerous to hand over the fate of millions of people in the hands of soldiers as is the case in those states under emergency rule. I am in love with this statement by Captain Thomas Sankara who said that a soldier without genuine political education is a potential criminal
I am of the opinion that it is time that the government withdraws the state of emergency imposed on these three states. In the event that President Jonathan fails to do that at the expiration of the six months, the National Assembly must not renew any such proclamation in the name of the people.
It is my humble view that more concerted and strategic approach must be deployed in the management of what is left of this insurrection unless of course if the 2015 dimension which s being peddled around has some basis in reality. All over the world, insurgencies are dealt with not through brute military force and action but the mixture of several other strategies, why would our own be different?
In conclusion, there is no relationship between the claim by the army that he situation in the North East is under control and the recent statement by the army chief that they are recruiting 9,000 troops to deal with the insurgency. By the way, does the army know the numerical strength of the insurgents? Are they in tens of thousands or mere hundreds?
I see the recent attempt by the army as merely a desire to increase the burden that Nigerians are already carrying. Those in political positions must stop this ambition in the name of now and the future. What happens to these men that would be recruited after the insurgency is dealt with? Would they be retained or be demobilized? Either way, it portends great danger for the country.
Leaving them in service will mean huge bills while demobilizing them in the face of current social condition in the country, if it remains as it is, will mean injecting more criminal activities in the society. Nigeria is therefore in a catch 22 situation, the resolution of which is the current force must change tactics, be honest with itself and the nation by telling us the truth and reviewing their strategies in the war against insurgency while honestly acting in national rather than self-interest.
Already the morale of our soldiers is severely compromised because they have been exposed to the vigorous atmosphere of the civil Nigeria where every one of us knows things are not normal. The soldiers are likely to behave like every other citizen since they are no longer insulated but rather exposed. This is very unfortunate. It will take time and serious efforts to reverse the rot.