Why we must salute our soldiers

The burning issue and the subject of discussion these days in the country are our fallen heroes, doughty and dauntless soldiers in the village of Metele in Borno State. Those that died and the surviving ones are our men of distinguished courage and ability. We always admire them for their brave deeds and noble qualities. What happened was not out of looseness, lacking in reticence or out of reluctance, but this is the nature of war anywhere.

American troops were defeated and humiliated in Somalia in the hands of Farah Aidid militia. The whole world saw how a dead body of an American soldier was dragged on the ground by Somalians. America with all their mighty, superior power and strength left that country in shame and abashment.

The Russians occupied Afghanistan and installed their stooge, but later were defeated by the Taliban under the leadership of Mullah Omar and AlQa’eda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden. They bombarded with heavy artillery the stronghold of the Talibans for many days, but they were later surmounted and left the country. Many of their soldiers were killed. America again has been fighting these people in Afghanistan since the attack on the twin towers in New York, now it is getting to about 17 years, but they are unable to subdue them, though Osama bin Laden himself was killed during the administration of Obama. Up to now, the government of Somalia cannot conquer the Al-Shabab and bring them into subjection, despite the fact that it was assisted by African troops from Kenya and some other countries.

Therefore, I wonder how some Nigerians and some media houses are hammering and trouncing on this issue of Metele village as if this is the first time for such thing to happen in the world or even in Nigeria. People have soon forgotten the huge number of our soldiers who lost their lives during the last administration.

We all know how our soldiers were fleeing and leaving their weapons to Boko Haram because they were ill equipped no incentives and no required recognition for their effort. As a result of this the huge number of our soldiers who lost their lives from 2011 was much more than the ones who lost their lives from 2015 to date. We, the people of the North East know this for sure.

My fellow countrymen let us do justice to the present government and to our army. Let us draw a comparison between the situation of our army during the last administration and now as I mentioned above in terms of achievements, audacity, degrading of Boko Haram, morale or confidence and preparedness or readiness, for they are now better equipped and their morale is very high.

Presently, we do not have a single village in the hands of the miscreant elements in the entire region, while before the advent of this administration, they took over 17 local government areas in the 3 states.

During the previous administration, we the dwellers of Maiduguri, Damaturu and some other towns were in perpetual curfew. From 6pm up to 7am, there should be no movement at all. Everybody should be indoors. Markets were closed by 5pm. The two afternoon prayers, namely Magrib and Isha, and also the dawn or Subhi prayer should be done in houses but not in congregation in mosques as they supposed to be. Schools were closed and turned into IDP camps. Villages were deserted completely. Big towns like Bama, Gwoza, Dikwa, Konduga and so on were also deserted and abandoned. Emirs of these towns had migrated to Maiduguri. All the major road linking Maiduguri to outside world were closed apart from Maiduguri – Damaturu road, because it was heavily guarded by the soldiers, otherwise Maiduguri would have been a big prison for us.

Maiduguri has been a major business centre, because it is close to some neighbouring countries like Cameroun, Niger and Chad and also the area is known for a big and flourishing fish market and livestock. Transportation of various kinds of goods from Nigeria to these countries and vice versa was also blooming. All these activities came to a standstill. Poverty reached to an alarming and disquieting degree, above all these, loss of lives was the order of the day in all the three states, namely Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. We thank Almighty Allah for the relief and the freedom we regain now.

Nigerians, we must hail our gallant army. Let us say kudos to them, for they have restored their lost glory. Let us appreciate and commend the tireless efforts of this administration. Insurgency war cannot be won in a short time, as I explained in our aforementioned statements. Bangladesh spent more than 20 years fighting insurgency. Please we should not politicize security matters. We should not play politics with the lives of our people. We should not make such issues to be our points or subject for political campaign.

Furthermore, we should not be oblivious of the fact that, Boko Haram and their atrocities had reached Abuja during the last regime and the other parts of the country like Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi and Adamawa among others. United Nations office bombing and Nyanya carnage and destruction in Abuja are still fresh in our minds. Kano Central Mosque blood bath during Friday prayer is still at the back of our minds. They attempted to assassinate the Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero, while they killed the Emir of Gwoza and one gubernatorial candidate in Maiduguri. But now can they dare to commit these heinous acts? Can they move freely to kill whom they wish and take over wherever they like? Can they now send letters to our businessmen to demand from them huge amount of money? In sha Allah, all these are over now.

Prof. Nguru wrote this piece from Abuja.

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