I am writing to you as a Nigerian Diaspora parent. And I am writing to you in your capacities as the minister of defence (Aliyu Gusau), the Inspector General of Police(Mohammed Abubakar), and the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Because our children here in the Diaspora have openly connected with Nigeria, their roots, they have of recent faced increased barrage of hostile questions and interests from their friends and in our community about Nigeria. Similarly, I have faced more hostile questions and interest about Nigeria from African and non-African colleagues at conferences and workshops in the Diaspora.
The African proverb says “If the head is still full of lice, our fingers with which we remove the lice will remain bloodied…” The lice in our midst are Boko Haram and their evil machinations. The consequence of the evil machination of this lice is the problem of our daughters who you have the duty to defend and secure but who were left defenceless for the forces of darkness which Boko Haram represent to abduct. I write to you today because your first and only job is security of our country, the security of our children. But in this matter the data in the public domain show that you have questions to answer.
Just so you do not misconstrue my argument as many people who defend the present government will often do, it is important that I say this as a preliminary. In this matter, Boko Haram and their supporters among the ruling and political class and elites which you represent- are the primary problem. But it is unhelpful blaming Boko Haram for you know them and their sponsors. And you, the government you serve, and the political class you represent know what to do about them. It is to ground and scorch them.
Boko Haram is beneath moral contempt, it is outside the border of humanity. Boko Haram is not just evil that is banal, it is one evil which is beyond banality. Therefore, the issue is no longer Boko Haram and their sponsors who do not belong to humanity. The issue is what you as our chief security officers do about this given your job to defend the country both internally and externally from Boko Haram.
Dear Generals, I put it to you that you know Boko Haram and their sponsors in the military and among the Nigerian political class and elites spread across the political parties. Why? You are either accomplished security operatives or you are not.
I believe that you are well-trained security operatives. In fact, one of you-General Gusau-has a long historical pedigree serving past Nigerian heads of state. With due respect, General Aliyu Gusau even nursed the aspiration to be the president of this country. Therefore the three of you know Boko Haram and their sponsors within your political class.
So, sirs you cannot have your cake and eat it. In other words, I am saying some of us know some of you since the commencement of your careers as security operatives. Therefore, you cannot play dumb by keeping quiet at what is going on.
Let me call your attention to Chibok -and the reason I am taking this route -even when you know already for the buck stops on your tables. Chibok is in Borno state, which is under emergency rule. The three of you –as security officers-supervise that emergency rule. Mr. Aliyu Gusau, you are a General. Mr. Sambo Dasuki, you are a Colonel. And Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, you are an Inspector General of police. The three of you must come together and tell Nigerians where you were when Boko Haram “sneaked” in and abducted the Chibok school girls in a state under emergency and under your security watch.
Sirs, Nigerian families live in a society where race is still a factor years after the formal end of enslavement and colonialism. So whatever the black person does rankles. Here in the Diaspora, this affects the memories of our children .
Thus, as a group, which is outside the border of humanity and civilization, the threat by Boko Haram that they will sell our daughters abroad necessarily rankled and jarred memories of enslavement, and slave trade in Nigerian and African Diaspora children. Boko Haram’s abduction of our daughters is a throw back to that dark moment of slave capture and trading of fellow Africans as slaves in African history.
And your failure to protect our daughters, your silence and that of President Jonathan, the active support (known to you as security operatives) given to Boko Haram by members of the Nigerian political class across the parties as a tool of power and resource negotiation is reminiscent of the complicit of the then African ruling elites to the raiding of fellow Africans and selling of abducted Africans abroad to foreigners, to a middle passage, a point of no return, to an evil world and historical age beyond moral redemption. Boko Haram and their sponsors among Nigerian political class, and your negligence have brought to memory this morally irredeemable historical phase-of slavery- in the lives of all peoples and children of African descent especially in the Diaspora.
Hence, if our daughters are not brought back complete, un-violated, in dignity, safe and sound, you, together with Boko Haram will go down in history as part of the contemporary statistics, data and reminder of the deadly and dark ages of the African trans Atlantic slave trade.
Therefore, you have the moral obligation to confirm so many things-part of which may help unravel why Boko Haram as a throw back to darkness endure and appear un-defeatable.
First, you need to confirm how much Nigeria spends monthly to “fight” Boko Haram. The recent public exchange between the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Iweala, and the military service chiefs on budget allocation and disbursement provides the context for this straight question. The speculation and allegation in the public domain is that Nigeria spends over 9 billion naira monthly “fighting” Boko Haram. In this regard, the speculation in town is that Boko Haram has become both a political and economic project, which members of Nigerian political class do not want to go away because of the benefits accruing to them. If it is not true that we spend 9 billion naira monthly to “fight” Boko Haram, then tell us how much we spend monthly to do this. What is the basis of the verbal exchange between the minister of finance and the military service chiefs? How does this affect the ‘fight” against Boko Haram?
As the heads of our external and internal security, where does the money go if our soldiers communicate with one another with cell phones despite budgetary allocation? I wonder how a military whose soldiers communicate with cell phones in the 21st century will ever be able to engage the enemy.
Sadly, General Azazi (may his soul rest in peace) cannot wake and defend himself. But the news in town is that the alleged turning of our national security and Boko Haram under General Azazi as the former NSA into economic and political project has continued under you Colonel Sambo Dasuki, General Aliyu Gusau and Mohammed Abubakar . Sirs, I am calling you out on this. Do two things: Look Nigerians straight in the face and answer my questions.
Before I conclude I must give you two more examples. There are two reports about the military drones bought from Israel. Drones are part of what modern armies use to track terrorists like Boko Haram and their civilian sponsors in difficult terrains not dane guns, charms, amulets and cell phones. Nigerian state bought drones from Israel. But Nigeria abandoned these drones.
Does this mean that those who bought the drones in the Presidency and military are only interested in the profits from the drone contract? Why did Nigeria buy drones to fight terrorists and Nigeria abandoned same drones and allowed them to rot? How can anyone fight terrorists with rusty and abandoned drones? Why must the presidency and the military spend public money on drones they did not intend to use? If this is false, then tell us with verifiable data that it is false.
Second, you know Elbit, the Israeli Internet security firm. Today, you refuse to inform Nigerians what you have done about the Elbit Internet espionage and security contract. Is it on? Tell us. But more importantly, the fact that there are two contract figures in the Elbit Internet Security contract(one was given by Elbit, and the other was given by the presidency) is part of the deep moral problem of corruption that shows that serious issue about our collective security has become an economic project in the hands of the military and presidency and in the hand of the members of the political class you serve.
Please sirs, it would be unhelpful to tell us that “the issues are more than that…” as you and your spokespersons often say. Kindly tell us what the issues are. That is what we want to hear at this grave moment in the life of the country.
Let me refresh your minds with the consequences of the allegations I am putting before you, which you have the obligation to respond to. First, the foreign countries helping to fight Boko Haram have said that the military under you is incapable of fighting Boko Haram, that the military under you is too incompetent and scared to engage. Second, the same countries said their military will not share the information they gather in the course of finding the Chibok girls with you. In simple terms, it means Nigeria has lost sovereignty through the incompetence and corruption in the military. Did you catch the political implication of your corruption, which now has led to a loss of sovereignty for our country?
Third, given your failure, it is on record that some Nigerian farmers in Borno state, armed with amulets, charms and Dane guns said they are ready to confront Boko Haram if you invite them! I have my absolute respect for these Nigerian farmers who are only concerned at your failure. But it is a tragedy on knowledge that we have descended to this level under your security watch in the 21st century when nations send their brightest to space.
Based on the unfortunate situation of our country, I put it to you that you and the president –President Goodluck Jonathan have to take responsibility of the imminent tragedy looming in the country. My proposition to you and to Nigerians is that Boko Haram has become an economic and political project, which members of Nigerian political class are using to negotiate power and economic resources.
As adept security operatives who are also part of this project, you stand in gap in this knowledge. In other words you know all that is going on. And you know those who are involved. You must therefore inform us today why you think you deserve to continue to occupy your offices given this colossal failure. Your answers and information are part of what we need to clean this Augean stable. Nigerian children in the Diaspora wait for your response.
Adeolu Ademoyo (email@example.com), a member of PREMIUM TIMES editorial board, is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.