By David Onmeje
Celebration of fantasies over anything foreign has deeply influenced the psyche of Nigerians. It is in the character of every Nigerian to even abominably bow to anything and everything foreign, no matter how fake. And many are still pleasurably ignorant that the original or initial religious Boko Haram insurgency has been decapitated and eclipsed.
The scanty traces of insurgency in the country and the infiltration of ISWAP terrorists into Nigeria is deliberately festered for a different motive. What is energizing rebels and criminals in the Lake Chad Basin enclaves is economic terrorism because of its rich oil and gas resources. The naturally endowed Lake Chad Basin area is largely shared by Nigeria, Chad, Niger and to a large extent, Cameroonian republics.
For clarity, in a March 2020 well researched article published in the Journal of Politics and Religion, titled “Untold Story of Boko Haram Insurgency: The Lake Chad Oil and Gas Connection,” authored by Mr. J. Tochukwu Omenma, the author opinionated that “Oil as an important natural resource will continue to shape international conflict, and since the beginning of oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin, oil products have been a key element of the riparian states’ national interest and contestation. The “greed-and-grievance” theory explains this configuration of forces behind the insurgency in the Lake Chad region.”
There have been some funny hallucinations in Nigeria, the last few days. It about the Chadian President Idriss Deby, who reportedly led his country’s Military in an operation against Boko Haram called, “Operation Boma’s Wrath” on April 4th 2020. The Chadian forces onslaught extinguished terrorists in the battle at Kelkoua, bank of the Lake Chad. Scores of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralized and two Boko Haram command posts in Chadian territory were dismantled.
This should only be commendable to the extent one discerns Chad’s repentant posture in supporting terrorism. President Deby deluded himself by erroneously thinking he could keep enjoying the criminal alliance with Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents eternally.
The only appropriate description of President Deby’s action is “revolt is the chamber of terrorists.” Deby was disappointed that his partners in crime betrayed him when the Boko Haram militants again attacked a military base in Boma on March 23, 2020, killing 98 Chadian soldiers. It happened earlier at Diffa region. He was incensed and ordered the vengeance operation to appease his soul. These are tricks crafty leaders like President Deby play with the lives of the people.
So, the onslaught killed, dislodged and captured Boko Haram terrorists’ major bunker of armoury in Chad territory. It is good news that some Boko Haram terrorists escaped into the Nigerian, Nigerien and Cameroonian territories. Its cheering revelation that terrorists have no abode in Nigeria because of the superior might of Nigerian troops. It intimated Nigerians that terrorists empowered to torment the country are harboured by neighbouring countries.
In justifying the queerness of some Nigerians, a joint military operation by Nigerian troops under the auspices of the Multi- National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) through combined air and artillery bombardments strikes also dislodged fleeing terrorists from Chad which wanted to take shelter at the Tumbun Fulani area in Borno state and Lake Chad Islands in Nigerian territory.
But Nigerians never gave a thought to the brilliant and proactive actions of Nigerian troops. Some newspapers still credited the action of Nigerian troops to Chadian forces. And so, what resonated in the country was rather the bemused celebration of President Deby for the “wonderful feat”, just to spite President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Military. One cannot scoff at the idiocy of some Nigerians enough.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to comprehend Nigerians. The Chadian Military’s strike, dislodgement and destruction of the armory bunker of Boko Haram terrorists is at best, an action expressive of a deal gone awry between Chad and Boko Haramists and their ISWAP counterparts. But compatriots failed to discern this simple insight.
Some shallow-minded fellows never reminisced that the Nigerian Military had consistently complained about the tacit support Nigeria’s neighbours who extend assistance to Boko Haram terrorists, especially Chad. The insurgents armoury bunker attacked by the Chadian forces in her territory was neither assembled in a day nor in a hurry. It has been there and provided a convenient environment for Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists to stockpile weapons, raise and train foot soldiers, in spite of the presence of MNJTF.
It is one of the many secure spots in Chad and other neighbouring countries Boko Haram retire for protection and replenishment each time they launch attacks on Nigerian territories. This is not hidden and Chad particularly has refused to heed to pleas to cooperate with Nigerian forces and MNJTF.
It is therefore, surprising that instead of Nigerians to deeply assess the sudden reaction by Chad, they are senselessly celebrating the fantasy of the action Chadian forces led by President Deby. Suddenly, almost every Nigerian has forgotten that Chad has been a major impediment in Nigeria’s absolute success in her counter-terrorism expeditions.
Under the Jonathan Presidency, President Deby allegedly collected $20 million to assist Nigeria fight Boko Haram. But thereafter, Chad embarked on actions which were supportive of terrorists and emboldened insurgents against Nigeria. And similarly, it is an established fact that under the Buhari Presidency, once Boko Haram terrorists chased from Nigeria in the heat of field combats with Nigerian troops, they cross into Chadian territory, where they are shielded to escape and recuperate to plot fresh attacks on Nigeria.
In the past, Chad had variously frustrated and sabotaged regional cooperation in the war against terrorism ostensibly because of its secret agreements with Boko Haram insurgents. Chad vacillates allegiance between Boko Haram and alliance to the mandate of MNJTF.
For instance, in 2014, Chad pulled out hundreds of its troops stationed in Niger to assist in the regional collaborative fight against Boko Haram. Chad acted in this resentful manner after President Donald Trump included the country on its revised travel ban list, as one of the countries suspected of aiding and abating terrorism. President Trump was explicit that Chad reneged to “adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information.”
In January 2020, Chad again, withdrew its troops from Nigeria operating under the MNJTF. Thereafter, Boko Haram strikes in Nigeria accentuated. Anonymous Chadian military sources claimed its forces had completed its mission in Nigeria. Chad and her tricky engagements with neighbouring countries in the fight against terrorism is so glaring.
It is no news that Chad is famous for its refusal to fund MNJTF as agreed by the member-nations. And it condescends to the level of even consenting to hundreds of cattle rustled in Nigeria by terrorists from ransacked communities to find their way into Chadian markets unmolested. It has remained one of the main sources of funding of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria.
And despite Chad’s US secured computerized gadgets, installed at all Chadian borders with neighbouring countries, Nigeria inclusive and backed up by a 24-hour security surveillance and checks at all border-crossing points by Chad’s security forces, Boko Haram still freely ferries weapons through the country into Nigeria. Chad has not denied that it is one of the countries from which Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists receive smuggled weapons.
Terrorists smuggled heavy military weapons from some countries in Europe to Boko Haram in Nigeria transit through several countries, including Chad. Chad has neither denied or raised an eyebrow against this act clearly because of a deal and understanding it has reached with terrorists. The silent voice in the deal between Chad and Boko Haram seems to say, “allow us use your country, to transport weapons to Nigeria and we will not strike your country.”
Therefore, it is absolutely senseless and smacks of infantilism for President Deby and his partisan promoters in Nigeria to make a bazaar over his revolting against Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists partners for betraying Chad by striking the country’s military base and killing soldiers. Like earlier stated, the Boko Haram armoury bunker destroyed in the “operation Boma’s Wrath,” was not erected in a day. How come Chadian intelligence never knew of it and reacted until the satanic souls rose against them?
Nigerians must know it is a battle between two criminals – Chad and Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists. Nigerians celebrating President Deby just to deride President Buhari and the Nigerian military have missed the drift and failed to decode the underlying conspiracies against their country. It is the fundamental problem of some Nigerians.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai and Nigerian troops have demonstrated in actions these past years their mettle. A combination of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists are not beyond their capacity to handle.
The COAS is leading the counter-terrorism combats effectively and he has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is capable of quenching the fire of terrorism in Nigeria. Nigeria has never had a pact with the rebels; but it is open secret that President Deby struck a deal with them, except that it has gone sour now.
Deby needs to clear his name in the kingdom of Lucifer and apologize to his compatriots for sacrificing them. Leading the battle at Boma personally was rather Deby’s symbolic purging of a haunting guilt. Nigeria is not a place for him to come and fart after playing such odious roles to terrorists, rebels, killers, murderers and rapists.
Had the likes of Chad not denied Nigeria and her military, the necessary cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism would have been blighted a long time ago, not only in Nigeria but from the West African sub-region. President Deby should stop playing the gods, because the “rich also cry.” His day of reckoning is finally here!
President Deby cannot connive and cooperate with Boko Haram for ages to torment and massively murder Nigerians only to step out angrily to avenge betrayal of his country by the sect and expect sane people to eulogize him. It is childish antics and fraudulent playing to the gallery. The Nigerians hailing the actions of the Chadian President urgently needs to have their brains examined.
Onmeje wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.