On 30th October 2014, the second largest town in Adamawa State, Mubi, was over-run by the Boko Haram terrorists as part of their campaign towards Islamizing Nigeria, with much interest in the North eastern states for now. Thus, the capture of Mubi was an addition to their already existing territories which cuts across local councils in Borno and Adamawa states. To the best of knowledge of the common Nigerian, the safest place to be in Adamawa state apart from the state capital should be Mubi local government area. The reason is not uneasy to discern - the chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, is from Mubi. With the selfishness that characterizes most of our leaders, Badeh would not mind committing all the military facilities to protect and safeguard his people. Unfortunately, the military couldn't stand their ground and the Boko Haram fighters won the day. It was a moment of despair for Nigerians; for if Badeh's town can be captured, then we are all susceptible casualties waiting the time our territories would fall to Boko Haram's territorial expansion outreach. However, the story changed with the tides turning to our favour - thanks to the vigilantes and local hunters who rescued and recaptured Mubi town from the dreaded boko haram sect. Thus, there are some lessons I found pertinent to share on this whole saga.
The first lesson we can derive from the recapture of Mubi is embedded in the personality of those that led the operation. The vigilantes and hunters were mostly people from Mubi local government who were displaced and had parents, siblings, wives, children and relations killed, maimed, molested, and suffered one kind of physical, psychological and mental injury or the other. This is apart from their houses, worship centers, shops and other properties which were destroyed. And so, their annoyance and grief knew no bound. It is so strong enough to dispel any fear of death in them, and based on the communal spirit they possess, they died with their dead comrades even though they were alive. In this case, they were able to risk it all. This means that they meticulously and deliberately knew what they were signing into, and whether they survive or not was not the issue, as they count themselves not different from those who have died. This is the spirit we must have if the war against terror is to be won. However, our military officers most especially the ones in Abuja, from where the instructions on warfare are taken, seem to lack national patriotism and a strong desire of ending the insurgence.
The second lesson can be derived from the weapons used by the vigilantes and hunters, and the training they received. It is a known fact that local hunters and vigilantes receive little or no training at all and use sticks, axes, bows and arrows, cutlasses, and at most local guns. Now ideally, these weapons are only good for hunting animals and apprehending local criminals, but courage knows not all these, as it transcends the borders of proportionality of weapons, and never feels discouraged even when in operation against men with sophisticated weapons. Can you imagine someone with a local gun fighting against someone who has an armoured car, and surprisingly, been able to chase away the person?
Again, these local vigilantes and farmers have made it possible for us to know that Boko Haram is an over-rated sect enjoying monopoly, prominence and an open ground for operation in Nigeria. On a good day, they are not as sophisticated as they are believed to be notwithstanding the weapons at their disposal. It only happens that the counter attack they get from the military is so minute and insignificant that they usually succeed in their bids.
Thus, it is obvious that our security system is fraught with so many inadequacies, and our security men as well, are not ready for this war. They never prepared for it. Most of them are in the army because of the prevalent rate of unemployment in the country not because they have passion for soldiering. An ideal soldier only sees war as an opportunity to put into practice what he has been trained to do, and counts it a privilege to fight. In Nigeria, it’s usually about the salary. So in order to tackle this, we must go back to its root, which is our recruitment system. People should be screened into the army based on competence and passion not because their uncle or father is one of the renowned Generals in Nigeria, or because they have a third class from the University and think the best place for them to go with such certificate is the armed forces. Our military need to be more patriotic as Nigeria belongs to all of us. Those on the battle field need to be motivated the more in terms of welfare and armoury, but most importantly, they should learn to fight with all they’ve got. While a hero may not live to fight again, he has not only purified himself from the disgrace of living a coward, but he has written his name in the sands of time among noble men who believe in what they do and what they stand for - a cause worthy of their blood - and when their time come to die, they slip with honour and dignity, and breath their last in glory. We all must also understand that the battle against Boko Haram is one we must fight to the end in every way possible, as opportunity presents itself. The vigilantes and hunters have joined the fight; what can u do?