#Nigeria Army Is “an immensely disciplined force” (British Soldier) @BBC Documentary (@BBCTheInquiry)
Very interesting documentary and interviews with Nigerian soldiers and the National Security Adviser Lt-Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd). Dasuki said:
- On the fate of Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny: “The military law is clear…There could be executions…you know what the punishment is. It is like getting involved in a military coup”. He likened mutiny to a military coup: failure attracts death.
- Says quality of some soldiers is poor. Many soldiers joined the army simply to get a job, but without any desire to go to the battlefield.
- Denied accusations that soldiers are poorly equipped; citing the fact that Boko Haram shows of massive inventories of weapons seized from the army as evidence of how well armed the army is.
- He admits to issues in weapons procurement from Western countries, and that Nigeria “hit brick walls here and there” when trying to buy weapons from other countries. He said Western countries gave “all sorts of excuses” for not selling weapons to Nigeria.
- Over time – the military being in government does not go much good. It affects the morale and discipline of the army. The “main pre-occupation of any military administration is self-preservation. Your greatest threat is the military.” Thus their capability to overthrow a sitting military government is reduced if they are not armed to the teeth. Dasuki is well qualified to comment on this issue because he has been a part of multiple military governments and has participated in a military coup.
Colonel James Hall (former British officer who spent last 3 years of his career advising Nigerian military):
- Said he has never come across a military as disciplined as Nigeria’s: “They are an immensely disciplined force. I don’t think I’ve ever come across an African army that has a clearer says of discipline at all ranks”. Says the discipline of the Nigerian military would challenge that of Western armies. However that discipline can break when subjected to extreme pressure in the battlefield.
- However there are “massive challenges” facing the Nigerian military. “They have got it badly wrong…things have got worse rather than better”.
- “Their equipment is old, broken, and is frankly not well maintained“. Soldiers are facing Boko Haram fighters who are armed with identical weapons to the soldiers.
- Communications are poor – commanders often try to communicate with their units using mobile phones (which are unreliable, and often get switched off during military operations).
- Thinks Nigeria’s military should be given pick-up trucks, APCs, and radios.
- Training: there was a time when the Nigerian army was “the best trained” and one of the best equipped armies in Sub-Saharan Africa. military takes academic training very seriously but “their tactical training is not as good as they think it is”. Troops need more combat training, e.g. coping in a firefight/combat.
All the talk about the upcoming February 14 presidential election Nigeria is about President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. However there are 12 other candidates contesting this election!
|Goodluck Jonathan (President)||Peoples Democratic Party|
|Muhammadu Buhari||All Progressives Congress|
|Tunde Anifowose-Kelani||Action Alliance|
|Rafiu Salau||Alliance for Democracy|
|Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima||Allied Congress Party of Nigeria|
|Mani Ahmad||African Democratic Congress|
|Adebayo Musa Ayeni||African Peoples Alliance|
|Chief Sam Eke||Citizens’ Popular Party|
|High Chief Ambrose Owuru||Hope Democratic Party|
|Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya||KOWA Party|
|Chief Martin Onovo||National Conscience Party|
|Allagoa Chinedu||Peoples Party of Nigeria|
|Godson Okoye||United Democratic Party|
|Chekwas Okorie||United Progressive Party|
The Candidates’ bios:
Goodluck Jonathan is the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is the incumbent President and is seeking re-election. Jonathan assumed office in 2010 after the death of former President, Umaru Yar’adua. He was elected into office in 2011.
Muhammadu Buhari is the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The former Head of State contested for the office of President in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. He emerged the candidate of the APC in December 2014 defeating opponents which included former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Tunde Anifowose-Kelani is the Presidential candidate of the Action Alliance (AA). He was born in Agbokojo, Ibadan, Oyo state, on April 5, 1965. He earned a first degree in Guidance and Counselling combined with Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan and a Master’s degree in Personnel Psychology from the same university.
He has also served as the National President, Junior Chambers International (JCI), and Chief Executive Officer of The Siegener Sabithos Nigeria Limited. He is a member of the board of the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan.
Rafiu Salau is the Presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He is also the party’s National Secretary. The 58-year-old holds a Senior Secondary School leaving Certificate and believes that he is “the best candidate” for the number one office in the country.
He has pledged to create two million jobs if elected and also raise Nigeria’s foreign reserve to $200 billion.
Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima:
Ganiyu Galadima is the Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). Galadima was the acting National Chairman of the party before being named its flagbearer of December 11, 2014. Galadima has said that he believes strongly ‘in the need to end impunity in Nigeria’.
Dr Mani Ahmad:
Mani Ahmad is the Presidential candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC). He has urged Nigerians to think about their situation and those responsible and vote for ADC for a paradigm shift. He also expressed optimism at his ability to deliver if elected into office.
Adebayo Musa Ayeni:
Adebayo Musa Ayeni is the Presidential candidate of the African Peoples Alliance (APA). He was the Deputy Governor of the old Ondo State from 1990 to 1992, the first civilian to hold the office during military rule. He is from Emure Ekiti in Ekiti State. Ayeni has promised to tackle corruption if elected into office.
Chief Sam Eke:
Sam Eke is the Presidential candidate of the Citizens’ Popular Party (CPP) and is also its National Chairman. He is an accountant and a native of the Ikwuana Local Government Area of Abia state.
He has attended the Pacific Western University, Janus University and the state University of New York, all in the US. Chief Eke has urged Nigerian politicians to shun “politics of bitterness” and the “do or die” mentality and also to refrain from gathering unnecessary wealth.
High Chief Ambrose Owuru:
High Chief Ambrose Owuru is the Presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party. He is the National Chairman of the party and has contested Presidential elections twice.
Owuru, who is a lawyer, was arrested and arraigned in 2013 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N66 million fraud. Owuru has described his party as “a new generation party of statesmen who work for the future of our people.”
Remi Comfort Sonaiya:
Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya is the Presidential candidate of KOWA party. She is the only female contesting for the post. Dr Sonaiya, who was born on March 2nd, 1955, holds a doctorate degree in linguistics and is also a professor of French and applied linguistics at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
She has said that she is running for Nigeria’s number one office because she believes that an ‘ordinary citizen’ can do the job.
Chief Martin Onovo:
Chief Martin Onovo is the Presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP). He is an engineer by profession and holds degrees from the University of Ibadan and the University of Houston.
Chief Onovo contested the 2011 Presidential elections on the platform the Action Alliance (AA) in 2011. Onovo has said that if elected into power, his administration would use $9 billion to double power generation, transmission and distribution in two and half years.
Allagoa Chinedu is the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN). According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Allagoa is 46-years-old and holds a Bachelor of Science degree. His running mate is 35-year-old Arabamhen Mary, a Secondary School leaving certificate holder.
Godson Okoye is the Presidential candidate of the United Democratic Party (UDP). He is a lawyer by profession. Okoye contested the governorship elections of Anambra State in 2010 and 2013.
Okoye has said that his vision is to vision is to “make Nigeria secure and prosperous, through effective governance to overcome [our] current educational, security and power problems.”
Dr Chekwas Okorie:
Chekwas Okorie is the Presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP). He is also the pioneer National Chairman of the party. Dr Okorie was a close friend to the late Odimegwu Ojukwu and was also one of the founding members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) before his departure from the party.
Okorie has urged Nigerians not to vote for either the APC or the PDP as they are both full of “recycled criminals, former jail birds and corrupt and deceitful politicians.”
The Nigerian National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt-Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired) was spoke at Chatham House in London last week, in much publicised comments. Although Dasuki usually keeps a low profile he spoke frankly about many issues relating to Nigeria’s upcoming elections next month and the security threat posed by Boko Haram. Highlights from the NSA’s talk and answers to questions from the audience:
- He said that Nigeria will develop a new civil-military relations doctrine; to redefine how the military relates to the public – especially in areas where it conducts counter-insurgency operations. The military needs to move doctrinally from conventional warfare to asymmetric warfare. Nigeria has created a National Counter-Terrorism Center.
- He admitted that there have been “historical deficits” in the military; including the fact that the last significant weapons procurement for the Nigerian military was over two decades ago.
- He said his office will present a counter-insurgency narrative to undermine Boko Haram’s credibility and narrative by presenting “the true face of Islam” – counter to the message being presented by Boko Haram.
- The Nigerian government is open to negotiated solution to the Boko Haram insurgency, should Boko Haram be willing to dialogue.
- On allegations of sabotage in the army: Dasuki said the army has “a few cowards”.
- Boko Haram financing: he said Boko Haram obtains financing from bank and market robberies, kidnapping and ransom, and get fuel by staging fuel heists.
- The Baga attack: Chad and Niger troops withdrew from the military base in Baga, leaving only Nigerian troops there. Dasuki said the way the base was overrun was “not something anyone would be proud of”.
- Chibok girls: Dasuki thinks they have been dispersed, “some of them have been sold out…that is all we know”. United States officers are still conducting surveillance 24 hours a day. Nigeria has aerial surveillance footage, but he is “very hopeful but not very optimistic”.
- On the botched ceasefire announcement with Boko Haram: Chad’s President Idriss Deby received two letters purportedly sent to him by Boko Haram leaders who wanted to negotiate a ceasefire. Chad acted as an intermediary between Nigeria and Boko Haram. Dasuki stated his belief that there are “links” between the Chad government and Boko Haram’s leadership.
- Equipment of Nigerian Soldiers: Dasuki denied allegations that Nigerian soldiers are poorly armed/equipped. He reeled off a list of military equipment that Boko Haram captured from the Nigerian army in Baga, including: 6 armoured personnel carriers (each with at least 4000 rounds of ammunition each), and 4 artillery guns. He said lack of equipment is not the issue, but that there are “a lot cowards” among soldiers and that some of them “do not want to fight”.
- More than 70-80% of Boko Haram members are of Kanuri ethnicity.
Text of the NSA’s speech: Full text and video of Dasuki’s speech at Chatham House in London – DailyPost Nigeria
The Nigerian military has struggled to have any effect in the face of Boko Haram’s intensifying attacks. But with the right combination of military and non-military, short- and long-term strategies, the militants can be stopped, as Max Siollun explains.
BBC interview with a sacked Nigerian soldier. He claimed that he and his colleagues had only 20 rounds of ammunition each, and faced Boko Haram fighters armed with anti-aircraft guns, and machine guns mounted on Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks with generators so they can keep firing. He says he feels embarrassed, cheated, and humiliated by the imbalance of firepower between Boko Haram and Nigerian soldiers.
Great panel by the United States Institute for Peace that brought together a diverse audience to role-play and discuss how to end violent extremism in Nigeria.
Some of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity have (through the assistance of Christian missionaries and scholarships) been allowed to travel to America to resume their education.