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.
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.
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.
This broadcast is about the the letter bomb assassination of famous Newswatch Dele Giwa in 1986. Giwa was the ex-husband of Florence Ita-Giwa, the Senator for Cross River South. Many regard Giwa’s murder as Nigeria’s first act of terrorism. This broadcast includes an interview with Giwa’s colleague Kayode Soyinka, who was with Giwa when he was killed.
Harrowing documentary about the legions of refugees or “IDPs” (Internally Displaced Persons) in Nigeria who have fled from their homes to get away from areas being attacked by Boko Haram.
Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh has announced that Nigeria has agreed a ceasefire with Boko Haram and that Boko Haram will release over 200 schoolgirls it kidnapped over 6 months ago.
“A ceasefire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (Boko Haram).”
The negotiations took place in neighbouring Chad, mediated by that country’s President Idriss Deby, he said. “Boko Haram issued the ceasefire as a result of the discussions we have been having with them,” said Mr Tukur. “They have agreed to release the Chibok girls”.