NDA attack: An assault too many… - By: Monima Daminabo | Dailytrust

NDA attack: An assault too many…

The stream of recriminations against the federal government in the wake of the recent murderous attack at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna, has once more accentuated, in graphic terms, the general mood of the country over the present turn of events. If anything, it substantially   deepened the state of despair of Nigerians over the raging state in insecurity, across the country. As reported officially by the NDA itself, last week, a large band of unknown gunmen in military uniform, scaled the fence of the institution in the early hours of Tuesday, and accessed the residential area where they attacked as well as killed selected targets, while abducting others with whom they escaped successfully. Two victims who were reportedly killed were Lieutenant Commander Wulah and Flight Lieutenant C M Okoronkwo, while Major Christopher Datung was initially kidnapped and later reported dead, even after the assailants had demanded a ransom of N200 million.

Ever since, the entire country had been outraged over the development with reactions flowing in torrents. Among the reasons for the outrage is that once more the country is losing soldiers under avoidable circumstances that leave a sour taste in the mouth. The gallant officers were on duty serving their country when they were killed under circumstances that leave a sour taste in the mouth. They were killed not on the battlefield and the trying hostilities of warfare, but at home and in the precincts of the country’s premier training institution for elite military officers. This is why not a few observers contend that the incident was intended by its perpetrators to humiliate the country with the victims serving as mere pawns as in a chess game. Meanwhile, on a more personal note, the departed soldiers were high value Nigerians – elite military officers who also came from families that are now bereaved and have to mourn their losses.

Seen in context, the incident features another instance whereby the country’s capacity to stand and be counted is put to the test. While the death of any soldier in active service remains a costly national loss, the macabre drama in NDA remains one assault too many on the country’s psyche. It therefore imposes on the government the imperative of drawing a line in the sand, with the resolve that enough is enough of the serial, murderous outrage by miscreants against the country. For just as the proverb goes that once a handshake crosses the elbow, it dictates preparedness for a fight, so for once, this country needs to demonstrate anger towards its genuine enemies especially such as can muster the temerity of attacking the NDA.

It is also in this context that lies the question of who are those in enmity with the country, and are embittered to the extent of assaulting the NDA, for all it stands for? The poignancy of this question draws from the present state of affairs whereby there is a rash of misgivings and protests by several actors in different parts of the country: clamouring for one relief or the other. Expectedly, just as their misgivings are different so are their modus operandi also varied.

For instance, the Boko Haram insurgents in their bid to take over the country, had adopted outright armed confrontation with the government as their option to assert themselves. That was before they were literally displaced in nuisance value by the hordes of bandits and kidnappers, who  also resort to the use of sophisticated arms. The forte of these latter actors lies in the sordid reality of not having any defined limitation in their theatres of assault, as the whole country is their preying ground. Also their stock in trade of demanding ransoms of humongous sums of money has made their ranks the preferred place to be, for miscreants of all shades.

On the contrary, the instances of protest down south like the South West, South East and of course South South are in the main tendencies of aspirations for equity based political liberties and economic inclusion. These tendencies therefore require purely political solutions that derive from well-meaning dialogue and consensus building. It should therefore be reasonable to exclude such tendencies from any shade of insanity that will contemplate attacking the NDA, or any such national heritage. Even the recent instances when some misguided elements attacked police stations and other public institutions in the South East, the resulting condemnation of such by the wider society in the area, was vehement and resounding. That is why recent reports that the federal government may be planning special military operations for the South East and especially the South South – if true, remains a mere enterprises in overkill.

While it is understandable that with the assault on the NDA, standard, on-going response by the military establishment should spare no boundaries in tracking and resolving the culprits, it may not serve the wider national interest of facilitating genuine inter-ethnic cohesion, by lumping all who disagree with government into the same bin of traducers. The differences between the various scenarios remain clear and should be seen as such.

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