In February, readers might recall that on this page, I carried the speeches of some of our representatives in the National Assembly who spoke passionately on the scale of destruction going on in the North-East.
Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo (Adamawa north), Rep Usman Zanna (Kaga, Gubio, Magumeri constituency), and Rep Ahmadu Usman Jaha (Damboa, Gwoza, Chibok constituency), spoke eloquently at that time raising their voices in unison, asking the president to rejig the top commanders. Since then, the security situation had only gotten worse, not only in the North-East but in the adjacent North-West zone as well.
The only safe highway into Maiduguri, which used to be through Damaturu can only be traversed now by the very brave as the Boko Haram terrorists could strike at any point. Maiduguri is now practically cut off from the rest of the country by road.
In the North-West, a lot of the rural areas in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto are in flames as hundreds of bandits on motor bikes are rampaging, killing and maiming all over the place.
Rep Musa Sarkin Adar (Goronyo/Gada constituency) whose constituency is one of the worst affected by the rampaging bandits added his strong voice in the debate in the National Assembly, to those asking for changes at the top of the security structure. Please read on:
Rep Musa Sarkin Adar, “To our security chiefs, I say with no apologies, shame to General Buratai and the Chief of Air Staff, they are from the North-East; and also, it is a shame to the National Security Adviser. If they are people of honour, they have failed in their professional duties, and they have failed in their moral and ethical stance. They come from that region, they are well trained and given all the opportunities. They are the luckiest service chiefs that we ever had in this country, they are given everything they have requested from the president and by this parliament. There had never been a time when the request for funds for security and armed forces came here and we did not support it – as it was presented to us. If I were one of them today, I would honourably resign my appointment and apologise to the nation, and equally apologise to the entire people who know me as a friend and as a family member.
“The essence of being anywhere is for you to make a difference and to make an impact, not only to wear your uniform and come to occupy the office, only for the comfort of that office.
“In this very hallowed chamber, Mr. speaker and honourable colleagues, we have come to discuss several issues of security. We invited them here about three times. They narrated all their experiences, and they told us they are on top of the situation. As it is today, they are not on top of any situation, because Boko Haram can still come out, to go and unleash attack, attack on communities for over 8 hours – – I share the pains of all the people in the North East, I share the pain of all the people in the North West, I share the pain of all the people in Nigeria. As of today, Nigeria is not secured.
“Last week, I was in Uyo, where we went for a retreat. I went out to the golf course. I was feeling very comfortable, but I asked myself wouldn’t I be kidnapped, or attacked here? And I quickly ran back to my room. I remained indoors till morning. Today Mr. Speaker, there is nowhere you can go, without having your chest beating higher than expected. This thing should not be allowed to continue. We should not just sit down here and assume that everything is alright when it is not. And I still repeat, it is a shame on the service chiefs.
“We should not be afraid of anything. Most of the time when issues of security are brought here, people are afraid. We should not say anything against them, so that they will not strike against us. They cannot strike against us, because they have failed in their professional and ethical conducts. They should resign, give room to other vibrant and professionally tested good soldiers. We have many qualified military officers that can occupy that position. I know many that I can mention. They are of higher ethical conduct. They have higher professional training. They have achieved everything in the military, and they are there.
“Other people only for certain interests have been holding on to those positions for reasons not known by us. As a parliament, we should know everything about Nigeria. Nobody should hold any information about Nigeria from us. We should know everything. We are the people’s representatives. We have the power granted us by the constitution, and we should not have any fear. We shouldn’t be afraid of anybody.
“If any of us is cowardly enough to feel that a general should not be talked against, I am talking against these generals. These four generals, the service chiefs, and the security adviser, they should go, and they should go immediately. – – – their ideas have exhausted, they don’t have any ideas anymore, they should go please and immediately.”
From my mailbag:
Re: Will Yobe State be the Almajiri Sanctuary?
BUHARI HASSAN: Your column of June 16, 2020 made extensive reference to the brilliant and scholarly paper on Almajirai by the erudite Professor of history, Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, at the November 2019 Arewa House lecture series, which touched on the background, concept and practice of Quranic learning at the inception of Islam through Kanem/Borno in the 8th century. The well-structured system of learning through the support of parents and traditional authorities met its objectives at the initial stages. It spawned numerous Gonis versed in the recitation, memorisation and calligraphy of the Holy Qur’an. To paraphrase Mallam Adamu Adamu in one of his seminal pieces on the back page of this newspaper, some years back, he said that the Borno home grown Goni was universally acclaimed for his mastery of the Qur’an. The Goni studied, recited and memorised the Qur’an for its majesty and intrinsic values and not for any local or international competitions. With all these in mind, one can appreciate the enthusiasm of the subject of your column, Dr. Sani Adam in the intention of Yobe government to resurrect the Almajirai system albeit in a much improved form. Laudable as the intention is, there is the need to review the cart blanche invitation for adherents from all over the place. Before and at inception of the Boko Haram insurgency trailer loads of toddlers and other urchins were offloaded at the Bulum kuttu motor park, just a walking distance from the college where the good Doctor was teaching and administering. These youngsters formed the wave of cannon fodder for the misguided insurgents. We also need to recall that the Yusufiyya Movement started in the so-called Taliban enclave of northern Yobe and transmuted to full scale Boko Haram. Can we survive a second wave? Your guess is as good as mine.
OMAR FARUK: Your write up on Almajiri and the stand of Yobe State is quite apt. Any decision not to ban Almajirci only encourages irresponsible parenting. No state can handle the millions of Almajirai roaming the streets. Parents MUST be made to take responsibility for their actions.
M T USMAN: I support the ban on Almajiranci. I advocate the setting up of Koranic schools by State governments, run by them including teachers and equipment. The UBEC is all that is wrong with our federalism. How can a building of a primary school in Monguno or Maidahini be subject to approval/funding from Abuja?