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Coalition appraises Buhari, military on fight against insecurity

Coalition appraises Buhari, military on fight against insecurity

... warns Nigerians against falsehood to undermine security agencies

By Dansu Peter 

Following an extensive appraisal of the security situation across the 19 northern states, the Coalition of Northern Patriots (CNP) says President Muhammadu and the Nigerian military have successfully quelled the threats posed by criminal elements. 

According to the coalition, this feat is particularly impressive considering the concerted effort by some interest groups to undermine troops' progress. 

The CNP made this disclosure in its special report on the security situation in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking on Friday at a press conference to unveil the report to the public in Abuja, Alex Samuel, on behalf of the group, said the appraisal was necessary to put things in proper perspective. 

Among others, Samuel noted that assessment tours, interviews with critical stakeholders, religious bodies, community leaders, security agencies as well as civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations were deployed to ascertain the true state of things.

At the end of the exercise, the group concluded that there has been tremendous improvement in the security situation in the 19 states thanks to the military and other security agencies. 

The report also highlighted that some elements behind the EndSARS protests may be responsible for the violence in the north in a bid to discredit President Buhari-led government. 

The coalition, however, warned Nigerians against falsehood capable of undermining the security agencies. 

It recommended that troops review their operational strategies in the light of the evolving nature of the security threats and must be wary of agents of destabilisation. 

Introduction: 

The Coalition of Northern Patriots an organization dedicated to the socio-economic wellbeing of Northern Nigeria as part of its mandate of assessing the state of affairs in the country with emphasis on the security situation undertook an appraisal of the security situation across the 19 northern states in Nigeria. 

The emphasis on the 19 Northern states in Nigeria was hinged on the need to cross-examine the security situation with regards to the efforts of the relevant security agencies in addressing the various security challenges in these states. Consequently, for an in-depth assessment and appraisal, efforts were made towards segmenting states under various subheadings. 

Methodology: 

Primary sources of data were employed during the appraisal that included but not limited to on the spot assessment tours, interviews with critical stakeholders, religious bodies, community leaders, security agencies as well as civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations involved in humanitarian services in the states in Northern Nigeria. 

Questionnaires were also distributed across a cross-section of residents in these states to gather first-hand feedback with regards to the security situation in their various domains and the efforts of the relevant security agencies.   

The Findings: 

The feedback gathered from the assessment of the security situation in the 19 Northern states in Nigeria is segmented into regions and elucidated below: 

North Central: 

The North Central comprises Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Pleatua, Kwara and Kogi states. A team of dedicated researchers were dispatched to these states to gather information on the security situation in these states, and the following were identified:

It was gathered that the prominent security issues in North Central were that of kidnappings and farmers-herders conflict. However, there has been a rapid decline in the activities of kidnappers in these states as a result of the introduction of Operation Sahel Sanity by the Nigerian Army in September 2020.

Critical stakeholders corroborated this fact. They heaped praises on the various efforts of the security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army, through its various operations that included routine patrols and intelligence gathering.

It was also observed that the various state governments have been proactive and supportive of the efforts of the security agencies in these states. There has also been a significant synergy between the various security agencies that indeed translated to effective coordination of the security strategies deployed to address the various security threats in the region.

According to feedback gathered, the various security agencies have been alive to their responsibilities and have carried on with such professionalism that has seen the overall improvement in the security situation in the region.

North East: 

The main security challenge in North-East Nigeria is the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group, as well as the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP). The Nigerian Army has been at the forefront of leading the charge against the Boko Haram insurgency. 

The team of researchers was able to identify that in the six states in North-East Nigeria (Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba) the Boko Haram threat has been effectively contained in all but Borno State still experiencing some pockets of Boko Haram attacks on the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region. 

It was observed that there had been a renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Military towards addressing the Boko Haram threat in Borno state through the doubling of efforts and cooperation of the political authorities in the states towards bringing an end to the Boko Haram menace in the state. 

The various stakeholders in the region indeed confirmed that the Boko Haram group has been decimated and that the Nigerian Military is currently engaged in clearance operations in Borno states and other states in the region. This much was seen in the strong presence on military operatives in these states and perceived hotspots.

It was also observed that the morale of the security operatives in the region is at a high given the commitment of the military hierarchy towards bringing to an end the Boko Haram insurgency in the region. 

North West:  

The North West region in Nigeria has been under the siege of Armed Banditry and other criminal gangs operating in the region. It was observed that the introduction of Operation Sahel Sanity by the Nigerian Army had been the game-changer in addressing the security threats in the region.

According to reliable facts gathered, Operation Sahel Sanity was a huge success, and it effectively addressed the threats posed by armed bandits and other criminal gangs in the North West region.

The issue of cattle rustling has also been reduced to the barest minimum in these states. It was also identified that most of the criminal gangs in operation in the North West region had been decimated by the combined efforts of the Nigerian Military and other critical stakeholders.

The state governments, it was observed also played critical roles by supporting the operations of the security agencies in the region. This much has consequently resulted in an improved security situation in the region and the return of normalcy. 

Socio-economic life has also effectively resumed in the North West region as citizens now go about their normal businesses without fear.  

Abuja-Kaduna Road: 

The Abuja-Kaduna expressway, which serves as the gateway to Northern Nigeria, has been identified as the den of kidnappers forcing travellers to take alternative routes. The activities of kidnappers have been daring, and this has resulted in massive kidnappings. The team of researchers consequently undertook a critical assessment of the security situation on the Abuja-Kaduna road. 

It was observed that contrary to the media reports about the activities of kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, there has been a constant security presence on the stretch and this has seen to a reduction in the activities of kidnappers.

It was also observed that, but for the recent attack on the road, there hasn't been any attack for an extended period due to the various mechanisms put in place by the security agencies and the Kaduna State government. 

According to reliable information gathered from stakeholders, the activities of kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway has been evolving, and the security agencies have been continuously on the trail of the kidnappers ransacking their hideouts and as well as effecting arrest of informants. 

It was also observed that the kidnappings on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway are an organized crime with some locals aiding and abetting criminal gangs that terrorize travellers on the stretch. Nonetheless, the efforts of the security agencies have been outstanding and have been commendable. 

Conclusion: 

The Coalition of Northern Patriots as a result of the appraisal of the security situation in the 19 states in Northern Nigeria wishes to state that the operations of the Nigerian Military have been very successful in addressing the security challenges posed by criminal elements. This is also on the heels that there has been a concerted effort by some interest groups to undermine the efforts of the security agencies. 

This much was traced to the fact that there is a grand conspiracy to undermine the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through a well-crafted campaign of calumny to discredit the Military, the police force and every organ of the federal government in an attempt to coopt northern youths across the region into participating in their orgy of violence against security agencies, arson and looting as was seen in Lagos, Ibadan and other parts of southern Nigeria.

There is also every indication that the very elements behind the EndSARS protests that intended to cause a violent overthrow of power are out to discredit the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the North by churning out highly misleading information on the security situation in the North.  

It is thus the position of the Coalition of Northern Patriots that indeed there have been concerted efforts by the security agencies towards addressing the security threats in Northern Nigeria most proactively and efficiently.

It is also a statement of the fact that there has been a tremendous improvement in the security situation across the 19 Northern states. 

Recommendations: 

The Coalition of Northern Patriots as a result of the appraisal of the security situation in the 19 Northern States in Nigeria as a result of this makes the following Recommendations:

That the security agencies in Nigeria must continuously review their operational strategies in the light of the evolving nature of the security threats in the country. 

That the security agencies must be wary of agents of destabilization that dot the nook and crannies of  Nigeria with an overarching plot to cause a violent overthrow of the government by instigating the populace against the constituted authorities in the country.

That the media should also be wary of some unscrupulous elements that have identified the media as that potent avenue for the propagation of fake news.  
... warns Nigerians against falsehood to undermine security agencies

By Dansu Peter 

Following an extensive appraisal of the security situation across the 19 northern states, the Coalition of Northern Patriots (CNP) says President Muhammadu and the Nigerian military have successfully quelled the threats posed by criminal elements. 

According to the coalition, this feat is particularly impressive considering the concerted effort by some interest groups to undermine troops' progress. 

The CNP made this disclosure in its special report on the security situation in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking on Friday at a press conference to unveil the report to the public in Abuja, Alex Samuel, on behalf of the group, said the appraisal was necessary to put things in proper perspective. 

Among others, Samuel noted that assessment tours, interviews with critical stakeholders, religious bodies, community leaders, security agencies as well as civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations were deployed to ascertain the true state of things.

At the end of the exercise, the group concluded that there has been tremendous improvement in the security situation in the 19 states thanks to the military and other security agencies. 

The report also highlighted that some elements behind the EndSARS protests may be responsible for the violence in the north in a bid to discredit President Buhari-led government. 

The coalition, however, warned Nigerians against falsehood capable of undermining the security agencies. 

It recommended that troops review their operational strategies in the light of the evolving nature of the security threats and must be wary of agents of destabilisation. 

Introduction: 

The Coalition of Northern Patriots an organization dedicated to the socio-economic wellbeing of Northern Nigeria as part of its mandate of assessing the state of affairs in the country with emphasis on the security situation undertook an appraisal of the security situation across the 19 northern states in Nigeria. 

The emphasis on the 19 Northern states in Nigeria was hinged on the need to cross-examine the security situation with regards to the efforts of the relevant security agencies in addressing the various security challenges in these states. Consequently, for an in-depth assessment and appraisal, efforts were made towards segmenting states under various subheadings. 

Methodology: 

Primary sources of data were employed during the appraisal that included but not limited to on the spot assessment tours, interviews with critical stakeholders, religious bodies, community leaders, security agencies as well as civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations involved in humanitarian services in the states in Northern Nigeria. 

Questionnaires were also distributed across a cross-section of residents in these states to gather first-hand feedback with regards to the security situation in their various domains and the efforts of the relevant security agencies.   

The Findings: 

The feedback gathered from the assessment of the security situation in the 19 Northern states in Nigeria is segmented into regions and elucidated below: 

North Central: 

The North Central comprises Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Pleatua, Kwara and Kogi states. A team of dedicated researchers were dispatched to these states to gather information on the security situation in these states, and the following were identified:

It was gathered that the prominent security issues in North Central were that of kidnappings and farmers-herders conflict. However, there has been a rapid decline in the activities of kidnappers in these states as a result of the introduction of Operation Sahel Sanity by the Nigerian Army in September 2020.

Critical stakeholders corroborated this fact. They heaped praises on the various efforts of the security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army, through its various operations that included routine patrols and intelligence gathering.

It was also observed that the various state governments have been proactive and supportive of the efforts of the security agencies in these states. There has also been a significant synergy between the various security agencies that indeed translated to effective coordination of the security strategies deployed to address the various security threats in the region.

According to feedback gathered, the various security agencies have been alive to their responsibilities and have carried on with such professionalism that has seen the overall improvement in the security situation in the region.

North East: 

The main security challenge in North-East Nigeria is the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group, as well as the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP). The Nigerian Army has been at the forefront of leading the charge against the Boko Haram insurgency. 

The team of researchers was able to identify that in the six states in North-East Nigeria (Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba) the Boko Haram threat has been effectively contained in all but Borno State still experiencing some pockets of Boko Haram attacks on the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region. 

It was observed that there had been a renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Military towards addressing the Boko Haram threat in Borno state through the doubling of efforts and cooperation of the political authorities in the states towards bringing an end to the Boko Haram menace in the state. 

The various stakeholders in the region indeed confirmed that the Boko Haram group has been decimated and that the Nigerian Military is currently engaged in clearance operations in Borno states and other states in the region. This much was seen in the strong presence on military operatives in these states and perceived hotspots.

It was also observed that the morale of the security operatives in the region is at a high given the commitment of the military hierarchy towards bringing to an end the Boko Haram insurgency in the region. 

North West:  

The North West region in Nigeria has been under the siege of Armed Banditry and other criminal gangs operating in the region. It was observed that the introduction of Operation Sahel Sanity by the Nigerian Army had been the game-changer in addressing the security threats in the region.

According to reliable facts gathered, Operation Sahel Sanity was a huge success, and it effectively addressed the threats posed by armed bandits and other criminal gangs in the North West region.

The issue of cattle rustling has also been reduced to the barest minimum in these states. It was also identified that most of the criminal gangs in operation in the North West region had been decimated by the combined efforts of the Nigerian Military and other critical stakeholders.

The state governments, it was observed also played critical roles by supporting the operations of the security agencies in the region. This much has consequently resulted in an improved security situation in the region and the return of normalcy. 

Socio-economic life has also effectively resumed in the North West region as citizens now go about their normal businesses without fear.  

Abuja-Kaduna Road: 

The Abuja-Kaduna expressway, which serves as the gateway to Northern Nigeria, has been identified as the den of kidnappers forcing travellers to take alternative routes. The activities of kidnappers have been daring, and this has resulted in massive kidnappings. The team of researchers consequently undertook a critical assessment of the security situation on the Abuja-Kaduna road. 

It was observed that contrary to the media reports about the activities of kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, there has been a constant security presence on the stretch and this has seen to a reduction in the activities of kidnappers.

It was also observed that, but for the recent attack on the road, there hasn't been any attack for an extended period due to the various mechanisms put in place by the security agencies and the Kaduna State government. 

According to reliable information gathered from stakeholders, the activities of kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway has been evolving, and the security agencies have been continuously on the trail of the kidnappers ransacking their hideouts and as well as effecting arrest of informants. 

It was also observed that the kidnappings on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway are an organized crime with some locals aiding and abetting criminal gangs that terrorize travellers on the stretch. Nonetheless, the efforts of the security agencies have been outstanding and have been commendable. 

Conclusion: 

The Coalition of Northern Patriots as a result of the appraisal of the security situation in the 19 states in Northern Nigeria wishes to state that the operations of the Nigerian Military have been very successful in addressing the security challenges posed by criminal elements. This is also on the heels that there has been a concerted effort by some interest groups to undermine the efforts of the security agencies. 

This much was traced to the fact that there is a grand conspiracy to undermine the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through a well-crafted campaign of calumny to discredit the Military, the police force and every organ of the federal government in an attempt to coopt northern youths across the region into participating in their orgy of violence against security agencies, arson and looting as was seen in Lagos, Ibadan and other parts of southern Nigeria.

There is also every indication that the very elements behind the EndSARS protests that intended to cause a violent overthrow of power are out to discredit the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the North by churning out highly misleading information on the security situation in the North.  

It is thus the position of the Coalition of Northern Patriots that indeed there have been concerted efforts by the security agencies towards addressing the security threats in Northern Nigeria most proactively and efficiently.

It is also a statement of the fact that there has been a tremendous improvement in the security situation across the 19 Northern states. 

Recommendations: 

The Coalition of Northern Patriots as a result of the appraisal of the security situation in the 19 Northern States in Nigeria as a result of this makes the following Recommendations:

That the security agencies in Nigeria must continuously review their operational strategies in the light of the evolving nature of the security threats in the country. 

That the security agencies must be wary of agents of destabilization that dot the nook and crannies of  Nigeria with an overarching plot to cause a violent overthrow of the government by instigating the populace against the constituted authorities in the country.

That the media should also be wary of some unscrupulous elements that have identified the media as that potent avenue for the propagation of fake news.  

Gen. Buratai: Nigeria’s Redeemer @60, By David Onmeje

Gen. Buratai: Nigeria’s Redeemer @60, By David Onmeje

By David Onmeje 

Time is no respecter of persons. It is the only vehicle of existence which waits for no one on its voyage. On a day like yesterday, November 24,  a Nigerian was born to a peasant family in an obscure community called Buratai village in Biu town of present day, Borno state, in Nigeria’s Northeast.

He was named Tukur Yusuf Buratai. No comets were seen on the day of his birth neither did kings nor queens warm his arrival on earth. Perhaps, a handful of neighbours heard the shrill cry of a new born baby and rushed to fete the mother for a successful passage through the pains of pregnancy and safe delivery.

In presumptive accuracy, I dare say, within the same Buratai village, others may have heard about the birth of baby Tukur Yusuf, but were aloof and more concerned with chasing the complications of every day survival. But it never changed anything anyway.

God Almighty sealed the destiny of baby Tukur Yusuf from conception and he was in the world for a noble mission. And @60, he has vigorously pursued this dream of redeemer of humanity; conquered all repressive vagaries and odds to ingrain his identity in history as a liberator of troubled humanity; a professional combatant soldier; dogged fighter, warrior, Nigeria’s redeemer warmonger of global acclaim and an extraordinary Army General of repute.     

Even now, most parts of the expansive landmass of Borno state are still rural, adored only with the rustic emblems of countryside. So, I imagined and tried to picture how Borno would have been some 60 years back and, images of a dark void filled my heart. Certainly, it was a forgotten enclave, coloured partly by lush greenish grasslands or vegetations and resourceful swamps which snaked into deserts, forests and caves; where birds, reptiles and wild animals were the only worthy companions of home sapiens.    

But it is the place whice bears the ancestral roots of Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the indomitable chief armour bearer of the counter-insurgency operations. Great men and women or what others aptly capture as salvationists of enslaved humanity globally, usually come from such nondescript backgrounds and unassuming homesteads or hamlets. But they trudge the world mightily like dinosaurs. They deposit unimaginable imprints on the sands of time.

I spent a great deal of my formative years with a paternal uncle, Alhaji Aliyu, a trader. He was a passionate Africanist cum traditionalist. Though of African descent, he always told me Africa holds a special fascination for him because of her rich cultural heritage. Alhaji Aliyu had an unbeatable passion for African fables. 

The prolific novelist and literalist, Cyprian Ekwensi’s “African Night’s Entertainment,” of children’s series was my uncle’s favorite and classic.  He loved African proverbs and was fond of the adage; “looking at a king’s mouth, one would think he never soaked from his mother breast.”   

Therefore, when a friend told me Gen. Buratai clocked 60 years of age yesterday, memories of the wits of Uncle Aliyu came back to me. His teachings and the passion he had on African cultural endowments resonated very pungently in me. It compelled me to reminisce his favourite proverb; “Looking at a king’s mouth, one would think, he never soaked from his mother’s breast.”

When I ruminated on the rewarding, enviable and outstanding military exploits of Gen. Buratai, it was hard for me to believe, like most Nigerians, that he came from such an ordinary background. The portrait of Gen. Buratai’s life today sharply contrasts with the reality of his ancestry.

Gen. Buratai was not born into an affluent family or a bubbling city. Fathered by Papa Yusufu Buratai, a World War II veteran of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), the younger Buratai toiled and sweated to make his relevance in service of humanity.

In Gen. Buratai’s formative years, life was a stiff competition between tradition and modernity, as expressed by western education and values. But born with a destiny, imbued in him as a zeal to pursue a cause, Gen. Buratai was fired by it to embrace western education. He started his elementary education in the countryside and later, migrated to Nigeria’s mini-cities in search of knowledge.

At every stage of the quest for knowledge, Gen. Buratai proved his innate talents and brilliance until he landed at the famous Nigerian Defence Academy, (NDA), Kaduna. He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1983.

Only then it became clear to all discerning eyes that Gen. Buratai had settled for a destiny and a career for Military service to his fatherland and humanity. It was his emulation of the warrior spirit in his paternity or lineage, as abundantly expressed by the patriarch of the Buratais.

And looking at Gen. Buratai’s military service today, his progress is incredible. While in service Gen. Buratai exposed himself to further training as infantry combatant in the best military institutions in Nigeria and abroad. He has held countless command, administrative and instructional positions before his appointment as Nigeria’s COAS.

And @60, Gen. Buratai has excelled as a soldier, military leader, administrator, war veteran, tactician and strategist. He is a poet, military historian, philosopher and a distinguished alumnus of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, with a two Master’s degree.

Gen. Buratai has been decorated with numerous  garlands and medals within and outside Nigeria for his excellence, bravery and gallantry. President Muhammadu Buhari did not make a mistake by appointing Gen. Buratai as the COAS and anointing him leader of the counter-insurgency operations in 2015. It was the most auspicious and difficult period of the nation’s tumultuous history of insecurities.

Before Gen. Buratai’s  arrival on the scene, Boko Haram insurgents particularly had gone amok and berserk in Nigeria. The insurgents took almost total control of the entire Northeast region and sustained a disturbing stranglehold on the whole of the Northern region, Abuja was not spared its fury. The religious militants launched relentless bloody campaigns recklessly to forcefully establish an Islamic State in Nigeria.

Boko Haram had gained substantial grounds in the Northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Insurgents effectively annexed and colonized at least 17 LGAs (others peg the number at 21), established a Caliphate headquarters at Gwoza and a subsidiary administrative unit in Baga, all in Borno state. Insurgents made mince meat of troops at the warfront, who often shirked in the heat of enemy attacks or mutinied endlessly.

Boko Haram gruesomely murdered Nigerians in tens of thousands, indulged in massive abductions, committed acts of arson and displaced millions of locals from their communities. Peace was murdered in Nigeria and the fire of Boko Haram was replicated in similar, if not, greater depth by armed bandits in the Northwest. Violent militancy in the Niger Delta and bile secessionists agitations conspired to cripple Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

But suddenly, Gen. Buratai sauntered on the stage to command the battles against anti-terrorism and insurrections. And the narrative changed with superfluous speed in rewarding victories against Boko Haram. In spite of their multiplicity into more sects such as Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP), Gen. Buratai has boldly proved his mettle as a solder, commander, workaholic and warmonger in whom we are all well pleased.  

Boko Haram’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau and his soulmate, Musab Al Barnewi have bemoaned several times, the frustrating pains Gen. Buratai has inflicted on terrorists in the battlefield. Shekau has repeatedly moaned frustrations with the insurgency war wedged on Nigeria because the Army Chief has refused to give them a chance to deface Nigeria with evil or triumph over country. He deserves kudos on this special day of his life.      

Behold, this great solder, leader and military strategist has turned 60 years of age.  But he had no chance to celebrate this special day of his life with friends and family. Gen. Buratai could not afford the luxury of a birthday toast with his lovely children or throw lavish parties in posh places in celebration of this unique day, like the rest of us do on such days.He spent the whole day in the trenches and caves of the Northeast and forests of the Northwest, personally leading the counter-insurgency operations from the warfront for the rest of us to sleep in bliss and peace. Oh, the life of a soldier is not enviable. I am one of the many Nigerians who would have loved to have had a birthday toast with him on such a special day; but the circumstances would not permit it.

So, I decided to fill a void in my heart for a deprived birthday toast with Gen. Buratai with this tribute to a “Peoples General;” “Boko Nemesis;” “redeemer warmonger;”  “the conqueror of merchants of swords” and Nigeria’s most outstanding numero uno soldier and celebrated Army General of his time. This is my token birthday toast with you  @60 and may Almighty God continue to shield you in the trenches  from our enemies as we wish you the age of methuselah. 

Onmeje wrote this article from the United Kingdom.
By David Onmeje 

Time is no respecter of persons. It is the only vehicle of existence which waits for no one on its voyage. On a day like yesterday, November 24,  a Nigerian was born to a peasant family in an obscure community called Buratai village in Biu town of present day, Borno state, in Nigeria’s Northeast.

He was named Tukur Yusuf Buratai. No comets were seen on the day of his birth neither did kings nor queens warm his arrival on earth. Perhaps, a handful of neighbours heard the shrill cry of a new born baby and rushed to fete the mother for a successful passage through the pains of pregnancy and safe delivery.

In presumptive accuracy, I dare say, within the same Buratai village, others may have heard about the birth of baby Tukur Yusuf, but were aloof and more concerned with chasing the complications of every day survival. But it never changed anything anyway.

God Almighty sealed the destiny of baby Tukur Yusuf from conception and he was in the world for a noble mission. And @60, he has vigorously pursued this dream of redeemer of humanity; conquered all repressive vagaries and odds to ingrain his identity in history as a liberator of troubled humanity; a professional combatant soldier; dogged fighter, warrior, Nigeria’s redeemer warmonger of global acclaim and an extraordinary Army General of repute.     

Even now, most parts of the expansive landmass of Borno state are still rural, adored only with the rustic emblems of countryside. So, I imagined and tried to picture how Borno would have been some 60 years back and, images of a dark void filled my heart. Certainly, it was a forgotten enclave, coloured partly by lush greenish grasslands or vegetations and resourceful swamps which snaked into deserts, forests and caves; where birds, reptiles and wild animals were the only worthy companions of home sapiens.    

But it is the place whice bears the ancestral roots of Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the indomitable chief armour bearer of the counter-insurgency operations. Great men and women or what others aptly capture as salvationists of enslaved humanity globally, usually come from such nondescript backgrounds and unassuming homesteads or hamlets. But they trudge the world mightily like dinosaurs. They deposit unimaginable imprints on the sands of time.

I spent a great deal of my formative years with a paternal uncle, Alhaji Aliyu, a trader. He was a passionate Africanist cum traditionalist. Though of African descent, he always told me Africa holds a special fascination for him because of her rich cultural heritage. Alhaji Aliyu had an unbeatable passion for African fables. 

The prolific novelist and literalist, Cyprian Ekwensi’s “African Night’s Entertainment,” of children’s series was my uncle’s favorite and classic.  He loved African proverbs and was fond of the adage; “looking at a king’s mouth, one would think he never soaked from his mother breast.”   

Therefore, when a friend told me Gen. Buratai clocked 60 years of age yesterday, memories of the wits of Uncle Aliyu came back to me. His teachings and the passion he had on African cultural endowments resonated very pungently in me. It compelled me to reminisce his favourite proverb; “Looking at a king’s mouth, one would think, he never soaked from his mother’s breast.”

When I ruminated on the rewarding, enviable and outstanding military exploits of Gen. Buratai, it was hard for me to believe, like most Nigerians, that he came from such an ordinary background. The portrait of Gen. Buratai’s life today sharply contrasts with the reality of his ancestry.

Gen. Buratai was not born into an affluent family or a bubbling city. Fathered by Papa Yusufu Buratai, a World War II veteran of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), the younger Buratai toiled and sweated to make his relevance in service of humanity.

In Gen. Buratai’s formative years, life was a stiff competition between tradition and modernity, as expressed by western education and values. But born with a destiny, imbued in him as a zeal to pursue a cause, Gen. Buratai was fired by it to embrace western education. He started his elementary education in the countryside and later, migrated to Nigeria’s mini-cities in search of knowledge.

At every stage of the quest for knowledge, Gen. Buratai proved his innate talents and brilliance until he landed at the famous Nigerian Defence Academy, (NDA), Kaduna. He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1983.

Only then it became clear to all discerning eyes that Gen. Buratai had settled for a destiny and a career for Military service to his fatherland and humanity. It was his emulation of the warrior spirit in his paternity or lineage, as abundantly expressed by the patriarch of the Buratais.

And looking at Gen. Buratai’s military service today, his progress is incredible. While in service Gen. Buratai exposed himself to further training as infantry combatant in the best military institutions in Nigeria and abroad. He has held countless command, administrative and instructional positions before his appointment as Nigeria’s COAS.

And @60, Gen. Buratai has excelled as a soldier, military leader, administrator, war veteran, tactician and strategist. He is a poet, military historian, philosopher and a distinguished alumnus of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, with a two Master’s degree.

Gen. Buratai has been decorated with numerous  garlands and medals within and outside Nigeria for his excellence, bravery and gallantry. President Muhammadu Buhari did not make a mistake by appointing Gen. Buratai as the COAS and anointing him leader of the counter-insurgency operations in 2015. It was the most auspicious and difficult period of the nation’s tumultuous history of insecurities.

Before Gen. Buratai’s  arrival on the scene, Boko Haram insurgents particularly had gone amok and berserk in Nigeria. The insurgents took almost total control of the entire Northeast region and sustained a disturbing stranglehold on the whole of the Northern region, Abuja was not spared its fury. The religious militants launched relentless bloody campaigns recklessly to forcefully establish an Islamic State in Nigeria.

Boko Haram had gained substantial grounds in the Northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Insurgents effectively annexed and colonized at least 17 LGAs (others peg the number at 21), established a Caliphate headquarters at Gwoza and a subsidiary administrative unit in Baga, all in Borno state. Insurgents made mince meat of troops at the warfront, who often shirked in the heat of enemy attacks or mutinied endlessly.

Boko Haram gruesomely murdered Nigerians in tens of thousands, indulged in massive abductions, committed acts of arson and displaced millions of locals from their communities. Peace was murdered in Nigeria and the fire of Boko Haram was replicated in similar, if not, greater depth by armed bandits in the Northwest. Violent militancy in the Niger Delta and bile secessionists agitations conspired to cripple Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

But suddenly, Gen. Buratai sauntered on the stage to command the battles against anti-terrorism and insurrections. And the narrative changed with superfluous speed in rewarding victories against Boko Haram. In spite of their multiplicity into more sects such as Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP), Gen. Buratai has boldly proved his mettle as a solder, commander, workaholic and warmonger in whom we are all well pleased.  

Boko Haram’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau and his soulmate, Musab Al Barnewi have bemoaned several times, the frustrating pains Gen. Buratai has inflicted on terrorists in the battlefield. Shekau has repeatedly moaned frustrations with the insurgency war wedged on Nigeria because the Army Chief has refused to give them a chance to deface Nigeria with evil or triumph over country. He deserves kudos on this special day of his life.      

Behold, this great solder, leader and military strategist has turned 60 years of age.  But he had no chance to celebrate this special day of his life with friends and family. Gen. Buratai could not afford the luxury of a birthday toast with his lovely children or throw lavish parties in posh places in celebration of this unique day, like the rest of us do on such days.He spent the whole day in the trenches and caves of the Northeast and forests of the Northwest, personally leading the counter-insurgency operations from the warfront for the rest of us to sleep in bliss and peace. Oh, the life of a soldier is not enviable. I am one of the many Nigerians who would have loved to have had a birthday toast with him on such a special day; but the circumstances would not permit it.

So, I decided to fill a void in my heart for a deprived birthday toast with Gen. Buratai with this tribute to a “Peoples General;” “Boko Nemesis;” “redeemer warmonger;”  “the conqueror of merchants of swords” and Nigeria’s most outstanding numero uno soldier and celebrated Army General of his time. This is my token birthday toast with you  @60 and may Almighty God continue to shield you in the trenches  from our enemies as we wish you the age of methuselah. 

Onmeje wrote this article from the United Kingdom.

#EndSARS: NDF hails UK parliament's intervention, says it is testament of Nigerian Army’s progress

#EndSARS: NDF hails UK parliament's intervention, says it is testament of Nigerian Army’s progress

By Dansu Peter 

The National Democratic Front (NDF) has welcomed the United Kingdom's parliament's intervention on the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, describing it as confirmation of the Nigerian Army's progress under Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai. 

According to the NDF, the keen interest shown by the UK indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is on the right track.  

The group, in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Dr Bolaji Abdulkadir, on Friday, noted that this may not be disconnected from the improved human rights record of the troops under the COAS as well as a sustained partnership with his counterparts in the UK. 

While urging the troops to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, the NDF also implored on allies never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria. 

The group, however, called on the authorities in the United Kingdom to sanction those who engage in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations. 

Read the full statement below:

The National Democratic Front is issuing this press statement in light of the recent debate by parliamentarians in the United Kingdom Parliament with regards to the state of affairs in Nigeria and concerning the EndSARS protests.

The National Democratic Front appreciates the concerns and interventions of the United Kingdom been an ally of Nigeria in the global scheme of things. This fact is indeed buttressed by the close affinity between Nigeria and the United Kingdom. 

We are also appreciative of the fact that events in Nigeria have elicited the interest of the United Kingdom Parliament that eventually culminated in the debate to put issues in proper perspectives with regards to the EndSARS protests and the events surrounding the violence that erupted afterwards.

It is the considered opinion of the NDF that such critical engagements should be sustained given that specific parameters are met, and the sovereignty of countries are not eroded for whatever reason and under any guise. We also believe that such engagement should be based on facts and the highest level of diplomacy. 

The UK government has demonstrated that it has much confidence in the democratic ethos and norms of our dear country as being practised under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and cannot be swayed by the enemies of Nigeria. 

The NDF wishes to put it on record that indeed some vested interests are out to undermine the efforts of the Nigerian government in addressing the security challenges in the country through the propagation of unsubstantiated information in the public domain, especially with regards to the violation of human rights by the security agencies in Nigeria. 

The NDF wishes to inform members of the general public that the recent partnership between the Nigerian Army and the military of the United Kingdom are clear testimonies that the authorities in the United Kingdom have taken reasonable notice of the improved human rights record of our military under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which has translated to the numerous visits to the United Kingdom by the  Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to engage other world leaders on the war against insurgency. 

The Nigerian Army has been exemplary in the regard with the establishment of a human rights desk at all Nigerian Army units and formations across the country to address cases of human rights abuses by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army. 

It is also on record that the Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria has on numerous occasions been rewarded with awards in the United Kingdom for the success recorded in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in Nigeria. A few of such awards are by the Anti-terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB) and Global Risk International United Kingdom, where the Chief of Army Staff was awarded the Pave The Way Award for exceptional bravery and peacebuilding in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region under Multinational Joint Task Force which are focal points of DAESH/ISIS. 

The second award is – The Certified Master of Anti-terrorism Specialist Award. According to the organizers “Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is the first African to get this award”. The National Democratic Front sees these awards as notable and in recognition of the selfless services of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. 

Whilst we salute and call our military leadership to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, we also implore Nigeria’s partners never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria. 

We are by this medium calling on the authorities in the United Kingdom to place a financial tag on those who engage her in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations. 

We also call for sanctions were not necessary and equally discipline those that intend to take undue advantage of her democratic culture. It is our considered opinion that this would go a long way in serving as a deterrent to individuals and groups with mischievous intents.  

The NDF consequently views the recent report by the Cable News Network as one of such instances where the Nigerian Army has been targeted for public ridicule and condemnation. 
By Dansu Peter 

The National Democratic Front (NDF) has welcomed the United Kingdom's parliament's intervention on the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, describing it as confirmation of the Nigerian Army's progress under Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai. 

According to the NDF, the keen interest shown by the UK indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is on the right track.  

The group, in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Dr Bolaji Abdulkadir, on Friday, noted that this may not be disconnected from the improved human rights record of the troops under the COAS as well as a sustained partnership with his counterparts in the UK. 

While urging the troops to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, the NDF also implored on allies never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria. 

The group, however, called on the authorities in the United Kingdom to sanction those who engage in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations. 

Read the full statement below:

The National Democratic Front is issuing this press statement in light of the recent debate by parliamentarians in the United Kingdom Parliament with regards to the state of affairs in Nigeria and concerning the EndSARS protests.

The National Democratic Front appreciates the concerns and interventions of the United Kingdom been an ally of Nigeria in the global scheme of things. This fact is indeed buttressed by the close affinity between Nigeria and the United Kingdom. 

We are also appreciative of the fact that events in Nigeria have elicited the interest of the United Kingdom Parliament that eventually culminated in the debate to put issues in proper perspectives with regards to the EndSARS protests and the events surrounding the violence that erupted afterwards.

It is the considered opinion of the NDF that such critical engagements should be sustained given that specific parameters are met, and the sovereignty of countries are not eroded for whatever reason and under any guise. We also believe that such engagement should be based on facts and the highest level of diplomacy. 

The UK government has demonstrated that it has much confidence in the democratic ethos and norms of our dear country as being practised under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and cannot be swayed by the enemies of Nigeria. 

The NDF wishes to put it on record that indeed some vested interests are out to undermine the efforts of the Nigerian government in addressing the security challenges in the country through the propagation of unsubstantiated information in the public domain, especially with regards to the violation of human rights by the security agencies in Nigeria. 

The NDF wishes to inform members of the general public that the recent partnership between the Nigerian Army and the military of the United Kingdom are clear testimonies that the authorities in the United Kingdom have taken reasonable notice of the improved human rights record of our military under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which has translated to the numerous visits to the United Kingdom by the  Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to engage other world leaders on the war against insurgency. 

The Nigerian Army has been exemplary in the regard with the establishment of a human rights desk at all Nigerian Army units and formations across the country to address cases of human rights abuses by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army. 

It is also on record that the Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria has on numerous occasions been rewarded with awards in the United Kingdom for the success recorded in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in Nigeria. A few of such awards are by the Anti-terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB) and Global Risk International United Kingdom, where the Chief of Army Staff was awarded the Pave The Way Award for exceptional bravery and peacebuilding in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region under Multinational Joint Task Force which are focal points of DAESH/ISIS. 

The second award is – The Certified Master of Anti-terrorism Specialist Award. According to the organizers “Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is the first African to get this award”. The National Democratic Front sees these awards as notable and in recognition of the selfless services of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. 

Whilst we salute and call our military leadership to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, we also implore Nigeria’s partners never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria. 

We are by this medium calling on the authorities in the United Kingdom to place a financial tag on those who engage her in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations. 

We also call for sanctions were not necessary and equally discipline those that intend to take undue advantage of her democratic culture. It is our considered opinion that this would go a long way in serving as a deterrent to individuals and groups with mischievous intents.  

The NDF consequently views the recent report by the Cable News Network as one of such instances where the Nigerian Army has been targeted for public ridicule and condemnation. 

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