By: Obinna Akukwe
Nigeria’s political leadership should act decisively in national interest before the Boko Haram terrorists storm Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of government, and creates security panic throughout the nation.
In March 2014, daring Boko Haram detainees made attempts to seize the Yellow House, headquarters of Nigeria’s secret police popularly known as the State Security Services (SSS), in a botched operation that suggested that one day Aso Rock, the residential and official fortress could be attacked. The SSS is about 200 meters from the first gate of the expansive Presidential Villa.
According to reports, it took the immediate recall of operatives living around Abuja and the quick intervention of soldiers from the Guards Brigade before about 22 detainees involved in the attempt were overpowered and killed. On that fateful Sunday, the 30th of March, military aircraft was seen hovering over the Villa and President Jonathan was said to have been evacuated.
The attempt to take over the SSS Headquarters was preceded by the daring and successful attack on Giwa Baracks on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in the same month of March. In the Giwa Barracks attacks, the insurgents dislodged the soldiers guarding the roads to the barracks, demobilized the soldiers at various entry posts, broke a section of the fence of the barracks through tomato farm in Pori and gained entrance.
In the process they freed over one thousand detainees at the facility, picked up those they identified as their members and left the others to find their ways back to their families. The Shika Tank, the multipurpose anti-aircraft weapon recently serviced and kept ready at the gate of the barrack in case of sudden insurgency attacks, refused to work on the day of the attack, and the soldiers that were bent on operating the tank were almost captured by the militants. All the armored tanks in Giwa barracks simply went moribund on the day of the attack.
On that fateful day, officers and soldiers took to their heels and escaped through the rear of the Barracks, and were nowhere to be found till Civilian JTF started arresting the fleeing detainees and the soldiers came and killed most of them. These people include those suspected to be insurgents and those aiding the military in investigations and others randomly arrested from raids on Boko Haram hideouts.
Three months earlier In December 2013, another barrack, the 202 Tank Battalion, Bama, in Borno Sate was attacked by the insurgents. In the process they freed about 200 detainees in the military facility and left 55 persons dead, including soldiers, policemen and prison officials. The soldiers in Bama put up a spirited defense, but at the end the insurgents overran the barracks and freed heir people.
Two weeks ago, the barrack in Bama was overrun again by the terrorists, and it took an all-out confrontation involving the Air Force with Alpha Jets and helicopter gunships including the Russian made attack helicopter, the MI35 with heavy toll on civilians before the militants retreated, and on their way attacked Michika and other towns.
The 7th of August witnessed an unsuccessful attempt by the Boko Haram insurgents to take over the prestigious Police Mobile Training School in Gwoza. Gwoza is the pride of MOPOL. That is the camp where they are given necessary trainings beyond the conventional from the rest of the force. Gwoza is that desert mountain where mobile policemen are trained to be gallant officers of the Nigerian Police Force.
However, this gallant edifice and institution fell into the hands of the murderers when they came for a second attack on the 20th of the same month because most of them kept their weapons in the armory while listening to briefing. Who ordered the MOPOL officers to leave their weapons behind when the place was smarting from a recent attack? Who aided Boko Haam to attack Gallant MOPOL and slaughter many of them? It is estimated that both the dead and the missing is over a hundred security personnel.
Three days after the fall of Gwoza, Boko Haram stormed Ngala and took over a military base that has about 1000 soldiers. The soldiers were said to have abandoned the facility and joined others stationed at Gamboru to defend the border town. The insurgents not satisfied with the fall of Ngala, pursued them into Gamboru and in the ensuing stiff clash, about 480 of them escaped with hapless villagers into neighbouring Cameroun, to avoid being slaughtered. The insurgents chased them into Cameroun until the Gendarmes fought back the terrorists and drove them back to Nigeria.
Bama Barracks fell, Giwa Barracks fell, MOPOL Tainting School fell, Ngala Barracks fell, SSS headquarters nearly fell, and the insurgents are waxing strong and colonizing new territories. Soon, they will re-launch into Abuja and will try to make a statement by attacking the seat of power. Having noted the security patterns of the presidential convoys and arrangement of security around Azikiwe Jonathan, it is observable that taking him out within the Villa is almost impossibility.
It will take an extra-coordinated buster attack to come near Ebele Jonathan, and Boko Haram may not show much interest in such a costly venture. However, with the presence of Boko Haram branch of the ruling party, whom the president had earlier lamented of being neck deep in his government, motivations for such an attack cannot be ruled out.
A Boko Haram storming of Aso Rock will create security panic within the system. It could be hijacked and manipulated to disastrous consequences by enemies of Azikiwe Jonathan. It will also booster the morale of the insurgents and they will begin to find Abuja an attractive sitting duck. Such attack will also trigger massive looting of national treasury and run on the dollars due to rush to transfer stolen fund overseas.
The time bomb is ticking. It is time for Goodluck Jonathan to order the full invasion of Sambisa Forest with attendant aerial bombardment. The Chibok Girls are probably dead anyway, therefore that lame excuse is no longer tenable. The insurgents must be dislodged from Gwoza, Damboa, Chibok , Uba, Askira, Mubi , Ngala, Gamboru and all the towns they have currently colonized.
With good tactical and fire discipline, the Nigerian security personnel can rout the murderers. Failure to do that, the insurgents will soon become dissatisfied with their localized conquest and with the aid of their sympathizers in high places, a march into Abuja and Aso Rock will commence.
Azikiwe Jonathan should not hesitate to name all the PDP members who are secretly sponsoring Boko Haram; he should also name those he told Christian leaders at a Church service that they might poison him-those PDP members that former National Security Adviser, General Azazi tried to expose before he was wasted in a helicopter crash.
Ebele Jonathan should also consider revoking all the oil blocks allocated to sponsors and cronies of Boko Haram by past governments. Failure to take these necessary actions and on time may make the way for an invasion of Aso Rock by Boko Haram, and Nigeria may as well go to blazes.