July 13, 2013
NewsRescue– In Mali, March last year, when the civilian government was weak in tackling the Tuareg rebellion, and the forces fresh from Libya kept killing the military men and gaining grounds, the mutinying military staged a coup and overthrew the “weak government” of Amadou Toumani Touré.
There is a lesson here for Nigeria’s weak civilian government. Top level military men may not organise a coup against their friends in government, but such action may come from lower ranking officers if Nigeria’s civilian regime continues to show weakness in dealing decisively with the radical, murderous terrorist threats all over the country.
On July 9th, Nigerian court sentenced four members of Boko Haram to jail for life over their alleged involvement in deadly bomb attacks in Nigeria. The four suspects are believed to have orchestrated the bomb attacks in Nigeria killed at least 19 people last year.
However, in contrast to this lenient sentencing for a capital terrorism offense, involving mass murder. We review the sentence passed and upheld by the Supreme court on July 6th, against Usman Maigari, a former policeman, for killing his wife, Sa’adatu. In her judgement upholding the sentence, Justice Mary Peter-Odili held that the appellant’s appeal lacked merit:
“In conclusion, therefore, I have to state that this appeal lacks merit and I dismiss it. I affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the decision, conviction and sentence of the appellant for culpable homicide punishable by death.”
Homicide in Nigeria is punishable by death. Why are the Boko Haram members sentenced to life? What is the cowardly behavior about, or the lack of it in regards to other cases where the death sentence is instituted?
If the Nigerian government continues to hide the sponsors and masterminds, pass lenient sentences and beg them to accept amnesty bribes, directly and indirectly permitting and assisting Boko Haram terrorism, who have been responsible for killing military officers and their family in addition to the murder of the elite and common masses, of all religions, ethnicities and ages, the Nigerian government can expect the proliferation of terror, and other surprising repercussions for their non fulfillment of their duty as care-taker of the nation.
Recently, against all expectations and also to the frustration and disbelief of Nigeria’s hard working military men, who apparently were not even consulted, a certain Minister for special duties and the chairman of the unpromising Boko Haram amnesty group, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (SAN) announced a so-called cease-fire with the proscribed group. This announcement was nothing more than an insult to Nigerians and a dangerous backward step by Nigeria’s civilians and top of the nations security office. Turaki buttressing his point by advertising that he was in touch and in cooperation with the globally wanted terrorist, Shekau, only further pushed the administrations head in the sand—as a government who lacked the understanding of the basic rules of law.
Quoting the Military:
The military authorities have expressed doubt over the authenticity of the recent ceasefire said to have been reached between the federal government and Boko Haram Islamic insurgents, saying they were not carried along in the whole process.
Sources within the military, who confided in THISDAY Thursday, cast doubts on the credibility of the ceasefire, which was spearheaded and announced by the Minister of Special Duties and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution on Security Challenges in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (SAN).
They noted that the process leading to the pact with the sect was defective, since the military authorities and even the commanders on the ground, especially in the north-east geopolitical zone, were never at anytime involved or consulted before agreeing to the ceasefire.
One of the military personnel demanded to know the terms of the ceasefire agreement, asking, “On what grounds was the ceasefire signed and agreed upon? There must be caution, so we are not fooled.
“Obviously you cannot just wake up and announce that there is a ceasefire without the terms of some agreement.”
Another wondered, “Is that how to sign a ceasefire. They are not serious. They are just fooling themselves and I am sure that the man is on his own.
“Surely, that is not how to sign a ceasefire. You cannot sign a ceasefire without carrying the troops along. He cannot fool anybody.
“I am not aware of any ceasefire or whatever you call it, neither are the commanders on the ground to the best of my knowledge.”
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, while responding to THISDAY enquiries this week, had said the military was yet to be informed of the ceasefire agreement.
“We are not aware of any ceasefire yet,” was his response when informed about the purported agreement on Tuesday.
The behavior of the Jonathan civilian administration in the face of dangerous terror, has been and continues to be exceedingly careless and reckless. It is expected that Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and all other relevant members of the government, confer with a-political intelligence and military personal who have the interest, mettle, intelligence and experience to deal with matters of national security.
Desperation to appease and deal with Boko Haram with offers of bribe and forgiveness for wanton murder and destruction, is reckless behavior, bordering on criminal. There can never be peace in the nation without justice. Nigeria has made errors of undefined amnesty’s in the past. Continuing and expanding such trends will only lead to even graver consequences the nation will be unable to bear.
NewsRescue staff and guest security analysts