The CNN report on Nigerian army


I watched the recent CNN segment on the Boko Haram terror vis-a-vis the state of the Nigerian armed forces; and I was ap­palled at CNN, appalled at the misguided ‘soldiers’ that granted them the interview; and thus concluded that CNN has, in relation to Nigeria of this era, changed its name to ‘Celebrating Negative News’. I wager that my outrage repre­sents the inert feelings of vast majority of Nigerians that are still possessed of any sense of pride in the fine exploits of our armed forces.

Pray, how can anybody believe that Nigerian soldiers now sow or buy their own uniforms or buy their army-issue boots and other essen­tial military gears? Since when? Lies, lies, but when told so many times, especially about Africa, they begin to ring true. Every army, everywhere in the world, includ­ing CNN’s own America, runs a military-gear shop where any sol­dier can optionally buy any extra non-essential gear he desires. It is a fashion thing that caters to the personal taste of any soldier who desires some extra stuff. This is what CNN that should know bet­ter so much mischaracterized and twisted, just to ridicule our army, our nation, our pride.

Are we even sure that the inter­viewees are bonafide Nigerian sol­diers, and not some bitter mutineer, saboteur; or even a Boko Haram member or sympathizer in fake rag-tag military uniform? Yes, it’s Boko Haram that wears fake rag-tag army uniforms, not my authen­tic Nigerian soldiers I see on the streets resplendent and proud in their quality uniforms. Coming to the so-called disgruntled widows, how can anybody be so sure that Nic Robertson, the interviewer, was not suckered in by his local guide, who might have been moti­vated by some vile objectives?

The highly objectionable airing played into the deep-rooted, age-old stereotype that nothing works in Africa, even when something is working. I dare say that if Nigeria’s military expedition against Boko Haram is that lousy, the terror­ists would have overrun the entire country by now. Who stopped the Boko Haram where they are now? Who paid with their blood to keep them at bay? Why these callous at­tacks on Nigerian military, espe­cially its leadership? Do we want them to go on suicide missions? Or just get plain frustrated?

The setbacks in the Nigerian military’s gallant strides against Boko Haram are overhyped; and I dare say, for some sinister pur­poses. Traducers and non-patriots alike have ignored the main prob­lem, and that is: the complex in­ternal religious, tribal and political contradictions that have plagued the federal security apparatus and our polity in recent times and thus affected the morale of loyal forces and made this very insurgency the greatest military dilemma for any President, any army, anywhere. Everybody knows that’s the main problem, yet anybody that dares raise it, is drowned out, is ridiculed, like the President was when he ventured that Boko Haram has in­filtrated state structures.To be sure, this sort of biased, highly inflam­matory foreign broadcast sits well with the closet civil Boko Haram sympathizers. Shame on all those that give aid and comfort to the enemy, to terrorists, either in the name of ratcheting-up their TV rat­ings; or worse, seeking to overawe the government and people of Nige­ria. It will never work; it has never worked anywhere, even if, for the time being, it seems to be embold­ening Boko Haram and making our national defense more onerous.

Is it possible for any of our Nige­rian TV stations or even the same CNN to be sneaking around Syria and Iraq, suborning subversive stories from disgruntled American troops? You won’t dare because it’s simply not allowed, and if you succeed and you proceed to air it, it shall be considered severe breach of national security laws and there­fore prosecutable. Ask Snowden and Assange; now hunted by sev­eral western governments for air­ing what’s not supposed to be aired, and no combat environment was even involved.

Even as it is evident that the mili­tary is not resting on its oars, some rank partisans, with a political axe to grind, have seized the opportu­nity of this CNN ‘scoop’ to escalate their torment of the good people of Nigeria, believing that they are tor­menting the Nigerian armed forces as presently commanded. And in some extreme cases of mean-spir­itedness and undue levity, these people have even gone as far as taunting the armed forces and un­wittingly celebrating every setback in the war effort, if not every kill made by Boko Haram.

They forget that no nation suc­ceeds in subduing terrorism by exhibiting this shameful level of disunity and near-subversion of the security forces, notwithstand­ing that it is the only institution that is so far standing between us and the worst terror any African country has witnessed since time. You defeat terror by supporting and complimenting our men and women in uniform. Criticisms are welcome but they better be reason­able and driven by a high sense of patriotism; not this orchestrated taunts that a certain of set people are playing-up as if it’s funny.

Just imagine how many Presi­dents, lost lives and ordinance it took America, with quantum help of world powers, to get Osama. It took three Presidents, from Bush Senior to Clinton, then from Bush Junior to Obama, all spanning over twenty years; and thousands of fallen American soldiers. And now they have ISIS and other garden-varieties to still conquer.

You don’t fight organized terror by falsely accusing Nigerian troops and their most gallant and can-do commanders of genocide, and then demanding that those that fought terrorists hard be tried and jailed whilst the terrorists are busy bomb­ing away, beheading and killing your fellow Nigerians. American Presidents could not have made progress against terror if famous Americans are daily haranguing the government and security forces instead of giving them some mor­al support and compatriot spirit, which can sometimes bring much more mileage than any weapon can ever muster. The American expedi­tion in Vietnam failed, not for lack of weapons or uniforms but for lack of compatriot support.

You don’t fight terror by justify­ing the despicable actions of Boko Haram on the premise that they are bombing and beheading out of some feeling of economic hard­ship, unemployment or margin­alization. That is not what Boko Haram claims that propels them; it is abolition of western education and establishment of a caliphate in secular Nigeria that propel them. So, it is troubling that those with influence should turn apologists for Boko Haram by continuing to grab at straws while terror reigns

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