On Sunday, 15th March 2020, Nigerian troops were attacked by suspected Boko Haram members who killed six of the soldiers in Banki, a Borno state community that houses about 45,000 people displaced by the Boko Haram violence. The six include two lance corporals, two sergeants, and two privates.
The Banki attack is the most recent in the litany of attacks by the Boko Haram. And according to an army officer whose identity is unrevealed, the Boko Haram members came unexpectedly with sophisticated weapons. This reveals the inadequacy and incapability of the Nigerian Army. So much financial resource is being put into the army to ensure that soldiers are well equipped to do their jobs. Yearly, the annual budget contains a segment for the Nigerian army yet they complain of not having adequate ammunition. Where are these funds channelled?
Inadequate ammunition puts our soldiers at a risk of becoming casualties when attacked. Cases of Nigerian soldiers being attacked and killed are increasing.
On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, three soldiers were killed when an army vehicle burst into flames after a car filled with explosives rammed into a convoy. The following week, Boko Haram killed four Nigerian soldiers in Borno state. With the rate Nigerian soldiers are being killed, the army could run out of manpower in the near future.
The close paced string of attacks Boko Haram has carried out this year communicates a subtle message of dominance and control.
According to the United Nations, the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has caused over 30,000 deaths and displaced millions of others, mainly in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
The Nigerian military has been able to limit the activities of the terror group to the three North-eastern states. But the group is still able to carry out attacks on civilian and military targets in those states.
The government appears quite laid back considering that their position of having technically defeated the group. The presidency also seems to be relegating federal responsibility to state leadership for a matter that has become a national issue. This is seen in President Buhari’s response to the unending attacks in Borno state.
Following the Auno village massacre of 30 stranded travellers in Borno state, President Buhari blamed Borno community leaders for the unending attacks. While responding to Governor Babagana Zulum and the Shehu of Borno’s comments on the insurgency, he said, “This Boko Haram or whoever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs to attack without the local leadership knowing; because traditionally the local leadership is in charge of the security in their own respective areas. In my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this time.”
Despite this expectation from the presidency, the federal government does not grant autonomy to states as regards security and this limits the extent state leadership can go in executing security strategies. Given the importance and urgency of this issue, more needs to be done to stop Boko Haram from ravaging the entire country.