Our Dear Army, Please Cool Temper - By Dele Momodu
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Dcliam85 Sep 16 ( Post 1 )
Popular Ovation magazine publisher and columnist at ThisDay newspaper, Dele Momodu has reacted to the ongoing military operation in the South-eastern part of Nigeria.
Fellow Nigerians, let me confess my admiration for security forces generally. It is not just because of the cleanliness and crispiness of their uniform or the famed discipline that they imbue in their members.
It is because I find their job too risky. I often wonder why any man or woman would voluntarily sign his or her death warrant. For me, they appear more like suicide bombers. As a toddler in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, I remember being told by older people that “soldiers are trained to kill” and we were told to avoid them. The myth flying around included that most of them were recruited without having much education. But as I grew up, I began to acquire a special fascination for them, especially the elite squads in the Navy and the Air Force. I would later interact with many soldiers at home and abroad. I love their uniforms, jackboots and in particular their menacing guns.
I still imagine till this day what it takes to be a killer. We were told soldiers were regularly injected with special drugs that makes it impossible for them to have the milk of human kindness in them. But with time, I saw and met many soft-hearted soldiers. I used to tease them about what we were told as kids. I must say I became one of their fans and good friends. I visited our soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia and gave them my humble support and they were very appreciative of my modest contribution and inspiration.
The reason for my preamble must be obvious to you all. I was seriously angry after seeing a video purportedly showing how our soldiers were brutalising fellow Nigerians and subjecting them to the worst indignities known to mankind. I’ve been praying that the videos were shot in outer space and not anywhere near Nigeria. But if what I saw very vividly actually took place on our planet and in this our dear beloved nation, then we’ve truly missed the road. I did not see any sign of weapons with these hapless victims of oppression and repression. At the very worst, even if as the military authorities claimed, that the soldiers were pelted with pebbles and stones, the treatment meted out to the personalities in the video is undeserved by any human being. How was the response from the military commensurate to that of the supposed hoodlums? Was it not an act of provocation in itself for soldiers to be engaging in drills in an area already soaked with tension?
Let me stretch the argument a bit further. Whose idea was it to draft the soldiers onto the streets to intimidate Nigerians in areas where there was no war? How can anyone send soldiers to threaten a people who already feel marginalised and are saying so very resoundingly? What is wrong with empowering members of the Nigeria Police Force and especially the anti-riot police squad to tackle cases of hooliganism and even terrorism. Soldiers are meant to come out in open battle only in extreme cases where there is total chaos and mayhem. President Muhammadu Buhari has wittingly or inadvertently walked into the trap cleverly set for him by the Biafra secessionists. Kanu and company have read the President well knowing his proclivity for no-nonsense and high-handedness.
If truth must be told, this is the height of intolerance on the part of the Nigerian State. I have not seen any Lawyer who believes in the legality of what our soldiers have done. Kanu may be reckless and irresponsible by promoting internecine wars and heating up our country unnecessarily but no one can deny him the right of expressing himself and agitating for his beliefs. What could have been done to him was very simple; send the police after him and get him rearrested for flouting his bail conditions. Some of his hard core loyalists and acolytes could be easily identified and kept out of circulation. For the past few months, Kanu has been raking and ranting but he has not fired a bullet. As a matter of fact, this government has unfortunately resurrected a man who was already on his way to Golgotha and at a time h
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