By Emmanuel Iriogbe.
A sense of desperation has
now enveloped the Nigerian Armed Forces leadership as the insurgencies from Islamist
groups — loosely referred to as Boko Haram (BH) — continue to gain dominance over
the battlefields of north-eastern Nigeria.
The present situation is that the Nigerian Government has completely and comprehensively lost control of the engagement with Boko Haram and can show no instance when
the Government presently has tactical, theater, strategic, or information dominance of
any aspect of the conflict. Moreover, the insurgent groups grow stronger, and the Government forces grow weaker and more beset by morale collapse.
It is fair to say that the Nigerian intelligence community itself is no longer sure what
groups even comprise “Boko Haram”, nor has it addressed the international logistical,
ideological, and support aspects contributing to the ongoing viability of the groups.
The conflict will almost certainly prove the undoing of the present Government of Pres.
Muhammadu Buhari at the February 16, 2019, Presidential elections. Despite this, the
only significant engagement which the Nigerian military leadership — up to and including the National Security Advisor, Maj.-Gen. (rtd.) Mohammed Babagana Monguno —
seems to prioritize is the fight to stop the leakage of information about massive corruption, running into the equivalent of many billions of dollars, in the purchase by senior
military officers of major military capital goods and military consumables, including the
troops’ own food.
And now details of even more extensive corruption in the non-military sector are touching directly on the family and close acquaintances of Pres. Muhammadu Buhari.1
Significant military setbacks hit the Government’s forces almost daily. On December 27,
2018, for instance, two military bases in north-eastern Nigeria were attacked, and mobile Boko Haram fighters briefly seized the outpost of the Multinational (Nigeria, Niger,
Chad, and Cameroon) Joint Task Force (MJTF) in the fishing town of Baga, less than
10km from the border with Chad. Baga was overrun, with several hundred civilian casualties, and thousands of residents forced to flee to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.