The Legend Of Buratai: Memo To Nigeria’s Army Chief, By Charles Ogbu...

The Legend Of Buratai: Memo To Nigeria’s Army Chief, By Charles Ogbu [MUST READ]

By Charles Ogbu | Op-Ed Contributor on April 19, 2019
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Buratai, Army, Boko haram, Shekau
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai making remarks after receiving the report | Nigerian Army Photo

Dear Lt General TY Buratai, Sir,

This memo is necessitated by issues of a very delicate nature which, in my humble opinion, may constitute crime against Nigerian school children if left unaddressed.

General Sir, Nigerians woke up yesterday morning to a tweet on the verified handle of the Nigerian Army stating that come May 4th, 2019, a book titled “The Legend of Buratai” would be officially presented to school children at the federal capital territory library, Abuja. According to the report, the book written by one Dr Abubakar Mohd Sani is “a calculated attempt to transform his (Buratai) life into folklore for lovers of literature and school children”.

Considering that we are in the era of official sycophancy where public servants prefer being comforted with lies to being hurt with the truth about their performance, I fear your ‘boys’ may have praise-sang you out of reality hence my intervention, sir.

Rights Terrorism Soldiers Nigerian Army Tukur Buratai Shi'ite Shia Killings Zaria Killings
‘Arrest the Butcher of Zaria, Lt. Gen Buratai’: Protests in London over the Zaria massacre of Shi’ites by Nigerian Army as President Buhari visits London on May 10 – May 14, 2016 for an anti-corruption summit | ABNA

First, the timing of the book couldn’t have been more wrong. At a time when the territorial integrity of Nigeria is undeniably threatened by bandits, killer herdsmen and Boko Haram who now control a large portion of Zamfara, Kaduna and most part of the Northeast respectively, it speaks to a worrisome level of institutional irresponsibility for the Nigerian Army under you to be discussing such vainglorious venture on their official social media accounts.

But even more troubling than the timing of this book is the target audience: school children, as well as the brazen falsehood that is the title of the said book. Mr Army Chief Sir, truth be told, you are no Legend unless of course, we are discussing the term in the negative sense. Matter of fact, the only reason you are still retaining your position as the Chief of Army staff is because we have the singular misfortune of being ruled by a Commander-In-Chief who places loyalty and ethno-religious considerations above merit and competence. And if you permit me to pay you the courtesy of being blunt Sir, you are not the kind of Army Chief any responsible parent would want their children to know beyond name.

Under your watch as the Army Chief, the Nigerian Army not only butchered hundredS of protesting Shiites in December 2015 but hurriedly buried them in mass graves as revealed by the Secretary to Kaduna state Government Balarabe Lawal during the Public Hearing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the killings. Under your watch, war grade weapons were used against unarmed civilian protesters in the FCT, according to a video clip released by New York Times December last year. Under your watch sir, hundreds of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were massacred by Nigerian soldiers between May 29-30 2016 inside a church in Onitsha where they had gone to pray in remembrance of their Heroes who perished in the Biafran war. Dozens more were bathed with acid, according to a detailed report released by the Global Right Body Amnesty International. The soldier who led that atrocious operation, one Major T.O Ibrahim as he was known then, was immediately rewarded with a promotion. Under your watch, Boko Haram terrorists have grown stronger than they ever were with our very brave but poorly equipped soldiers playing defensive. Just two weeks ago, the town of Damaturu almost fell to the terrorists. We have seen soldiers protesting on the street over unpaid salaries and allowances amidst allegation of grand scale corruption in the Army under your leadership. Paradoxically though, the Army under you has continued to grant suspicious pardon to “repentant” Boko Haram terrorists amidst reports of secret recruitment of these so called “repentant” terrorists into the Army.

Shi'ites Abuja Buhari
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria preparing the bodies of members killed when the Nigerian Army opened fire during the group’s protests in the capital Abuja in October 2018 | Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

And how can we forget how you reduced the almighty Nigerian Army to some election-rigging brigands scaling fences, killing civilians and arresting staff of the Electoral commission forcing the Electoral umpire to publicly accuse the Army of trying to scuttle the electoral process.

Quite frankly, General, you really haven’t done much to deserve the Legend tag. The Army that you lead has continued to record high casualties in the Boko Haram war even if some section of the Nigerian media, both Print and Electronic, have sworn never to report such stories.

As a Patriot which I presume you are, Mr Army Chief Sir, if you must go ahead with this frivolity, I have two prayers to make of you:

The first one is that you don’t get the Nigerian Army involved in this as it is a very important institution, not your personal property. And my second and most important prayer is that you keep that book away from our school children. These kids haven’t done anything to deserve being forced to read about an Army Chief whose soldiers use their guns to butcher and maim the same citizens they exist mainly to protect while maintaining a harmonious relationship with the same terrorists they exist mainly to stop.

While hoping you will take immediate action on this, please accept the assurances of my highest regard.

Charles Ogbu is a social media activist who contributes articles to The Trent. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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