Colonel Kabiru Salisu – 91 days with Boko Haram

A man is wearing black shoes, socks, trousers, gloves. He is walking down a black street with all the street light off. A black car is coming towards him, its lights off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man?
Last week I came to terms with a Voice of America Hausa service interview of a Boko Haram cum alleged awolsoldier in which he stated that the army was involved in Boko Haram, he equally said that his commander was Rambo and made some very questionable allegations.
An in-depth analysis of that interview shows a lot of loopholes and I was quite surprised that the VOA allowed the interview sail in the first place. The interview was tailored towards promoting Boko Haram and maligning the army. Very quickly, I do not believe the character interviewed.
My admonition though is not about that interview. But sundry events in our war against insurgents, herdsmen, terrorists, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, ritualists, all in the light of the Nigerian armed personnel.
Meanwhile, all the battles and warfronts, the Nigerian Armed Forces, Police (which these days are awol), State Security Services and other security personnel have been compromised. There are moles, mercenaries, etc, so a hard task is made even harder.
While this essay is not a defense, I present a few issues with the story of Col. Kabiru Salisu, one that my readers are not obliged to believe too, but it is true. I have investigated it. Col. Kabiru Salisu was killed in an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) on Monday, last week. His death is one that Nigerian combat troops drafted to Borno simply cannot understand.
Kabiru was a respected troop commander, a fine gentleman and officer par excellence; he left behind two wonderful kids, a loving wife. He was killed in an ambush. Kabiru would go to Cameroonian heights to get across family and friends due to network restrictions. He was fighting insurgents for a better Nigeria. Having only been promoted to full colonel in November 2013 and posted from Jaji in Kaduna state to Borno state, the Boko Haram enclave.
He was already fatigued; he had spent 91 days on combat uniform. We might say he signed for it, but he was cut off in his prime. Imagine the pain his parents in Kaduna must be going through. Salisu was Muslim, and he was killed! On his phone the status read – the originator of heavens and earth. When he decrees a matter, he only says unto it “Be-and it is.”Strangely I never knew this fine gentleman and officer.
They said, “Mocking bird, you are accused of insulting the king.” It asked when it would have time to insult the king, seeing that it must sing 200 songs in the morning, 200 in the afternoon, and 200 at night, mixing it all up with some frolicsome notes.

The APC in which Salisu died is a battle troop transport vehicle which the army uses and many believe should protect them from artillery attack. However, Boko Haram fire-power was able to set the APC on fire, killing the commander and other troops in the vehicle, raising fears as to the safety and efficacy of the equipment at the disposal of the Nigerian Army.

Much of the army equipment today is outdated, due to an allergic history of government corruption, with vehicles purchased since the Shagari regime in the early 80s. The government is more interested in acquiring private jets; which the current president has a few of, and has a budget currently awaiting approval for another.

He is one of many soldiers that have paid the ultimate price, Muslims, Christians, pagans, inclusive. I have been opportune to see how poorly armed these soldiers are, at a ratio of 2:8 with Boko Haram on bullets. Yet they fight on, we have issues of poor allowances; we have reported delays running into years before benefits are paid to families of deceased officers.

What do we tell Kabiru’s kids, Kariri and Bubu? It is rather sad that in the midst of all these killings, Nigerians are battling each other along religious and ethnic lines. Like the Mocking bird making unnecessary excuses and noise.
Kabiru’s soldiers are of different ethnic stock; diverse faith and what else can one add, than, is it really fair for Christians to accuse soldiers, or Muslims to accuse the Army of plotting to eliminate them.

I would end with these words on marble by Alhaji Nurudeen Lemu, a delegate at the ongoing national conference from the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs: “Every ethnic group is an oppressed minority somewhere. Every group is a religious and ethnic minority somewhere. Every majority or settler is an indigene somewhere. In one way, we are all settlers; we just don’t remember where we came from or why we came. But ultimately, we are all visitors to this planet, from God we come and to Him we return.”

The man driving a black car in my earlier analogy, who avoided killing the man wearing black, was able to see despite all the darkness because there was light. When will Nigerians see the light of our precarious state? Only time would tell.

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