NDA invasion: Who defends the Defender?

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Three weeks ago in this space, we mused on the topic: “Abba Kyari: Why are Nigerians acting surprised?” It was informed by the twist that having seen the endemic corrupt practices within the rank and file of our police force, Nigerians still expressed surprises at the allegations by U.S intelligent police that DCP Abba Kyari was accessory to Hushpuppi’s crimes.

A similar incident played out last week as a terrorist group nicknamed “armed bandits” invaded Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Afara in Kaduna state, killing some officers, injuring many and abducted some. Blueprint newspaper was among the first few national tabloids that broke the news last Tuesday, as it happened in the dead of the night of Monday 23rd August.

Everyone was taken aback! How could it have happened? A Military Defence Academy overpowered by armed bloody civilians? Those who were startled by the reprehensible incident and ask these questions, I reckon, were being dishonest with the realities of our territorial antecedents. One of our problems is that we often stick our guts to the present, neglecting the counsel of J.F Kennedy that: “history is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” We must learn to allow the past guide our transient present, towards carving the ideal future we crave. Consequently, let’s take few steps away to tap from rhe archive, so we will appreciate why our anxiety over the current attack is slightly out of place.

There is nothing new to it!

Was it not here, on the night of April 14, 2014 that 276 mostly christian school girls in Chibok were hounded, and driven for more than 20kilometers to Sambisa without interception from any law enforcement agent? Was it not here that the similar dreadful incident took place in Dapchi, on February 19, 2018, with the victims numbering about 110, one of whom, Leah Sharibu is still in captivity till this moment? Was it not here that retired Air Chief, Alex Badeh was assassinated in cold blood one week to the Christmas of 2018, and nothing came out of the case? Was it not here that Hon. Ahmed Gulak was assassinated in broad daylight on May 30, 2021, with no definite trace of the perpetrators? Was it not here that INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano, Alh. Mukaila Abdullahi and his family were burnt to death and the cause shrouded in mystery? What about the murders of Funsho Williams (July 27, 2006) and Bola Ige (December 23, 2001)? What did we make out of the invasion of security formations in the South east in recent past?

In all these and many more incidents in the past, Nigeria moved on as if nothing happened. So, why did we all of a sudden became horrow-stricken at the news that men with the same trademark broke into NDA?

May be because people felt that being the echelon of military formation which doubles as training school for all cadres of military officers, no daredevil can ever dare it. Ironically, it has proved foolsome to think that way. In Nigeria, anything can happen. Have we forgotten too soon that on Sunday 09 May, 2021, armed robbers broke into the Aso villa that houses our presidential palace (arguably the most secure zone in the country)? Have we also forgotten that on Wednesday April 18, 2018, a mob of miscreants invaded the National Assembly, forcefully snatched the Senate Mace, and made away with it unscathed? Or are our memories so short-lived that we couldn’t recollect the tragedy of ten years ago, that took place on the Friday morning of August 26 2011, when a car bomb blew up some parts of UN office in Abuja, with 18 fatalities and countless injuries? So, if hoodlums can have field day in esoterically guarded zones like Villa, NASS and UN headquarters in Abuja, then what is remaining?

On Wednesday, July 23 2014, I was returning from Katsina. We had barely entered Kaduna when Buhari’s entourage passed us by. Few minutes later, a bomb blast which Buhari claimed was targeted at him blew so close to his fleets at Kawo Market; and that was after a prior blast two hours before, near Murtala Mohammed square. Estimated 40 souls were instantly lost to that horror. All vehicles into Kaduna, ours inclusive, were blocked and asked to re-route as immeduate curfew was declared by then Gov. Ramadan Yero.

If we are to go further into the recess of history, we would discover July 10, 2003 when a sitting governor, the courageous Dr. Chris Ngige was abducted in broad daylight out of office in Awka.

Please accept my apologies for dragging your memory back to the ugly past in our national diary. It was an inadvertent effort to buttress the point that Nigerians ought not be stupefied by the trepidative NDA incident as if it was the first time a crime of such magnitude was perpetrated. But still, one can pardon them on the ground that no matter how often evil occur, man can never get used to it. The culture of evil indoctrination has never found home in any society, not even during the barbarians days.

And this brings us to the point of addressing the unanswered questions about that bloody night. How did the security architecture of the institution get compromised so easily that night? What about the Academy’s Sentry and Quarter Guards? Were they all caught off guard while their CCTV camera control room monitors coincidentally and simultaneously slumbered? Whatever happened to the officers on patrol in the barracks that night.

I had my one year NYSC scheme in an Army barracks back in the day. I have faint knowledge of how regimented life in military barracks operates. It is virtually impossible to crack the watch night arrangement of a typical Nigerian defence barracks. How then, did this permissiveness arise in Afara that unholy night?

Some school of thoughts, posing as conspiracy theorists suggests that for every security breach as enlisted above in the plot of our discourse, there is a security personnel collusion. And to validate this hypothesis, Senator Ali Ndume (the senate committee chairman in Army) few days ago, opined that the military should fish out the moles in their ranks. Whether this is truly the case, only the future will tell. But the indisputable fact remains that the loss and collateral damage thereof, is to Nigeria’s corporate entity as a whole, which continues to throw up the rhetorical question: Who defends the Defender?

May daylight spare us!
Ogechukwu writes via

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