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Tribute to Late General Mohammed Shuwa: 1939- 2012



General Mohammed Shuwa (1939 – 2012).

By Haruna Yusuf  writes from Borno

General Mohammed Shuwa was born in Masharte village of Borno State on September 1, 1939. He attended Kala Elementary School (1946-1947), Bama Central Elementary School (1948-1950), Bornu Middle School (1950-1952), and Barewa College, Zaria for his secondary education (1952-1957). He was classmates with Gen. Murtala Muhammed at Barewa and at subsequent military institutions. Along with Murtala Muhammed and others such as Illiya Bisalla, and Ibrahim Haruna, Shuwa joined the Nigerian Army on September 19, 1958 and pursued his preliminary cadet training at the Regular Officers Special Training School in Teshie, Ghana. He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in July 1961 after completing officers training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom.

In July, 1966, then Lt. Col Shuwa was Commander of the 5th Battalion in Kano during the Nigerian Army Mutiny of July 1966 where many Igbo military officers were systematically murdered by their northern counterparts for what the northern officers perceived as retribution for the January 15, 1966 coup (which was led by mostly Igbo officers). Shuwa and his then deputy, Major James Oluleye took the initiative by asking their company commanders to lock up the battalion armory and hand over the armory keys in their armory safe. As a result of Shuwa and Oluleye’s leadership, the lives of many Igbo officers during the July mutiny were saved.

However In late September 1966, Shuwa and Oluleye were posted away from the 5th Battalion and were replaced by then Major Abba Kyari and Captain Auna. On October 1, 1966, 5th Battalion troops mutinied and opened fire on the parade ground as they were addressed by Major Kyari. The mutineers murdered Captain Auna and their Regimental Sergeant Major Dauda Mumuni while Major Kyari was able to escape with some injuries. The rampaging soldiers broke into the armory and murdered Igbo civilians. Lt. Colonel Hassan Katsina, military governor of the Northern Region intervened with the assistance of Lt Colonel Shuwa, Major Martin Adamu, and Lieutenant Garba Duba to suppress the mutiny. The quartet was initially overwhelmed by the mutineers and subsequently enlisted the assistance of the Emir of Kano to quell the mutiny.

From 1975 to 1979, Mohammed Shuwa served as Federal Commissioner for Trade and Works. He retired from the Nigerian Army on October 1, 1979, when the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over the reigns of political power in Nigeria to the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari.
General Shuwa was murdered in his Maiduguri home on November 2, 2012 by suspected Boko Haram militants. He was known to have lived a modest life after his retirement. He was 73.

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The overwhelming insecurity in Nigeria, Terrorism Veiled As Bandits, By Haruna Yusuf



The overwhelming Insecurity In Nigeria, Terrorism Veiled As Bandits, By Haruna Yusuf 

In defiance of government determined attempt, the security position in Nigeria, is fast deteriorating and degrading the country’s image, indeed, the pettifoggery between the insurgents, Nigeria government and the killings of Nigerians in the Northeast has taken more than in a holocaust. Then kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery. Boko Haram insurgents have been constituting havoc in the northeast for more than a decade now, they’ve rendered millions homeless, hundreds of thousands orphans, Jobless and subjected millions to adject poverty and left them at the expense of good Samaritans and the merger fund of government. 
The Boko haram insurgents are still perpetrating untold damage to the northeast, especially Borno state the worst hit and still hitting by the terror group and leaving them in disarray and clouded future, though before now, the northwest was relatively peaceful compared to the northeast that was like nightmare to the people. 
Even though the northwest is poorer, worse governed in some areas, and has lower levels of both human and capital development, the major factor that led to these rising kidnapping and banditry in the northwest is injustice and equity couple with unemployment, though, before now, it was happening but was rare and once a while or maybe on target, not until the population of unemployed youths and miscreants found out to be the most paying and lucrative business to go about. 
The recent abduction of school boys in kankara community, katsina and Niger states, the greenfield university students and government secondary schools in Kaduna respectively, the vulnerable farmers in zamfara on a daily basis, these are more examples of the deplorable state of security in Nigeria. Notably, the unprecedented increase in violent attacks in the southeast, west and south south is defying the sustained narrative among analyst that, there is no safe place in this country, for now. 
The previous abductions and maiming of chbok and Damboa girls and schools across the northeast and the recent kankara, greenfield and government secondary schools in Kaduna bears the operation footprint of Boko haram insurgent in both times, that has perfected the act through previous heinous atrocities of abductions. 
This episode stocks to the terrorists perpetual attempts to form alliance with foreign pact in the northwest to continue the kidnapping, robbery and banditry, while Boko haram remains the coordinating center. 
The porousness of Nigeria borders is the cumulating factor that brings about the rising insecurity in the country. Believe you me, i doubt much if Nigeria government has the complete data of its citizens and the demographic map of her borders, especially the roots of the borders that links the country to neighbouring countries, like Niger, Chad, Cameroon and the river basin, all the Government knows about is, locations of oil in the Niger delta and riverine areas. 
The porous nature of these borders heightens the potential spread of terrorist and banditry activities into the northeast/west of Nigeria, from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan, Libya and Niger. The border is so vulnerable to be infiltrated by terrorists and bandits, it is more compounded making Sambisa forests idle places for meeting and operational bases for Boko haram and all forms of crime and criminality easy.
Come to think about the verse nature or landscape sambisa forest constitutes. Sambisa forests can be infiltrated via many routes, it has a route through Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and taraba among others, and the forests is the best hideout and place that can contain all forms of arms and ammunition deals.
The growing terrorism in Niger state in the country’s north central region has led Abubakar Shekau the “acclaimed” leader of Boko haram to give credence to the fighters from the northwest who he so claimed have proven their allegiance and commitment to the group, communities in northwest and north central Nigeria, lacking state protections, the becoming increasingly vulnerable to these cumulating threats.  To be continued….

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What Have We Done For The Next Generation?, By Hassan Gimba



What Have We Done For the Next Generation?, by Hassan Gimba

Our next-generation may not know what our generation knew, may not have what we had. We have failed to give them what the previous generation gave us. The peace and tranquillity we knew, the comfort and ease we had, the security and brotherhood we enjoyed, the careful laying of the foundation for our future we witnessed – all these we have failed to transfer to the next generation because we have thrown away the baton.

The problems of Nigeria are such that you get lost when talking about them. Where do you start from? The betrayal of confidence by leadership that much hope was placed on? Or is it the systemic and systematic decay in its affairs? The “me first” attitude of its people that see the country as milking cow? Our lack of seriousness over what we should be serious about?

In Chinua Achebe’s book The Trouble With Nigeria, published in 1983, he professed that the only trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership. He wrote that with outstanding leaders, Nigeria could resolve its inherent problems, such as tribalism, lack of patriotism, social injustice and the cult of mediocrity, indiscipline, and corruption.

However, Joseph F. Mali, in his A Quiet Revolution: Some Social and Religious Perspectives on the Nigerian Crisis, thinks differently. He thinks corruption and failed leadership are not at the heart of the Nigerian crisis. He opined that though corruption and misrule have done terrible harm to the country; they are by-products of something in the same way smoke is the by-product of fire.

The real trouble with Nigeria, says Mali, “is the lifestyle of profound selfishness the people and their leaders have in common”. And the nation still bleeds because of this evil, he said. Unless Nigerians cure this (disease), he maintains, no system of government is likely to succeed. “In vain do Nigerians seek political solutions as long as selfishness remains their credo!” Since Nigeria’s problem is moral, Mali insists, the remedy must also be ethical. He proposes A Quiet Revolution as a cure for Nigeria’s ailment. This revolution is not a silent coup to overthrow the Nigerian government. It is not a French-style rebellion with masses on the streets and peasants in the country put an end to centuries of absolute monarchy. Rather, the Quiet Revolution is an interior change, an individual transformation. As long as this change has not happened, Mali declares, it will be difficult to repair and restore Nigeria.

This is quite in tandem with the Qur’anic verse that says Allah (SWT) changes not the condition of people until they change what is in their hearts. Here, the verse is widely quoted out of context by people wanting to give their idols in power excuses. People don’t just wake up and at same time say: “We must change.” He always gives them someone who sensitises and organises them by leading them as their guide. Such a person is the leader; even the greatest revolutions and mass uprisings in history have guides, so it still comes back to the question of leadership.

God sends prophets to lead people to cleanse their hearts and become new. One by one, people change internally and get transformed individually, as Mali said, and collectively a changed society is born. There is always one who is the society’s mirror..

In July last year, I wrote on this page “God raises the living out of the dead and brings forth light out of the dark, He raises from among a people their type who leads them from deprivation to well being. Out of the palace of the Pharaoh, He raised Moses (AS); out of the family and society of idolaters, He brought forth Abraham (AS), and out of the heathendom of Arabia He revealed Muhammad (SAW).

“Chaka the Zulu founded the Zulu Empire and led them for twelve years before he was assassinated on September 22, 1828, He moulded his people into a dominating fighting force never seen before in southern Africa. Mao Zedong, known as Chairman Mao, was the founding father of The People’s Republic of China and laid the foundation of what China now is. You can go on and count leaders who changed their people and their countries’ fortunes by leading by example. Cuba’s Fidel Castro was one; we also had Muammar Gaddafi from Libya, Dr Martin Luther King who raised the consciousness of Blacks, Dr Muhammad Mahathir of Malaysia and Mahatma Gandhi of India.

“These leaders raised the consciousness level of the people and changed them to better human beings, by being what they wanted their people to be. They did not look their people in the face condescendingly and patronisingly, point a finger at them singing “change” while they indulged in the vices of yore. Mao viewed such leaders as “swollen in head, weak in legs, sharp in tongue but empty in belly.”

Perchance this is one reason in 1999, years after he published his work, and despite Mali’s treatise, Achebe still maintained that Nigeria’s problem is that of leadership. He had returned to the country after a decade overseas receiving treatment for a back injury sustained in an automobile accident. At his home in the South East, he met with Cunliffe-Jones to discuss the Nigerian crisis. Achebe’s view had not changed at all. He reiterated his old message: “If poor leadership caused the problem then, it is still the case today.”

Someone once explained our social and political reality: “those in power enjoyed the oil money while most other Nigerians languished in poverty. The masses, he said, could be described as innocent sufferers, like the biblical Job, or the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. (Nigerian masses) watch their leaders ruin the nation but could do nothing to stop them”, he concluded.

Unfortunately, the quality of leadership seems to dwindle, deteriorating by the day despite Nigeria being more populated than forty years ago when Achebe wrote his political polemic. We have more professors, more PhDs, more professionals, more intellectuals, more exposure, more enlightenment – more everything. Yet we have regressed so much concerning providing quality leaders and leadership in the country.

Because of this dysfunction in providing formal leadership responsive to yearnings of people, tribal quasi-irredentists and jingoists have appeared on the landscape, setting the agenda.

The South-East produced Zik of Africa, Eton College-trained Ojukwu, Kingsley Mbadiwe of the Timber and Calibre rhetoric and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary fame. It also produced Alex Ekwueme, intellectual giants like Chuba Okadigbo, etc. Now it has a Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The South West sired Obafemi Awolowo, Adelabu Adegoke, Lamidi Adedibu, MKO Abiola, Lateef Jakande, Adeniran Ogunsanya, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, etc. But now it is Sunday Igboho after Ganiyu Adams.

The North? The North that produced Aminu Kano, Hassan Usman Katsina, Shehu Shagari, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Waziri Ibrahim has no one now, sadly. It has been searching since the demise of the Sardauna of Sokoto 56 years ago.

The lack of leaders who love this country has been our problem. While current crop of leaders had the best of everything, they have not improved on what they got for those coming after them. The great public school system that groomed them is no more. They prefer to send their children abroad for tertiary education and private schools for their primary and secondary education. The American government recently said about 14,000 Nigerians pursuing graduate and undergraduate degrees across communities in their country spent $501 million (about N190 billion) last year. And this is just America!

The public health system that took care of them while growing up is a shadow of itself as private hospitals and clinics have taken over. The leaders now indulge in medical tourism, spending billions of naira in hospitals abroad. In 2016, Price Waterhouse Coopers in its report stated that Nigerians spend $1 billion annually on medical tourism. It also said that 60 per cent of it is from oncology, orthopaedic, nephrology and cardiology patients.

When the world was virtually locked down this time last year because of Covid-19, the average Nigerian patiently waited for conditions to ease. He believed that having realised our incapacity, Nigeria will witness massive developments in its health and education sector and an aggressive drive on food production. Good leaders would also think that way.

It is unfortunate our generation has not replicated for the next generation what last generation did for us. Instead of even giving them peace to do for themselves what we failed to do for them, we are bristling and threatening to push them into turmoil. Turmoil and uncertainty. We better retreat because the path we are treading will not stand us well in the books of posterity.

If we have failed in taking care of their welfare, we should not fail in securing their lives in a united Nigeria and giving them peace to thrive.

Hassan Gimba

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Boko Haram: Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive, Group Urges Military



Boko Haram: Be proactive rather than reactive, group urges military

By Madu Mohammed,, Maiduguri

A group known as the Borno Emirates Concerned Citizens Forum has appealed to the Federal Government and the Military in particular to be proactive in tackling the deteriorating security situation in Borno and Yobe states.

Briefing newsmen at Press Conference held at the NUJ Press Centre, Maiduguri, yesterday the Chairman of the group, Zanna Hassan Boguma said the military should be proactive rather than reactive by changing their strategies to end the war against Boko Haram.

The forum also appealed to the Borno state government to rethink over the resettlement of internally displaced person’s taking refuge at various IDPs camps within and outside the State with the renewed and increasing attacks on towns and villages by the boko haram insurgents .

Zanna Hassan Boguma said “, It is apprehensive to note that the recent escalation of insecurity in Borno and Yobe States are frightening..The spade of attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram Insurgents in recent times has evolved to ridicule the security formations in the Northeast sub-region.

The Borno Emirates Concerned Citizens Forum expresses with dismay, over the recurring attacks on military formations, and the subsequent eviction of constituted authorities in Damasak, Geidam, and Minok by the dreaded Boko Haram Insurgents.”

“There is need for a thorough investigation and reorganization of the security architecture. The time of shifting blames on civilians is over, because looking at the
recent mass exodus in Damasak and Geidam, our people are helpless and no living soul will invite such wrath upon themselves.” the forum stressed.

The Forum believe the missing links and relax in security watch is to be blamed and that the repeating same tactics by the security formations is strengthening the insurgents.

“We are calling on the security agencies to as a matter of urgency have a rethink change security measures to avoid further deterioration. It is glaring that the nation’s security outfit is drifting and the wider it becomes, the more bad elements seize the opportunity to create a non-refillable vacuum. “

The forum further called on the Presidency, to immediately
summon a national security meeting to address the lingering and resurfacing of insecurity in the country while anticipating to submit a memorandum on the need to reintroduce the Joint Task Force to support the overstretched military in the restoration of peace in the land.

“We also want to suggest that the presidency inaugurate a state security council that comprises independent bodies couple with heads of governments and security leaders in the States of the Federation. The council should have a direct link to office of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari.We further suggest that the constitutional role of Traditional Authorities be revised to have a say on issues related to security and other prominent issues”, Hassan said.

The forum argued that disregarding the traditional system and the subsequent adoption of foreign administrative style has created a vacuum that leads to the current state while equally appealing to the NSA, CDS, IGP, DG DSS, to be on their toes ahead of these criminals all over the country.

“If at all the NSA will address the
Nation by telling us that there were many prominent Nigerians including very highly positioned Traditional Rulers involved in so many acts of criminal activities, What are they waiting for, they should be fished out and dealt with accordingly”, Boguma added

The Chairman said that the encounter in Mainok was pathetic but preventable, admonishing that the Super Camp Strategy be revisited by decentralizing the formations to spread on four
cardinal directions, saying that ‘”doing this, we believe the enemies cannot have the capacity to attack at the same time and at forefronts. We also wish to suggest the camps should increase the number of OUTPOST formation to serve as an alert mechanism to those in the camps. “

“Enough of losing our brave soldiers to these mad murderers. We call on all well-meaning Nigerians to embark on massive invocations
for peace to reign in Nigeria. We call on the Muslim faithfuls to adequately utilize the blessed month of Ramadan to pray for Nigeria”, Hassan said.

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