The strength of any country is determined by the sophistication and strength of its armed forces, on the one side, and its police, on the other side. In other words, while the military oversees the external aspect, the police take charge of the security of the internal space of the country.
It is believed that a weak country is shown by the weakness of by its armed forces. Every serious country allocates much capital to equipment, training and the welfare of its military and police. The Nigerian armed forces, since establishment, have continued to exhibit traits of a disciplined, focused institution, growing from strength to strength.
Since the scourge of a defiant religious group known as Boko Haram began 10 years ago, members of the armed forces drafted to the many war fronts in Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states have not had good rest. They have stood in the gap for the country to wage war against a dastardly sect that is affiliated to other dangerous terrorist groups outside the country. These soldiers have sacrificed their happiness, leisure and good times with their families for complete patriotic service to the country.
Many of these soldiers were carried back dead, many were maimed. The same tragic fate befell many policemen and women, as well as the Department of State Services (DSS), whose office in the early years of the war fell into the evil hands of the sect. In the case of the police, death met them either at their duty post or while in their houses, along with some of their family members, when Boko Haram fighters picked tracked them to their homes and murdered them.
Painful as it sounds, these sacrifices are in the line of duty to protect the fatherland. These servicemen had, after schooling, decided to enlist into one of the security forces before the terror war started. Then they were posted to the war zone where, unfortunately, death ended their journey, leaving their families in sorrow and their children fatherless, their wives were turned to widows. But their colleagues were not deterred. They have continued to courageously hold high the banner of war by ensuring that they root terrorists out of Nigeria.
In the middle of the year 2017, this writer was privileged to visit some of the war-torn communities in Borno State, especially Sambisa forest, where I saw our soldiers under the intense, scorching desert sun, keeping vigil from sunrise to sundown, communicating only with their rifles, which had become their best friend. A small shelter that was less than four feet high was where each of them camped. They had been away from their families for months and, in some instances, years.
I met one of them, a gallant soldier who had been away from his family for six years. He showed me the picture of his first son who was just two months old when he was posted to the war zone in Bama,and it has been impossible for him to see his first baby. That is the lot of soldiers in the war zone. All these strenuous efforts are aimed at ensuring that the country is peaceful.
I remember where I was camped in Bama, in a dilapidated palace. We slept in an open palace with no roof and the desert wind shred my flesh. At night, as I counted endlessly the stars through the open roof of the emir’s wrecked palace that was overrun by the terrorists, the sound of the Nigerian Army bombshells vibrated as they exploded in the distance. Every few minutes, the sound of the shelling tore through the silent dark night.
The vibration seemed a few meters away from where I was lodged and echoed into the distance towards the enemy’s area. It was like that all through the night. The sound and vibration killed my sleep. All I thought was, “Is this how I will die, in the hands of Boko Haram?”
My civilian neighbour was constantly praying with his Catholic rosary, as the unending sound of the shelling frightened the hell out of me. At the sound of each shelling, I jerked awake, my eyes blinked intermittently and I looked straight into the heavens. It was not an experience for any man suffering from high blood pressure.
My sleep was disturbed, so was that of all the soldiers who were used to the situation. This is why no man who has experienced war would not agree with the submission that no amount is too big for the government to vote for peace of the country.
Peace is invaluable and should be cherished. These gallant servicemen absorb the pain so that the society can be peaceful. They sacrifice their freedom so that the society can move freely. They most often are denied luxury so that the society can enjoy leisure and luxury. They trek several kilometers in the desert and forest so that Nigerians can move freely. They are our “guardian angels.” They are our fencekeepers.
As the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, SECURITY FILE remembers every one of you, our patriotic, gallant officers and men of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the police. According to the President and Commander-in-Chief, “There is no doubt that a lot has been achieved by our army.”
We lift every one of you, from the Chief of Army Staff, war commanders and all the officers and men in prayer. Merry Christmas.
1: Be careful when boarding a taxi in the town or along the road. Ensure you can identify the vehicle or the driver later.
2: Avoid any parcel abandoned around a motor park, mosque, church or market.
3: Keep away from any young girl with bulging stomach or waist that is behaving funny around motorparks, markets, churches, mosques or playgrounds.
4: When travelling, don’t pick strangers, especially passengers without luggage.
5: Cross-check your car even after your driver has confirmed checking the water level, engine oil, hydraulic oil and the tyres.
6: Be civil and nice to the uniformed men you meet on the road as you travel.
7: Report any suspicious fellow around your house to the nearest police station.
8: Remember that security of live and property is everyone’s responsibility and not that of security agents alone.
9: Don’t struggle with kidnappers when you know you would eventually be freed.
10: Be vigilant!!!