In the second edition of this column, published penultimate week, I promised to make it as interactive as possible, undertaking to give voice to the reader by publishing your opinions on articles published on this page. In keeping with that promise, I am publishing all the responses generated since the publication of the first piece, entitled above, to the second one on xenophobia in Niger Republic.
While welcoming responses from readers, I would, however, advice us to strive to be civil in addressing issues, and also state our names and addresses.
For credibility, except where we feel strongly otherwise, phone numbers of respondents will also be published.
I was travelling from Kano to Gombe in the North-East with my husband and, some kilometers after passing Darazo town in Bauchi State, our vehicle started jerking and shortly after came to a complete stop. Though my husband is versatile and knows his way with cars, everything he did to restart the car failed. It was getting dark and this happened in the middle of nowhere. Our hearts were in our mouths, afraid that Boko Haram could appear from nowhere and kill us. I didn’t know when I started crying. Exasperated, my husband helplessly locked the car, and just when we where considering trekking, we were lucky to see one lanky Hausa man riding a motorcycle. Because we had no choice, we beckoned on him to stop. He did. We told him about the problem and he added to our fear when he warned that that particular spot was a dangerous one, and to safeguard citizens, the army has erected a checkpoint barely a kilometre ahead.
We both squeezed on his bike and he took us to the army checkpoint, where we sought help from the officer in charge. After just a phone call, he took us in his car with two of his men where our vehicle was towed from that dangerous spot where it stopped to their base. He then called a mechanic from the nearest town, who took almost an hour to fix the car. By then it was dark and we were afraid to go further. But he assured us that nothing would happen. We gave them money, in appreciation for their help, but all of them flatly rejected it. We trusted them and took the risk of proceeding with our trip and, to the Glory of God, arrived safely.
From that day, I stopped insulting our soldiers. Their checkpoint was located on a dangerous stretch of the road. They had no access to electricity or anything that adds value to life. Yet, they were there to make it possible for you and me to travel on that road, even when Boko Haram could dress like you and me and attack and kill them. They may not be my blood relations, but they are other people’s children, husbands, brothers, fathers, etc. They definitely deserve our support.
– Mrs. Jennifer Chukwuma,
+44 7452 038447
Thanks for the wonderful piece in The Sun newspaper, Mr. Suleiman. The military surely deserves our support.
– Ekejiuba Kingsley Dabarachi,
No, I disagree with you. This is because the military is not equal to the task of salvaging the citizens of this country from the hands of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. They are ill equipped.
I read your piece in our darling newspaper the Daily Sun. I fully commend you.
– Dr. Nwagwu C.C., 08037055728
I thank you for picking on an interesting topicm, the military and its strides in the war against terror. What you wrote is simply the reality: we need to support our military because it is our own. The same military was also loyal to Jonathan, Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Shagari, Babangida, Abacha before Buhari simply because these people at various times in our history represent our sovereignty. It was never personal. Certainly, there have been cases where one or two top military generals showed their loyalty to a particular leader, but that cannot be enough reason to dismiss the efforts of the military or label them as politicians. As it obtains in other climes, soldiers become politicians after retirement. Some become businessmen. It is their choice. And the same thing happens even in bigger democracies. May the Lord continue to grant the military huge success in the onerous task of nation building.
– Abubakar Mohammed,
I am only worried about the way our military is being politicised, not by the generals or the service chiefs but mainly by our politicians. It has now gone to the extent where some pastors and imams urge their faithful to see the army from the prism of religion and tribe. For me, that’s the main battle the service chiefs shall fight because, unless this is quickly nipped in the bud, we will wake up one day to see our army turning to ethnic militia, God forbid. It is absolutely sad.
– Nana Abdulsalam, 0706 428 5557
The military causes all the insults being heaped on them because of what some of their leaders did during the last election. They collaborated with some governors or vested interests to help some politicians rig the election. But then I am happy all hope is not lost. The army, which I understand constitutes more than two-thirds of the entire military in Nigeria, is headed by a man of intense integrity, General Buratai. He is a man of extraordinary patriotism and we urge him to continue to save this country by adding more to the morale of his troops and sanctioning any of his men who runs counter to the rules of engagement.
– Suleiman Adam, 0806 767 6746
For me, the military has a duty to fish out those soldiers who connive with selfish politicians to post fake videos to civilians all in the bid to portray the military as an institution in bad light. The army commanders should fish out those soldiers and punish them because, by engaging in their cowardly acts, they are exposing the lives of their colleagues to serious danger. Though there is no doubt that the army has recorded unprecedented achievements in the war against terror, we need to find out why too many generals are left doing nothing at the army headquarters at a time when even their chief is always in the battlefield in Borno and other places. I think that by bringing them to the battlefield the morale of the rank and file will be boosted and they will get superior ideas to win the war. I commend the Chief of Army Staff for his excellent leadership and wish the entire military the best of luck in their strides to make a more secure and peaceful Nigeria possible.
– Babajide Adeyemi,
+229 98 22 8541
All you have said is the real truth. The military are really trying, but they need more of the support of government for equipment and ammunition for their work to be more effective. The military also needs the support of the masses and they should be encouraged by ensuring their welfare is well taken care of, and this should include both the dead and those that are alive. Family members of dead military men should be taken care of and not forsaken. The citizens should also stop anti-military posts in the social or traditional media because the troops are taking the bullets so that you and I can live in relative peace. They do not choose to be killed. We, therefore, should respect their memory by respecting the profession they choose and do more to castigate and condemn the enemy, which, sadly, some of us are inadvertently eulogizing by our ill-considered posts.
– Adeola Praise Agboola,
0814 918 5507
Xenophobia: Niger Republic too is guilty
Last year, I travelied in company with a friend to Niamey and, on our way, I was shocked to see the disdain with which the authorities of that country treat us, Nigerians, especially at their checkpoints. They use the slightest pretext to clamp down on you. They do this by collecting heavy fines from you, or delaying you for hours, not necessarily because you are guilty of any office, but mostly because they hardly understand texts written in English. It is despicable.
– Amira Abba,
I do not blame Nigerians going to Niger Republic to earn a livelihood, but I cannot even try it under the current administration of President Issoufou. It is high time the Buhari administration took a hard stance against the Issoufou regime, before it completely wrecks businesses being run in that country by Nigerians. As you rightly pointed out in your piece, Nigeria and Niger have a relationship that dates back centuries. But since it is clear that the current government in that country is not interested in treating our citizens with dignity and fairness, our government has a mighty responsibility to protect our citizens by ensuring justice for them.
– Bilkisu Ibrahim,
0818 286 5952
If it is true that the present regime in Niger has treated a Nigerian company with so much disdain and even handed over its technology to another company from Turkey, the Buhari government must, as a matter of serious urgency and necessity, do something to compel Niger to pay our people compensation and save them the embarrassment of court actions that they are facing. Enough is enough.
– Naziru Musa Ali,
0802 655 6123
Mahamadou Issoufou, the strongman of Niger Republic, must he made to understand that power is transient and sooner than later he is going to be an ordinary citizen. The evil that men do lives after them. Let him simply pay the Nigerian company and, since it is very clear he doesn’t want our people to do business in his country, he should hasten to opt out of the ECOWAS protocol that encourages free trade and movement among member nations. Over to you, Baba Buhari.
– Gideon Shaibu,