Col, Nigerian Mischief or Operation 'shake body' in the local vernacular. I have refrained from commenting on the Chibok 'abduction' saga but will attempt to summarize what I know, some perception, some fact. Firstly though I'd like to congratulate Col for his perspicacity on the issue. Perhaps this is borne from years of experience, but sir, you are remarkable perceptive. CDS Babeh has a propensity for hyperbole. Some believe it is because he was a transport pilot and not a fighter pilot (the dichotomy may seem bizarre to non-military folks but in third world armed forces, there is a prestige attached to MOSs associated with each branch of the armed forces. For example, in Nigeria, there is a clear established seniority between Regular Combatant officer cadets and Emergency Commissioned combatant officers. The former picked their careers in the profession of arms. The latter joined to get jobs. Similarly, in the NAF, transport pilots are considered bus drivers compared to their fighter pilot trained brethren, but I digress.) Badeh had originally claimed BH would be extinguished by 'April 2013'. When his sanity was questioned he retreated to a lame explanation that the statement was meant as a way of motivating the military high command to redouble their efforts. He has not been alone in making such baseless claims.
The CoAS previously has made such claims. So has GEJ. Every bomb or alleged BH incident is an opportunity for the military high command to seek 'funds' to quell the problem. Nigeria has not had a strategic defence review for a decade. It has no published anti-terror policy. But it does have shadowy counter-indoctrination policies aped from the Saudi model (what successes it has achieved, only God knows). Congressional oversight of such policy is non-existent because elected officials believe security is secret service looking goons flanking a car. Badeh, like his predecessors have shown a remarkable ability to fraternize with those in positions of power. His relationship with GEJ goes back to his being the CO of the Presidential Airfleet. A newly installed GEJ was worried that a literal 'spanner in the air intake' of the presidential jet could do him in. Sensing fear, Badeh seized his opportunity to reassure GEJ he would come to no harm. Their relationship has been cemented by what passes for entertainment amongst people from the president's geographical area. Copious amounts of drinking (preferably Louis 13 Hennessy or similar grade) and of course, women. The guarantor of GEJ's personal safety was LTG Azazi, a former CoAS and NSA under GEJ. Azazi is GEJ's kinsman. Under his watch as NSA, oil theft rose to unprecedented levels. Chatham House rates it at an illicit trade in the $Bs per year. Azazi in turn oversaw the promotion of his cronies within the military, particularly the army. He died, along with the governor of a Northern state in a naval helicopter crash. The irony was that the chopper had been made operational by cannibalising engine parts from other unserviceable choppers because of diversion of funds by senior military officials. Azazi w also instrumental in securing a $550M public surveillance camera system that was bankrolled by the Chinese Exim bank. The system has no way of reading number plates of cars and is supposedly run on solar power. It has never worked a day of it's existence. Since 2011, GEJ has disbursed, by some estimates, up to 1.5 trillion Naira for security exigences, either budgetary or supplementary. That's approx $10B. Yet the Nigerian army cannot field one division with all it's pre-requisite assets. Maybe not even a brigade. It has approx 70,000 men on it's payroll (the number is precisely unknown because, like most institutions in Nigeria, 'ghost workers' proliferate the workforce so salaries and pensions can be skimmed off the government payroll by civil servants and the leaders of these organizations whom receive these salaries whilst they are in service. Again, I digress). To show you how inept this administration is, approx 6 helicopters were destroyed in a daring BH attack on a NAF base last year. That's about 75 percent of the air force's combat capacity. It fully took GEJ 9 months to assign responsibility and relieve the three service chiefs of their commands. The CoAS ordered ageing APCs from Belarus that were bullet and RPG magnets (without any a/c or such comforts in 40+ degree heat). Apparently half the consignment is still 'en-route' more than a yr and a half after order, if you know what I mean. Troops on the frontlines recently killed the orderly and severely wounded the MA to a divisional commander. They spared him and told him to report back to AHQ as to how desperate their conditions were. There is high probability that troops in the north eastern sector will mutiny and kill general staff officers. A brigade commander told me that he had been advised by his divisional commander that he sign for a rifle and two grenades for his own personal protection when touring his formations. Swirling amongst all of this is an insurgent mvt that was born from a mixture of poor local governance, weak central authority, transnational criminal syndicates, gun running, drug and people smuggling, imported jihadi ideology on the back of a political cynical attempt to coral funds from the ME for mosque building across the north of Nigeria, in the guise of Shari'a-ing northern Nigeria, chronic unemployment and attendant poverty and an entrenched and suffocating feudalism that elevates local chieftaincies to positions of political influence without the encumberances of democratic politics. Thus, it is entirely within the realm of possibilities that the 'kidnappers' are not jihadist elements but state actors, or at least non-state actors colluding with state actors. The Gov of Borno state recently blurted out the fact that a $2M ransom was paid, in cash, to release two kidnapped French missionaries held by BH affiliate Ansaru. GEJ has been trying to internationalize the problem by linking BH to the wider global jihadi mvt. In this he is been advised by the Elysee Palace. But why Paris and not N'Djamena or Yaounde or Niamey ? Because he has betrayed the confidences of all those regional leaders. Paul Biya despises him and will not cooperate with Nigeria because GEJ slandered him before President Obasanjo. The other capitals regard GEJ as a non-entity in personality and substance. He, however gets on well with Jacob Zuma, whom seems to like to encourage African leaders to buy beachfront properties in Cape Town. GEJ has attempted, without luck, to smarm his way into relevance in DC. The problem is HC has dismissed his suites and the USG can see capital flight outflows of approx $1B monthly from a country that should nominally be a medium income country. GEJ recently pardoned his predecessor as governor of his state, a man whom had been arrested in London and convicted of money-laundering, and whom had subsequently absconded from detention at Her Majesty's pleasure, dressed as a woman. Why ? Because this man has a relationship with Niger Delta militants that GEJ believes will serve as security when he leaves office. The pardon was met with furious condemnation by London and DC. The pardon also serves as a pointer to the slow car crash that is the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. The IOCs are rapidly divesting themselves of on-shore fields and moving to deep water fields. However, the billions of $ that their investment could pour into the Nigerian govt coffers is been delayed because GEJs administration has decided to force upon them a Venezuelan type tax and royalties regime that is organizational incoherent and economically viable at current crude oil prices. The IOCs lose money should prices return to historic levels. So, a military that Colin Powell said had arrived at Roberts Field in 'good order' to stabilize a disintegrating Liberia in 2003 cannot combat 1000 insurgents using Toyota technicals and causing mayhem. I disagree with Colonel on one point. The NE cannot be partitioned. It will refuse to leave. The alternative for them is utter destitution. It suits GEJ politically in a perverse sense that instability continues because it will serve as a basis to not conduct elections there. That is three states. GEJ has little support in the north anyhow so effectively excising three states from the political process strengthens his hand (because the political dialogue in Nigeria has been polarized to North (code word for Muslim ) and South (Christian ). But there are many twists and turns in the works. And Dame Patience Jonathan's Macbethian tears will not alter what will come to pass. - Tunde (a Nigerian correspondent of SST)