Posted to YouTube May 4, 2016.
In the little more than two years since the above was posted, Fulani-associated attacks on Nigerian farming villages have skyrocketed, bringing to play suspicions about a Muslim dominated government and security apparatus. One BackChannels source has suggested that all the top military and police officers have Arab names and Islamic affiliation, and, therefore, so may go the reasoning, the same have turned a blind eye to attacks in the making. Add to that, the state’s confiscation of old unregistered firearms from villagers, leaving the same completely bared to the whims of AK-47 equipped rape-and-rapine “Fulani Land Pirates”.
Not surprisingly, the complaint of Islamic Jihad and the ethnic cleansing of Christians has surfaced in more recent news.
Governor Ortom in his speech, stated that what was happening in the state was ethnic cleansing and Jihad. Ortom said, “this is not a hidden agenda, it’s known and those people who are perpetrating it did say it. They’re not hidden. They held press conferences, they came out and said they were going to resist our law, that they were going to do ethnic cleansing, it’s about Jihad, it’s about taking over the land, it’s not about herders and farmers clashes.
Duru, Peter. “Seek int’l help to end killings in Benue, Nigeria — Professor
Wole Soyinka.” Vanguard, May 24, 2018.
Related in Vanguard on this day: an editorial critical of “The probe on Army ‘partiality'”; and another, finally, on the shooting of armed herdsman in the “Gwer, Logo and Guma Local Government Areas of Benue State” — and in use: Russian Mi-35 helicopter gunships.
BackChannels has been curious about where “the bandits” have been obtaining their arms — and the mention of such curiosity alone should raise knowing and cynical smiles in West Africa: “Firearms Trafficking in West Africa” n.d., PDF.
The Boko Haram back story in relation to arms and equipage has been poked at:
Campbell, John. “Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Heavy Weapons.” Council on Foreign Relations, 2014.
However, the “tank” in the photo appears to be a Panhard ERC-90 Sagaie, a wheeled armored fighting vehicle of French manufacture. Chad and Cote d’Voire each have a few of these vehicles, and, according to one commentator, the Nigerian military has forty-two of them. If that is accurate, then it is likely that the tank and the armored fighting vehicle were stolen from a Nigerian military armory and did not come from Libya.
Reuters Staff. “Military graft undermines Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram: Transparency International.” Reuters, May 17, 2017.
At least one arms shipment originating in Turkey has been interdicted; there appears at least one report of bandits armed to military standards:
Last year the police carried out a dawn raid on Orilowo-Ejigbo, a Lagos suburb, and arrested three men after seizing a cache of arms that was sufficient to outfit a 20-man army. In another incident last year, at the border town of Seme, bandits overwhelmed the huge security presence at the border post, laid in wait for traders and robbed them. Many lives were lost. As an officer testified after the incident, it wasn’t the effrontery of the robbers that unnerved him and his colleagues, but the sophistication
of the arms they used.
Ojudu, Babafemi. “Gun Smuggling in the Niger Delta.” World Press Review, n.d.
However acquired — and whatever the true (cultural, communal, economic, personal religious, social, tribal) motivations of Boko Haram or Fulani Land Pirates — the violence targeting the state’s peaceful (and disarmed) Christian communities has brought into view the possibilities for deep mistrust across the Christian-Muslim discriminator and forced the state to defend its integrity with greater military power, skill, and resolve, which, of course, requires heightened military spending.
Distilled: violent rogue organizations promote defense spending, i.e., they’re good for business!
Affected states, perhaps especially today Nigeria, have no choice but to heighten integrity in their ranks and push back or, over time, disintegrate down into feudal squabbles that might presage — for lack of decency in governance — meltdown into the modern dark ages of failed states.
At the same time, BackChannels fears the Orwellian possibility of state-based manipulation of bandits, jihadists, and raiders in the producing the sustained chaos and conflict profitable to two kinds of markets: 1) the black markets known to “failed states” and “frozen conflicts” in which authorities have been so compromised, corrupted, or otherwise weakened (absented in force) that anything goes and EVERYTHING illicit moves through the territory; and 2) the state-to-state business markets invested in defense economies nurtured for expansion.
Appreciate the contemplation: the truth really is Out There where ships stop in the night far out at sea and hours later smuggled arms move across the land toward the money that makes it all seem worthwhile.
What will happen if the seemingly limitless tide of young men recruited in the wild become supplied with shoulder-launched rockets?
Someone’s business will grow.
Related to Nigeria’s acquisition of A29 Aircraft
Aziken, Emmanuel. “Cost of A29 aircraft: Ask Nigerian govt — US Mission.” Vanguard, May 8, 2018.
Akinwotu, Emmanuel and Aurelien Breeden. “‘Shocked’ by Attack on Mosque, Nigeria Tightens Security in Northeast.” The New York Times, May 2, 2018.