A Naval Officer Beat Me Up… So What?
Also, the military has always been a cost centre funded by the resources of the state. Thus, it does not earn revenue to the state and except on extreme and obvious provocation, the military never raises its hands on the civilian it should protect. These basic understandings enable the military to accept and tolerate the civilian even in the face of civil provocation. But mine was different because I did not offend him. But the speed at which he rushed to beat me was disgusting. To me as a civilian, I was disappointed. I think more enlightenment should be carried out to continuously inform the military that it is their primary duty to protect civilians, and not to beat them.
The second failure factor is the high level of impatience and intolerance which Adama exhibited as he dealt with me. Yes military dispatch may require that things be done as fast as possible; but surely with high level of diligence and care. For Adama to appropriate “momentary madness” as a right and within which he can shot and waste me is not okay especially when dealing with an ordinary and unarmed civilian like me. Probably it is this intemperate nature of the military that makes them want to kill people they consider offenders in first contact. I think the military should be thoroughly taught on how not to harm civilians except it becomes obvious. The military should aim at arresting and handing over suspected criminals or offenders to the police instead of punishing/killing them. The rationale behind arrest and hand over is to enable more humane interrogations for information that could build up helpful intelligence in getting to the root cause of the crime or offense. When, out of anger, you kill the suspects in the first contact, how do you get more information to resolve the problem? The basic power of the military is information about the enemy. A too intemperate and hot-minded military cannot achieve this. Meanwhile, militants and terrorists take their time to continuously study their enemy, get useful information, plan strike strategies and safe landing. Hence, they know our military better than our military know them.
Every military needs steady information networking to dig up more information for precisely dealing with the enemy. This in turn requires high intellectual capacity. It is not about military degrees alone; it is more about the training of the mind to become patient, rigorous and thorough. Mr Adama failed to be classified as a patient, rational, rigorous and thorough officer and therefore does not have the intellectual capacity of an officer. Because of the high level intimidation meted out on me, I could not ask other questions that would have exposed the fallacies I observed in him.
With these failure factors found in the Nigerian military, how do we expect them to act proactively and forestall future actions by the militant or terrorist? This explains why our military is always behind time: visiting and acting after the terrorists or militants had killed the people and destroyed their houses and properties. Our military should be able to know the next plan of actions by the militants or terrorists and nip them in the bud. Nigerian military cannot continue to act after the harm had been done; otherwise Nigerians will begin to lose confidence and question the capacity of our military in resolving the security challenges facing Nigeria.
This writer is less concerned about been beaten up; rather more about using what happened to him to see the character flaws needed by the Nigerian military to resolve the militancy and terrorist activities tearing Nigeria apart. Killing them at first contact may surely not be the solution. There is urgent need to change tactics: Nigerian military needs to be painstaking, diligent, arrest (not kill) and interrogate for information, study the information, plan with it, network the information and be proactive to discover and quell future actions. Military actions should not depend on physical contact alone. Their success does not depend on the sophistication of their weapon; no, it is more on their ability to strategize with the amount of information about the Nigeria military and take proactive actions. So also the Nigerian military should not depend wholly on killing the terrorist/militant or on its sophisticated armory, but it should review and enhance its character and approach to its information management and strategy.
How well does the Nigerian military know them? How well do they know the Nigerian military? You may discover that they know the Nigerian military more than the latter know them. That is the strategic gap that needs the above factors to close so that Nigeria can begin to make meaningful progress in giving peace to our people of Borno and Adamawa States.