The Gumsuri Attack and the Boko Haram Breakfast between President Jonathan and the Security Chiefs
For at least four days the Nigerian people were not aware that a convoy of Boko Haram gunmen had stormed Gumsuri in Borno state on Sunday, at least four days before President Goodluck Jonathan's Wednesday breakfast with security chiefs to obtain an update on the nation's security.
Sadly, as the Chief of Defence Staff, Marshall Alex Badeh and other security chiefs, including the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, were being fed questions from State House correspondents after a breakfast meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, shamefully, none of them knew that many Gumsuri residents had been kidnapped and killed.
The reason for all of them being in the dark was partly due to the fact that the telecommunication facilities in that area had long been destroyed in previous attacks.
The Boko Haram raid resulted in over 30 residents reportedly killed, and over 100 women, girls and boys kidnapped, loaded in pickup trucks and carried away.
Sadly, the insurgents now have a greater supply of children fighters who can be donned in suicide bomb attire for the purpose of doing more harm to even more people.
Ironically, on the same day that we are finding out about this gross security negligence, we hear that an army court martial sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny after they refused to deploy for an operation against Boko Haram. The reason for their refusal was because it is difficult to have a successful fight with problems like poor basic communication equipment and impassable roads on the battleground.
As we now know by his own admission, President Jonathan stated that he continues to receive contradictory advice and suggestions from his security chiefs and other administrators; therefore, how could the president, as the commander-in-chief, let the sentenced soldiers die?
One would think that given the report that the telecommunication towers in many of these regions had long been disabled in earlier Boko Haram attacks that the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers would have had sufficient time to repair these towers, thus saving many lines.
President Jonathan's sad admission of receiving contradictory advice and suggestions from his security chiefs and other administrators was corroborated by Badeh, in the midst of other security chiefs, when he told the media, “We are certainly not losing it. We are winning the war. Don't worry; Nigerians should have faith in their military. The nation will win this war.”
He, Badeh, went on to say, “Normal life is back in Mubi. We are liberating more and more communities. People are moving in. Life is returning back to normal gradually.”
How is it possible to have faith in our military when time and time again we hear of collapsed and impassable roads, broken mobile phone networks and soldiers' hunger complaints?
The well-armed Islamist rebels are known to come into these places on motorcycles and pickup trucks, so what is stopping the army engineers from creating or buying high performance motorcycles and delivering them to the soldiers in the battle grounds?
Why does the military continue to leave the already overwhelmed local vigilantes in darkness with no working phones knowing that the militants, known for having heavy machine guns and plenty of canisters of gasoline, will keep terrorizing and killing them?
How long can we continue to leave Nigerian lives like those of the Gumsuri residents in the hands of hunters and vigilantes?
Nigeria, what is Badeh going to say now about the gathered women and children who were taken away in trucks after the rebels burnt most of the village with petrol bombs? Let's wait for his new justifications.
Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic, Clinical and National Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological [email protected]