If they were serving a foreign government, Lt.General Tukur Buratai, the chief of army staff and Major General Babagana Monguno ought to have resigned their positions, in the wake of the recent massacre of farmers in Zabarmari in Borno state.
A former Chief of Training, Operations and Plans of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Ishola Williams (retd) said this in an interview.
“If the Zabarmari killings happened overseas, the Chief of Army Staff and NSA would have long resigned from their positions”, Williams, known for his frank views, said.
And it is not only on Zabarmari that Williams has faulted Buratai.
Williams believes Buratai is not seriously focussed on defeating Boko Haram.
Indeed he was shocked by two recent acts of the chief of army staff: his declaring a golf tournament open and his statement that Boko Haram war would last for more than 20 years.
“Can you even imagine the Chief of Army Staff saying we might not be able to defeat Boko Haram in 20 years?
“He said if people want us to defeat Boko Haram, they will be defeated. Is the President reading all that? I don’t think we are serious about defeating Boko Haram. For me, people will get killed, people will make a lot of noise, and after sometimes people will forget and life goes on. It is because most of the decision-makers in authority do not have children who are soldiers”.
General Williams in the interview published by barristerng.com was generally not impressed with progress being made in fighting the terrorists.
He also believed the army was being overstretched to handle banditry and kidnapping that should be the job of the military police.
”Is the Army focused on fighting insurgency alone? They are seen pursuing armed robbers and kidnappers all over the country. Is that their job?
“What is the job of the Mobile Police? Why can’t they focus on fighting insurgency in the North-East? Do they work with intelligence? If you want to defeat any enemy, you incapacitate the centre of gravity. For example, if you are fighting a man and kicks his legs, he would lose control and fall down.
“You have to look for the centre of gravity of the enemy and identify where to hit to destroy him. For example, what did Chad do to Boko Haram that made them beg the Chadian Army? Boko Haram openly begged the Chadian Army after they inflicted massive defeat on them.
“Governor Zulum had even openly called for the return of the mercenaries who fought during the time of Jonathan. What does that say about our military high command?
“The President and the National Security Adviser,NSA, cannot openly tell me that they don’t know what to do”, Williams said.
Williams advised the military leaders to read the report of the military contractors hired by President Goodluck Jonathan, who helped to roll back the insurgents before Buhari’s ascendance.
“There is a report by Eeben Barlow, the Chairman of a private military company known as Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International [STTEP]. I am sure the federal government has the report. I even sent a copy of the report through someone to the governor of Borno State, Zulum.
“The report, which chronicled the experience of mercenaries with the Nigerian Army, faulted our army. And one of the things it said about our senior officers is that they abandon most of the jobs to the junior officers. It said the minds of our senior officers are in other places. Has it changed? If it has not changed, that is the first step in winning the war.”