Nigerian Military: Heroes in Time of Terror? -By Vincent Unogwu

Filed under: National Issues |



Patriots are not created by mere service but by natural will! Patriotism is not a feeling of love for one’s country but a Passion birthed out of extreme commitment towards the good and glory of a country rooted in the pride and honour of its name, image, symbol and glory!

Nationalism on its own is not reflected in the name of citizens but runs in the blood of a people! Every country survives on the sacrifice of either its people or her leaders! To make a great future for a country then the leaders must leave a great legacy! And to make a greater future for a country, a people must leave a greater landmark! Until they dare to move their country will not move! Until they dare to grow, their nation will not grow.

In the comity of nations it is not just the future of a country that compete but also its history. Until a people know that the path they left behind defines the fate they thread tomorrow they can never be a reference point of great achievers or serves as an epitome of greatness.

Today most of the great countries in the world are those whose citizen made great sacrifice and whose leaders laid great paths through painful decisions and service! Though every country passed through a trying time in the course of their history yet such trying period are also the defining moment of national pride! Honour and prosperity.

Is either such epoch situation redefined their existence or end it! At such, every generation at one time or the other needs a reason to reaffirm their faith in the continuous existence of their country as a nation, distinct and marked with peculiar pride and identity!

Nigeria of our present times is floating on unchartered water, taking a course it has never followed and following a path full of uncertainty! From the leadership to citizenship, from the central government to the sub regions, the country is facing critical challenges! Terrorism, corruption, and dwindling social infrastructures are some of the fundamental vices that taint the image of the country. While we have different front to face these challenges yet the most brutal and extreme front of all our challenges is the fight against terrorism – a new vice yet unknown to our society.

Today, while our leaders make decisions through policies and legislatures, some citizens make sacrifices by defending the land and her people. No amount of tribute can be as valuable as the lives our military laid in defence of our fatherland!

No doubt, Nigeria has lost a good number of military officers, and thousands of civilians in our collective quest to rescue the nation from the ongoing pogrom and bloodshed. The significant numbers of the military have died, not because they lack the gallantry and sufficient tactics to win the war against terrorist; not because they are cowards but because they the support of Nigerians (political actors and non-political actors alike).

We should also know that the war against insurgents is not like the conventional war where the battle line is clearly drawn and enemies are discernible. War against terrorism is much more complex than the conventional war. The perpetrators of Boko Haram live with us; we share the same infrastructure with them; we use the same public facilities with them. They only become terrorists when they launch their attacks, and these attacks can come from anywhere, even the least unsuspected area.

The major strength of terrorists over the military right now is the worthlessness of the lives of perpetrators; insurgents will not hesitate to lose their lives, even now. Soldiers have their lives and those of the civilians in their midst to protect. So Nigerians need to boost the morale of those military officers who put their lives on line for the sake of the territorial integrity of the country.

As the country face these challenge the soldiers faces their lives right before their eyes. They make the ultimate sacrifice of defending a land far from their native homes born out of strong will for national integration. Painful as it may be, for the morale of the service men and women, some happy keyboard media pundits and opinion leaders are busy advocating for the division of the country along such ethnic and religious divides!

Though the soldiers are also citizens! They are indigenes of a specific native land, any members of specific families! With a religious background and cultural orientation. This they put aside and ascribed one religion, which is Nigeria, one indigenship which is Nigeria, and one culture which is Nigeria!

We as a people, in our individual and collective bargain as a nation must give them the honour and reward for their sacrifice. They put their lives on the line as a divide between us and the insurgents! The comfort of their families should be our responsibility, the peace of their love ones should be our duty! And even as the war is waged day and night the Nigerian state owns them a responsibility of honouring them with medal of service and acts of courage! While the Nigerian people owe then duty of moral support in different sphere of their interactions.

One thing certain about the military is that, all states of the federation, all local governments, all regions and religions and all ethnic groups are represented there. The best we start seeing them as our own the better we implant in them a collective will to serve! Fight! And make the ultimate sacrifice for us to live! Nigerians must stand with the military, for these are our heroes of the moment; they are the heroes in this trying moment. Nigeria must stand as a country. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.