Following the disclosure by the immediate past Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh that the Nigerian troops were ill equipped for the fight against Boko Haram, Borno Elders’ Forum on Tuesday called on former president Goodluck Jonathan to make an unreserved apology to the people of the state for his failure to handle the crisis.
The forum in a statement signed by its chairman, Amb. Usman Gaji Galtimari, wondered why Governor Kashim Shettima was “almost hanged to death” when he made the same assertion as Badeh.
The elders were also shocked that Badeh was complacent with a sensitive issue that led to massive loss of lives and property without justification.
“What particularly baffles the Borno Elders’ Forum was that at some point in 2014, the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, had said it publicly after assessing the true situation as the man on ground that troops deployed in the fight against insurgents seriously lacked and required better military equipment and that those at battle fronts were poorly motivated. Several voices were raised in support of the Governor’s position.
“The Governor’s comments were completely rebuffed by the then President of Nigeria who went as far as threatening to withdraw soldiers from Borno as he spoke on live television interview relayed by the Nigerian Television Authority, at a Presidential Media Chat. Not only did the President rebuke the Governor and by extension, the people of Borno State, his aides followed suite and roundly condemned the Governor,” the statement said.
The elders in the light of Badeh’s confession, which according to them has vindicated the governor, demanded the following:
– A National Judicial Commission of Enquiry under an incorruptible judge from preferably the Southern Nigeria be set up to ask the immediate past President questions on why his administration refused to provide the military with the required functional and superior equipment whereas our sons and daughters were exposed to mass murder, severe injuries and grave destructions of our communities
– If the former government is found wanting it should be charged for genocide against the people of Borno State or at least criminal negligence at the International Criminal Court of Justice.
– The retired CDS retired should also be asked why he kept silent when the military under his command was not provided with the right equipment. He had the option of speaking or resigning as he ought to have done in order to draw attention of the world and by that he would have saved lives of Borno people.
– A list of citizens of Borno State killed from the time the issue of military capacity became in question, is compiled and relations of those killed are fully compensated for the death of their loved ones as a result of criminal negligence.
– A list of soldiers sent on missions without being properly equipped and exposed to death at different battle fronts in Borno State, is also compiled and that they are specifically celebrated with their survivors fully compensated since their bread winners died not just in combat but out of negligence of those in authority.
– An unreserved apology is tendered by the immediate past President and his service chiefs to the people of Borno State, especially those lost relations and also to Governor Kashim Shettima for all the humiliation he was made to suffer for telling the truth about capacity of the military at that time.