The Russo-Ukrainian War: It is Time for a Negotiated Settlement to Avoid  Military Quagmire and a Possible 3rd World War

By Priye S. Torulagha

It is inferable that President Volodymyr Zelensky and his high-level government officials in Ukraine did not pay sufficient attention to the rift between Russia and the West concerning the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eastwards after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact military alliance.  If they had conducted a thorough strategic analysis of the issue, they would have realized the danger of being caught amidst a power struggle between two military superpowers and tactically adopt neutrality as a policy in relating to both.   Perhaps, prompted by one power against the other, the Ukrainian leadership seemed to have ignored repeated Russian warnings that it would not tolerate NATO’s expansion to its borders through Ukrainian membership in the organization.  Hence, after repeated threats of possible military intervention, including the seizure of Crimea in 2014 and the active support for Russian-speaking secessionists in eastern Ukraine, Russia launched a massive military invasion by sending thousands of troops and tanks into the country on February 24, 2022.  It justified the invasion by saying that it is carrying out a “Special Military Operation” to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians that were being harshly treated in a drawn-out war of attrition with the Government of Ukraine.

Of course, as a sovereign state, Ukraine has every right under international law to establish relations with the West or any country or bloc that is likely to contribute to the enhancement of its national interest.  However, in international power politics, the rules are not as clear-cut as it is expressed in international law.   Hence, no military superpower would tolerate another superpower coming too close to its borders.  Therefore, it is inherently dangerous for a less powerful military state that shares a border with a military superpower to take actions that are likely to be viewed as provocative.  It is like a deer poking the nose of a lion. Moreover, stepping into a rift between two superpowers is like a deer standing between two hungry lions.  To avoid being devoured by the lions, it is necessary for countries with lesser military capabilities to apply strategic thinking at all times in order not to be caught in the middle of a conflict between superpowers.

Unfortunately, perhaps, encouraged by the promise of support from the West, Ukrainian authorities decided to stand their ground and go toe-to-toe with Russia. Spurred on by patriotic zeal, the Ukrainian military fought hard and prevented Russia from swiftly capturing Kyiv and its environs when it invaded the country on February 24, 2022.  On the other hand, Russia seemed to have overestimated its ability to overwhelm Ukraine militarily when it launched simultaneous attacks stretching from the south to the north near Kyiv. Perhaps, feeling overextended after the initial phase of the invasion, Russian military forces withdrew from Kyiv and remobilized in the eastern and southern regions of the country.  The Russian withdrawal from Kyiv was perceived as a Ukrainian military victory by both Ukrainian and Western military experts and journalists.

Apparently, the euphoria following the Russian withdrawal resulted in the view that the Russian military is not as powerful as it was portrayed prior to the invasion because it could not overrun Ukraine and capture Kyiv as it had supposedly planned.  This perception seemed to have encouraged Ukrainian officials to believe that Ukraine is capable of not only defeating Russia by forcing it to withdraw from the country but also helping to deplete its military capability through a war of attrition and ignite a regime change to enable democracy to thrive in Russia.  It also greatly influenced the Ukrainian willingness to go toe-to-toe with Russia in a grinding war in the hope of driving it out of its territory entirely.

Perhaps, if Ukrainian political and military leaders had listened to a contrary view and reflected more on the historical source of the dispute that led to the Russian invasion of the country, the war might not have taken place.  Indeed, if Ukrainian leaders had taken the opportunity to listen and analyze the positions expressed by Prof. John Mearsheimer, George Kenan who calls for caution about NATO eastward expansion, and Robert Gates who cautioned about the danger of trying to incorporate Georgia, Ukraine (Carpenter, 2022, March 7).and other East European countries, the situation would not have deteriorated to the point where Ukraine is now fighting a grinding and destructive defensive war to stop the Russian attack on its territory.  It seemed that Dr. Henry Kissinger noticed the Western and Ukrainian views about fighting and defeating Russia, hence he referred to the euphoria as “being swept up [in the mood of the moment]”(Timothy Bella, 2022, May 24).

Purpose of the Article

it is argued that while Russia is likely to encounter tremendous difficulties in its invasion, Ukraine is more likely to face a military quagmire because the war is being fought in its territory and not in Russia.  In this regard, the purpose of this article is to explore and identify the potential factors that are likely to lead to a military quagmire for Ukraine since the war is being fought in its territory and not in Russia.  The word “quagmire” is used here to describe the untenable situation Ukraine is facing in its effort to push Russian military forces out of its territory in the ongoing war.

Ukraine is most likely to end up in a quagmire because its goal of winning the war by defeating Russia is overly ambitious compared to the realities of global politics and the imbalance of military power between the two countries.  Based on various statements made by President Zelensky and other top Ukrainian officials, it is deductible that the Ukrainian Government wants to (1) push Russia out of its territory, (2) possibly defeat and degrade Russian military capability, (3) possibly initiate a regime change so that President Putin is removed from power in order to democratize Russia, (4) ensure severe global economic sanctions against Russia for invading its country, (5) demand compensation for the infrastructural damage and loss of life caused by the Russian invasion, (6) conduct international tribunal to try Russians who violate human rights by committing war crimes, and (7) eventually gain membership in the European Union and NATO (Soldak, 2022, June 5).

To garner support from the West for its position, Ukrainian officials use terms and phrases such as “help us to save Europe,” “to have peace in Europe,” “regime change is necessary for Russia,” “Ukraine is fighting for the West,” and the need to “maintain democratic values.”  The “help us to save Europe” implies that Ukraine is at the West’s front line and is fighting to stop Russia from moving further west.  Thus, to stop Russia from doing so, the West must commit to supplying Ukraine with sophisticated jet fighters, drones, and long-range military weaponry to stop Russia and push it back.  This line of thinking implies that if the West fails to supply sufficient powerful weapons to enable Ukraine to prevail over Russia, the West will not be safe from Russian military expansion westward.  The argument about the need to maintain and sustain “democratic values” implies that Ukraine is a bulwark for democracy, hence, it is essential for the West to supply sophisticated arms to the country so that it can fight and defeat Russia to maintain Western values. This line of thinking is reminiscent of the Cold War argument involving capitalism and communism.  This time, it is an argument for democracy against dictatorship or authoritarianism. The regime change argument is intended to persuade the West to believe that President Vladimir Putin is the greatest threat to Europe, hence he should be removed from power to stop him from threatening the continent.  This is to encourage the West to get more involved in the conflict with the aim of working to change the regime in Russia. During the early part of the war, the Ukrainian leadership repeatedly called upon the US and NATO to institute a “No-Fly Zone” in Ukraine to stop Russian military aircraft from launching attacks. President Zelensky asked, “Is this too much to ask for, to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people?” (Ray, 2022, March 28).

The Ukrainian goals are herculean for a country that is not a military superpower but shares a border with a military superpower.  The leadership hopes to accomplish these goals based on outside military assistance.  In other words, it wants to defeat a military superpower in a conventional war with weapons coming from outside the country.

This is not to deny the fact that Ukraine has a right to defend itself against a foreign invasion.  Indeed, it is undeniable that the Ukrainians have the unquestionable right to defend the territorial integrity of their sovereign state since Russia invaded the country in contravention of international law.  In this regard, while the bravery and patriotism of the Ukrainian armed forces are acknowledged, after having repulsed Russian forces from achieving a quick military victory at the beginning of the war and having been able to fight toe-to-toe in a grinding war of attrition with Russia, nonetheless, the Ukrainian goals are not reflective of the military realities on the ground and the treacherous nature of global power politics. The imbalance between the goals and the realities of international politics is likely to result in a military outcome that might be destructive to Ukraine.

First, Russia is a nuclearized military superpower.  It produces its own arms and can continue fighting the war for a considerable length of time.  It can sustain heavy losses and continue to fight because it has a gigantic military force.  On the other hand, Ukraine is not a military superpower. It has a limited supply of arms.  It depends greatly on foreign military support to sustain the war.  Its ability to continue to withstand the Russian military onslaught depends greatly on the Western supply of assorted weapons.  The fact that Ukraine relies on a steady supply of arms from the outside means that it is taking a tremendous risk because a gap in the supply chain will negatively impact the Ukrainian ability to withstand the Russian military attacks, even though it has been successful in knocking off Russian military facilities, including those in Crimea.

Second, having retreated from Kyiv following Ukrainian gallant resistance, the Russian forces have increasingly deployed long-range artillery guns to bombard Ukrainian positions, thereby, denying its infantry soldiers the opportunity to fight Russian troops face to face.  The change in Russian strategy and tactics put pressure on the Ukrainian government to seek long-range artillery weapons to avoid being overwhelmed militarily.  In response to the Russian long-range weapons, the West decided to supply similar weapons to Ukraine.  Hence. the Ukrainian forces have received sophisticated long-range military equipment like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HMARS); mortar systems; National Advance Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS); Javelin and AT4 anti-armor systems; anti-radar systems; Claymore anti-personnel munitions, and C-4 explosives to counter the Russian long-range weapons (Russon, 2202, August 11).

Thus, as more sophisticated weapons are sent to the Ukrainian forces by the West, Russia too is increasing the lethality of its own weapons to match the weapons being supplied to Ukraine.  Following the battlefield reports of Simon Ostrovsky and Yegor Troyanovsky, Judy Woodruff of PBS noted:

The delivery of Western precision rocket systems to Ukraine has changed the dynamic of the war, slowing Russia’s advance and lowering Ukrainian casualties along the frontlines. But Russia has increasingly resorted to using its own long-range missiles to wreak havoc on cities deep inside Ukrainian-controlled territory (2022, July 26).

Such a development simply increases the level of destruction and killing of people in Ukraine, thereby, compelling the country to ask for more sophisticated weapons.  Consequently, the more Ukraine uses sophisticated long-range weapons, the more Russia will do the same and the attendant result is going to be the further destruction of Ukraine.   The scenario that Ukraine faces concerning its demands for more sophisticated and long-range weapons is like the movie titled “Every Which Way but Loose”.   It cannot prevail as far as the battlefield is in its territory because the fighting will simply lay the country to waste.  Thus, Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador is right in encouraging Western nations to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine since it is the Ukrainians who are bearing the brunt of the escalation of the war. He said the West’s supplying of arms to Ukrainians is equivalent to saying “I’ll supply the weapons, and you supply the dead. It is immoral. How easy it is to say, ’Here, I’ll send you this much money for weapons, Couldn’t the war in Ukraine have been avoided? Of course, it could.” (“Mexico president slams NATO on Ukraine,” 2022, June 13).

Perhaps, to avoid its weapons and soldiers from being targeted by Russian forces, it is alleged that Ukrainian forces hide their weapons in civilian neighborhoods.  Amnesty International, issued a report after two months of investigation “accusing the Ukrainian military of stationing its troops and artillery near hospitals, schools and residential buildings in ways that may amount to war crimes” (Hayda, 2022, August 5).  Such tactics will simply contribute to the deaths of a high number of civilians.

Third, if for any reason, Russia feels overwhelmed due to massive Western military support for Ukraine, it has the nuclear option to threaten the entire Europe or even the world.  Due to this possibility, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, and other members of the European Union and NATO might not want to supply certain weapons that are capable of threatening Russia to the point where it begins to think about the need to use nuclear weapons.  Indeed, it is the fear of igniting a 3rd World War that compelled the United States and its NATO allies to reject the Ukrainian demand for the institution of a “No-fly zone”. It was amazing that the Ukrainian government really wanted NATO’s jet fighters to engage in a dogfight with Russian jet fighters through the enforcement of a ‘No-fly zone” and ignored the fact that such a clash would have resulted in a 3rd World War with the possible deployment of nuclear weapons.

Fourth, it is impossible for Ukraine to fight and defeat Russia based purely on arms supplies from the outside.  The reason is that as the tempo of the war increases, the more arms Ukraine will need from the US, Germany, Britain, France, Poland, and other Western countries.  Since the weapons are coming from the outside, it takes a while for the arms to arrive at the theater of war.  The gap between when the weapons are promised and the time that they get to the battlefield creates a logistical problem for Ukrainian fighters.  The gap will always exist as far as the war continues.  On the other hand, Russia depends largely on its own weapons, even though it has negotiated to obtain drones from Iran.  This means that Russia will continue to deploy weapons as quickly as possible since it shares a border with Ukraine and is not challenged by logistical problems as much as Ukraine in transporting its weapons to the battlefield. 

Fifth, due to the fact that Ukraine depends on weapons from the outside to resist the Russian effort to carve out the eastern and probably the southern regions of the country, it is not free to use the weapons as much as it might want because the countries supplying the weapons set conditions to limit the range that Ukrainian forces can fire them to avoid escalating the war to the point of involving NATO directly.  In other words, the US and its Western allies do not want to expand the war to the extent that threatens the national security of Russia, which could prompt it to nuclearize the conflict. A nuclearized war will turn into a 3rd World War with a devastating effect on the globe. The Western restrictions on the use of long-range weapons are going to limit the ability of Ukrainian fighters to counterattack Russia with the aim of compelling it to withdraw from Ukraine.   With the restrictions, it is doubtful that Ukraine can prevail over Russia.

Sixth, since the battlefield is currently concentrated in Eastern Ukraine, the arms flowing into Ukraine from the Western world must pass through Western Ukraine to get to the Eastern region of the country.  This creates a distribution problem because the Ukrainian military units stationed along the route from the West to the East of the country are most likely to keep some of the critical weapons for themselves instead of forwarding them to the troops on the battlefield in the East.  Moreover, as the weapons head to the East, their numbers are reduced as various military units along the way take some of them to fortify their own positions.  Therefore, by the time the arms actually get to the East where actual fighting is taking place, the fighters will end up with an insufficient number of weapons even though they need most of the weapons to counter massive Russian artillery bombardment. If the units fighting in the East do not get adequate arms, frustration might set in to dampen morale.  Already, some Ukrainian fighters have expressed frustration that they are not getting enough firepower to counter the massive Russian firepower.  Neil Hauer of the CBC wrote about the feelings of a Ukrainian soldier who said:

“[Kyiv] has not sent us any new weapons — and they’re not going to,”

“Everything new and fancy has been reserved for those other places: Kyiv, Kharkiv, the big cities. Headquarters thinks, ‘Well, you [in the east] have been fighting the Russians for eight years already. You’ll be fine.’(Hauer, 2022, June 8).

 Thus, Russian forces are likely to gain the advantage in the availability of weapons being deployed over the Ukrainian forces in the East since it is a military superpower, meaning that it produces arms in large quantities.

Seventh, another problem that bedevils the Ukrainian military concerning the shipment and transportation of weapons to the front is that elite military units in the cities are always more likely to get some of the sophisticated arms coming from Western nations.   On the other, the militias or less integrated military units are less likely to get some of the most sophisticated and lethal weapons because they are undervalued since they do not belong to the regular units of the armed forces.  In fact, the members of the Territorial Defense Force have repeatedly expressed frustration that the overall military planning for the war does not seem to take them into consideration as part of the regular fighting forces, hence, deserve some of the most effective long-range weapons.  They complain that they do not get supplies on time, thereby, exposing them to the devastating long-range Russian artillery attacks.  Some members of the Territorial Defense Forces have alleged that it is a matter of the haves and the have-nots in the sense that the Regular Army gets most of the weapons and they are left with the remnants because they are treated as irregular military units.  They are the have-nots because they are not viewed by the Military High Command as part of the regular armed forces. Neil Hauer of the CBC again quoted the frustrated Ukrainian soldier who said:

You have to understand that there are two castes in this country,” he said. “There’s the upper caste, and then there’s us: the lower caste. We are just pawns. Nothing more. The upper caste gets the money, and we get the command: ‘Forward!’ 

“That’s how it’s always worked here [in Ukraine],” he said, before emphasizing that he doesn’t expect anyone to believe him.

“No one here wants to hear the truth,” said Nikita. “They just want the beautiful story of how Ukraine is united. But here, we’re f–ked.” (Hauer, 2022, June 8).

Thus, while the political and military leaders keep painting a rosy picture of how Ukraine will emerge victorious, the soldiers who are fighting the brutal war of attrition seem to have different feelings about their experiences on the battlefield.

Eighth, the battlefield is in Ukraine, not in Russia.  This means that the fighting will continue in the country and not outside the country.  The consequence is that the weapons used by both sides will impact Ukraine negatively since its infrastructures are going to be destroyed in the fighting.  As far as the battlefield is in Ukraine, Russia has no compulsion to stop the war because its territory is not being devastated as Ukraine.  Its citizens do not have to flee en-masse to escape the destructive bombardments while millions of Ukrainians must flee to other countries.  It is Ukrainians that are bearing the brunt of the war.  Consequently, Ukrainian counterattacks can be as devastating to the country as Russian offensive attacks since Ukraine is at the receiving end.  Hence, it was not surprising when an explosion, either coming from Russian or Ukrainian forces destroyed a prisoner of war camp (Correctional Colony #120) in which 50 people died in Olenivka, a Russian-controlled town in Donetsk Province (Bigg & Varenikova, 2022, August1). Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the blast, thereby necessitating an independent investigation to determine the culprit.

Ninth, as Ukraine bears the brunt of the fighting, it means that thousands of both civilians and soldiers might need medical services.  If the war does not end soon, the country might run into a situation where medical services become limited, thereby, exposing wounded soldiers and civilians to the possibility of death as the Russian long-range guns inflict serious damage on the people and the infrastructure.  If medical services become incapable of taking care of the wounded, morale of the Ukrainian fighters would be affected.  Already, some fighters on the eastern front have expressed concern about the lack of sufficient medical services to take care of wounded soldiers.  Again, it must be noted that Russia can send its wounded soldiers home for urgent medical care because Russia is not the theater of war.  As far as Ukraine is the theater of war, the country will run into a critical emergency medical shortfall as medical facilities are destroyed by the bombardments.

Tenth, as the West sends more weapons to Ukraine to equalize the balance of military firepower with the hope that Ukraine prevails over Russia, the war could drag on endlessly, turning it into a war of attrition.  A war of attrition is not militarily advantageous to Ukraine since the country is the theater of war.  Consequently, a war of attrition simply translates to more suffering for the Ukrainian population as both sides slug it out.  The battle over Mariupol which dragged on for months before Russia eventually forced the Ukrainian forces to surrender repeated itself in Severodonetsk until the Ukrainian government ordered its troops to withdraw to avoid Russian encirclement.  Already, Russia has captured Lysynchansk in a grinding exhaustive war after forcing the Ukrainian fighters to withdraw to avoid being surrounded.  Basically, a war of attrition or a protracted war is simply a game plan for more destruction and suffering by Ukrainian civilians.

Likewise, to succeed in pushing Russian forces out of the country, Ukrainian forces would have to destroy many of Ukraine’s infrastructures in a grinding process that is going to further devastate the country.  The civilian population would feel like going through hell twice.  If Ukrainian forces actually succeed in driving Russian forces out, Russia will counterattack to save face, thereby, exposing Ukrainian civilians to another hell of grinding war.

Eleventh, the more Western countries supply sophisticated military weapons to Ukraine, the more they get involved in the conflict, thereby turning it into a Russia versus NATO war.  Already, Russia has warned that it might end up targeting Western weapons being sent to Ukraine. For instance, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned “We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” (“Russia says it could target Western arms supplies to Ukraine,” 2022, March 12).

Western officials are aware of the risk of escalating the conflict as they supply more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine.  US officials noted the risk by saying,

“We have concerns about escalation and yet still do not want to put geographic limits or tie their hands too much with the stuff we’re giving them,” (Stewart and Ali, 2022, May 26).  Thus, Western countries are on a tightrope.  If they fail to supply enough weaponry, Ukraine will crumble very quickly to end the war.  Such a development would be interpreted as a defeat for the West.  On the other hand, if they supply extensive sophisticated weapons to Ukraine, the country might militarily threaten Russia to the point where it might decide to use more dangerous weapons, thereby escalating the conflict into a Russia versus NATO War.

Twelfth, Ukrainian officials must be strategic in their thinking and not allow their emotions to influence their decisions.  The more the officials insist that they want to fight and defeat Russia, the more they are creating opportunities for arms manufacturers and suppliers to create conditions to make the war unstoppable so that they can continue to sell their weapons and make tremendous profit out of the unfortunate situation.   In other words, Ukrainian officials should not forget that any war, regardless of its justifiability and necessity, always provides an opportunity for arms dealers to sell arms.  Therefore, the more the war drags on, the more arms producers and dealers will continue to make tremendous sums of money while the country is incrementally destroyed through a war of attrition.

Thirteenth, if the Ukrainian government insists that it must continue to fight until Russian forces are driven out of the country, the more it will create opportunities for new weapons to be tested in the country.  In other words, the Ukrainian government is basically setting the stage for the country to be used as a testing ground for new weapons that have been recently developed.   Resultantly, government officials that insist on fighting until military victory is achieved against Russia are indirectly encouraging various countries to test the effectiveness of their newly developed weapons.  This means that Ukrainian civilians who remain in the country could be afflicted with medical conditions that were unknown before as new weapons are deployed and tested on the battlefield inside the country.

Fourteenth, a war of attrition means that not only will Ukraine pay dearly through massive infrastructural destruction and displacement of its population, but the world’s economy too is negatively impacted.  The reason is that as Western economic and financial sanctions severely impact Russia’s economy, it will respond by making it difficult for Ukraine to export its agricultural products, thereby, reducing the level of grain supply to the world market. The insufficiency in grain supply to the world market will lead to food shortages in many parts of the world.  The attendant consequence of this development is that hunger and a downturn in the world economy can take place.   In addition, the shortage in grain supply might actually boost Russia’s economy as the prices of various crops, especially wheat goes up, thereby increasing the demand for Russian grain to make up for the shortfall in Ukrainian supply. Even the recently negotiated agreement to allow the export of Ukrainian grains is merely a temporary measure since the war will determine future possibilities for the continuing exportation of Ukrainian grains.

Moreover, as the war drags on, Ukrainian farmers will not be able to plant various crops this year.  This means that the shortage of grains in the world market will extend to next year when the existing supplies run out.   

Fifteenth, economic sanctions will not deter Russia from trying to achieve its goal of weakening Ukraine.   Since President Putin feels that the West has no regard for Russian concerns by expanding NATO eastwards, he too might not want to end the war until the West calls for a serious negotiation to end the conflict.   It is predictable that the more the West continues to impose economic and financial sanctions on Russia, the more Russia will continue to militarily pound Ukraine with destructive capability to inform the West that the sanctions will not prevent it from accomplishing its goal.  The unfortunate thing is that this war is strange since Ukraine is not free to attack Russian territory in order to counterbalance Russia’s attack on its territory.

Moreover, the more sanctions the West imposes on Russia, the more Russia is likely to restrict its supply of gas to European countries, especially during the coming winter to enable the Europeans feel the effects of the sanctions that have been imposed on it.  Likewise, the economic sanctions are going to create hardship throughout the world.  Even Western citizens are already experiencing the pain that the sanctions have wrought.  Since Russian leaders know that the sanctions have an equal opportunity negative effect on the citizens of the Western countries that impose the sanctions, President Putin will not be deterred to continue his plan to weaken Ukraine. It should be noted that despite years of US sanctions against Iran, the country continues to pursue its strategic goals and objectives. Even Venezuela has been able to gallop along despite severe sanctions. Thus, if middle-range countries like Iran and Venezuela can survive years of sanctions, then, Russia can do the same by telling its citizens to look inward and develop ways of rendering the effects of the sanctions less painful.

Sixteenth, as Western nations continue to provide financial assistance to Ukraine to maintain its social welfare system and infrastructure, the more Russia will continue to attack various parts of the country to reduce the effects of the financial assistance.  It could be said that the recent attack on Kyiv was probably to inform the West that as far as its security concerns are not being addressed, Ukraine will pay dearly.  For instance, the bombing of the shopping mall in Kremenchuk in central Ukraine that killed about 20 people was probably intended to inform the Ukrainians that they will not experience peace as far as the issues which led to the war are not resolved (Lewis, 2022, June 27).  Of course, Russia denied that it attacked the mall, and instead claimed that it bombed an arms depot in the area.   It could also be said that the attack on Kyiv on the day that the Group 7 nations were holding a meeting in Germany was intended to inform the West that resolutions made at the meeting will not deter Russia from continuing its effort to achieve its goals in Ukraine.  It was surprising that on the same day, the Russian military even launched an aerial bombardment of various parts of Ukraine to let the Ukrainians realize that the West will not be able to protect them (Seldin, June 26, 2022).

Seventeenth, Ukrainian authorities should have it at the back of their minds that if a war of attrition continues, it could reach a tipping point where many European citizens are forced to spend more money to get necessities.  This, in turn, could force many of them to put pressure on their governments to negotiate with Russia to stop the war, whether Ukraine likes it or not.  In other words, the ability of many Western nations to support the Ukrainians could be determined by the reaction of their citizens if the economic situation in their countries becomes unbearable, especially during the winter.  In such circumstances, many NATO members might end up acting like Hungary which has taken steps to open a channel of communication with Russia by refusing to adopt some of the harsh economic sanctions instituted against the country. It is a fact that despite the harsh sanctions, some Western countries, including Germany continue to do business with Russia to maintain its energy supply in order to reduce the burden on its citizens.  Michael Hirsh quoted a former Europe Specialist in the US State Department, Edward Fishman, as saying: “Putin is continuing to make at least a billion dollars a day selling oil and gas, and the lion’s share is from Europe.  Individual European countries are sending military assistance to Ukraine but it’s dwarfed by payments they’re making to Russia for oil and gas” (Hirsh, 2022, April 22). Despite the sanctions, some Western countries continue to rely on Russian energy supplies because they are trying to shield their citizens from feeling the brunt of the harsh economic sanctions.

Eighteenth, it is quite possible that some NATO countries might hesitate to supply additional weapons to Ukraine if the war drags on to a point where their own stockpiles are being depleted.  The reason is that every country likes to maintain its national security by reserving some essential military weaponry for self-defense, in case of a military emergency. Evidently, if Ukrainian officials keep asking for more arms supplies from the West to continue a protracted war, a tipping point could be reached whereby some countries might simply stop responding to Ukrainian demands.  If that takes place, the coalition between the US and some European countries might be frayed as the US is pressured to bear the brunt of supplying weapons as other countries resist doing so in order not to deplete their own stockpiles.

Nineteenth, it is a strategic flaw to underrate the capability of Russia to withstand hardship necessitated by the harsh economic sanctions and the West’s continuing supply of arms to Ukraine to bleed the Russian military forces through a war of attrition.  The reason is that each time Western countries supply more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine, the more President Vladimir Putin will justify the invasion of Ukraine by informing the Russian populace that it was necessary to take the “special military operation” in order to thwart the Western desire to set up shop at the Russian border by aligning with Ukraine. Such a narrative might convince many Russian nationalists to identify strongly with the aspirations of President Putin the way Stalin was able to galvanize support during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union during the 2nd World War.  Nationalistic support will spur President Putin to continue the war, further adding to the suffering of the Ukrainian people since the battlefield is in Ukraine and not in Russia. Furthermore, such a development could polarize Russian society to the extent that those citizens who do not identify with the war could be treated as Western saboteurs and forced to flee or go underground after being accosted by the nationalists. It should not be forgotten that President Putin had said during the early part of the war that Russians who opposed the invasion of Ukraine are “scums and traitors,” and indicated that true Russians would “spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths” (Cohen, 2022, March 27).

Twentieth, it is a strategic flaw to look down on the capability of the Russian military to sustain a grinding war as the West continues to supply arms to Ukraine to bleed Russia with the aim of reducing its capability.  For instance, a Western assessment of the Russian military in late June noted “The Russian military will soon exhaust its combat capabilities and be forced to bring its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to a grinding halt, according to Western intelligence predictions and military experts” (Sly, 2022, June 25).  The reason is that the battlefield is in Ukraine and not in Russia.  Since Ukraine is the theater of war, Ukrainian soldiers are more likely to feel overwhelmed than Russian soldiers even though they are really feeling the intensity of Ukrainian counterattacks.  The probability of Ukrainian forces being overwhelmed is because while the Russian forces can retreat tactically as they did in Kyiv and later remobilized on the Eastern front, the Ukrainian military forces have no room to maneuver in such a manner because any tactical retreat in order to remobilize will create territorial spaces for the Russian forces to advance further into Ukraine.  In fact, in Severondonetsk in the Donbas region, after protracted fighting for two months, Ukrainian forces were ordered to retreat to save the unit from totally being encircled by Russian forces.  Unfortunately, as soon as the Ukrainian troops retreated, Russia claimed victory by capturing the city (Trofimov, 2022, June 24).  As far as Ukrainian forces are fighting a defensive war to protect their territory, they cannot freely retreat and remobilize since doing so would allow Russian troops to take more ground in Ukraine.  Consequently, Ukrainian troops have less option than to continue to fight until they win or become totally exhausted or are trapped, as had happened in Mariupol.   It is understandable that the Ukrainian authorities did not want what happened in Mariupol to repeat itself in Severodonetsk, hence they ordered the fighters to retreat to avoid being encircled and captured. It should also be noted that the Ukrainian authorities also ordered thousands of Ukrainians to evacuate from Donetsk following the Russian taking of Luhansk in July (Quinn, 2022, August 1).  To avoid the same fate, Russian forces will continue on the offensive in order to prevent a Ukrainian counterattack that might force them to retreat.  This means that having taken the city of Severodonetsk, Russian forces will continue to push forward in an offensive posture by pushing Ukrainian forces backward since they are fighting defensively.

Twenty-first, the war is viewed here as a quagmire for Ukraine because it is a middle-ranged military power that is fighting a conventional war with a super military power.  The unfortunate thing for Ukraine is that it shares a border with Russia that has enormous military resources to engage in a grinding protracted conventional war.  To go on with this war, Ukrainian political and military leaders put their hope on Western nations to continuously provide military assistance to them to continue to fight Russia in their own country.  The Ukrainian hope is a very big gamble because if the war drags on, the country will experience massive destruction as the Russians increase the lethality of their firepower in order to offset whatever weapons that the West supplies to the country.  Indeed, if Western nations supply sophisticated long-range weapons, Russia will deploy its own sophisticated weapons, including the massive utilization of the air force to blast every imaginable target in Ukraine.  In fact, Russia has already begun to do that.  Hence, its air force bombed Kyiv recently to cause enormous damage.  Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian air force stated that Russia used its Tu22M3 long-range strategic bombers to attack Kyiv with four to six missiles  (Lister, Kesaieva and Ravindran, 2022, June 26).

Twenty-second, the war is also viewed as a quagmire for Ukraine because the Ukrainian political and military leadership allowed itself to be persuaded to believe that it can fight a war with Russia and win. It was this belief that led the leadership to insist that it will fight to drive Russian forces from the country and even suggested the need for a regime change in Russia.  The Ukrainian leadership was particularly carried away by the euphoria generated by the narrative that its forces were able to knock out a sizable portion of Russian military forces from Kyiv, thereby, making it impossible for Russia to achieve a quick military victory.  The euphoria made it difficult for the leadership to realize that the war is being fought in Ukraine and not in Russia, meaning that the country will face enormous destruction as the war becomes protracted. Suriya Jayanti aptly noted:

It has been said that, given how massively Ukrainian troops were believed be outmatched early in Russia’s invasion, not losing the war is itself a form of victory for Ukraine. The difference between expectations and the surprising resilience of Ukraine’s military makes it easy to misinterpret the current situation in Ukraine’s favor. But not winning is still not winning. Ukraine is in far worse shape than commonly believed and needs, and will continue to need, a staggering amount of aid and support to actually win (Ukraine is in worse shape than you think ( 2022, May 14).

Twenty-third, as part of the tendency to undervalue Russia, some Western experts and journalists suggested a regime change in Russia to save democracy and eradicate authoritarianism.  For instance, David J. Kramer wrote:

The best hope for democracy in Russia—and all of Eurasia—is for the international community to support Ukraine in its efforts to defeat Vladimir Putin.

The stakes for Ukraine, Russia, and the entire globe, for that matter, are enormous. If Ukraine can deliver Putin a fatal blow for his disastrous decision to launch a wholly unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Russia’s neighbor, it would be not only a victory over Putinism but a huge and much-needed boost to democracy around the world (2022, May).

It is arguable that the narrative advanced by some Western experts persuaded the Ukrainian political leadership to accept the view that the Putin regime must be changed in Russia to democratize the country and promote democratic values throughout Europe.  This perception prompted the Ukrainian Government Adviser, Liubov Tsybulska and former President Petro Poroshenko to insist on a regime change, apart from pushing and defeating Russia militarily.  Those who insist on not only defeating but effecting a regime change in Russia forget that the efforts to change regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria ended disastrously.  Russia is a very huge country, in terms of landmass and is a military superpower.  An effort to change the Putin regime could turn the entire Eastern European and the Baltic regions into Iraqi and Libyan chaotic situations.  It should be recalled that part of the rationale for justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was to remove President Saddam Hussein from power.  A Massive force was used during the initial attack to create a “shock and awe” psychological effect that was designed to compel the Iraqis to give up military resistance.  Well, the Iraqi war lasted for about ten years and caused about two trillion dollars with thousands of people killed (Crawford, 2020, February 6)It should also be reminded thatNATO decided in 2011 to carry out a regime change in Libya.  Here again, the effort ended disastrously like Iraq and the country has since been thrown into chaos.  Although Col. Muammar Gaddafi was killed, the regime change resulted in the massive looting of Libyan arms by non-state armed groups.  The arms stolen from Libya led to the destabilization of many African countries, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, and so on and so forth. 

Therefore, when some individuals speak about regime change in Russia, they are really biting more than they can chew because the consequence of effecting a regime change in Russia can result in the massive destabilization of Eurasia. Russia is neither Iraq nor Libya but a state with thousands of nuclear weapons.  If regime change in Iraq and Libya was not managed effectively, resulting in incessant power struggles among competing armed groups, does anyone imagine what might happen if an attempt to change the regime fails in Russia?

Twenty-fourth, while conditions one through twenty-third demonstrate the likelihood of Ukraine experiencing a military quagmire, it does not mean that Russia will not experience any hardship in the war.  In fact, Russia has already paid dearly for the high number of casualties among its troops.  Likewise, some of its prized naval ships and aircraft have been destroyed by Ukrainian forces. Additionally, economic sanctions are biting devastatingly on the Russian economy, financial resources, and global relationships.  Yvonne Lau noted:

            But all is not well with the Russian economy.  The Western sanctions and

widespread corporate exodus from Russia since Feb. 24 have ravaged the Russian economy – and its future prospects look even bleaker, according to a new report from Yale University researchers and economists led by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.

As of Aug. 4, over 1000 companies, including U.S. firms like Nike, IBM, and Bain consulting, have curtailed their operations in Russia….The international retreat is morphing into a larger crisis for the country: a collapse in foreign imports and investments…Russia has descended into a technological crisis as a result of its isolation (2022, August 4).

Apparently, if the war drags on, Russian military forces would be degraded in terms of personnel and materiale due to the grinding nature of the fighting.  Likewise, the political stability of the Russian state could be threatened as opposition to the war increases. However, despite the bleak prospects in the event of a drawn-out war, the Russian situation might not be as bad as that of Ukraine.  Hence, Ukraine is more likely to experience a quagmire than Russia due to the fact that the war is being fought in Ukraine and not in Russia.  Most of the destructions and killings are taking place in Ukraine.  The country’s economic engines of production have been seriously disrupted and winter is coming.

Twenty-fifth, apart from the concern that the war could escalate into a 3rd World War is the fear that an accidental attack on one of the nuclear plants in Ukraine could lead to a massive meltdown with disastrous consequences for Europe and some parts of Asia.  Already, there is concern that a shelling near or at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant damaged three radiation sensors and injured a worker at the plant.  Due to the implications, both Russia and Ukraine traded blame as to which country was responsible for shelling the plant. Concerned about the danger, the United Nations has called for an independent investigation to check the degree of damage to the nuclear plant and determine which country was responsible for launching the attack (“UN chief calls for access to nuclear plant after new attack,” 2022, August 8). This war is really very dangerous, and it is not a good idea to extend it tactically through a war of attrition.


It is obvious that it is disadvantageous for Ukraine to continue to slug it out toe-to-toe with Russia which is a military superpower.  Russia has the advantage of the economics of large military scale to continue to attack Ukraine as the West supplies more deadly long-range weapons to the country.  Indeed, the more the West supplies weapons to Ukraine without actually sending thousands of troops to get involved to fight, the more Russia is going to destroy Ukraine through bombardment from the ground and air.  Moreover, since the battlefield is in Ukraine and not in Russia, the more the Ukrainian authorities insist on fighting to drive away Russian forces from their territory, the more Russia is going to take more territory and divide the country into two.  Likewise, as the war drags on, Russia could end up literally turning Ukraine into a landlocked country by cutting it off from the Black Sea completely.

The only way to end this war is for the Ukrainian leadership to realize that the cost of totally driving Russian forces away from its territory would be tremendous.  It is necessary to realize that the more the war continues the more the country will be destroyed, and more people will be killed while millions of Ukrainians will end up as refugees for a long time.  Therefore, the Ukrainian leadership should tone down its goals, listen to President Lopez Obrador of Mexico and seriously consider the suggestion made by Dr. Henry Kissinger during the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland.  He suggested that Ukraine should cede some land to Russia to end the war.  To do so, he encouraged Western nations to persuade the Ukrainian leadership to negotiate with Russia.  Dr. Kissinger’s suggestions should be taken seriously because this war can easily escalate into a global conflagration if either Russia or NATO miscalculates to provoke a higher level of confrontation. Thus, Ukrainian goals such as asking for reparation and war crimes trials can be negotiated through the United Nations.

Those who insist that Ukraine must win the war in order to save democracy are indirectly suggesting that the Ukrainians should sacrifice themselves needlessly.  The reason is that it is impossible for the country to win the war against Russia without direct NATO participation.  If NATO gets involved directly, the result will be a 3rd World War because of the possibility of nuclear bombs being used.  Thankfully, the US, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Poland, and other European countries are aware of the danger.  This explains the reason arms are being supplied to Ukraine with great caution to avoid escalating the situation. Indeed, the situation is very scary. The UN should work with other neutral countries to encourage a negotiated settlement of the conflict.


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The Water Resources Bill:   An Instrument for the Expropriation of the Aboriginal Water Rights of Nigerians

By Priye S. Torulagha

The National Water Resources Bill is reminiscent of the “African Pride” oil bunkering ship.  The notorious or mysterious ship had the uncanny ability to appear and disappear while in the custody of the Nigerian Navy during the heydays of massive oil bunkering by ocean-going vessels.  The Nigerian Navy intercepted the ship several times and detained it while it was engaged in its inglorious bunkering operations.   It was rumored that the ship had the uncanny ability to disappear and reappear because it was owned and operated by some of the most powerful individuals in Nigeria, hence the Nigerian Navy had much difficulty in stopping its disappearing acts.  Similarly, the National Water Resources Bill, like the cattle colony or RUGA, seems to have many lives comparable to the mysterious “African Pride.”

It keeps appearing on the floor of Nigeria’s National Assembly after Nigerians had made it clear that they do not want it as part of their laws.  Thus, the bill had been rejected twice, during the 8th and in the current 9th National Assemblies.  It should be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari first submitted the National Water Resources Bill on April 11, 2017, to the 8th National Assembly and it failed to pass due to its controversial nature.  Then, Hon. Sada Soli, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Water Resources, resubmitted the proposal again on July 12, 2020, to the House of Representatives and it was rejected on  technical grounds on  July 23, 2020.   Despite being rejected twice, like a cat with many lives, the bill suddenly reappeared again in the National Assembly on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, when Hon. Sada Soli, resubmitted it for consideration.  Since the bill keeps reappearing, some Nigerians believed that like the “African Pride”, it is sponsored by some of the most powerful individuals in the country, including President Buhari.  Thus, just as the Nigerian Navy was not able to stop the African Pride on numerous occasions, it also seems that the National Assembly is not able to put a stop to the reappearance of the National Water Resources Bill after the bill had been rejected twice.

Following the belief that cats have nine lives, some Nigerians are convinced that the Water Resources Bill is actually a reincarnation of the cattle colony, grazing reserve, Rural Grazing Area (RUGA), and the National Livestock Transformation Plan ( NLTP) because it is intended indirectly to achieve the same goal (“Water Resources Bill, recipe for wars.” 2202, July 5).  Based on this perspective, if passed, the law will allow cattle herders to spread around the waterways of the country under the guise that the rivers, creeks, lakes, streams, and any body of surface and underground water in Nigeria belong to the Federal Government. Likewise, if passed, the states, local governments, and indigenous ethnic groups will automatically forfeit their rights to use the water resources in their communities without first obtaining permission, in some cases, from a national agency.

Purpose of This Article

The purpose of this article is to identify the reasons which prompt a considerable number of Nigerians to doubt the sincerity of the National Water Resources Bill, thereby vehemently opposing it. It is argued here that the bill is intended to achieve a goal other than the enhancement of Nigeria’s national interest since it is mostly promoted by members of the same ethnic group in a country with more than 300 nationalities.  Therefore, it is an instrument for the expropriation of the aboriginal water rights of Nigerians.

The National Water Resources Bill is officially known as “A Bill for An Act to Establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria, Provide for the Equitable and Sustainable Redevelopment, Management, Use and Conservation of Nigeria’s Surface Water and Groundwater Resources and for Related Matter,” is a very tricky proposition.  It is designed to nationalize or centralize the control, regulation, and management of all surface and underground water resources, including riverbanks in Nigeria under the authority of the Federal Government.  A federal agency or commission known as the Integrated Water System Management Commission will be solely responsible for regulating and managing water resources, under the Ministry of Water Resources. In some cases, citizens might need permits from the commission to use some land or dig boreholes.

The Federal Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu tried to justify the passage of the bill by saying that it was originally proposed in 2006 during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.  He added that the waters in Nigeria are already being regulated by the Integrated Water System Management Commission, so, there is nothing unique about the Water Resources Bill, apart from the fact that it is intended to effectively integrate all services dealing with water resources management in the country. He also indicated that all the water resources commissioners in the 36 states of the federation have approved or supported the bill.  He added that he is working with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Assembly to pass the bill (Majeed, 2021, August 5).

The Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sada Soli, who resubmitted the bill maintained that those who criticize the bill are doing so without having read the proposal to understand the content.  He insisted that the bill must be passed because it is good for national development (Odizu, 2020, August 9).

The Reasons for the Opposition to the National Water Resources Bill

It seems that a large proportion of Nigerians are not convinced of the intentions of the bill.  Many Nigerians use terms like obnoxious, repugnant, draconian, odious, provocative, evil, and so forth, to refer to it because it is viewed as a Machiavellian plan to usurp the water resources rights of the Nigerian people, hence the strong opposition to the bill.   The bill is opposed for several reasons.

First, even if the National Water Resources Bill was originally proposed in 2006 during the presidency of Chief/Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, the bill has taken an ominous dimension, thereby negating the original intention to strengthen the management of water resources in the country.  During Obasanjo’s presidency, federal character existed, and decisions were made through consultation with various segments of the Nigerian population.  Evidently, Nigerians were not apprehensive of any surreptitious plan to take away their natural right to use surface and underground water resources. 

The requirement for a national character in national employment disappeared when President Muhammadu Buhari hired mostly members of his family, ethnic group, and religion into all the critical national security positions in a multiethnic and multireligious country.  The nepotization, tribalization, and Islamization were immediately followed by the effort to create cattle colonies or RUGA throughout the country for members of only one ethnic group in Nigeria.  Additionally, the lack of political will on the part of the administration to utilize the security forces (police, army, air force, and the DSS) to decisively crush Boko Haram, Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP), Ansaru, marauding herdsmen and bandits creates doubt about the sincerity of the administration on the Water Resources Bill. Thus, the failure to use decisive action in dealing with those who are terrorizing Nigerians creates the impression that there is a hidden agenda to accomplish a goal that is different from the strategic interest of Nigeria.  This explains why the 2006 effort by President Obasanjo cannot be compared with the current effort because the political dynamics have changed dramatically to cause most Nigerians to view the matter as an existential threat.

Second, the point made by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and Hon. Sada Soli, the Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Water Resources that the bill does not contain any information dealing with cattle colonies or RUGA but is focused on ensuring effective management of the water resources of the country is not convincing also.  The reason is that almost every law is written in a manner that allows for different interpretations, despite the existence of the concept of precedent in judicial decision-making. If the bill is passed, there is no doubt that those who support the establishment of cattle colonies or RUGA will argue that since the Federal Government owns all water resources in the country, cattle herders have a right to settle in any part of a river or waterway since they are Nigerians and are constitutionally protected. 

The fact that every law is interpreted and enforced differently in Nigeria is attested by the fact that when President Buhari made an Executive Order requiring people to turn in certain categories of prohibited weapons, the Nigerian Police Force responded by passing an order requiring Nigerians to turn in those firearms (NPF, 2018, February 26). As soon as the order was given, law-abiding Nigerians with such firearms duly turned in their guns to the NPF to avoid infringing the law, but the NPF never made any effort to enforce the law against cattle herders who openly carry sophisticated military weapons.  Thus, the police only enforce the law against non-herders while herders walk around with their firearms. The double standard creates the impression that herders are above the law and can carry such weapons openly while other Nigerians cannot do so. Any indigenous Nigerian found with such firearms is likely to be arrested but herdsmen walk totally free with their guns.

The Nigerian Constitution calls for the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.  However, in the 9th National Assembly, the legislative branch decided to nullify its constitutional authority by acting as if it is part of the executive branch.  As a result, it fails woefully to perform its duties as the “guardian of the public purse” and the watchdog (oversight) over the executive branch.  Due to the failure to operate based on the tenets of the constitution, the legislative branch has the habit of approving every financial loan that the executive branch asks for. Similarly, it approves almost every ministerial candidate submitted by the president without doing thorough vetting to ensure their qualifications and suitability. Moreover, the National Assembly allows the president to submit candidates for ministerial positions without assigning ministerial positions to each candidate.   Likewise, even though the National Assembly is aware that the heads of the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) have repeatedly failed to submit comprehensive budget reports of what they did with the funds that they were allocated in previous years, the legislative branch continues to approve new budgets for these agencies without any sense of accountability.  The Auditor General of the Federation (AGF), Adolphus Aghughu, reported that in 2019, the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) failed to remit or account for N4.97trn (Ojo, 2021, August 25).  Despite the damning report, the legislators continued to approve budgets for the offending MDAs without sanctioning them. Thus, impunity and lawlessness are   common facets of government operations in Nigeria.

Likewise, the law can be interpreted and enforced differently as demonstrated by the manner in which Nigeria regulates and manages mineral resources in the country.  The Federal Government insists that all minerals in the country are on the Exclusive List, meaning that only the national government has the sole responsibility to regulate, control, and manage their exploration.  Yet, it is only oil and gas that are fully nationalized and controlled by the national government while solid minerals are treated to a different legal standard.  As a result, the indigenes of the Niger Delta/South-South cannot engage in the private exploration of oil and gas, but Nigerians in the North and the Southwest can explore and earn private income through the mining of gold, tin, coal, manganese, bitumen, and other solid minerals.  The police, navy, and the army are constantly on patrol in the oil region to arrest private miners of oil but the police, army, and the air force do not go on patrol to arrest private miners of gold, tin, and other solid minerals.  Private miners in the oil region are called “oil thieves” while private miners in the gold and tin regions are free to earn a living.  Thus, like in Animal Farm, all are equal, but some are superior to others. In Nigeria, the law is turned upside down to favor some and punish some.

The credit for the maximum nationalization of oil and gas after independence goes to Gen Yakubu Gowon, Chief/Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who made sure the indigenes of the oil region had no power whatsoever to determine the exploration and marketing of oil and gas in Nigeria through the enactment of various military decrees or acts.  On the other hand, the three generals did not engage in the maximum nationalization of gold, tin, coal, diamond, manganese, bitumen, and other solid minerals.  As such, Nigerians in other regions are free to mine solid minerals to earn a living, and Nigerians in the oil region are not free to mine oil and gas to make a living.  In fact, the private solid minerals mining sector has an interest group known as the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) to protect and enhance its business and political interests.  Hence, the association opposes a plan by the Federal Government to stop mining in order to reduce insecurity in the country (Nnodim, 2022, July 22).

Another piece of evidence to show the reckless manner in which the Federal Government runs its affairs is the way it manages the Nigerian refineries.  The refineries were built to refine crude petroleum but for some years now, the refineries have not been utilized to do so.  Instead, billions of dollars are used to import refined petroleum products while the national government continues to spend large sums of money to maintain refineries that do not produce anything.  Kingsley Jeremiah of the Guardian reported:

The whopping sum of $26.5b, which the Federal Government has so far spent on the maintenance of its loss-making 445, 000 barrels/day capacity refineries, is capable of building three new refineries of the same size going by the cost analysis of refinery projects across the world.
Besides, the latest approval granted by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources for the rehabilitation of the 210, 000 barrels per day Port Harcourt
Refinery is higher than the total capital allocation to the health sector by successive governments from 2009 to 2018 (2021, March 21).

Thus, there is ample evidence to show that the Federal Government is not a  responsible and accountable agent in managing the national resources of the country.   Consequently, why should Nigerians surrender their natural rights to use water resources in their communities to the Federal Government and then turn around to beg the same national government to grant them permission to use the same water resources?

Third, due to the lack of an effective judicial system in Nigeria, the legal process is easily manipulated by the national government and the ruling elite. Moreover, the Federal Government has demonstrated through various actions and inactions, that it has a right to do what it wants regardless of the law, hence, it picks and enforces the laws it wants and ignores those judicial decisions that it does not like.  Under these circumstances, it is very dangerous to allow the Federal Government to have total control over the management of water resources.  It could use its enormous power to punish and reward Nigerians by depriving those communities which do not toe the government line by depriving them of the ability to use surface and underground water resources in their vicinities. Likewise, there is a possibility that the Federal Government might use its control of the water resources to refuse to grant licenses for water-related businesses in certain regions of the country while allowing businesses from certain regions of the country to use the water resources as much as they like since they are associates of those who wield political power. It should be recalled that oil blocks are awarded based on connections to the ruling elite.  This explains the reason indigenes of the oil region have few oil blocks while most go to those who are connected to the ruling elite from outside the oil region.

Fourth, the Water Resources Bill is viewed with suspicion by the generality of Nigerian ethnic groups because President Buhari’ tribalized the governance structure of the nation by recruiting mostly members of his ethnic group and religion into critical national government positions in a country made up of 300 or more ethnic groups.   The suspicion about the bill is deepened because only members of the same ethnic group speak and defend the efficacy of the proposal at a time in which herdsmen and bandits from the same ethnic group are violently  grabbing lands from various communities in the country. Perhaps, this prompted the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) to say that the “repeated presentation of the bill is a signal Buhari intends to flood Nigeria with displaced Fulani from the war-torn Central African Republic” (Jimoh, 2022, July 28). Hence, each time the officials speak about the bill, they create the impression that they are imposing a tribal policy on a multiethnic and multireligious nation that is likely to cause more harm than good. 

It should be recalled that Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (retd), had warned about the danger of tribalizing the national government in a public letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari.  In the letter, he cited Othman Dan Fodio’s warning about the danger of tribalization:

One of the swiftest ways of destroying a Kingdom is to give preference of one particular tribe over another or show favor to one group of people rather than another. And to draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near (Ukpong. 2020, May 31).

In addition, part of Col. Umar’s letter also included the following statement, “Mr. President, I regret that there are no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the offices of the federal government, favoring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to this nation” (Ukpong, 2020, May 31).    His warning about the danger of tribalizing Nigeria through lopsided appointments was ignored.  It should also be recalled that the late Dr. Junaid Muhammed too had warned before the 2019 presidential election about a cabal dominated by members of the president’s family due to the nepotistic manner in which people were being appointed to critical positions in government.  In an interview, Dr. Mohammed warned:

If they are going to treat this country as if it was conquered by them and or by their families, you can imagine what the picture would look like, if Buhari were to be given a second term and how they are going to use our resources and how they are going to abuse power (Abuh, 2018, February 17).

By nepotizing, tribalizing, and Islamizing critical positions in the national government, the present administration sets in motion a deep suspicion that there is a hidden agenda intended to radically change the country.  Hence, the opposition to the Water Resources Bill is a product of the fear that the rivers, creeks, streams, lakes, and coastal waters would end up being tribalized and politicized to favor a particular ethnic group if the bill is passed into law.  Therefore, when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, condemned opposition to the Bill by describing critics as “detractors sponsoring false narrative,” (Odunsi, 2022, July 19) he is simply adding to the distrust of the proposal because Nigeria is a democracy and those who do not support the passage of the bill have a right to do so.  In other words, it is undemocratic to impose a law against the general interest of the population when the proposed law is perceived to favor only one ethnic group. Instead of criticizing those who oppose the bill, what the minister needs to do is spend more time explaining and answering pertinent questions in public gatherings in order to persuade the public to accept the merit of the bill rather than castigate Nigerians as if this is a military regime that can arbitrarily impose a decree on Nigerians.  Perhaps, the minister realized that he did not present the bill in a better light previously, hence, he changed his tone and tried to explain the merit of the bill on July 23, 2022 (Ewepu, 2022, July 23). Even this effort is insufficient to convince Nigerians to give up their natural rights to use water resources in their vicinities.

Fifth, if the bill were passed, the Integrated Water System Management Commission will become the sole federal agency to regulate the use of surface and underground waters in Nigeria under the Ministry of Water Resources.  In some cases, Nigerians might be required to apply to the commission to get permission to use certain water resources.  Even villages that have for centuries utilized the water resources in and around their environments might be compelled to write and petition this commission before they dig some boreholes or use some water resources. Can anyone imagine the bureaucratic bottleneck that will take place in a country of over 200 million people if Nigerians are compelled to apply for a permit from this commission before using certain bodies of water?

Due to the strategic nature of this commission, if the bill passes into law, it is predicted that it would always be headed by someone from the power-wielding groups in the country.  Why? The reason is that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and other cattle-related interest groups are likely to use their political influence to ensure that only Nigerians who are favorable to the nomadic cattle business are appointed as the head of the commission. 

It is further predicted that those who have a different agenda in mind other than Nigeria are likely to put tremendous pressure on the Federal Government to appoint only individuals who have a strong attachment to their ideological orientation to head the Integrated Water System Management Commission. The possibility of this taking place is because since oil became a critical source for both public and private wealth in Nigeria, the oil industry has been dominated by Nigerians who are not indigenous to the Niger Delta/South-South zone. Indeed, the oil region is treated like a conquered territory.

Sixth, it is a dangerous proposition to allow the Federal Government of Nigeria to manage water resources at the present time.  The reason is that the Federal Government has never been a good manager of anything in Nigeria.  Anything it touches seems to turn into dust.  Increasingly, every governmental institution is gradually collapsing because the government is overblown, corrupt, and inefficient.  Consequently, the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, and so on and so forth, are finding it difficult to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians as marauding herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers, and jihadists wreak havoc on the Nigerian population.  For instance, 300 members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) rode motorcycles into Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and attacked Kuje prison for almost three hours without the army, navy, air force, and police responding to stop or apprehend them.  After completing the operation, they disappeared into thin air (“How Boko Haram attacked Kuje correctional facility,” 2022, July 6).  Mind you, Abuja is the headquarters of all the security forces in Nigeria.  The failure of the security forces to stop the attackers in Abuja is reminiscent of the failure of the security forces to stop kidnappers and bandits in Kaduna State. In fact, no state has many security bases as Kaduna.  Therefore, apart from Abuja, Kaduna is supposedly the most militarily fortified area in Nigeria. Yet, bandits, jihadists, and kidnappers have been terrorizing people in the state with little or no security countermeasures. Cheta Nwanze of Al Jazeera noted the increasing ineffectiveness of the security forces to contain the spiraling violent killings “The attacks on Buhari’s convoy and the deputy commissioner in Katsina state, meanwhile, clearly showed that Nigeria’s security forces are no longer able to protect themselves – let alone civilians – against bandits in certain areas of the country (2022, July 27).  The failure of the security services compelled Chief E. K. Clark to suggest to President Buhari to:

urgently convene a sober ‘National Discourse on National Security’ of former Heads of State, Presidents, statesmen and leaders, women and selected youths in Nigeria to work out a consensual and amicable resolution of this long, seemingly intractable, challenge afflicting the country since the entry of Boko Haram menace in the national psyche (Amaize, 2019, May 27).  

Consequently, it is unwise for Nigerians to surrender their right to use water resources in their communities to the Federal Government where the process is likely to be bureaucratized, politicized, and corrupted to frustrate Nigerians.  It is a fact that for decades, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not been able to provide reliable electricity to its citizens.  The energy situation is actually getting worse. Under the circumstances, why should Nigerians agree to surrender their natural water rights to the national government?

Seventh, Nigerians strongly oppose the Water Resource Bill, like the cattle colonies, grazing reserves, RUGA, grazing routes, and the National Livestock Transformation Plan because it is designed primarily to benefit members of a single ethnic group and not the generality of Nigerians.  This view is reinforced by the president’s persistent recruitment of mostly members of his ethnic group into all critical national security positions in a country that is made up of about 300 or more ethnic groups (Orebe, 2202, July 10). Moreover. Most indigenous Nigerians have no problem with the current water management system which is consistent with the traditional African communal system where communities are free to use the rivers, lakes, creeks, and streams in their vicinities without interference from any government. 

Eighth, it is a fact that in Africa, every ethnic group has a contiguous territorial space that it calls its own.  As such, they have a natural right to utilize the resources in their territorial spaces to ensure their livelihood and existence.  This view of natural rights is consistent with international law.  Resultantly, it is a violation of natural rights in international law for the Federal Government of Nigeria to attempt to take away the natural rights of the ethnic nationalities to freely use available water resources in their territories.  It should be recalled that Nigeria violated the natural rights of the people of the Niger Delta/South-South by depriving them of the right to make decisions about petroleum and gas exploration and management in their territory.  It should not attempt to violate the natural rights of indigenous Nigerians who have a right under international law to use the water resources in their communities.

Ninth, the Water Resources Bill violates the Land Use Act which gives the governors of the states the constitutional power to manage the lands in their states on behalf of their citizens.  The lands include water resources as well.  it is suspicious to say that the governors have acceded to the National Water Resources Bill without addressing the issue of water rights with their citizens.    Before the governors accede to giving the Federal Government the power to regulate water resources in the country, they must first seek the approval of their citizens since they were elected by the citizens to serve as governors. The right to use water resources in the country is a major national issue and no governor should sneakily grant approval to a national plan that is intended to strip their citizens of the right to water resources.

Before the National Assembly deliberate whether to pass the bill or not, it should allow Nigerians sufficient time to review the matter since their rights to use water resources in their communities are at stake.  Such an important issue should not be rushed through the National Assembly in a clandestine manner as if the members do not want Nigerians to know what is actually taking place. Udora Orizu, a reporter for This Day reported the reaction of the National Labor Congress toward the water resources bill:

On its part, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in a statement signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, warned against legislative abuse or betrayal of Nigerians if the bill was passed without public engagement and scrutiny, adding that already, the sentiments expressed against the bill are too grave to be brushed off (2022, July 12).

Unfortunately, it appears that desperate measures are being taken to pass the bill despite strong opposition.  There are also speculations that the Speaker of the House, Mr. Femi Gballlljabiamila could be impeached if he fails to push the bill through the House (“Exclusive: Northern Lawmakers plot to impeach House of Reps Speaker, Gbajabiamila over controversial Water Resources Bill,” 2022, July 25).  It is hoped that those legislators in the National Assembly from the South, Middle Belt, and some parts of the North should open their eyes and not let their constituents down the way they disappointed host communities by allowing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to pass into law by giving them only three percent while approving 30 percent for frontier basin exploration.

Thankfully, to clear the air about their position on the National Water Resources Bill, the governors indicated that the bill is in contradiction to the existing constitutional provision which gives them the power to regulate and manage the lands in their states through the Land Use Act.  The Guardian reported:

Governors of the 36 states of the federation, yesterday, declared unanimous opposition to the contentious National Water Resources Bill, describing the proposed legislation as unconstitutional. They also said it failed to carry states along (Jimoh, 2022, July 28).

Tenth, if passed, the bill will be a threat to the national security of the country because it is mostly intended to diplomatically reward only nomadic cattle breeders against the general interest of the indigenous ethnic groups which have for centuries effectively manage their water resources with little or no governmental interference.  Some Nigerians infer that the bill is a population transfer scheme designed to encourage the settlement of nomadic pastoralists from the Sahel in Nigeria against the general interest of the aborigines.  In particular, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State is a major proponent of the view that the bill is designed to spread cattle breeders throughout Nigeria. Ochogwu Sunday of Daily Post quoted the position of the Benue state government:

The bill, in addition to its provisions which are grossly at variance with the Land Use Act, is disguised land-grabbing legislation designed to grant pastoralists unhindered access to river basins, adjacent marine and coastal environments across the country. The bill is another version of ruga and cattle colonies whose objective is to create grazing areas in the 36 states of the federation for herders and their livestock (Reintroduction of Water Resources Bill: Count us out – Benue Govt fumes,” 2022, July 3).

Eleventh, the fact that the entire water resources management system in the country will be regulated and coordinated by one government agency in a very complex country will give too much clout to whoever might oversee the commission if the bill passes. It would end up as a political football like the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) before privatization).  The president and the political party in power are likely to politicize the commission to punish those who did not vote for them.  Such a development is likely to lead to a political disaster for the country.  It is unfathomable that the Federal Government would want to create a super-agency that is likely to be bureaucratized, politicized, and corrupted to do the biddings of those who wield political power.  Even some governors might use their influence to persuade the head of the commission to prevent some communities from gaining access to water resources in their backyards without paying steeply or conceding to certain political demands. 

Twelfth, there are 300 or more ethnic groups in Nigeria.  Of this number, it seems that only members of one ethnic group want the National Water Resources Bill passed.  The fact that it is only members of a particular ethnic group in a country with more than 300 ethnic groups that want the bill passed creates the suspicion that it is part of the effort to spread cattle herders throughout Nigeria.  Many Nigerians seem to assume that it is an indirect way to establish herders’ enclaves.  The suspicion is deepened following the fact that President Buhari has invested so much political capital trying to establish cattle colonies and pass the National Water Resources Bill to fulfill his dreams and promises he made to a section of the country (Sunday, 2022, July 3). 

It is unfortunate that in a democracy, the interest of one ethnic group is viewed as being more paramount than the interests of the 299 or more ethnic groups which adamantly opposed the nationalization of water resources they have been using for centuries.

Thirteenth, the bill is intended to centralize power which is a contradiction to federalism.  In fact, Nigerians have been clamoring for the restructuring of the country with the attendant reduction of the power of the national government to enable the states and local governments to develop their economies instead of relying on central authority as if Nigeria is a communist state.  It should be recalled that it was the military that created a unitary system of government that now seems to concentrate every governmental authority at the center.   Thus, while Nigerians are calling for decentralization and functionalization of true federalism, it does not make any sense for this administration to want to centralize the management of water resources. The Afenifere, the premier Yoruba socio-cultural organization, alluded to the contradiction between citizens’ demand for decentralization and the administration’s desire to centralize water resources.  The Premium Times noted:

According to the Association, while the majority of the people are requesting more decentralisation of government, the bill is seeking more responsibilities for the Federal Government.

Afenifere noted that the National Water Resources Bill would have negative consequences and was a “cunny actions being cleverly foisted on the nation, which must be resisted by well-meaning Nigerians (“Afenifere kicks against reintroduction of National Water Resources Bill, 2022, July 22).

It is questionable that while there is an increasing call for the devolution of political power at the center, the Federal Government wants to concentrate more power in the national government by trying to impose draconian national control of water resources in a country that is democratic.  Even in the heydays of communism, the governments allowed their citizens to use water resources in their communities without undue interference, and Nigeria which has a federal system of government wants to take away the rights of the people to freely use water resources in their vicinities. A considerable number of Nigerians oppose national control because of the Federal Government’s reckless and irresponsible behavior in the management of national resources.  For instance, it took total control of oil and gas exploration, and the entire system is mired in massive corruption to the extent that the people of the Niger Delta/South-South have been pauperized, traumatized, and exposed to poisonous biochemicals that cause complicated medical maladies due to oil pollution and gas flaring. The region is probably the most polluted oil region in the world and Nigeria does not care about cleaning the pollution.

Fourteenth, the National Water Resources Bill seems to be an instrument for the expropriation and conquest of indigenous groups by rendering them powerless over the use of water resources, as the British colonial authorities did in taking over the control of mineral resources in Nigeria.  It should be recalled that part of the British effort to conquer and colonize Nigeria included a plan to render indigenous Africans powerless to use the mineral resources in their territories.  Hence, the British enacted various mining ordinances in 1906, 1907, 1910, 1914, and 1916.  For instance, the Mineral Ordinance of 1916 read:

The entire property in and control of the minerals, and mineral oils, in under or upon any land in Nigeria, and of all Rivers, streams and water courses, throughout Nigeria, is and shall be vested in the Crown, save in so far as such rights may in any case have been limited by the express grant made before the commencement of this ordinance (Raji and Abejide, 2014).

Thus, the National Water Resources Bill seems to have been adopted from the 1916 Mineral Ordinance and is slightly twisted to reflect water resources.   The similarity between the two further seems to indicate that those who crafted the current water resources bill are bent on expropriating water resources in Nigeria the way the British expropriated mineral resources in the country.  This possibility is being enhanced by the allegation that the plan to pass the National Water Resources Bill was finalized during a religious pilgrimage in a foreign country (“EXCLUSIVE: Northern Lawmakers Plot To Impeach House Of Reps Speaker, Gbajabiamila Over Controversial Water Resources Bill,” 2022, July 25

Fifteenth, perhaps, both the RUGA and the National Water Resources Bill would have passed without any controversy if President Buhari had not created the environment for their failure.  In other words, the president is a victim of his own making because he tribalized the national government. By so doing, he created the ground for suspicion on the part of other ethnic groups, hence, the adamant opposition to both schemes.  Thus, it is impossible for other nationalities in the country to accept a national policy drafted through the handiwork of only members of a single ethnic group in a multiethnic and multireligious country. The fact that the National Water Resources Bill is being pushed for passage by mostly members of the same ethnic group feeds the conspiracy theory that the bill is intended to achieve a goal that is not in the national interest of Nigeria. Consequently, it is viewed as a Trojan horse intended to expropriate the natural water rights of Nigerians.


The surreptitious manner in which the National Water Resources Bill is being pushed for legislative approval after it has been rejected twice in the National Assembly indicates that the motive is driven by an agenda quite different from the strategic interest of Nigeria.  Hence, the president keeps putting pressure on the National Assembly to pass it before he leaves office.   The fact that the president keeps resubmitting it means that there is indeed a hidden agenda that the president feels he must accomplish before leaving office.

Unfortunately for the president and those who support the National Water Resources Bill, the reasons advanced to justify the passage of the bill are not convincing since it is a natural right for people all over the world to utilize the water resources in their environments without undue governmental interference.  Therefore, the motive of the bill is questionable and seems intended to take away the rights of Nigerians.  It should be reminded that the British passed mineral ordinances to expropriate mineral resources from indigenous Nigerians and render them powerless and the Nigerian military passed various petroleum decrees and or acts to expropriate oil and gas from the indigenes of the Niger Delta/South-South and render them powerless.  Now, some people are trying to pass a Water Resources Bill to expropriate water resources from indigenous Nigerians and render them powerless.  Moreover, the timing of the bill is totally out of place while insecurity is the most pressing issue that require urgent action.

The National Assembly should reject the water resources bill and focus its energy on solving insecurity, economic downturn, and massive unemployment as the country is teetering on the edge of the cliff.   The issues raised by cattle herders and Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi concerning their perilous business situation in Nigeria require a national solution spearheaded by a president who appreciates the ethnic and religious diversity of the country to develop a workable plan after consultation with stakeholders throughout the country.  The issues cannot be solved through a tribal solution crafted by members of the same ethnic group.   


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Amaize, E.  (2019, May 27).  Boko Haram sent ex-President Jonathan letter to convert to Islam – Clark.  Vanguard. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from

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EXCLUSIVE: Northern lawmakers plot to impeach House of Reps Speaker, Gbajabiamila over controversial Water Resources Bill. (2022, July 25). Sahara Reporters. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from

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Jeremiah, K. (2021, March 21). Nigeria’s $26.5 billion maintenance cost enough to build three new refineries.  The Guardian.  Retrieved August 5, 2022, from

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Majeed, B.  (2021, August 5). Controversial Water Resources Bill: Federal Government interfacing with lawmakers, governors – Minister.”  Premium Times. Retrieved July 10, 2022, from

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The Eerie Resemblance Between the Factors that Prompted the Second World War and the Post-Cold War Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Priye S. Torulagha

A critical examination of the factors which prompted Russia to invade Ukraine seemed similar to the reasons which prompted the eruption of the Second World War.  Due to the similarity, it is necessary for Russia and the United States, and their allies to maintain caution over the Ukrainian War to avoid ushering in a 3rd World War. To understand the similarity between the two situations, it is necessary to briefly review the pre-2nd World War period and then compare it to the post-Cold War events which prompted the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thus, the purpose of this article is to determine whether the factors which prompted the Russian invasion of Ukraine are similar to the factors which prompted the 2nd World War.  It is argued here that indeed, the factors which prompted the eruption of the 2nd World war are eerily like the factors which prompted the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A Brief Review of the Events Surrounding Post-First World War and Post-Cold War Leading to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The 1st World War was fought by members of two contending alliances in Europe, namely, the Triple Alliance (Central Powers) and the Triple Entente (Allied Powers). The Central Powers included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria and the Allied Powers included Britain, France, Italy, Russia, and Japan. The US later joined this alliance (Walt, 2003, 108 – 115).  To deescalate the conflict, different armistice treaties were signed but the most significant one was signed with Germany in the Armistice Treaty of November 11, 1918.

On the other hand, the Cold war began as soon as the Second World ended in 1945.  The two most powerful states at the end of the deadliest war in human history, the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) competed to have a geopolitical strategic advantage, and by so doing, attempted to divide the world into two ideological camps, the capitalistic democracy, and the Marxism-Leninism/communism.  These two camps were also known as the Western bloc (US, West European, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) and the Eastern bloc (USSR and its Central and East European allies).  The Peoples Republic of China and North Korea, North Vietnam, and later Cuba tended to associate with the Eastern bloc due to their communist systems.  The former European colonies in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas were automatically grouped as part of the Western bloc since Western European countries created them (Rourke, 1999).  However, those countries, including former European colonies that did not want to join either of the ideological camps formed the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), otherwise known as the Third World.  The European colonies that needed to liberate themselves militarily decided to associate with the Eastern bloc.  Since the US and the USSR had nuclear weapons, they opted not to confront each other directly to avoid destroying the world.  Hence, the Cold War was fought indirectly through proxy wars from about 1945 to 1990.  The Cold War ended when the Warsaw Pact and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) were disbanded on July 1, 1991, and December 26, 1991, respectively.

 It should be noted that the Warsaw Pact was formed by the Eastern bloc in 1955 to militarily counterbalance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which was established by the Western bloc in 1949 to contain the spread of Soviet Union and communism (“Warsaw Pact Ends.” March 30, 2021).Thus, Warsaw Pact was designed to militarily counter NATO and vice versa.

The Similarity of the Issues Pertaining to the Post-Treaty of Versailles Leading to the 2nd World War and the Post-Cold War Leading to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The issues pertaining to the post-Treaty of Versailles and the post-Cold War leading to the Russian invasion of Ukraine are similar in six ways. First, the Armistice Treaty of November 1918 which led to the cessation of fighting in the First World put all the blame on Germany.  This matches the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, leading to the Western view that Russia lost the war. Secondly, the dissatisfaction expressed by Italy and Japan over the sharing of war booty after the 1st World seems to match the dissatisfaction of Russia over the Western failure to dissolve the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in order to equalize the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact.  Third, the failure of the League of Nations to take appropriate action to stop Japan and Italy matches the failure of the United Nations to compel the dissolution of NATO and penalize the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Western Interventions in Afghanistan, Serbia, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya.  Fourth, the victorious Allied Powers paid little or no attention to the feelings and concerns expressed by Japan, Italy, and Germany just as the Western allies and NATO ignored concerns expressed by Russia that it was being encircled. Fifth, the German decision to pay back in kind for the unfairness and humiliation of the Armistice Treaty and the Treaty of Versailles resembles the Russian anger emanating from the view that the West cheated Russia by failing to stop spreading NATO eastward, thereby resulting in its decision to invade Ukraine. Sixth, the Nazi accusation that those who signed the Armistice Treaty and the Treaty of Versailles “stabbed the German nation in the back” is comparable to President Vladimir Putin’s statement which referred to Russians who opposed the invasion of Ukraine as “scums and traitors,” and strongly believes that true Russians would “spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths” (Cohen, March 22, 2022).

First, due to the drawn-out nature of the First World War, both sides (members of the Triple Entente (Allied Powers) and the Triple Alliance (Central Powers)) were exhausted, and Germany called for an armistice to end hostilities.  The German team, led by Mathias Erzberger met with Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the Supreme Allied Commander in his railway carriage in Le Franc port near Compiegne in France and negotiated.  Hoping for a mutual agreement to end the war, the Germans were treated as having lost the war when French Gen. Maxime Weygand issued the Allied terms for the armistice which involved German disarmament.  Having pleaded for lesser conditions to no avail, the German team signed the Armistice Treaty on November 11, 1918. 

 Germany was blamed for causing the war and made to feel guilty for it. The treaty obligated Germany to (a) evacuate its troops from the territories (in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg) it held on the Western Front within two weeks; (b) disarm by giving up its arsenal, including 5,000 artillery pieces, 25,000 machine guns, 1,700 airplanes, 5, 000 railroad locomotives, 5,000 trucks, and 150,000 wagons; (c) give up the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine to France; and  (d) allow Allied forces to occupy German territory along the Rhine until 1930(“Warsaw Pact Ends,” March 30, 2021).

Second, two months after the signing of the Armistice Treaty to cease military operations in the 1st World War, negotiations to finalize a peace treaty began in Versailles, France. Although about thirty nations attended, the United Kingdom, France, United States, and Italy dominated the conference.  Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria, the defeated members of the Central Powers or Triple Alliance and Russia were not invited. In what came to be referred to as the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, in the Hall of mirrors of Versailles palace, harsh conditions were imposed on Germany. It had to do the following to comply with the terms of the treaty: (1) pay $33 bn reparation for causing the war,  (2) turn over the coal mines in Saar basin to France, in lieu of a plebiscite after 15 years, (3) give back the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine to France, (4) tear down its fortifications along the Rhine, (5) respect the independence of Austria which was taken from the Austria-Hungarian Empire, (6) recognize the newly created independent state of Czechoslovakia formed from some of the provinces of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, (7) forfeit some of its territories in West Prussia to Poland,(8) give up all its colonies in Africa and China, (9) drastically downsize its armed forces, including (a) reducing its army size from about 1.9 million during the war to just 100,000, (b) reduce the officer corps to just 4,000 officers, c) hand over most of its military equipment to the Allies and it could only produce new military equipment through factories approved by the Allied Powers, (d) drastically reduce the size of its navy and could only have six battleships, six light cruisers, 12 destroyers, and 12 torpedo boats, ( e ) completely eliminate its submarine fleet, (f) eliminate the air force completely and could only maintain 100 seaplanes, and (10) those responsible for causing the war and committing war crimes to face trial (Kiger, June 25, 2019).

Reactions to Armistice Treaty and the Treaty of Versailles and the Sharing of War Booty after the First World War

First, the Armistice Treaty and the Treaty of Versailles pushed the Germans to the wall as they contributed to the collapse of the German economy since it had to pay reparations for causing the war. This provoked anger among German ultra-nationalists who accused those who negotiated and agreed to the humiliating conditions of the treaties as having ‘Stabbed the German Nation in the back” to capitulate.  This sentiment resulted in the assassination of Mathias Erzberger who led the German team to negotiate and sign the Armistice Treaty.  The humiliating conditions also led the nationalists to accuse the communists and socialists of betraying the German nation.  The issue polarized German politics, thereby providing the opportunity for the ultra-nationalists to mobilize to take over political power. The Allied Powers (France, Britain, Italy, USA, etc.,) failed to pay attention to German concerns.  In desperation, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists (Nazis) emerged on the German political scene and promised to avenge the humiliation of the German nation. 

Second, Britain and France gained most from the booty garnered from being victorious in the 1st World War by taking over most German colonies, including those in Africa and elsewhere.  Likewise, Germany also ceded some territories to France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.  Japan and Italy felt cheated and undervalued by other members of their military alliance. The perception of unfairness in the sharing of war booty laid the stage for the gathering of war storms for the Second World War.

  1. Japan felt that it was supposed to be the imperial power in Asia and decided to create a new world order in that part of the world. It invaded Manchuria on September 18, 1931, and occupied it.
  2. Italy too was not happy about the manner in which war booty was shared among the victorious Allied Powers. The need to create an imperial status for itself resulted in its invasion and occupation of Ethiopia from October 2, 1935, to May 1936. 

Third, the League of Nations appeared powerless and did little or nothing to stop Japan and Italy from conquering and annexing Manchuria and Ethiopia respectively. Likewise, it could not even play a balancing role by persuading the Allied Powers to tone down the conditions imposed on Germany to avoid a violent reaction.  It was unable to establish a sense of fairness and equality among the states due to paralysis emanating from big power politics.  The failure ignited the Second War.

a.  The Second World began when Japan spread its conquering tentacles to China, thereby fueling the Sino-Japanese War which started in 1937 as China resisted the Japanese invasion of the country after taking over Manchuria in 1931 (Philips, July 24, 2018). Thus, Japan sets a new world order by attempting to change the status quo, thereby igniting the 2nd World war.

b. Amid one of the worst economic recessions that Germany encountered, Adolf Hitler emerged as the chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, following a series of elections and militant actions.  He also assumed the title of the Fuhrer on August 2, 1934, following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.  He and the Nazis and other German ultra-nationalists ignored the conditions stipulated in the Armistice Treaty and the Treaty of Versailles and embarked on the massive development and modernization of German military forces.  Then feeling sufficiently equipped in military technology and economic enhancement, Germany decided to take back some of the Germanic territories.  It invaded Czechoslovakia by using a combination of forces known as blitzkrieg and took back the Sudetenland on March 15, 1939.  It invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and easily overwhelmed the country.  Since Poland had a security treaty with Britain and France, the two responded and sent military forces to counter the German invasion.  This spread the 2nd World War as Japan continued its military operations to conquer Asia while Germany, in alliance with Italy, spreads its gigantic military machine in Europe and North Africa. Germany easily overran the Netherland, Belgium, and France.  To pay back in kind for the humiliation that the Allied Powers, especially France and Britain imposed on Germany, Adolf Hitler made sure that the French signed the treaty of surrender in the same railway carriage that Gen. Foch had made Germany sign the Armistice Treaty. Italy surrendered after the Italians executed Il Duce Benito Mussolini. By the end of the 2nd World War, over 60 people died.  Russia seemed to have borne the brunt of the war by losing millions of people to contain Germany and helped to defeat it with the Allies. The US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan to force it to surrender on September 2, 1945.

Third, the United Nations was established in 1945 after the end of the 2nd World War.  To a large extent, it was a resuscitation of the League of Nations.  The main goals of the UN are to: (1) maintain international peace and security, (2) develop friendly relations among nations, (3) help nations to work together to improve the lives of poor people, conquer hunger, disease, and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms, and (4) serve as a center for the harmonization of the stipulated goals.  Thus, the UN is supposed to work assiduously in ensuring that peace and security prevail in the world.  However, this noble goal can only be achieved if there is a sense of equality, fairness, and justice in the global system.  Unfortunately, these factors are lacking, hence, the UN cannot ensure peace and security apart from adopting stop-gap measures to reinforce the status quo, thereby prolonging the agony for millions of people trapped in indeterminable conflicts.

Failure of the UN to Act to Ensure Fairness, Equity, and Justice

The United Nations, like the League of Nations, has failed to ensure peace and security in the world.  The failure is precipitated by big power politics played by the five permanent members of the Security Council.  They prevent the UN to act in a manner that reinforces justice, fairness, and equality through veto power, as evidenced by various incidents in the world.

First, when the Warsaw Pact was dissolved on July 1, 1991, and the Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 26, 1991, 15 sovereign states emerged from the dissolution. The UN would have been proactive in persuading Western countries to dissolve NATO to ensure new world order.  The reason is that NATO and Warsaw Pact were military alliances intended to counterbalance each other during a time of bipolar (two-power balance of power) system in the world.   Unfortunately, the UN did not work with the US and Western countries to dissolve NATO while the former Soviet Union dissolved the Warsaw Pact.  The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the failure to dissolve NATO created a military imbalance that reinforced a unipolar (one power) system where the US and its Western allies tended to dominate the world.  The perception that the US and the West cheated Russia to dissolve the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact contributes greatly to the Russian anger and the decision to invade Ukraine in order to counter NATO’s eastward expansion.

Second, the UN was structurally designed to fail through the intentional reinforcement of the strategic powers of the major countries that emerged victorious in the 2nd World War. As a result, five states, including the US, Russia, Britain, France, and China ended up with veto powers in the Security Council of the UN (UNSC).   The veto power allows the five permanent members of the UNSC to veto any legislation or action that they deemed a threat to their strategic interests, as indicated above.  The veto destroys the democratic process for making global decisions about peace and security and ensuring human rights because any of the five members can stop any action from taking place in a global system made up of 193 countries. Apparently, the veto neutralizes the principle of democratic majoritarianism that is necessary for the resolution of conflicts. 

Third, because of the veto, the UN was unable to deter the Soviet Union from invading Afghanistan in 1979.  The invasion turned the country upside down and led to the deaths of thousands of people after 9 years (December 24, 1979, to February 15, 1989) of an unnecessary war. The invasion was like the US invasion of Vietnam, where again, the UN was powerless to deescalate the conflict.

Fourth, NATO carried out an aerial bombardment of the Republic of Yugoslavia, from March 24 to June 10, 1999, to stop the bloody civil war that engulfed the country, especially in Kosovo.  Since the action was controversial, Russia too responded by sending forces to Kosovo to counterbalance the presence of NATO since the Serbians and Russians have historically considered themselves allies. 

Fifth, the Afghans had only temporary relief from the Soviet invasion of the country because the US justifiably attacked the country in October 2001 to drive away the Taliban government, following the Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attack using commercial airlines to destroy the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and a section of the US Department of Defense headquarters in Washington DC.  The Al Qaeda attack resulted in the deaths of almost three thousand people.  The US launched the military attack because the Taliban allowed Al Qaeda to operate from Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, the US and its NATO allies, including Britain, Australia, Canada, Poland, and so forth, remained in the country until August 2021.  The UN could not do much to persuade foreign powers to leave the country apart from providing rehabilitation services to the people. Again, thousands of Afghans lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands were forced to become refugees.

Sixth, the US and its allies decided to invade Iraq with the purpose of preventing Saddam Hussein from supposedly developing and using nuclear and biochemical weapons in 2003 during the height of its war in Afghanistan.  Australia, Britain, Canada, Poland, Spain, and other NATO members joined the war effort.   President Saddam Hussein was hurriedly tried and hanged.  The UN remained silent even though there were no nuclear or biological weapons found.  Iraq was devastated and thousands of people lost their lives.  Even in 2022, Iraq has not recovered and neither has it been stabilized.

Seventh, NATO-sponsored a military rebellion in Libya in 2011.  Eight NATO countries, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America bombed strategic targets and helped to bring down the government.  Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of the country was killed.   The destruction of Libya resulted in the proliferation of sophisticated arms throughout Africa.  The arms and fighters from Libya contributed to the destabilization of several African countries, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Kenya, Uganda, and so forth.  Libya has not recovered from the destabilization inflicted by NATO.

Thus, what is happening today is akin to what happened prior to the 2nd World War as the League of Nations failed to perform its duty due to a lack of political and military power to enforce peace and security.  The UN too lacks the power to enforce a peaceful order since five countries have the power to veto any action that threatens their self-interest.

Eighth, just as the UN is a failing institution, the International Criminal Court (ICC) too is a failing organization.  It was established to investigate and possibly prosecute individuals who commit genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression (International Criminal Court, n.d.).  The ICC is expected to apply its investigatory and prosecutorial responsibilities in international law across the board against all violators, regardless of their status in the global system.  Unfortunately, the ICC seems to increasingly serve as an instrument of the strong against the weak.  Hence, it ignores human rights violations and wars of aggression perpetrated by the powerful states and concentrates more on arresting, prosecuting, and punishing political and military leaders of poor and powerless small states in the world.  Since African countries are the weakest politically, militarily, and economically, individuals in the continent that allegedly violate human rights are easily arrested and prosecuted.  Leaders of powerful states that violate the same rights are left untouched.   

Another noticeable weakness of the ICC is its tendency to characterize certain states as being good and others as being bad even when they engage in similar behaviors.  Hence, within three weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, speeches were being made about human rights violations and war crimes.  The speediness in desiring to file war crimes against Russian leaders for the invasion of Ukraine and the lack of will to do so in other war situations have compelled the Serbians, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, and Yemenis to wonder whether their human rights are not as important as those of Ukrainians, even though they lost more people in various military interventions than the Ukrainians.  The Watson Institute of Brown University estimated that “at least 929,000 people have been killed by direct war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan” (Cost of War, November 2021). The institute added that the above figures excluded those who died indirectly from the wars and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who suffered injuries, in addition to the millions of people who have been displaced because of the wars. Thus, the ICC seems to be playing favoritism by valuing and devaluing people based on where they come from. Is it morally, ethically, and legally justifiable to try anybody for war crimes in Ukraine without also considering the same for the other wars?

The Similarity between the Events Prior to the Second World War and the Post-Cold War Events Leading to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

As the title indicates, there is an eerie similarity between what transpired following the end of the 1st World War and what happened following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, leading to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

First, the Germans thought that the desire to end hostilities following the bloody and destructive 1st World War was a mutually agreed upon decision by both sides.   Instead, the Allied Powers behaved like victors in the war, hence, instituted the humiliating Armistice Treaty in November 2018.  By the time the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, the Germans knew that they were solely blamed for causing the war and held responsible for the destruction and death.  This led to frustration and anger among some elements in the German population, especially among the members of the military forces.  The harshness of the conditions that the victorious powers imposed to punish Germany turned it into a pathetic vegetative state.  Indeed, Germany was forced into a state of economic comatose by the decision of the Allied Powers.  The anger led to the emergence of Adolf Hitler, the National Socialists (Nazis), and other ultra-nationalist Germans who despised the Allied Powers and decided to ignore the conditions imposed.  By so doing, they embarked on the technological modernization of the German armed forces.  When Hitler and his comrades felt that Germany had developed sufficient military capability to challenge the status quo, they decided to pay back in kind for the humiliation that the German people suffered.

In flashing back to the Ukrainian situation, it is noticeable that Russia underwent a condition similar to what Germany experienced following the end of the 1st World War.  Thus, after fifty years of the Cold War between the Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc and the United States/Western bloc, the members of the Soviet Union decided to dissolve their commonwealth. In doing so, each of the federated republics became a sovereign state.  Likewise, believing that the Cold War had ended, the members of the Eastern bloc also dissolved the Warsaw Pact on March 31, 1991. 

Having done so in good faith to ensure peace and security in Europe and in the world, former President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union also signed an agreement for the unification of East (GDR) and West (FRG) Germany.  In return, the leaders of the Western bloc made conciliatory statements indicating a willingness not to expand NATO to Eastern Europe.  It is strongly believed that US Secretary of States at the time, Mr. James Baker, President George Bush Sr. of the US, former CIA director, Robert Gates, German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany, President Francois Mitterrand of France, Foreign Minister Roland Dumas of France, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain, British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd,  Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnazde, Foreign Minister Oskar Fischer of the German Democratic Republic, Britain Prime Minister John Major, and Secretary-General Manfred Woerner agreed in various high-level meetings that NATO will not expand to Eastern Europe to threaten Russia (“NATO Expansion:  What Gorbachev Heard,” December 12, 2017).

For instance, West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher said:

that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an ‘impairment of Soviet security interests.’ Therefore, NATO should rule out an ‘expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e., moving it closer to the Soviet borders” (Elbe, Spring 2010).

On February 10, 1990, West German Chancellor Kohl is quoted as saying “We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity(“NATO Expansion:  What Gorbachev Heard,” December 12, 2017).The US Secretary of State, James Baker, in addressing President George Bush Sr, after discussing with Soviet Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, stated:

I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive (“NATO Expansion:  What Gorbachev Heard,” December 12, 2017). 

After meeting with President Mikhail Gorbachev on June 8, 1990, in London, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher assured him by saying “We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured…. CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into a discussion about the future of Europe” (“NATO Expansion:  What Gorbachev Heard,” December 12, 2017).  In late March 1991, British Prime Minister John Majors responded to a question by the Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Dimitri Yazov concerning the interest of the Eastern European countries interest in joining NATO, replied “Nothing of the sort will happen.” (NATO Expansion:  What Gorbachev Heard,” December 12, 2017; Elbe, Spring 2010).

Thus, the general framework was that NATO would not threaten Russia.  Moreover, there were discussions about lessening the military aspect of NATO and transforming it into a kind of political coalition that could even embrace Russia. This meant that the US and other NATO members agreed that the organization will not be extended to embrace Eastern European countries.  Perhaps, unsure that the US and its allies will keep the promises made not to expand NATO, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev warned against the danger of doing so while addressing US Congress in 1997 during a bipartisan meeting of a group intended to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  He said, “You cannot humiliate a people without consequences” (“Gorbachev warns Congress against NATO expansion,” April 16, 1997).Referring to the manner Germany was treated at end of the 1st World War, Gorbachev warned that Russia should not be treated the way Germany was treated.

Second, perhaps claiming victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, in contrast to the promise made by the US Secretary of State that “the process would not yield winners and losers,” the US and its European allies admitted former members of the Soviet Bloc to NATO and continued to expand by ignoring the potential consequences.  There are indications that France and Germany were not enthusiastic about extending the military organization eastward. France President Mitterrand even proposed to abolish NATO since a new order was needed in Europe.

However, there is a counterview to the narrative that the West had promised not to extend NATO membership to Eastern European countries.  Those who hold this view insist that while there were general discussions about not extending membership to the point of threatening Russia, there was no formal agreement restricting the extension of NATO membership eastward.  In other words, since there was no formal agreement, the West could not be held liable for breaking any promise made to Russia (Shifrinson, May 30, 2016). While the US and its Western allies insist that there was no formal agreement, the Russians strongly believed that the West made a promise and broke it by admitting former members of the Warsaw Pact and ex-Soviet republics to NATO, thereby threatening Russia.   In fact, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland were admitted to NATO in the late 1990s while Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia were admitted in the early 2000s (Masters, January 20, 2022). 

Third, whether there was a formal agreement or not, it seemed that the view by some Western high-level public officials and experts that the West won the Cold War probably influenced the decision to expand NATO eastwards, regardless of Russian concerns.  This was demonstrated by former President George Bush’s “Membership Action Plan” (MAP) to admit Georgia and Ukraine as members of NATO despite concerns about the Russian reaction in 2007 (Cohen, March 27, 2022).   The decision to move NATO eastward based on the view that the West won the Cold War is reminiscent of the German feeling of disappointment that its call for an armistice was interpreted by the Allied Powers as having won the 1st World War.  Former Soviet president Gorbachev noted that Washington grew arrogant and self-confident, claiming to win the Cold War, following the collapse of the Soviet Union by expanding NATO (“Gorbachev says U.S. grew arrogant after Soviet Union collapsed,” December 24, 2021). The eastward expansion of NATO led to various reactions.

a. A RAND study recognized the concerns expressed by Russians concerning NATO expansion by stating:

That said, certain factors indicate that the risks of an aggressive Russian reaction— including, under certain circumstances, a military conflict between Russia and NATO—may be growing. Russian elites increasingly appear to have concluded that the long-term goals of the United States and NATO are not compatible with the security of the current regime in Moscow. Russian leaders have noted with concern the steady conventional posture enhancements in Eastern Europe (now including former Soviet territory), ballistic missile defense systems, and the shift in strategic orientation of states that Russia views as clearly within its sphere of influence.”  (Frederick, Povlock, Watts, Priebe, and Geist, 2017).

b. Thus, Russia reacted militarily when Georgia attempted to join NATO by invading it and supporting breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.   In acknowledgment that Russia invaded Georgia to stop it from joining NATO, Robert Gates, the former US Director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense, advised Western alliance members to be cautious in their response to the Russian military incursion by saying “We need to proceed with some caution because there clearly is a range of views in the alliance about how to respond, from some of our friends in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states to some of the countries in Western Europe”(Shanker, September 18, 2008).

c. The anger emanating from the view that the U.S. and the West cheated Russia by reneging on a promise not to expand NATO eastward to threaten Russia led President Vladimir Putin to say “You promised us in the 1990s that [NATO] would not move an inch to the East. You cheated us shamelessly” (Sullivan, February 24, 2022).The New York Times noted the restlessness of Russia as NATO continued to expand eastwards:

After a decade of NATO expansion into the former Communist bloc, a resurgent Russia

Is now vigorously opposing membership for Georgia and Ukraine and pressing those already in the alliance with threats should Poland and the Czech Republic cooperate with the United States on missile defense” (Shanker, September 18, 2008).

d. The danger that could follow the Russian military reaction against perceived U.S. and Western attempts to encircle Russia also compelled George Kennan, the US architect of the Western containment policy against communism and Soviet expansion, to warn that it was a huge mistake for NATO to expand towards Central and Eastern Europe.  He bluntly warned of the danger of NATO expansion by stating:

expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era. Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking …” (“Noted: George Kennan on NATO Expansion. (n.d.);  Goldgeier, June 1, 1999).

William Burns, the former US ambassador to Russia and CIA director reacted to the Bush administration’s “Membership Action Plan” by stating: “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite not just Putin” (Cohen, March 27, 2022).

The warnings by prominent Western personalities against the expansion of NATO to embrace Central and Eastern Europe were ignored by those responsible for crafting policy for NATO in Europe.  Samuel Charap of Rand Corporation noted: “The louder Moscow protested; the more determined western capitals became to deny Russia what was seen as a veto over alliance decision-making(Sullivan, February 24, 2022). 

e. For the Russians, it seemed that any relationship between Ukraine and the West is considered the last straw since it borders Russia directly and it is viewed by Russians as a sister state.  Hence, when in 2013, pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal to increase economic relations with the European Union, violent protests erupted, thereby forcing him to flee to Russia in February 2014.  The Ukrainians referred to the protests as the Revolution of Dignity or the Maidan Revolution. Mr. Yanukovych was replaced by Oleksandr Turchynove, as acting president.  Mr. Petro Poroshenko eventually became the substantive president in 2014 and promised to seek membership in the European Union and NATO.  This created a feeling among Russians that the West removed a democratically elected pro-Russian and replaced him with a pro-EU and NATO leader.  Eventually, Russians felt that the Ukrainian rebellion was instigated by the West as part of its effort to bring it into the Western strategic orbit.  This compelled Ukrainians of Russian ethnicity in Eastern Ukraine to insist on seceding from Ukraine to join Russia.  Similarly, ethnic Russians in Crimea too demanded integration with Russia.  Russia invaded and annexed Crimea while actively supporting the Russians in Eastern Ukraine (“Conflict in Ukraine,” March 21, 2022).  

Following the Russian annexation of Crimea and the active support for ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainians became strident in their demand to join the Western Union and NATO to prevent Russian intervention in their internal affairs.  These actions eventually led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, thereby ushering in the Ukrainian War 


Based on the discourse, it is evident that the factors which prompted the eruption of the 2nd World War are similar to the reasons which prompted the Russian invasion of Ukraine. First, the Japanese and the Italians felt cheated for not being sufficiently rewarded for participating on the side of the Triple Entente (Allied Powers) to fight the 1st World War. This led to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.   On the other hand, the Russians felt cheated that after they dissolved the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact to end the Cold War, the Western Alliance and NATO continued to expand eastward to threaten Russia.  The Russians expected the USA and its European allies to dissolve NATO to match the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact since both counterbalanced each other militarily.  Second, the conditions set under the Armistice Treaty and the Treaty of Versailles to punish Germany for causing the 1s World War were harsh and destructive to German survival.  During the post-Cold War, Russia felt that NATO’s incorporation of former members of the Warsaw Pact is intended to militarily encircle it.   Third, the Germans felt cheated that the Armistice Treaty and Treaty of Versailles were twisted to solely blame Germany for causing the war, instead of being used as a mutually agreed upon a formula to end the destructive war.  The Russians too felt that even though they decided to end the Soviet Union and dissolve the Warsaw Pact, the US and its Western allies interpreted the act as a sign of military and strategic defeat for Russia and a victory for the West and NATO in the Cold War.  Fourth, just as the Allied Powers failed to pay attention to the concerns expressed by Japan, Italy, and Germany before the eruption of the 2nd World War, the US and its European allies failed to pay attention to concerns expressed by Russia before the invasion of Ukraine.  Fifth, Japan, Italy, and Germany decided to change the Status quo by launching attacks which resulted in the 2nd World War.  Russia decided to stop further NATO expansion by militarily invading Georgia in August 2008, seizing Crimea and supporting rebels in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, and finally invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.  Sixth, it was predictable that NATO expansion eastward will trigger Russian military counteraction.  In fact, former Soviet President Gorbachev and the notable American diplomat, George Kennan (the architect of US containment policy) warned about the danger of NATO expansion. The danger prompted France and Germany to hesitate in supporting the expansion of the military alliance to embrace Central and Eastern European countries but went along with the plan. Seventh, any miscalculation on the part of the US and Russia on the Ukrainian situation can lead to a 3rd World War just as events in the post-1st World War led to the eruption of the 2nd World War. Eighth, while Western experts and media tend to ignore NATO expansion as a causative factor and solely blame Russia for an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, non-Western experts and media tend to focus more on NATO expansion as the causative factor for igniting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ninth, Ukraine became a sacrificial lamb in a war that was totally unnecessary and is paying the price for entangling itself in the affairs of superpowers.

The implications are far-reaching.  First, the way Westerners/Europeans react to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the way they reacted to the invasion of Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen is quite different, thereby creating the impression that they consider the Ukrainians superior to the Serbians, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, and Yemenis.  Second, even the way the UN reacted to the Ukrainian invasions is very different from the way it reacted to the invasion of Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the civil war in Yemen.  Third, the International Criminal Court (ICC) did not threaten to investigate incidents of human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the cases mentioned above but is quite eager to do so on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  This indicates that international law is not being applied equally around the world.  This probably contributes to the reason why most African political and military figures are easily prosecuted for allegedly engaging in human rights violations and crimes against humanity.  Fifth, the Western media react toward the Russian invasion of Ukraine as if this is the first time a sovereign state has been invaded by another sovereign state, thereby, ignoring all the invasions and interventions that have taken place since the end of the 2nd World War, including those in Africa, Asia, the Americas and in the Middle East. Sixth, the stringent economic sanctions against Russia could encourage Russia to join China and other countries to develop an alternative global monetary system.  Seventh, the severity of the sanctions can ignite a greater war if Russia feels squeezed. Eighth, the suddenness with which severe economic sanctions are being implemented against Russia could also negatively impact European countries to the extent of compelling some of them to gradually loosen their ties with the US and develop an independent strategic path. On the other hand, the Russian invasion could propel smaller Eastern European countries to seek full integration with the European Union, thereby isolating Russia. Ninth, Europe, like other parts of the world, has serious racial, tribal, ethnic, religious, political, and territorial problems that if left unresolved, could ignite a major war that can threaten the entire world. Tenth, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the attendant Western reaction have woken up Germany from a military slumber and might begin a vigorous military rearmament program.  The German rise could also spur Japan to do the same. Eleventh, the fact that President Joe Biden of the US and the leaders of France, Germany, Britain, and other members of NATO opposed the establishment of a no-fly-zone over Ukraine, as demanded by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, is a hopeful sign that the crisis might end eventually without escalating into a 3rd World War.  Of course, this depends on the avoidance of unnecessary mistakes in decision-making on both sides.


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Rotational Presidency:  The Best Method for Indigenizing and Stabilizing Nigerian Politics

By Priye S. Torulagha

Currently, Nigeria, like other Sub-Saharan African countries, suffers from cultural identity crisis.  Although it is an African nation, yet, it is governed as if it is an Arabian and a European country.  The governmental systems are borrowed from the West and Arabia (Islamic).  The political systems are borrowed from the United States of America (presidential system) and Arabia (Islamic caliphate in Upper North), the legal systems are borrowed from Arabia (Islamic Sharia in the Upper North) and the West (Western Jurisprudence), the educational systems are borrowed from Arabia (Islamic madrasa) and the West.  The religious systems are borrowed from Arabia (Islam) and the West (Judeo-European Christianity).  The economic system is borrowed from the West (capitalism).  The law enforcement and military systems are borrowed from the West and Arabia (Sharia in some parts of the country). 

Despite the fact that foreign ways originating from Arabic and Western colonialism dominate the fabric of society, Nigeria claims to be an independent African state.  Indeed, there is almost nothing that portrays Nigeria as a sovereign state. No wonder, many educated Nigerians and public officials have little or no knowledge of their African cultures and religions but are prolific in Arabic, Islamic, European, and Christian studies, and cultural ways.  How can strangers in their own land claim to be independent?

The truth is that Nigeria is not a sovereign state.  It is more suitable to be described as a “semi-autonomous” political entity because there is little or nothing in the country that reflects its African root. These foreign systems that came through conquest and colonialization are responsible for generating inequity, injustice, unfairness, and perpetual instability in the country because the cultures of political governance (Islamic and Western) are incompatible with the traditional African cultures of the nationalities that constitute Nigeria. For instance, in Africanized Hausaland, it was possible for women to rule.  Hence, Queen Daurama or Magajiya Daurama ruled Daura in the 9th century.  Likewise, one of the greatest Hausa monarchs was a woman (Queen Amina).  In Islamized Hausaland, it is not possible for a woman to serve as an emir. In most African cultures, you speak for yourself in a legal situation through either confessing or telling the absolute truth by swearing in the name of your ancestors while under the Western legal system, you spend money to hire lawyers to speak for you and you are even encouraged to lie (not guilty until proven guilty). Those who have money buy their way to legal freedom while those who do not have money end up in prison. Thus, justice is an economic commodity that only those who have the financial means can purchase. Thus, the Islamic and Western concepts of justice are different from the traditional African concept of justice. The only exception to the view that Nigeria is a semiautonomous nation is in cultural attire where Nigerians clearly demonstrate their independence, like their North African counterparts.

One way to begin to Africanize Nigeria is to introduce a political leadership selection system that is uniquely Nigerian that reflects African communal cultures. In this regard, it is argued here that rotating the leadership of the political system is a major step to restructure, indigenize, and stabilize Nigeria.  There are numerous advantages of adopting rotation in selecting political leaders at every level of government in the country.

First, Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation with about 300 or more nationalities and three major religions (Ancestralism (traditional), Christianity, and Islam).  Indeed, Nigeria is like the United States of Africa because of the ethnic and linguistic diversity.  Therefore, the country is very complex and requires a political system that minimizes conflict among the ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups.    Due to the complexity and delicate nature of ethnic and religious relations, it is necessary to develop a leadership selection system that ensures that every group and political zone has an equal chance of producing a political leader of the country.  Thus, a rotational system is the only method that guarantees every political zone an equal opportunity to produce the leader of Nigeria.

Second, a rotational system will minimize money politics.  Currently, it costs tremendously to run for political office at the national, state, and local levels. Due to the cost, political candidates who are financially handicapped are compelled to seek godfathers and godmothers to sponsor them.  When a political candidate is sponsored financially, the candidate is automatically corrupted because he or she must payback the money spent by the sponsor.  Generally, a candidate who wins an election after having been sponsored, must payback by looting public funds to do so or award over-inflated contracts, and or employ a certain number of people recommended by the financier.  Moreover, a sponsored candidate is held hostage by the godfather and or godmother to the point where he or she might not be able to freely express his or her desire for fear of offending the financier.  Similarly, the sponsored candidate that wins election must always kowtow to the financier, thereby, failing to fulfil promises made to the voters.

Third, due to the expensive nature of the current political system, it is mostly the rich and many corrupt individuals who dominate the political system.  Hence, many public officials who are elected to office are compelled to loot public funds in order to accumulate campaign funds to run for reelection.  The national economy is sacrificed when many public office holders divert public funds that would have been used to develop the economy and the infrastructure to boost their campaign funds and their private wealth.   A rotational system will drastically reduce the need to accumulate large sums of money to run political campaigns.

Fourth, the current system encourages a winner-takes-all kind of politics that runs counter to the communalistic African system.  As a result, politicians engage in a do or die behavior by recruiting thugs to threaten, beat, and even kill political opponents.  Some politicians recruit the services of native doctors to concoct magical potions to protect themselves and harm their opponents.  This contributes greatly to the ritualistic killing of people as body parts are sought for preparing some deadly and devilish concoctions.  The do or die politics makes election day to be violent in Nigeria.  This accounts for why security forces are always heavily deployed during elections to prevent or minimize violence.  A rotational system will greatly minimize the do or die kind of politics since the leadership will be rotated among the different political zones.

Fifth, the current system is discriminatory because it gives too much political power to some zones while marginalizing other zones.  The political marginalization breeds a feeling of frustration and anger that lead to the polarization of national, state, and local politics along ethnic, sub-ethnic, regional, zonal, and religious lines.  Nigeria in 2022 is much more polarized politically than in 1970 or 1990.  Hence, separatist groups are demanding a referendum to determine the fate of Nigeria.  Rotation will contribute mightily to eradicate the feeling that only certain zones are able to lead the nation while other zones are prevented from doing so.

Sixth, a rotational system of leadership will equalize and democratize the leadership selection process.  A multiethnic and a multi-religious state requires a political system that opens the door for every section of the country to be able to produce a political leader.

Seventh, rotation will contribute greatly in reducing the number of professional politicians who have for decades dominated the political scene in Nigeria without contributing anything tangible to the development of the country.  It is time for some of them to leave the political stage and allow new blood to flow in so that new ideas can be generated to develop and modernize the nation.  Nigerians are tired of seeing the same political faces in every presidential election.  Rotation will push them aside and provide opportunity for the younger generation to play crucial roles in moving Nigeria forward.

Eighth, it is obvious that the current political party system is not compatible with the communalistic African social system since parties tend to divide rather unite people. Indeed, political parties in Nigeria play politics of divide and conquer, thereby, forcing people to become partisan.  The partisanship polarizes the country.  A country made up of 300 or more nationalities cannot afford the luxury of promoting partisanship in the body politics of the society.  The political parties encourage impunity, corruption, and a general disregard for the rule of law. They perpetuate corruption and lying by protecting and defending their corrupt members.  Rotation will reduce the power of the political parties and increase national unity.

Ninth, rotation will contribute to clipping the wings of professional politicians who have colonized governance in the country.  Today, the same local government chairs want to become representatives, the same representatives want to become governors, the same governors want to become senators and the same senators want to become president.  The same individuals have circulated themselves throughout the nerve centers of Nigerian politics for decades.   This perpetuates cultism, massive corruption, stagnation, and retrogression in social values.  The country is falling apart instead of progressing to the next level.  Rotation will allow new blood to flow into the system and generate new ideas.

Tenth, rotation will force many wealthy Nigerians to invest their time and money in generating businesses that can lead to the industrialization of Nigeria’s economy rather than perambulate the public space to run for elective office.  Perhaps, wealthy Nigerians do not realize that in the industrialized countries, it is individuals who invest in businesses that grow to become multinational corporations, not governments.  Indeed, it is private sector investors that create massive employment in the US, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and so on and so forth. Even communist China has private investors who create giant companies that help to hire millions of Chinese people. It should be noted that most of the railways in the United States of America were built by business tycoons in the nineteenth century when the US was a developing country.  For instance, Henry Flagler, a former Standard Oil executive built most, if not all the Florida East Coast Railway stretching for 500 miles to Key West, which is closer to Cuba than mainland USA in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  He helped immeasurably in developing the tourist business in Florida.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria, it seems that politics is the biggest industry, hence, anyone who is in possession of some wealth want to become a governor or a senator or the president, instead of using the wealth to build and expand economic ventures with the aim of turning them into large corporations that can hire hundreds of thousands of citizens. Perhaps, many people are rushing into politics because in Nigeria, the public sector is the primary means of accumulating private  wealth.   No wonder, some of the richest Nigerians are former and current public officials.   They accumulate their wealth while in public service.  So far, only Mr. Aliko Dangote and a few others are investing their wealth to build private industrial companies.  

It is sad that as 2023 presidential election time draws near, several individuals who should be busy building and modernizing their businesses to create employment for the teeming Nigerian population are wasting time preparing to run for the presidency.   On the other hand, private citizens like Elon Musk who owns Tesla auto company and Jeffrey Preston Bezos of Amazon in the United States of America are investing massively to build spacecrafts to send people into space while in Nigeria not much thought is devoted to building industries capable of ushering industrialization by the so-called rich who prefer to exploit the state like leeches. 

If the process of selecting political candidates is rotated, many would-be-politicians would be forced to devote their time and energy in other critical fields of human endeavor instead of scheming to get elected by lying profusely and promising things they cannot deliver.  

Implementing the Rotational System

Having pointed out some of the benefits of instituting a rotational system of leadership, it is necessary to spell out the way in which the system can be implemented.

First, fortunately, Nigeria is already segmented into six political zones, including North-Central, North-East, North-West, South-East, South-South, and South-West.  Nationally, these zones should serve as the presidential selection regions.

Second, by critically examining these zones, it is obvious that the only zone that has not produced a Nigerian leader for any length of time is the South-East zone.  Therefore, it is necessary to start presidential rotation in the South-East zone come 2023.  In this regard, If Nigerians are serious about indigenizing, democratizing, and stabilizing the system, they should support a rotational system come 2023. 

Third, to effectuate rotation, in 2023, all would-be-presidential-candidates from other zones should cease their effort and work to institutionalize a rotational system that allows the South-East to produce the next president of Nigeria. Therefore, only presidential candidates from the zone should announce their candidacy and campaign in preparation for the primary and general presidential elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be responsible for organizing primary elections in the South-East zone for the selection of would-be-presidential candidates.  Basically, the political parties and interest groups in the zone should mobilize and campaign for their various candidates in the zone.  At the conclusion of the primary election in the zone, three candidates with the largest number of votes would become the major presidential candidates to contest for the general election involving all eligible voters in Nigeria.  In other words, starting from 2023, whenever presidential election time comes, the zone that is entitled to produce the next president should be where the primary presidential election is held.  Only would-be-presidential candidates from the zone should be allowed to contest in the primary. Similarly, only voters from the eligible zone should be allowed to vote in the primary election.  Three candidates with the largest number of votes in the primary election will be subjected to a national presidential election.  The winner of the general election in which all eligible Nigerian voters participate will become the president of Nigeria.

 Apparently, the rotational system calls for a two-step process in selecting political candidates for the presidential position.  Firstly, a primary election is held in the political zone that is entitled to produce the next president.  Secondly, a general election involving all eligible Nigerian voters is conducted by INEC.  The winner of the national election automatically becomes the president of Nigeria.

Fourth, to ensure a functional rotational system, the six political zones will take turns to produce the president of Nigeria.  Therefore, after the president from the South-East completes his or her term of office, the presidency will rotate to the North-East zone.  The North-East will be followed by the South-West zone.  From that zone, the presidency moves to the North-Central (Middle Belt) zone.  The presidency will be shifted to the South-South zone from the North-Central zone.  At the completion of the term of office of the president from the South-South zone, the presidency is rotated to the North-West zone. Thus, the presidency will automatically be rotated to a designated zone when the term of office for one zone expires.

Fifth, vice presidential candidates will be chosen by presidential candidates prior to the presidential primary election.  Vice presidential candidates must come from the zone which is expected to produce the next president in subsequent presidential term.  For instance, using the zoning format above, if the South-East produces the president in 2023, the vice president must originate from the North-East zone in the same year.   The reason being that the presidency will be rotated to the North-East from the South-East zone.

Sixth, to enable the rotational system runs smoothly, the term of office for the president should be six years, instead of four.  A one-time six-year term is sufficient for any serious-minded president to accomplish several goals before the expiration of his or her term of office.

Seventh, to prevent individuals from a particular state or ethnic group from dominating the political zone, rotation should be done in such a manner that no two individuals from the same ethnic group or sub-ethnic group or region or sub-region or political affiliation should serve consecutively.  For instance, when the rotation gets to the North-West zone, a non-Fulani should be elected to represent the zone since President Muhammadu Buhari is a Fulani.  Similarly, when the system rotates to the South-South, a non-Ijaw should be the president because Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had served as a president.  When the rotation gets back to the South-West zone, an individual who is not from Ogun state should serve as the president. The reason being that former President Olusegun Obasanjo is from Ogun State and that state should not produce a president consecutively when there are other states in the South-West zone.  The same process or procedure should be the standard consideration in selecting candidates for office in the South-East, North-Central and North-East.

Eighth, just as the presidency is rotated so should the senatorial, representative, gubernatorial, and local chair positions.  It is very important to rotate political leadership at the state and local government levels because in many states in Nigeria today, governorship and local government chair positions are dominated by individuals from certain ethnic groups, sub-groups, regions, sub-regions, and religions. This creates disaffection, leading to political tension as those who are marginalized feel discriminated.    In other words, the senators, representatives, state governors and local government chairs should be rotated according to the senatorial districts, gubernatorial zones, and local governments in each state.  Consequently, under no circumstances should individuals from the same ethnic group or sub-group and local government be allowed to dominate elected positions at the state and local government levels

Ninth, the primary elections for senatorial, representative, gubernatorial, and local government chair positions will follow the format suggested for the presidential position.  This means that primary elections for these positions should be limited to the zones or sub-zones that are entitled to produce the next senator, representative, governor, and local government chair.  After the primary elections, three candidates in each of the positions with the largest number of votes will be subjected to general elections where all eligible voters in the state or senatorial or representative districts and local government sub-areas participate in determining which of the three candidates become a senator or a representative or a governor or a local government chair.

For instance, since rotation has been tactically implemented in Bayelsa State at the gubernatorial level, when the time comes to elect a new governor since the current one is from the Kolokuma-Opukuma Local Government Area, the primary election to choose the governor should be limited to the local government zones that have not produced a governor.  Preferably, the next primary election to elect a governor in the state should be limited to Yenagoa Local Government Area (YLGA).  After the primary, three candidates with most votes from the YLGA should be subjected to a general gubernatorial election in which all eligible voters in Bayelsa State participate to elect a new governor.  When the governor from the YLGA completes his or her term of office, the governorship should be rotated to Nembe Local Government Area (NLGA). From the NLGA, the governorship will rotate to Ekeremor Local Government Area (ELGA), and so and so forth.

In states where there are many local governments, electoral zones comprising of three or more local governments should be created to facilitate the process.

Tenth, by limiting the primary elections to senatorial, representative, gubernatorial, and local government chair positions to zones that have not produced elected officials, the do or die form of politics will be drastically reduced at the state and local government levels since only a few numbers of candidates will seek to run for an elective office at any given.

The candidates for deputy governor position must come from zones that are scheduled to produce the next governor.

Eleventh, Nigeria, like other African countries, is endowed with traditional African religions.  Despite this fact, Ancestralists (worshipers and exponents of traditional religions) are discriminated by the Christians and Muslims.  In other words, Nigeria is totally dominated by those who subscribe to foreign religions that came through military conquest and colonialization while Nigerians who subscribe to indigenous religions are treated as if they have no constitutional rights.  Currently, there is no public holiday for the worshippers of indigenous religions while there are several holidays for Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, as in most African countries. It is puzzling that Nigerians claimed to be independent when they have no appreciation for their own religious heritage.   Indeed, a truly sovereign state will not allow foreign religions to dominate its existence.  Here again, Nigeria, like other black African countries, behaves like a semiautonomous nation.   It is not proud of its indigenous cultures, and neither is it proud of its indigenous religions.  Thus, Black Africa is the only part of the world which does not actively promote its cultural heritage.

Therefore, rotation must be reflective of the fact that there are three major religions in Nigeria and not just two.  In other words, Nigeria cannot be ruled by only Christians and Muslims, if it is indeed a sovereign African country. The Europeans are reviving their pre-Christian indigenous religions, the Indians proudly worship their indigenous religion (Hinduism and related Buddhism), the Japanese are not shy about their traditional religion (Shintoism), and the Chinese do not have to run away from their indigenous religion (Taoism or Daoism) but Black Africans are always running away from their own traditional religions. This means that they are still suffering from cultural and religious colonialism.  They have colonized educational systems that do not teach anything of substance about their histories, cultures and religions while focusing excessively on Arabic/Islamic and European/Judeo-Christian cultures, politics, law, and religions.

Eleventh, to limit the rich from overly dominating politics in Nigeria, registration fees for applying to run for political office must be drastically reduced. The current registration system is undemocratic because only those who have money to play around or have sponsors can run for elective office.   Nigerians should not decry corruption while allowing corruption to thrive by allowing political parties to charge huge fees for candidates to register to run for political offices.

Critics of the rotational system argue that in a democracy, all eligible candidates should be allowed to contest for political offices and whoever wins most of the votes in a presidential election should become the president.  They maintain that it is undemocratic to impose a leader on Nigeria through rotation.  While it is agreed that all potential candidates should be free to run for the presidential position, nonetheless, national interest dictates that Nigerians develop a unique political system that is suitable for Nigeria.  It is necessary to develop a system that will ensure the stabilization rather than the polarization of the country.  It is absurd to play party politics based on divide and conquer and expect unity and stability to take place.

Conditions for Participating in the Rotational System

As part of the process to produce a uniquely Nigerian political system for selecting political leaders, those seeking presidential, senatorial, representative, gubernatorial, and local government chair positions must meet certain conditions.

First, all political candidates must show through verifiable documentation that they are qualified educationally to run for the positions they apply for.

Second, all political candidates must declare their assets publicly as soon as they apply to run for their chosen positions.  Public declaration means that the public will be able to access the documents pertaining to their assets.  The current system of asset declaration is defective and deceitful because the public cannot access the records of the declared assets. 

Third, any would-be-candidate that has a case to answer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) would be disqualified from running for any public office, except the case has been resolved legally or amicably.  Similarly, any Nigerian who is alleged to have embezzled public funds must first clear the matter before being allowed to run for any elective office.  This is intended to reduce the massive corruption that is devouring the country.  It is necessary to eradicate the view that public office is the surest path to accumulate private wealth. Nigeria is bleeding profusely as some public officials suck the financial lifeblood of the country to enrich themselves.

Fourth, political candidates must declare their health status by providing documentation to that effect while registering to run for public office.

Fifth, while registering to run for elective offices, all candidates must indicate what they intend to accomplish if elected by attaching copies of their manifestoes, visions, agenda, goals, and objectives to the registration form.  This is intended to hold elected officials accountable for the campaign promises they made while running for office.  

Sixth, no Nigerian who has a dual citizenship should be allowed to run for public office in Nigeria.  Why?  If they get elected and misbehave, they are most likely to flee to the countries of their second citizenship and Nigeria will not be able to prosecute them. This requirement will only change after the institutions of government have been effectively reinforced to the extent that they are not easily abused or violated.  Currently, government institutions in Nigeria are too weak, hence, tend to serve the person in office rather than the state. Government institutions should serve the state and not the person holding office. For instance, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has been politicized to the extent that it increasingly serves the president and the politicians rather than the Nigerian state.

Seventh, any Nigerian who has secret foreign bank accounts should not be allowed to run for public office in Nigeria.  Currently, Nigeria is paying dearly because huge sums of money that would have been used to invest in industrial development are ferreted out and deposited in foreign bank accounts.  The foreign countries use the Nigerian wealth to boost their economies while Nigerians suffer for lack of jobs.  Evidently, anyone who is involved in the scandals dealing with the Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Pandora Papers, and other related money laundering schemes should be barred from running for any public office.  Currently, Nigeria is a compromised country because many of its ruling and political elites have money hidden in foreign banks.  Such individuals cannot speak forcefully to defend the national interest because they are compromised by their secret money deals in foreign countries.

Eighth, when elected to any public office, the individual must sign a document indicating that public funds will not be used for private medical trips overseas.  Any public official who wants to rule Nigeria must be willing to live and die in Nigeria.  It is ridiculous to see Nigerian rulers and high government officials, like those of other African countries, traveling overseas regularly for medical services instead of building modern medical facilities at home.  A leader of a truly independent state will not go overseas for medical treatment, regardless of the circumstances.  Therefore, Nigeria is a semiautonomous entity, hence, its rulers and the political elite patronize foreign medical services without thinking about the national security implications of exposing themselves to foreign intelligence services.


It is necessary to reform the political system and make it amenable to the African cultural environment.  It is believed that the rotation of leadership among the political zones of the country will enhance the democratic system by preventing a few individuals from dominating the system to the exclusion of other Nigerians.  Rotation will increase citizens participation and allow more Nigerians to run for offices without having to accumulate large sums of money to do so.

Already, as the 2023 approaches, the same individuals that have dominated the political system for decades are coming out again to run for the presidency when they should be working very hard to create businesses that employ thousands of Nigerians.  Rotation will reduce “do or die politics” and allow every political zone to produce a president.  Similarly, rotation will open doors to politically marginalized ethnic groups, sub-groups, regions, and sub-regions and enable them to produce political leaders at the national, state, and local government levels.   

It is necessary to amend the Constitution to enable the rotational system take effect legally.  It is the right step to take in restructuring and turning Nigeria into a sovereign state.   Indeed, it is time to start indigenizing Nigeria to reflect its African cultural background.  

Primordial Sentiments and the Economic Mismanagement and Underdevelopment of Nigeria

By Priye S. Torulagha


By any stretch of the imagination, Nigeria is a huge and complicated country.  It has about 300 or more ethnic groups with a population of about 200 million or more people and occupies 356,669 sq. miles of territory which is slightly larger than the combination of Texas and Oklahoma states in the US but less than Niger Republic and the Republic of South Africa in size.  It is dwarfed by the Democratic Republic of Congo which has 905,355 square miles of territory but with a lesser population than Nigeria. It could be said that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world with a large concentration of ethnic groups or nationalities.  Nigeria has more ethnic groups than China which has about 60 ethnic groups with a population of 1.3 billion people.

Thus, Nigeria requires a very dynamic, hands-on, people-oriented, creative thinking, innovative, business-oriented, and problem-solving political leadership that is capable, at all times, in creating an enabling environment to generate continuous economic growth and employment to sustain an ever-increasing population.  This means that those who seek elected office or have been elected and appointed to run the affairs of the country at all levels (president, legislators, governors, local government chairs, managing directors of government agencies, etc.) of government must develop tangible economic development plans that are capable of maximizing economic growth at the shortest possible time.  It also means that any individual who has no interest in contributing to the economy should not seek an elected office because a country with a huge population needs economic engineers to invigorate the economy at all times.

While Nigeria is richly blessed with people who are very creative, innovative, goal-driven, dynamic and capable of creating business enterprises to generate economic growth and steer the country towards industrialization, primordial sentiments tend to inhibit the cultivation and recruitment of a political leadership which is capable of leading the country to achieve political stability, economic growth and industrialization. Similarly, primordial sentiments tend to thwart the creation of an enabling environment that support economic growth.

Purpose of this Article

The purpose of this write-up is to identify the ways in which potential opportunities for economic growth have been stifled by the tendency to make economic decisions based on primordial sentiments by the rulers of the country.  In this regard, it is argued here that primodial sentiments contribute to tribalism, nepotism, sectionalism, and corruption, which, in turn, result in political and economic mismanagement and underdevelopment of the country.  To accomplish the purpose, various inhibitive behaviors and actions are identified and discussed.

Inhibitive Primordial Sentiments that Negatively Impact Economic Growth

First, it appears that decisions about Nigeria’s economy are not made through strategic thinking that can lead to the industrialization of the country, which is necessary for large-scale employment of Nigerians.  As a result, every economic plan and activity tend to be determined by the degree to which those who wield power and their cronies are going to benefit from it.  If a plan or activity is likely not to benefit those who wield power, then the plan or activity is most likely to be shelved or ignored, regardless of the potential economic benefit to the country.  On the other hand, if an economic plan or activity is most likely to benefit those who wield power, then, regardless of the economic untenability, the plan or activity is likely to be activated. This is why even though Nigeria has refineries, they are not put to effective economic usage because those who import petroleum products from overseas prefer them to remain underutilized and ineffective so that they can earn huge financial benefits from importation.  Resultantly, a major oil producing nation like Nigeria wastes enormous foreign exchange earnings by importing refined fuel instead of turning its crude oil into refined products and selling them to other countries to boost its wealth, employment, and generate foreign exchange earnings.  Okechukwu Nnodim, citing statistics from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) 2020 Statistical Bulletin, indicated that Nigeria’s petroleum imports from 2015 to 2019 amounted to $264bn while it exported crude oil amounting to $206.07bn (2020, July 25).

Second, Nigeria has had many opportunities to develop pharmaceutical products that would have earned the country substantial foreign exchange earning as well as create employment for thousands of people if the national government had been proactive in supporting and cultivating research activities carried out by Nigerian scientists.  It should be recalled that Prof. Augustine Njoku-Obi produced a cholera vaccine in 1971 that was even submitted to the World Health Organization (Emewu, 2021, january 14). Instead of the national government to work with the scientist to turn the vaccine into an effective, useable, and marketable product, the national government did not show much interest, thereby, ignoring the fact that the vaccine would have been a major economic booster in cultivating scientific medicine in Nigeria. In other words, primordial sentiment killed the indigenous cholera vaccine  because the scientist came from a certain region of the country.   It should also be noted that Nigerian scientists produced various experimental HIV-AIDS drugs during the heydays of the epidemic.  Here again, instead of supporting the indigenous research activities with a view of turning the drugs into useable and economically viable products, Nigeria allowed the efforts to die.  Again, when COV-19 struck the world in early 2020, a group of Nigerian scientists developed experimental vaccines that needed active government collaboration. Instead, the Nigerian government did not see the indigenous efforts as an opportunity to enter the international pharmaceutical market by supporting research to fine-tune the vaccines that Nigerians produced.  Ikenna Emewu noted the lack of government commitment by writing:

            Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, I never heard our government   summoning a team of Nigerian experts and challenging them to come up with cure for Covid-19. All we have is a presidential team that hosts jamboree before      the media everyday and gets allowances for scouting all over the world where we can find panadol, ventilators, nose mask etc, and regurgitate what super         humans tell us is the only way out of the pandemic (Emewu, 2021, January 14). 

 Instead, Nigeria spent time and money looking for foreign products to buy in order to deal with the COV-19 pandemic.  On the other hand, the US, Britain, China, Russia, India, and other governments actively supported research activities of their scientists and drug companies to produce various vaccines.  Today, companies in these countries have produced COV-19 vaccines that enabled them to dominate the industry. Here again, Nigeria missed an opportunity to produce a product that would have created jobs and enabled the country to become a major player in drug production in the world.

Nigeria’s rulers and high government officials seemed to have failed in paying attention to the idea that the country can generate enormous national wealth and create employment for thousands of citizens if the country works cooperatively with indigenous scientific community and the universities to develop effective drugs and vaccines that are marketable throughout Africa.  In other words, Nigeria can easily capture the African market if It enters the drug and vaccine manufacturing business by working closely with local universities, native doctors, and scientists.  Unfortunately, there is no national will to do so, instead, there is a preference to import vaccines from overseas. It seems that those officials who are responsible for crafting a policy on the matter prefer to import rather than encourage indigenous production because they gain financially from importation and not from local production.

Third, with a huge population, the healthcare sector can generate enormous wealth as well as employment but Nigerian authorities are not interested in investing in the sector.  Otherwise, both the national and state governments would have collaborated with indigenous private sector investors to build first-class medical facilities that specialize in oncology, orthopedics, nephronology, cardiology, pediatrics, and tropical diseases.  By so doing, Nigeria would have served as a major center for medical research and treatment in Africa.  It would have redirected the billions of naira (576 bn) that Nigerians spent on medical tourism back to Nigeria (Muanaya,Jimoh, and Olaniyi, 2021, March 31).  There is no doubt that many Africans would have preferred to recieve medical care in Nigeria rather than go to Europe or India. Instead of looking at healthcare as a wealth-generating sector, the leaders of the country basically ignore the health of the citizens.  They do so because they can afford to go overseas for their own medical needs while abandoning the citizens to the mercy of nature at home.  In early August 2021, both, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and the leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) party, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu were in Britain for their medical care. Another important political elite, Governor El Rufai of Kaduna alse ended up in Britain for medical care (“Kaduna Governor, El-Rufai Travels To London Amid Reports Of Ill-health, 2021, August 14).  Is Nigeria truly a sovereign state?  If so, is it not a threat to the national security for its political rulers to be receiving health care in foreign countries instead of building high quality medical facilities in Nigeria?

In fact, the lack of interest in investing robustly in the healthcare sector can be buttressed by the half-hearted manner in which Nigeria treats its health care workers (doctors, nurses and medical technicians).  The conditions of service for these workers are very discouraging to the extent that they are only able to get their rights through constant protests, demonstrations, and strikes.  In the ongoing strike by the members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NASD), the minister of labor threatened to terminate their appointments if they do not return to work ( “Resident Doctors Strike: Resume on Monday or chop sack – Ngige,” 2021, August 7).  It should also be noted that the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) is also threatening to go on strike too. It is unfortunate that those who are responsible for managing the nation’s healthcare sector do not realize that it is the citizens who pay the price with their lives if health care workers are treated disdainfully.  It is not surprising why so many Nigerian doctors leave the country to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Britain, and other countries where their services are highy appreciated.  Nigeria has developed the habit of spending tremendously to train medical doctors and then encouraging them to leave due to poor working conditions and lack of resources.

As the most populous black country in the world, Nigeria would have been at the forefront for engaging in advanced biomedical research and medical drug production with a superb healthcare system to serve its teeming population.  Sadly, Nigeria’s leaders do not seem to realize that tremendous medical and economic benefits could be derived from the healthcare sector. Why should they care when they can travel overseas for their own health services any time?

Fourth, Nigeria is a very fortunate country in the sense that it has an extensive coastline, extending from Badagry in the southwest to Calabar in the southeast.  Thus, in Africa, Nigeria is one of a few countries that have opportunities to develop many seaports for the exportation and importation of goods.  This means that Nigeria can develop international seaports in Lagos, Ilaje, Arogbo, Warri, Sapele, Akassa, Brass, Twon, Bonny, Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron, Bakassi, and Calabar.  Despite this fact, there is a tendency on the part of national economic decision makers to focus almost exclusively on Lagos seaport for the exportation and importation of goods and services.  The undue concentration on the Apapa/Lagos port forces Nigerian business men and women who reside in the South-South, South-East, Middle Belt and North-East to go to Lagos to clear some of their goods, instead of doing so nearer home to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.  Why should a business person who resides in the South-East or South-South and possibly North-East travel to Lagos when Calabar or Port Harcourt or Oron or Eket or or Sapele or Warri is closer. No wonder, the Lagos port is always choked up with traffic since it is the only seaport that is encouraged by the national government for international shipment of goods. 

As a result of putting almost every egg in one basket no matter the effort to upgrade the Apapa port, the place will always experience heavy traffic go-slow because of over-utilization while other seaports are underutilized.   Perhaps, it might be necessary to cite a state in the USA to show why Nigeria is acting irrationally by wasting time and money trying to use mostly the Apapa port instead of opening up all the seaports for international trade.  The state of Florida in the USA with a population of about 22 million people has ten international seaports.  They include Port of Pensacola, Port of Panama City, Port of St. Joe, Port Manatee, Port Tampa, Port St. Pete, Port Miami, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach, Port of Fort Pierce, Port Canaveral, Port of St. Augustine and Port of Jacksonville.  As can be seen, the state of Florida, at all levels of government, is equipped to maximize involvement in international trade and generate income and employment through its seaports.  In terms of population, the State of Florida is about the same or slightly higher than the state of Lagos, yet it has ten sea ports while the entire Nigeria with a population of 200 million is trying to maximize its use of only one sea port.   In Nigeria, government officials spend considerable amount of time talking about their plans to generate economic growth and employment, then take actions that destroy the potential for economic growth due to sectionalism.

Fifth, Nigeria has extensive coastline, as indicated above.  This provides the federal and state governments an opportunity to partner with private sector fishing businesses in the country to create a mass-scale fishing industry capable of dominating the African fishing market.  States like Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states would have been at the forefront to promote large scale fishing industry capable of competing with other international fishing companies and countries.  Such active involvement would have resulted in the hiring of thousands of Nigerians in the fishing industry.  Unfortunately, neither the federal nor the coastal state governments are interested in exploring and investing in the fishing sector of the economy.  Countries like Mexico, Japan, China, India, Chile, Nicaragua, Norway and others, earn substantial foreign exchange through the fishing industry. It could be opined that since the national government is dominated by individuals from land-based ethnic groups, they do not see the need for Nigeria to explore and invest in large-scale ocean fishing businesses. It should not be forgotten that the popular “stock fish” that Nigerians consume in large quantity comes from Norway’s cod fishing business. Norway is far away in northern Europe and is earning substantially from Nigeria through stock fish trade.

Sixth, apart from not paying attention to ocean-fishing businesses is the fact that Nigeria, like many other African countries, barely invest in public water transportation systems.  It is interesting to observe the manner in which both national and state governments invest extensively on road and railway construction, yet, pay very little attention to marine transportation, even though the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Internal Waterway Department (IWD) feature regularly on the news. Since the River Niger and River Benue cut through many states in Nigeria, the federal government and the states would have worked together to develop tributaries and drainage systems to link most states by water in one form or another with the two great rivers, thereby, providing extensive water transportation system that allows passengers and goods to move about in different directions.   Additionally, the linking of water tributaries would have definitely enabled the governments to redirect the massive flood waters during the rainy season to spread to the Northeast and the Northwest through water channels, thereby reducing the destructive floods in Central and Southern parts of the country.  In Europe, the Danube, Rhine, Volga, Elbe, Loire, Moselle and other major rivers are extensively utilized in moving people and goods all over the continent.  In other words, in Europe, the airlines, roads, railways and rivers are used simultaneously to transport people and goods. In China too, the rivers play a major role in transporting people and goods.

The construction of water tributaries and drainage systems inside the country to link with the two major rivers would have created thousands of jobs for Nigerian engineers, technicians, and water management workers.  Such projects would have minimized the need for open grazing of cattle since flood waters during the rainy season could be redirected to areas near cattle ranches and farmlands in the North.   States like Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Plateau, Kogi, Taraba, Benue, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers need to invest in navigable water transportation systems that allow citizens to patronize both land and water means of moving from place to place.  Sadly, public officials in Nigeria rarely think about generating economic growth through water transportation. Indeed, water transportation is capable of reducing the wear and tear that Nigerian roads experience due to overuse.  In most parts of Nigeria, federal and state roads have worn out due to overuse and lack of rehabilitation.

Seventh, in Nigeria, the cattle business is the domain of the Fulanis who have centuries of experience in cattle herding.  The Fulanis are mostly concentrated in northern Nigeria.  Fortunately, the North has the largest land mass in the country.  Therefore, if Nigeria is really serious about modernizing the cattle business, generate income, create employment,  and resolve herders/farmers conflict, it should encourage the northern states to work with cattle owners to establish super cattle ranches, thereby turning the northern region into the cattle industry center of Nigeria and possibly Africa.  By establishing super-ranches, all necessary facilities would be centered around the vicinity of the ranches, including storage and distribution centers.  The super-ranches would lead to the establishment of super farms that produce hay for cattle, goats, and rams. Another possible by-product of establishing super ranches is the production of dairy products.  Thus, the super-ranches are likely to provide employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerian.  Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the North as the basis for establishing the super-ranches, the federal government unduly politicized the cattle business by attempting to reopen  cow routes and create cattle colonies, ruga settlements and cattle ranches throughout the country, as if cattle is the only business in the country. It is not too late for the federal government to strategize with the governors of the northern states and cattle owners to create modern super-ranches for the breeding of cows, goats, rams, pigs, and even chicken to generate national income. Some parts of the Sambisa forest could be utilized to create two or more ranches.

It should be recalled that some northern states, including Adamawa, Nasarawa, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, and Zamfara (“Fed Govt to build 94 ranches in 10 states,” 2018, June 20)    had volunteered to offer lands for cattle ranches.  Instead of capitalizing on such effort, the federal government spent unnecessary time trying to nationalize the settlement of herders across the country.  There is no need to nationalize the settlement of herders since the best practices in the world show that specialized ranches in the cattle region provide the best option in managing the industry. In Nigeria, the cattle region is northern Nigeria and not southern Nigeria.  Morever, the land in Southern Nigeria is too small compared to the landmass in northern Nigeria to accomodate super-cattle ranches.

Eighth, the establishment of super-ranches in selected states in the North will free herders from roaming all over the place with their cattle, wives and children as if they are indentured servants who are beholden to rich cattle owners.  It is indeed a violation of the human rights of Fulani cattle herders to be compelled to move from place to place with cows and sleep in the forest, thereby, depriving them and their children the opportunity to go to school and receive formal education that is necessary for them to thrive in the modern world.  The nomadic cattle management system in Nigeria condemns thousands of Fulanis to live in the 17th and 18th centuries when they should be aspiring to become lawyers, ranch owners, doctors, teachers, architects, computer programmers, and so forth, like other Nigerians, in the twenty-first century.

Ninth, the nomadic cattle management system that President Buhari is encouraging through the opening of cattle routes and open grazing is a threat to the national security of Nigeria.  Why?  To have thousands of people move about from place to place with cows, their wives, and children and serving as mere cattle herders with no hope of education, occupational training, and upward social and professional mobility is to create a perpetually pauperized and angry population that is capable of threatening the peace of the country anytime through feeling marginalized and discriminated.  This is the twenty-first century and all children must go to school to prepare them for a technologically-driven economic system.  It is time for the Fulani elite in Nigeria  coordinate with Fulani leaders in other countries to stop the dichotomy between the Elite Fulani and Nomadic Fulani.  The nomadic Fulanis should have the same rights as the elite Fulanis to get the best education attainable and take care of their children, instead of being condemned to work as indentured servants while the rich cattle owners continue to accumulate unbelievable wealth and send their children to school in large number. Perhaps, it is the anger emanating from being exploited, deprived, and marginalized that is contributing to the incesant cases of kidnapping and banditary among the nomadic herdsmen, in cohort with some greedy elites.

Tenth, the nomadic cattle management system is a drain on the economy since the country does not seem to earn much income through taxation and other forms of income-generating activities of the cattle industry.  Moreover, open grazing results in destruction of farmlands and crops.  When farmlands and crops are destroyed through cattle grazing, the food basket of the country is threatened since a country of about 200 million people needs a steady supply of food to maintain the population.  The inexcusable plan for cattle owners to compensate farmers in the event of the destruction of their farms and crops is not a convincing reason to allow open grazing to continue. It seems that cattle owners in Nigeria are more powerful than the Nigerian state, so much so that they want the government to give them free land to raise their cattle. Otherwise, the federal government of Nigeria would have mandated them to buy or rent land and establish ranches to manage their cattle business like it is done in other parts of the world.  The federal government should stop being the spokesperson for the rich owners of cattle in Nigeria and allow them to invest in their cattle businesses.

Eleventh, Nigeria has a sizable quantity of gold deposits in southwestern and northern parts of the country.  In fact, Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State even boldly stated that his state has more gold than South Africa ( Isenyo, 2016, April 7).  The question is, why is Nigeria failing to mobilize its manpower and resources to explore and manage gold in a manner that is capable of generating national income like in South Africa? Why is Nigeria unwilling to invest in gold exploration in a manner that generates substantial income for the national economy and create employment?  Why is Nigeria allowing individuals and cooperatives to mine gold haphazardly?  Why is Nigeria not interested in taking control of the exploration and management of gold the way it does with the exploration of petroleum and gas?  Why Nigeria has not established the Nigerian National Gold Corporation (NNGC) the way it did with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)? In any case, Nigeria is wasting time, money, and employment opportunities for failing to manage its gold production like other countries to generate national income and increase economic growth.  There is too much talking and less action on the part of national and regional officials on the issue of gold exploration.  Indeed, Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State is right in saying that the failure to fully exploit the abundant solid mineral resources in the country contributes to insecurity ( Ogalah, 2021, August 9).

Twelfth, perhaps, due to sectionalism, Nigerian rulers and political elite tend to prevent the germination of enterpreneural skills of the citizens in certain zones of the country.  For instance, while the country wastes unnecessary sums of money in rehabilitating refineries that rarely produce petroleum products, there are Nigerians who operate small-scale refineries that produce refined petroleum products like gas, kerosene and diesel fuel in the Niger Delta/South-South.  Instead of encouraging these talented Nigerians to actually establish small and medium-scale refineries that are capable of producing much needed fuel products, Nigeria refers to these  Nigerians as operators of “illegal oil refineries.”  As a result, the Nigerian Navy patrols the creeks to stop the mining of petroleum.  If these Nigerians were encouraged through technical training and financial assistance to set up refineries, many citizens in the oil region would have ended up working for the home-grown refineries to produce essential fuels for the country.  Unfortunately, since these skilled Nigerians are not from the home states of those who wield political power in Nigeria, they are treated as criminals and hunted down by the security forces.  This means that an oil-producing country like Nigeria prefers to import resources that are easily produceable in the country. In fact, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) reported that Nigeria “imported a total volume of 20.6 billion litres of premium motor spirit, popularly known as petrol in 2019” (“Nigeria imported 20.6bn litres of petrol in 2019 – NEITI,” 2021, July 14).  Meanwhile, Nigerians who mine solid minerals such as gold and tin are not treated as criminals and Nigerian security forces do not hunt them down.  In other words, it is illegal for citizens to refine petroleum products in the oil region but it is not illegal for them to mine gold and other minerals in the regions of the power-wielding groups.

Thirteenth, while the oil region has been the primary akara, moin-moin and agidi plates of Nigeria for about five decades, national infrastructural development projects intended to boost economic development are always targeted at other regions of the country due to primordial reasons.  Consequently, major roads, railway lines, and other projects are being built and operated in regions that produce less to boost the national economy while the region that shoulders the greatest responsibility for the creation of the national wealth is sacrificed.  The unfairness leads to anger and the disruption of oil operations in the oil region.  Furthermore, Nigerians who live in the oil region are worried that Nigeria is using the oil region as a collateral to borrow billions of dollars from China and international financial institutions to build infrastructures in regions that are not likely to yield much economic advantage to the country.  They pray that Nigeria does not default on the loans being borrowed to avoid foreign countries taking over their territory like what is happening in Zambia.

Fourteenth, a country with a population of about 200 million or more people and the largest economy in Africa needs as many international airports as possible.  Yet, in Nigeria, there is a tendency to treat airports as if they are special commodities that are only awarded to those who are aligned with those who wield power.  As a result, granting international status to some airports are restricted to the extent that it affects economic development negatively.  By now, Nigeria should have international airports at every zone of the country with the hope of making the country an international flight hub for Africa.  Thus, Nigeria is missing the economic boat in generating wealth through capturing the airline industry by making sure that most international airlines use the country to fly to other parts of the continent.  Its huge population is invariably an advantage in capturing the aviation industry in Africa.

Therefore, it is unfathomable that the South-East which is a major center of economic activities in Nigeria did not have an international airport until recently.  Even the Port Harcourt international airport does not fit to be called an international airport.  Onitsha, which is a major regional market center in Nigeria did not have an airport until recently.  It is of recent that Bayelsa International Airport has been activated and is now operational.  Nigerian authorities do not realize that wealth and employment could be generated through the aviation industry if it is viewed as a money-making enterprise.  In the USA, due to the realization that wealth and employment can be generated through massive investment in the aviation sector, states, local governments and cities compete to attract the largest number of commercial airlines and potential passengers.  It might be necessary to show the nature of American commitment to maximizing economic growth through investment in aviation by looking at the state of Florida.   Again, the state of Florida with a population of about 22 million people has over ten international airports, including Daytona Beach International Airport, Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport, Miami International Airport, Gainesville Regional Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, Key West International Airport, Orlando-Melbourne International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Orlando/Sanford International Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Pensacola International Airport, Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport, St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport, Tallahassee International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Vera Beach Regional Airport and Palm Beach International Airport.  

The Miami International Airport and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are only about 25 miles apart from each other, yet, both are major international airports. The political leaders of Florida State do not say that the two cities are too close to have international airports. In addition, these two cities have other medium range airports that also serve as international and domestic airports. About thirty or forty miles from Ft Lauderdale, there is another international airport in Palm Beach.  In Florida and in the USA generally, airports are constantly expanded to compete and capture more businesses. The Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston Airports are like cities, so much so that they have trains conveying passengers from one terminal to another.  Throughout the US, there is massive investment in airport expansion. The Americans want to dominate the airline business in the world.  In Nigeria, politics and corruption do not allow the industry to grow as it should be to accommodate a huge population.

Moreover, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos should have been expanded to cover the old Ikeja Airport.  In fact, cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Jos, Benin City, Onitsha, and Maiduguri supposed to have at least two major modern airports to handle the volume of traffic in a country of about 200 million people.  Indeed, the capital of every state in Nigeria should have an airport.  Therefore, the restrictive political control of airport development and expansion based on primordial sentiments in determining which state or city should have an airport should stop to allow the aviation industry to grow in Nigeria.  Moreover, the national economy is negatively impacted when business people in the country always have to play catch-up by flying from one place to another before getting to their destination. Added to the lack of interest in maximizing economic growth in aviation, a country of 200 million does not even have a national airline.  By now some states would have invested in commercial airlines to boost transportation and create employment.  In this regard, Akwa Ibom State should be congratulated for making the effort to create an airline.

Fifteenth, it seems that the presidency and national policy makers do not realize that the state of insecurity has a negative effect on the economy.  It is doubtful whether many international investors would want to invest in a country that cannot secure itself.   Moreover, as herders, bandits and kidnappers continue their deadly rampage, many Nigerian investors too might begin to think about moving their financial resources elsewhere and engage in a wait-and-see attitude in the country.  Thus, if the federal government is seriously committed to improving the economy, it must be proactive in reducing insecurity.  So far, for whatever reason, the security forces, especially the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Service (DSS) have not been fully deployed to deal with herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers.  The more the security situation remains tenous, the more economic hardship will continue as farmers decline to go to their farms to cultivate their crops and business men and men become cautious to avoid being abducted.  To help the economy grow, it is necessary for the presidency to declare war against herders, bandits and kidnappers.  It is puzzling that the federal government deployed security forces proactively in the Southeast and yet does not see the need to deploy fully in places like Kaduna, Niger,  Katsina, Plateau, and Zamfara states.  It allows the abductors of school children to dictate what should be done instead of attacking them by deploying Nigerian security forces to flush them out of the forests.  The failure to deploy proactively in northcentral and northwestern zones is causing severe suffering among the civilian population. They do not feel the existence of the Nigerian government since the state has failed to protect them.  In the northeast, the war against Boko Haram seems to be going much better as rebel fighters continue to surrender to Nigerian, Cameroonian and, Chadian forces.

Sixteenth, if not for primordial sentiments, Nigeria would have embraced the industrialization effort that is taking place in various parts of the country.  In short, it could be said that Nnewi is the industrial capital of Nigeria.  The federal government can facilitate the industrialization of the country by forming partnership with companies that are already producing industrial products locally.  For instance, the federal and state governments can form public/private sector partnerships where major motor manufacturing plants are established in different parts of the country.   One plant could specialize in manufacturing agricultural machinery while another plant might specialize in producing military vehicles while a third one might concentrate on producing buses and minivans.  Two or more industrial plants could be established to produce housewares and technical tools.  If the industrial plants are located in different zones of the country, massive employment can take place simultaneously because Nigeria has the population to consume large scale industrial products that meet their needs.  The African continent is a very large market waiting for Nigeria’s industrial products.

To make the partnerships effective, the government would be a major shareholder and assist in funding experimental vehicles or prototypes and tools that can be commercialized in the future as the industrial businesses grow.  Likewise, in order to feed the industrial plants with technical parts, the federal government must fully reactivate the Ajaokuta steel mill in the country.  The steel mill should be responsible for producing metals and tools that the auto and houseware industries need to enable Nigeria to rise up as a major industrial power.  It is time to stop talking and start doing.

Seventeenth, there are many talented individuals who have demonstrated an ability to build agricultural machineries, cars, planes, drones, helicopters, computers, water fountains, electric generators, and all sorts of technical equipment that can turn Nigeria into an industrial power in an instant but the governments (both at the national and state levels) do not seem to show any interest in assisting such individuals to bring their industrial dreams to fruition.  Some of the most creative young Nigerian inventors include but not limited to (1) AGHOGHO AJIYEN WHO BUILDs PLANES, (2) JERRY MALLO WHO BUILDS CARS AND AGRICULTURAL TRACTORS, (3) REJOYCE OGHENERO WHO BUILDS DRONES AND PLANES, (4) BABATIMILEHIN DAOMI WHO BUILDS WATER FOUNTAINS, SPACE ROCKETS AND ELECTRIC MICROSCOPE, (5) SOLOMON UKOHA WHO BUILDS ELECTRIC TRANSFORMERS, (6) BABS CARDINI WHO TURNS WATER INTO WINE, and so on and so forth.  If these creative minds were Chinese or British or Americans or French or Japanese or South Koreans, or Russians or Germans, the governments and private sector investors would have sponsored them to turn their inventions into multimillion dollar industrial products that create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the citizens of the country, but in Nigeria, no body cares, not the federal or state governments or the billionaires and millionaires.  In the industrialized countries, the rich invest their funds on creative minds to invent technological products that result in the industrialization of the economy.  In Nigeria, it is talk, talk and more talk without practical action.  In Shakesperean terms, Nigeria is a country of much ado about nothing.

 The lack of governmental interest in spearheading the industrialization of the country through the sponsorship of creative minds is holding the country back.  Sadly, despite the fact that Nigeria has the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Udegbunam, 2021, August 6), not much is happening.  Countries that have industrialized to the point of creating massive economic growth do so by investing robustly in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS (STEM) Education, and providing financial assistance, creating small-scale loans and other supportive technical programs which allow individuals with  creative and innovative minds in society to develop various technologies that lead to industrialization.  Perhaps, it would have been preferable for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to be classified as an independent agency so that it is not overwhelmed by bureaucratic politics.  As an idependent agency, it would have  been able to staff itself with research-oriented, creative and innovative minds and create innovative programs to mobilize talented Nigerians into various research projects by working with the univerisities.  As a ministry, it is probably staffed with unnecessary administrative personnel, thereby, hindering its ability to be a head hunter for gathering the best minds to move Nigeria forward. A ministry with a minister, permanent secretary, departmental heads and administrative officers and assistants create a cumbersome environment for the nurturing of creative minds and invention of innovative industrial products.

Eighteeth, the Nigerian political system discourages sound economic management system.  The reason is that the system does not require those running for elected offices to demonstrate their acumen in generating economic growth by producing economic road maps during political campaigns. Likewise, political candidates are not subjected to vigorous background verification, debates and citizens questioning so that the public would know what they intend to do to boost economic growth and create employment.   Consequently, many politicians running for elected offices in Nigeria at all levels (local, state and national) have no clue whatsoever in developing an economic plan capable of generating economic growth that can lead to employment for the teeming population.  It appears that they are primarily interested in the acquisition of raw political power.  They hope to use such raw political power to accumulate private wealth through the public purse and nothing more.  The political situation is pathetic and utterly useless in enhancing economic development.

The politicians are aided in accomplishing their self-interested goals by the political parties which promote a closed primary nomination system whereby individuals are preselected to occupy political offices even before elections are conducted.  In other words, candidates are imposed on the citizens through intimidation and rigging of the electoral system.  This is why Nigeria’s political parties are devoid of ideological orientation, although they may promise heaven and earth prior to elections but generally do not hold themselves accountable to the positions they took before the elections. Due to lack of identifiable ideological positions, the political parties lack sound policies on economic development.  Consequently, it is not surprising that Nigerian politicians, regardless of their level of education and professional development, jump from one political party to another without any justifiable reason, apart from self-interest.  Many politicians have jumped from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) party and then jumped back to the PDP.  There are those who have jumped from the APC to the PDP and then jumped back to the APC.  It is not unusual for senators, representatives, governors, and local government chairs to abandon their political parties in the middle of their terms of office and join opposition political parties with total disregard for the feelings of their constituents.  They are primarily driven by self-interest and do not care about the citizens.  Thus, the Nigerian political system is merely described as a “DEMOCRACY’  in theory and not in practice.

Nineteenth, the National Assembly (NA) operates more like an extended arm of the executive branch of government and not as one of the three independent branches of government.  As a result, perhaps, Nigeria is the only country in the world where a president submits names of potential ministerial candidates to the legislature for confirmation without identifying the offices or ministries or portfolios they intend to lead as ministers.  Basically, the presidency submits a general list of names of potential ministers and they are quickly rushed through the confirmation process by the Senate of the National Assembly without serious questions being asked about their educational qualifications, competency and how they intend to contribute to the development of various sectors of the economy.  After the confirmations have been rushed through, the president then assigns ministerial positions to the confirmed candidates.

By kowtowing to the president through rushing the confirmation process without asking pertinent questions about how the candidates intend to contribute to national development through their ministerial positions, the National Assembly seems more interested in making the president happy and sacrifice the interest of the country at large.  Therefore, it is inferable that Nigeria’s National Assembly contributes to the lackadaisical attitude towards the economic development of the country and the creation of employment for millions of Nigerians. 

By failing to uphold their oversight function, the members of the National Assembly contribute to the massive debt that Nigeria is incurring.  It should be noted that the 9th National Assembly is almost pathologically addicted to approving all international loans that the presidency asked for without making any effort to determine the efficacy of such loans.  In the event that Nigeria becomes a victim of a debt-trap, the National Assembly should also be held responsible, apart from the president.

Twentieth, the National Assembly greatly contributes to the mismanagement of state funds by failing to audit the expenditures of the ministries and and government agencies prior to approving the national budget for the coming year.  In other words, the National Assembly fails woefully to serve as the GUARDIAN OF THE PUBLIC PURSE for not asking serious questions about what the executive branch did with the funds that were allocated in the previous year before approving new budget allocations.  The failure results in massive pifering of the public purse, thereby, short-changing the economy. No wonder in 2017, the Auditor General of Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Ayine suggested the witholding of allocations for the Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) which failed to report their expenditures (Okocha. 2020, February 4).

Twenty-first, since self-interest seems to be the primary motivation for seeking elected office, the members of the National Assembly continue to maintain a bloated salary system that enables them to be some of the highest paid legislators in the world.  They blatantly refuse to cut their salaries and benefits despite the downturn in the economy.  Hence, millions of Nigerians are suffering as the country becomes the poverty capital of the world.  This means that while millions of Nigerians are suffering due to poverty, members of the National Assembly behave like feudal lords and continue to take home pay packages that cannot be justified.  Yet, they claim to represent Nigerians.  Thus, they are a drain on the country’s economy since they are not making any substantive effort to cut down on their expenditures, as well as reduce financial waste in the bloated executive branch through effective legislative oversight. If it is true, as reported by Saharareporters, that some members of the National Assembly were paid in American dollars to vote for the Petroleum Industy Act (PIA) despite strong opposition from stakeholders in the oil region, it means that Nigeria has no National Assembly.

Twenty-second, both the presidency and the National Assembly are paying insufficient attention to the view that the lack of political restructuring is likely to affect the economic sector negatively as NIgerians demand changes in the political system.  Thus, a failure to restructure can lead to instability as various groups adopt proactive tactics to communicate their displeasure with the system.  It is absolutely critical to restructure the country because it was created by a foreign power and Nigerians need a political system that reflects their wishes.

Twenty-third, the country cannot grow economically to the point of creating massive employment for the citizens if the contradiction between federalism and unitarism is not addressed.  In other words, Nigeria cannot claim to have a federal system of government while operating a unitary system that strangulates economiic development. Each state must be allowed to manage its economy based on its resources and capability and not rely solely on the distribution of funds through the Federation Account.  The current unitary system discourages economic creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship which are essential for creating a robust economy.

Twenty-fourth, it seems that Nigeria is not serious about developing and modernizing the economy to the point of achieving national industrialization so that mass employment can take place.  An excellent example to show that there is lack of commitment towards the modernization of the nation’s economy is the poor state of the schools in Nigeria.  It is always very shocking to see the pictures of dilapidated school buildings when bandits and kidnappers abduct students in various schools in northern Nigeria.  The videos of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Government Science College in Kagara, Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe and the Federal Government College in Brnin-Yauri show that both the federal and northern states governments are not serious about providing quality education to the youths of the region. Hence, the schools resemble makeshift educational facilities in a war front.  No wonder, there are millions of uneducated youths in northern Nigeria.  Likewise, if videos of school compounds in southern Nigeria were shown, the images of dilapidated school structures too will appear just like in northern Nigeria.  The only exception is that a higher number of youths in southern Nigeria complete their primary and secondary education while millions of children in the north simply exist.  The poor state of schools indicates that Nigerian political leaders at all levels of government (local, state and national) are not preparing Nigerian youths with the appropriate educational skills for building a robust economy that is capable of  hiring thousands of Nigerians, at any given time.  Are Nigeria’s leaders not aware that there is a linkage or a relationship between quality education and economic development?  A poor quality of education is likely to lead to endemic economic problems and social instability.  Sadly, the rulers send their children to schools in foreign countries while depriving Nigerians quality education at home. Yet, these leaders claim that they have mandate of the people to serve as their electted representatives.

Twenty-fifth, just as Nigeria is not committed to providing quality education to Nigerian youths, the political leaders of the country are not creating an enabling environment for Nigerian youths to thrive economically by encouraging them to explore and create businesses dealing with information technology.  Nigerian youths like those in other parts of the world, are very creative, technology-savvy, and willing to develop businesses in digital economy but the political leaders continue to behave as if they are living in the 1970s.  Hence, they have not been able to develop programs and partnerships that allow Nigerian youths to become active participants in the growing computer-driven businesses in information technology.  This is leading to frustration on the part of many youths who feel that both national and state governments are not visionary in creating enabling environments that allow them to compete and generate income in the global digital market place.

 It should be noted that Bill Gates and Paul Allen established Microsoft Corporation while Steve Job, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak created Apple Corporation as young men.  Today, Microsoft and Apple have dominated the world of information technology.  Mr. Jeff Bezos who established Amazon as an online marketing company is now the richest person in the world.  Mr Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes co-founded Facebook as young men. Today, Facebook is a major corporation.  Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook hire hundreds of thousands of people.  There are Nigerians who can develop online products that are capable of creating massive wealth and ensuring employment for thousands of Nigerians but Nigeria’s political climate does not encourage the germination of such effort. Sadly, it seems that the National Information Technology Developmnet Agency (NITDA), which is responsible for overseeing Nigeria’s technological development is more interested in stifling the digital economy through imposition of unncessary ” licenses, fees, fines, and sentences,” (Kene-Okafor, 2021, August 17) instead of working with the industry to ensure its growth.

Twenty-sixth, Nigerian billionaires and millionaires are in a different league in the world.  They prefer to show-off their wealth by building hugh mansions, buy expensive cars and private planes, and organize huge weddings, birthday parties and funerals to create the impression that they are rich instead of using the wealth to create businesses that are capable of generating employment for millions of Nigerians.   They do not seem to realize that in the US, Germany and many other industriaized countries, it is private business men and women who create large-scale industries that hire hundreds of thousands of citizens.  In fact, a vast majority of major multinatinational companies in the world are owned by private interests and not by governments.  In Nigeria, instead of investing extensively to create products and hire hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, a considerable number of the rich prefer to keep their funds in foreign banks.  By so doing, they deprive Nigeria of the ability to utilize such funds to create enabling environments for businesses to thrive.  Basicaly, when a Nigerian billionaire or millionarie desposits his or her funds in Britain, the rich Nigerian helps Britain to create wealth and economic growth in that country while Nigeria is short-changed.  In fact, it is arguable that rich Nigerians help to create economic growth in many countries while they starve Nigeria of needed funds to do likewise.  When rich Nigerians spend huge sums of money to buy expensive properties in posh areas of major cities in the world, they help to create employment for the citizens of those countries while milions of Nigerians struggle to find employment at home. 

If many of the so-called rich Nigerians were to go to their towns and villages to build  manufacturing industries, almost everyone in the vicinity will end up being employed.  Sadly, they are not interested in investing in businesses that generate profit in the long run since they are mostly interested in quick money-making enterprises.  Thankfully, some rich Nigerians have established commercial airlines to trasport people all over the country. Similarly, some have established industries that are growing incrementally to become big corporations.

Twenty-seventh,  Nigeria cannot industrialize and become a major economic power in the world if it is unable to provide basic electric energy that is necessary to support industrialization.  It is a fact that due to massive corruption, the country still finds it difficult to provide a reliable supply of electicity after almost seven decades of trying by fifteen military and political rulers and after spending trillions of nairas.  In other words, while hydroelectric energy is an old technology in the rest of the world, it is still viewed as a complicated technpology in Nigeria, hence, the difficulty in optimizing its usage.

While the country finds it almost impossible to ensure a workable and reliable hydroelectric supply, some Nigerians are calling for the construction of nuclear energy plants as a replacement or addition to hydroelectric energy.    Indeed, the proposition is akin to telling a student who finds it difficult to solve a simple mathematic problem to attempt to solve an advanced problem in calculus.  A massively corrupt and unstable country like Nigeria should not contemplate building nuclear energy plants unless somebody wants to literally annihilate the country.  Why?  Nuclear technology is very dangerous and almost uncontrollable when something goes wrong.  For instance, assuming that Nigeria builds nuclear plants in Kogi and Akwa Ibom states, as it was proposed earlier and then something goes wrong in the plant in Akwa Ibom State , resulting in a melt-down, the entire state, in addition to Abia, Rivers, and Cross River states, and some parts of southern Cameroon would be affected by the radioactive fallout.  In such a situation, Akwa Ibomites might have to be evacuated to avoid contamination. Similarly, assuming that the plant in Kogi State experiences a meltdown, radioactive fallout is likely to affect people in Benue, Plateau, Niger, Edo, and possibly Anambra states.

When a nuclear meltdown or serious accident takes place, sometimes it takes about 50 to one hundred years or more to lessen the effect of radiation in the vicinity of the accident. It should be noted that following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, in Ukraine in the former Soviet Union, the area is still uninhabitable.  I wonder which ethnic group in Nigeria would be eager to sacrifice its existence by allowing a nuclear plant to be built in its territory.  One wonders what would have happened if Nigeria had nuclear plants and the Boko Haram, herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers were rampaging through the country to kill and destroy.  In such a scenario, what would have stopped one of these groups from launching rocket attacks against the nuclear plants to demonstrate its abiity to inflict destruction on Nigeria.  It should not be forgotten that bandits have even shot down a Nigerian Air Force jet fighter.  Thus, a nuclear energy is not a feasible economic project when safer alternative energy systems are being developed in other parts of the world.

Twenty-eighth, indeed, making political and economic decision based on primordial sentiments is killing Nigeria.  For instance, due to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is from Daura in Katsina State, numerous government and private projects have been located there.  Federal ministers, directors of governent agencies and even private citizens are pandering to the president by competing to locate projects in Daura.  Some of the government projects that have been located in Daura include: (1) the ongoing massive construction of Daura roads and drainages, (2) Nigerian Air Force Referral Hospital,  (3) Federal Polytechnics, (4) Federal Univeristy of Transportation, (5) Air Force Response Air Wing, (6) Nigerian Army base, (7) National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Program, (8) the Sustainable Development Goals Program, (9) a 50-Bed Maternity Center, (10) the completion of the Sabke Dam, and the (11) the NNPC’s Emergency and Infectious Diseases Hospital (“For Buhari’s sake, so many projects go to Daura,” 2019, September 28).

Not to be outdone by public officials trying to buy presidential influence, some rich Nigerians want to show that they too have the wherewithal to do so in Daura.  Some projects that have been carried out or proposed by private citizens include: (1) A Library donated by Chief Emeka Offor, (2) a 400,000 solar-powered water system sponsored by the Jack-Rich Tein Foundation in a joint venture with NNPC and the Belema Oil Company (“For Buhari’s sake, so many projects go to Daura,” 2019, September 28), and (3) the proposed Islamic university by Sen. Rochas Okorocha (“Okorocha to build Islamic university in Daura,” 2021, August 10).  It should be noted that these are only a few of the projects being developed in Daura due to the fact that President Buhari is from there.  it is very pathetic that even in the twenty-first century, federal government officials make decisions about spending public funds without thinking about the economic consequences of doing so.  Since this administration has set the precedent, it is assumable that when a new president is elected in 2023, numerous federal projects too would be located in his or her hometown to buy influence. 

Twenty-ninth, indeed, the fact that primordial sentiments are killiing the country cannot be underestimated.  Hence, many Nigerians, particularly from the southern part of the country, are fleeing and seeking freedom and employmet elsewhere.  Consequently, an increasing number of Nigerians are representing other countries during international athletic events, as well as contributing to the advancement of those countries.  Azuka Onwuka noted that many Nigerian athletes contributed to the success of many countries in the just completed Olympic Games in Japan.  He wrote:

            Although Nigerians had been representing other countries at the Olympics and    World Cup, what happened at this year’s Olympics was more of an     embarrassment because of the sheer number of Nigerians competing for other           countries. It looked like the case of a people who officially had no country and     were dispersed across the world, competing for other countries. Many even         helped to edge the Nigerian teams out of their respective competitions like the        Japanese female basketball team where Monica Okoye helped to beat Nigeria.           Some countries like the Greek male basketball team even had two Nigerian           brothers: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo (2021, August             10).

Indeed, Nigeria suffers from mismanagement and underdevelopment due to questionable leadership emanating from primordial sentiments.  Hence, Ikenna Emewu noted:

            That is Nigeria and I never had any doubt that Nigeria has the right personalities to compete with the best of the world, not even Africa. But Nigeria is the most         mismanaged country in the world with what is not fit to be called leadership.           (2021, January 14).

Indeed, Nigeria’s ruling elite pay too much attention to themselves and littlle or nothing to the national interest.  Therefore, the country is a sacrificial lamb for the enrichment and agrandizement of those who callled themselves rulers and their cronies.


The twenty-nine points identified above are some of the inhibitive factors that  prevent Nigeria from becoming a major economic player like China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, and India.  Indeed, Nigeria cannot rise up industrially if political and economic development decisions are made mostly based on primordial sentiments and corruption rather than on merit and national interest.  With a huge population, Nigeria must industrialize very quickly in order to create opportunities for millions of people to gain employment.  Without industriaization, the country is doomed because millions of unemployed citizens amounts to political instability.  Political instability leads to a questioning of the efficacy of the Nigerian state.  A questioning of the efficacy of the Nigerian state eventually leads to a demand for seperation.  Who wants to remain in a sinking ship?

President Muhammadu Buhari can change the situation around very quickly to a create an enabling environment for people to have confidence in the state.  A greater trust of the state will translate into more citizens investing to create enterprises that generate employment for the citizens. The president needs to take certain actions.  First, he needs to communicate more effectively with Nigerians by holding press conferences regularly to inform them about what his administration is doing to reduce insecurity in the country and create opportuniiies for economic growth.  To do so, he should communicate with Nigerians directly and not speak through his special assistants or read prepared statements.  Second, he should embrace the democratic path and shun authoritarian tendencies which are causing apprehension, anger, and disappointment. Third, he should allow the security forces to act like national organizations and deal with the security situation in an even-handed manner.  Currently, the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy and the DSS operate like tribal organizations where members of a particular ethnic group are treated like sacred cows.  Fourth, to alleviate the perception that he is too sectional, the president needs to actively promote federal character by reshuffling the leadership of some important national security positions. A country made up of about 300 or more ethnic groups with a population of 200 million people cannot have members of only one ethnic group, region and religion dominate the country and expects stability. Fifth, he should immediately set up a mechanism for the active exploration and management of solid minerals in order to create employment and wealth to boost the economy. Sixth, every potential economic opportunity shoud be fully explored and utilized for economic development. Currently, Nigeria is misssing the boat on so many economic fronts.  Seventh, rich Nigerians should  be more patriotic by investing in the economic development of the country through establishing industries that can create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.  The era of looking for short-term money-making schemes are over.  Eighth, it is to the political and economic advantage of Nigeria to restructure the country so that states and local governments can contribute to economic development through the effective utilization of resources in their territories. Ninth, Nigeria should not waste time, effort and money investing in nuclear energy when other countries are investing in safer alternative energy systems.  Tenth, national interest should be the guiding principle at all times for making economic decisions in the country by public officials.


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Fed Govt to build 94 ranches in 10 states, (2018, June 20).  The Nation.  Retrieved August2, 2021, from

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Isenyo, G. (2016, April 7). ‘Kaduna gold deposit bigger than S’Africa’s reserves’ Punch.  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from 

Kaduna Governor, El-Rufai Travels To London Amid Reports Of Ill-health. (2021, August 14).  Sahara Reporters.  Retrieved August 14, 2021, from

Kene-Okafor, T. (2021, August 17).  A leak bill for Nigerian startups reveals a theme of licences, fees, fines, and sentences.  Tech Crunch.  Retrieved August 18, 2021, from

Muanya, C., Jimoh, A. M., and Olaniyi, S. (2021, march 31).  Nigeria loses over N576b yearly to medical tourism.  The Guardian.  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from

Nigeria imported 20.6bn litres of petrol in 2019 – NEITI. (2021, July 14). Punch. Retrieved August 8. 2021, from

Nnodim, O. (2020, July 25).Nigeria’s petroleum immports exceeded exports by $58.5bn – OPEC.  Retrieved August 15, 2021, from

Ogalah, D. (2021, August 9). NEWSInsecurity caused by failure to utilise solid mineral sector – Masari. Daily Post.  Retrieved August 9, 2021, from

Okocha, C. (2020, February 4). Auditor General Wants Allocations of Defaulting MDAs Withheld.  This Dday.  Retreived August 4, 2021, from

Is the Niger Delta/South-South Part of Nigeria or a Colony?

It is indeed appropriate to ask whether the Niger Delta/South-South is part of Nigeria or merely a colony of Nigeria.  The question is prompted by the fact that Nigeria has consistently treated that section of the West African sub-region as if is not part of its territory even though it is the region that has been laying the golden egg to generate public and private wealth in the country spanning five decades. It is not a secret that for decades now, the wealth generated through oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta/South-South has been the major source of revenue for the entire country.  Similarly, it is not a secret that a considerable number of Nigeria’s so-called billionaires and millionaires, both in private and public sectors, acquire their wealth through oil blocks that were given to them due to primordial reasons, inflated contracts, and pilfering of the oil money through the public purse.

Thus, it is the wealth from the oil region that keeps Nigeria afloat and enriches those who are politically connected to the ruling elite.  If oil and gas stop flowing, the economy will crash instantly because Nigeria currently does not have any other major source of income to maintain itself.  This means that the Niger Delta/South-South is a very strategic region as far as the national economy is concerned. Evidence of its strategic value can be shown or attested to by the fact that when the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), and other armed groups in the oil region struck between 2006 and 2010, the economy was brought to its knees.  Again, when the Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force and associated armed groups struck in 2016, the economy crashed, thereby, necessitating the federal government to plead with the leaders of the oil region to beg the armed youths to stop operations and allow oil and gas to flow again. As part of the deal to stop the crippling of petroleum and gas facilities, the federal government agreed to a 16-point action plan submitted by the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).  Sadly, the federal government has not kept its promise on the 16-points program.

Despite the fact that the oil region is currently the most strategic economic region in the country, why does the ruling political elite pay little or no attention to the needs of the oil region?  Why is the oil region being treated as merely a financial plantation that could be exploited for the economic, infrastructural and social wellbeing of other regions, especially the North while utterly neglecting the region that lays the golden egg?  Why is it that the ruling elite have repeatedly ignored the concerns of the inhabitants of the oil region while passing obnoxious regulations/acts and legislations to strangulate, exploit, and deprive the inhabitants of the region their inalienable natural right to utilize the resources in their territory for their wellbeing?  Why is it that the indigenes of the oil region must be starved to the point of death so that other Nigerians can enjoy the wealth generated from their territory?  Do Nigerian rulers assume that the Niger Delta/South-South is not part of Nigeria, therefore, deserves to be exploited and pauperized?  Do those who initiate and make public policies for Nigeria actually believe in Nigeria or are they merely using the contraption to exploit the resources of the state for their ethnic, regional, and personal enrichment?  Are the inhabitants of the oil region being exploited and pushed to the wall because they are a conquered and internally colonized people?  

It is not farfetched to say that those who claim to be running the affairs of the country are not really interested in the stability and progress of Nigeria.  It could also be said that those who claim to be Nigerian rulers and patriots have other agenda.  Otherwise, the National Assembly (NASS) would not have crafted the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in such a manner that punishes the inhabitants of the oil region and unapologetically rewards those who have no relationship with the oil wealth.  To show that Nigeria treats the oil region as if it is not part of the country but a colony that could easily be exploited for the benefit of others, it might be necessary to take an analytical walk to see how Nigeria has consistently treated the Niger Delta/South-South zone as a colonial possession. Colonialism can be defined as the policy or practice whereby one state or group or entity either fully or partially control the political and economic spheres of another to the point of rendering it incapable of making decision for itself.  In this case, while the Niger Delta is part of Nigeria, it is treated like a colony by other segments of the Nigerian polity due to the availability of oil and gas.  It is the only region in Nigeria in which the inhabitants cannot make decision about the exploration and management of petroleum and gas resources in their territory, in addition to the fact that they are always at the bottom of the national list for infrastructural development and modernization even though their territory provides the financial resources to sustain the entire country.

Steps taken by Nigerian Rulers and Policymakers to Treat the Niger Delta/South-South as a Colony of Nigeria

First, when groundnut, cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, cotton, and rubber were the major sources of national revenue, the principle of derivation was the accepted policy.  The reason for adopting the principle of derivation could be attributed to the fact that these products were produced and managed by the majority groups in each of the three regions of the country.  However, as soon as petroleum became a major source of revenue, the ruling military and political elite quickly dumped the principle of derivation and nationalized the exploration and management of petroleum and gas.  The reason could be attributed to the fact that oil and gas are mostly found in the territories of minority ethnic groups and in Igboland.  Thus, these groups could not be allowed to own and manage the enormous oil wealth.  This led to the enactment of the Oil in Navigable Waters Act of 1968, the Oil Pipeline Act of 1969, and the Associated Gas Reinjection Act of 1969, the Petroleum Act of 1969, the Offshore Oil Revenue Decree of 1971, the Petroleum Production and Distribution Act of 1975 and the Exclusive Economic Zone Act of 1978.  The fact that oil and gas exploration is the most regulated business sector in Nigeria shows that the Niger Delta/South-South is treated as a colonized territory, hence, all legal and political efforts are deployed to deprive the indigenes of the region the right to enjoy the wealth generated from their territory.  Solid minerals are not regulated and controlled as oil and gas because they are found in the regions of those who wield political power in Nigeria.

Second, with the enactment of various acts to deprive the people of the oil region the right to make substantive decisions about the exploration and management of petroleum and gas, they become mere onlookers and watch helplessly while Nigerians from regions that have no oil in their backyards usurp their right to make decisions about the resources.  The indigenes of the oil region cannot even negotiate with the oil companies about the conditions to do business in their territory because only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has the legal authority to negotiate with the oil companies. Thus, for the oil region, there is no difference between being a colony of Britain and being a colony of Nigeria, even though Nigeria claims to be a sovereign state.

Third, Nigeria’s political, military and business elites have no qualms about joining forces with the oil companies to exploit the oil region to their advantage.  This means that the oil companies can literarily roam any part of the Niger Delta/South-South zone to explore and exploit, with the support of Nigeria’s security forces.  Those Nigerians who stand to benefit from the oil wealth simply wait to get their own share as the oil companies ransack the oil region freely, having been given a greenlight to do so by those who wield power.

In Nigeria, the national government and the ruling elite align with the oil companies and the oil consuming nations to colonize, marginalize and deprive the original owners of the oil region by making sure that they do not have the political power whatsoever to determine the regulation, exploration, and management of resources in their territory.  The Federal Government of Nigeria always align with the oil companies against the inhabitants of the oil region.  On the other hand, when Shell BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf Coast on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and injuring 17, as well as destroying the economic means of thousands of American citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas States, a sum of $20.8 was used to settled the victims of the disaster ( If that explosion had taken place in the Niger Delta/South-South, Nigeria’s first response would have been to send the security forces, namely the navy, army, police and Department of State Services (DSS) to stop the citizens from protesting and demanding compensation.  In the US, the government persuaded the companies involved, including BP, Anadarko, Trans-Ocean, and Halliburton to set aside money to compensate the victims.  The US did not send security forces to clamp down on the victims.  In Nigeria, the victims would have been threatened with bodily harm to stop them from bothering the oil companies.

Fourth, while oil and gas, which come under the category of liquid minerals, are heavily nationalized as shown by the numerous regulatory acts that have been enacted, the power-wielding elite are not eager to nationalize the exploration and management of solid minerals (bentonite, bitumen, coal, columbite, diamond, gold, gypsum, lithium, manganese, tin ore, uranium, zinc, and so on and so forth) because these minerals are  located in their territories.  Resultantly, despite the large quantities of gold, tin and other solid minerals in the North-Central, North-West and the Southwest, there is no national plan to generate national income through the effective exploration and management of these minerals.  Thus, even though gold can generate as much national income as oil and gas, the federal government is not wiling to create the Nigerian National Gold Corporation (NNGC) the way it did with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).  This means that those who wield power have no hesitation whatsoever to maximize their exploitation of the oil region while they are not eager to share the wealth generated from gold exploration with other parts of the country.

Fifth, due to the unwillingness to nationalize the mining and management of gold, tin, and other solid minerals, Nigerians in those regions are able to engage in private mining of these minerals and earn income to feed their families.  On the other hand, Nigerians in the Niger Delta/South-South cannot engage in private exploration of oil and gas to earn income to feed their families.  Thus, there are two sets of laws in the country, one for solid minerals and the other for liquid minerals.  In the oil region, those who engage in private refining of crude oil are arrested and detained while those Nigerians who mine gold, tin, columbite and other solid minerals are free to do as they wish.  The Nigerian Navy, Army, Police, and so forth, patrol the oil region to stop illegal refining but the Nigerian Army, Police, DSS, and so forth, do not patrol the solid mineral zones to stop illegal mining.

Sixth, having nationalized oil and gas resources, it was assumed that the wealth generated would go into the public coffer for the benefit of all Nigerians.  Instead, the military rulers awarded oil blocks to themselves, their family members, and friends.  As a result, selected individuals are the greatest beneficiaries of Nigeria’s oil wealth.  Instantly, some Nigerians became billionaires and multi-millionaires for owning oil blocks.   Surprisingly, most of those who own oil bocks are not indigenes of the oil region.  Translated, the federal government of Nigeria simply use “nationalization” as a tactics to transfer the oil wealth to individuals outside the oil region, thereby contributing immensely toward the pauperization of the region. This is why the richest region is also the poorest region in Nigeria.

Seventh, as part of the effort to render the oil region powerless and helpless, those who wield power rarely include the Niger Delta/South-South in the national economic and infrastructural development plans.  Annually, the national budget is prepared in a manner in which potential major economic and infrastructural development schemes are spelt out in detail for other regions of the country and the oil region is rarely included.   

Hence, every so often, a national public official will announce with fanfare about federal government’s desire to complete the Lagos – Ibadan, Lagos – Abuja, Abuja – Kaduna, Lagos – Kano, Port Harcourt- Maiduguri, Kaduna – Kano, Kano -Kazaure-Daura-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi rail lines. Most of these capital-intensive railway projects, as indicated above, are targeted at the non-oil producing regions while the region that lays the golden egg is blatantly ignored.  The Port Harcourt – Maiduguri line is an old one that the British built.  While the oil region is not much of interest to national policy makers concerning railway construction, it is very likely that the Niger Delta/South-South is going to be used as collateral for obtaining international loans to build these rail lines and other infrastructural projects.   In other words, the oil region is most probably going to be used as a surety to borrow foreign loans for the construction of railways in other parts of the country while the region is denied the benefit of such infrastructural development.  Rarely does anyone hear from federal government officials about a strong desire to build railways to connect the South-South, South-East, and the south-West regions of the country.  The proposed Lagos-Calabar railway is probably at the bottom of the list for those making national decisions about building rail lines in Nigeria.  Indeed, there is no enthusiasm for building the Lagos-Calabar line.  The project is simply announced as a political tactic to put the people of the oil region to sleep while the other railway projects are quickly constructed. Basically, the inhabitants of the oil region are being told that they are not important in the scheme of things in Nigeria, hence, they must always wait at the end of the line until other parts of the country are taken care of even though the funds originate from their territory.

The sad part of the national concentration of rail projects in other parts of the country is the fact that those regions contribute little or nothing to the national revenue.  Yet, they are at the front of the line for receiving these major infrastructural development projects because the power-wielding elite originate from those regions.

Eighth, with much regularity, federal officials enjoy announcing their intentions to build major road and irrigation projects in other parts of the country without including the region that lays the golden egg for the national economy.  Consequently, the two major roads that link Lagos to the South-East and the South-South are the Lagos – Benin- Onitsha Road and the East -West Road.   The East-West Road was built in the 1970s by Gen. Yakubu Gowon. Sometimes, during the rainy season, some sections of the road are under water and impassable.  Despite the poor condition of the road, rarely does the federal ministries talk about rehabilitating and dualizing the road.  Here again, the Niger Delta/South-South that bears the burden of generating the national income is ignored and abandoned while other parts of the country receive regular financial allocations for major road construction and rehabilitation.  When asked about the delay in completing the rehabilitation of the East-West Road, the current federal minister of Works and Housing responded by saying that 70% of the project has been completed but it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Niger Delta to complete it (  Concerning the bad state of the Itu/OduKpani Road, the honorable minister explained by saying that the road is very costly due to the difficulty of the terrain (Ibid).  It is very obvious that the national desire to build major roads in the Niger Delta/South-South is very low.  The Niger Delta has been neglected and deprived of infrastructural development since independence on the excuse that the terrain is too difficult for road construction.  It should be noted that the “difficulty of the terrain” did not stop Russia from constructing the longest railway on earth, known as the Trans-Siberian Railway.  It covers 9,200 kilometres or 5,720 miles and was completed in 1916 when Russia was a relatively poor country.  Siberia is one of the most difficult terrains in the world for building a rail line, yet Russia built the line to connect Europe with Asia.  Canada has no problem building roads and railways across the country which has a very difficult terrain.  The State of Florida is like the Niger Delta because the terrain, especially in South Florida, is very marshy and sandy.  Yet, it did not stop both the US Federal Government and the state from building major highways.  In fact, the road from Miami to Key West is about 165 miles.  Most sections of the road are on the sea.  The US 1 Highway starts from the Key West and goes around the country.  The City of Venice in Italy is built on water.  It was built in 421 CE when scientific and technological knowledge was still rudimentary.  Due to the uniqueness of the city, it attracts millions of tourists annually. Despite the “difficulty of the terrain” the Panama Canal started operating in August 15, 1914.  It was built by the US at a time when technology was not as sophisticated as today.  The US did not say the terrain is too difficult to build the canal.   In Nigeria, excuses upon excuses are given because there is no enthusiasm in investing funds generated from the oil region to develop the region.  Consequently, whenever the issue of developing the Niger Delta comes up, there is a tendency for public officials to say it costs too much to develop the region because of difficult terrain, despite the fact that the entire country relies on wealth generated from the “difficult terrain” to maintain itself. Why can’t the people of the oil region use the wealth generated from their backyards to develop their territory?  Why must they always wait for those who have nothing to do with the oil wealth to tell them when and how to develop railways and roads in their territory? The so-called federal roads in the South-East too are nothing to be proud of. The federal government does not even care abut rehabilitating them.   On the other hand, t

he North has major express roads built with the oil wealth from the Niger Delta/South-South and the region that lays the golden has not a single major express road. 

Ninth, as if the Niger Delta/South-South is not part of Nigeria, whenever the citizens in this part of the country decry their neglect by the national government, four-letter-word parastatal agencies and other organizations with fanciful acronyms are established to cater to their needs, instead of using the substantive governmental ministries such as the Ministry of Works and Housing, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and so on and so forth.  While the national ministries are directly involved in the infrastructural development of various projects in other parts of the country, it is always four-letter-word agencies like the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that are given the responsibility to develop the oil region as if the Niger Delta/South-South is not part of Nigeria.

The problem is that these semi-autonomous parastatal agencies are entrapped politically to the extent that they find it difficult to accomplish their responsibilities.  The saddest part of the problem is that these agencies are always viewed as financial piggy banks for politicians and public officials to loot funds that supposed to be utilized for the development and modernization of the region.  No wonder, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is noted more for ghost projects, ghost contracts, skeletal remains of uncompleted projects, and a financial store for politicians and pubic officials to enrich themselves. The Ministry of Niger Delta suffers the same fate because it is limited to only one zone of the country, thereby, subjecting it to political intrigues by those who wield power. If the Niger Delta/South-South is part of Nigeria, again, why can’t the Ministry of Works and Housing, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and other substantive cabinet-level ministries directly allocate funds for the development of infrastructural projects in the oil region the way they do in other regions of Nigeria.

Tenth, even though oil and gas are mostly found in the oil region, the entire industry is dominated by people from the non-oil producing regions.  In this case, the North has literally taken over the entire control of all the government agencies that engage in oil and gas exploration and management.  Apart from the fact that oil blocks are owned mostly by non-indigenes of the oil region, the top management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and associated agencies are the exclusive domain of the North (  The inhabitants of the oil region are rendered totally helpless and treated as colonial subjects of the North.  The National Assembly (NASS) has just confirmed that the Niger Delta/South-South is merely a petroleum colony to make other regions happy. The 30 percent allocation for the exploration of frontier basins is merely a financial game plan for the unrestrained exploitation of the oil wealth by powerful elements in the North.  It is an attempt to maximize the transfer of the oil wealth to the North. 

Eleventh, the Niger Delta/South-South is highly degraded environmentally due to massive oil pollution and gas flaring.  As a result, the inhabitants of the region are experiencing hunger and are suffering from all kinds of complicated medical conditions.  Acid rain is now a common feature of the landscape whenever it rains.  Despite the fact that the indigenes of the oil region have pleaded repeatedly for the oil companies and the federal government to clean the pollution, those who wield power are not interested in doing so.  Instead, the officials of the NNPC are always announcing a plan to increase oil production without saying much about cleaning the region after five decades of continuous oil and gas exploration.  It is clear to those in the oil region that those who wield power are only interested in generating income and not keen about spending billions of naira to clean the mess caused by oil exploration and gas flaring.  It is apparent that even the cleaning of Ogoniland came by way of the recommendation of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).  Despite the UN interest, the Ogoni clean-up effort is very lackadaisical.  This indicates that Nigeria really does not care about the oil region and its inhabitants.  It further adds to the feeling that the oil region is merely a colony that could be exploited to the advantage of those who wield power and their cronies.  This further means that the lives of those who inhabit the oil region are not important to Nigeria.

Twelfth, it is apparent that the oil region is treated like a colony and the inhabitants are merely colonial subjects of Nigeria, otherwise, Nigeria would have put a stop to gas flaring.  It is amazing that a national government of a sovereign state finds it difficult to order foreign oil companies to stop gas flaring.  Nigeria has repeatedly postponed the deadline for stopping gas flaring without explaining why it finds it so difficult to enforce the deadline.  The failure could be interpreted to mean that those who benefit from the oil wealth do not want any obstacle to hinder the oil companies from producing as much oil as possible, so that they can earn more.  This means that the indigenes of the oil region are sacrificial lambs for those who stand to gain from the oil wealth.

Thirteenth, while the inhabitants of the oil region are in a state of bewilderment over the incredulous manner in which Nigeria treats them, the National Assembly launched a knockout blow to inform them that they have no rights in Nigeria and the resources in their backyards will be exploited for the betterment of other zones by enacting legislation which allocates only 3% to Host Communities Development Trust Fund while approving a whopping 30% for frontier basins exploration in the northern parts of the country.   The host communities only demanded 10 percent but the number was cut to five and later three percent in the National Assembly. Basically, the NASS is saying that the political value of the people in the oil region is very little in Nigeria and they could be ignored at will.  On the other hand, 30 percent of the profits accruing from oil and gas exploration will be used to explore for resources in the North. By this act, the North is telling other Nigerians that it owns Nigeria and can do whatever it pleases.

To make sure that the host communities end up with very little, the “host community” is now redefined to include communities that have nothing to do with oil exploration, apart from oil pipelines running through their lands.  Perhaps, due to the desire to grab the oil wealth, no other bill in the history of Nigeria has taken so long to see the light of day.  It should be noted that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) started its life around April 2000 under former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Thus, it took the PIB about 20 years to get to this stage.  Then, in a twinkle of an eye, the region that lays the golden egg is blatantly shortchanged to transfer the oil wealth to the North.  The question is, do the political leaders of the North really believe in Nigeria or are they scheming to establish an Arewa Republic?  As such, perhaps, they are maximizing their effort to exploit other regions in preparation to declare their separation from Nigeria.  Otherwise, it is difficult to understand the rational behind awarding only 3 percent to host communities that have suffered so much since oil exploration began while awarding 30 percent for the exploration of frontier basins, mostly in the North.

Some Nigerians have speculated that the members of the National Assembly from the North wanted to pay back in kind to their southern colleagues for opposing the Water Resources Bill.  Using such a position to justify the awarding of 30 percent for exploration in the North doesn’t add up.  The reason is that the Water Resources Bill is a bill intended to satisfy the need of only a section of the country, hence, does not meet the criteria for “national interest” of Nigeria. The same goes for the RUGA plan that was intended to settle Fulani herders throughout the country.  Moreover, cattle rearing is a private for-profit-making business, therefore, it was utterly inappropriate to pass legislation to meet only the needs of those who operate cattle.  In the case of the PIB, the inhabitants of the oil region only ask for 10 percent for host communities and not 90 or 100 percent.  This means that they care about the national interest of Nigeria.  Unfortunately, by cutting the 10 percent to three percent and then awarding 30 percent to exploration in frontier basins does not meet the test of national interest.   Thus, if the view that the northern legislators wanted to pay back in kind for the rejection of the water bill is true, then it means that they are helping to divide the country.  It is in the national interest to explore for oil and other minerals in the North and other parts of Nigeria but it is not in the national interest to shortchanged the region that has been shouldering the financial responsibility to generate the national income.  Doing so is tantamount to robbing the owner of a property and expecting the owner to suffer and smile.

Fourteenth, the internal colonization and marginalization of the Niger Delta/South-South by those who wield power in Nigeria would not have taken place if some sons and daughters of the oil region did not get greedy and aligned with the outside elements to hijack the oil wealth.  Thus, Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions cannot be solely blamed for the colonization of the Niger Delta/South-South because some individuals in the oil region joined the train to exploit the region.

Consequently, there are some sons and daughters of the oil region who are receiving funds from the oil companies and the national government secretly to allow the exploitation of the region.  There are also some individuals in the oil region who have gotten contracts to keep their mouths shut while the oil wealth in their region is exploited.  Likewise, some sons and daughters of the oil region are given special employment at the national governmental level to buy their support for what is going on in the oil region.  Additionally, some former armed youths have now obtained surveillance contracts to protect the facilities that they swore to destroy in order to change the status quo.  Thus, anyone who has benefited financially from surveillance contracts is contributing to the colonization and marginalization of the Niger Delta/South-South.  Finally, there are those elements in the oil region who own oil blocks as their counterparts in the non-oil region producing regions.  Therefore, as far as a sizable number of people in the oil region are directly and indirectly contributing to the exploitation of the oil region, then change cannot take place.  Perhaps, the only way in which the situation can change to the advantage of the oil region is when alternative sources of energy replace petroleum in the world.  It is very easy for those who wield power in Nigeria to colonize and exploit the oil region.  They know that they can invite some people to Abuja and provide them with large sums of money to encourage them to support the exploitation of the region.  Indeed, money talks powerfully. Only very few people can escape the magnetic power of money.

Fifteen, the National Assembly (NASS) supposed to pass legislation based on the national interest of Nigeria at all times in order to unite the country.  Sadly, the decision of the majority members of the National Assembly to pass a bill that openly exploits and discriminates against the oil region in favor of the North in its three percent for host communities and 30 percent for exploration in frontier basins in the Petroleum Industry Bill shows that there is no such a thing as Nigeria.  Similarly, the refusal to approve the electronic transmission of results during elections in the Electoral Act Bill also shows that the National Assembly is not interested in the democratization of Nigeria.  The lack of commitment to the national interest is clearly demonstrated by an action Mr. Aminu Malle, the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase took, following the passage of the legislations. He thanked the northern members of the National Assembly “for protecting and promoting the interest of the North in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill and the Electoral Act” ( The implication of his statement is far reaching.  It shows that he and other northern members of the National Assembly do not believe in Nigeria but the North.  It shows that the North does not care about equity, fairness, justice, and the unity of the country.  It further means that northern members of the National Assembly would always act in the interest of the North’s and not for the interest of Nigeria.  Therefore, it is inferable that for him, most northern representatives in the National Assembly and the leaders of the North, the word “Nigeria” is merely a euphemism for the North.  When they say anything about Nigeria, they mean the North.  Mr. Aminu Malle congratulatory statement puts the representatives of the South in the National Assembly to shame for believing in their political parties and Nigeria. Mr.  Malle has taught the indigenes of the Niger Delta/South-South a lesson about never to compromise again since there is no “Nigerian interest” but regional interests.  This means that they have been fools for believing in the Nigerian project.  Mr. Malle has clearly stated that there is no “Nigerian interest.”


The action of the National Assembly against the oil region adds to the catalog of injustices that have been perpetrated against different sections of the country, thereby, resulting in the demand for restructuring and the break-up of Nigeria.  If those who wield national power continue to take actions that blatantly lead to discrimination, injustice, unfairness, and inequality, then they should not be surprised if some Nigerians demand a referendum to decide the fate of the country. Likewise, if those who insist that Nigeria is indivisible and must remain as one, continue to institute policies and actions that are unfair, unjust and discriminate, then they should not be surprised when some Nigerians call for separation. Those who claim that Nigeria must remain as one country, yet, take actions that only benefit the North should not be surprised when the Niger Delta/South-South finally wakes up to demand full compensation for five decades of exploitation and underdevelopment.  Indeed, Mr. Aminu Malle has shown that there is no such a thing as Nigeria since Nigeria increasingly means the North.

It is very obvious that the Niger Delta/South-South has never had a fair deal in Nigeria.  Time after time, the tendency is to short-change the region while rewarding those who wield national power.  Since petroleum and gas became major sources for generating nation income, the effort by those who wield power has been to marginalize, deprive, and pauperize the region that lays the golden egg. This leads to wealth transfer resulting in the impoverishing of the oil region while rewarding other regions.  It is also obvious that the oil region is treated as a colony which could be exploited to the betterment of other regions of Nigeria.  By implication, it means that the indigenes of the oil region are not viewed as Nigerians, hence, their exploitation.

For purpose of peace and national unity, President Muhammadu Buhari should not sign the Petroleum Industry Bill that allocates merely three percent to host communities while allocating 30 percent for frontier basins exploration.  He should send it back to the National Assembly to demonstrate that he is truly a national leader and not the mouthpiece of a section of the country.  The president should visit the oil region and address the people because they are not happy about what the National Assembly has done.   The president should also refuse to sign the Electoral Act Bill and send it back to the National Assembly to reduce tension.

Priye S. Torulagha

Nigeria’s Tragedy:  The Lack of Political Will to Fight and end the Boko Haram War and Banditry

Priye S. Torulagha


Nigeria seems to be afflicted by perpetual bad luck.  Despite rich human and natural resources, it is incapable of taking care of itself.  As a result, it bounces from one disaster to another to the point of being choked to death by mischievous forces within and outside the country. Apart from suffering from mismanagement engendered by an unpatriotic political elite, its financial lifeblood is being drained uncontrollably through massive pilfering by public officials while primordial sentiments (nepotism, tribalism, regionalism and religion) tear at its nationhood.   Due to constantly galloping from one crisis to another, Nigeria has become a laughing stock in Africa.  Otherwise, how can anyone explain the fact that the so-called giant of Africa is incapable of fighting, defeating and ending the bloody Boko Haram War that has dragged on for almost ten years.  It cannot even contain marauding herdsmen and bandits that plan like terrorists, operate like terrorists and kill like terrorists but are called different names by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The saddest part of the Nigerian tragedy is that the once mighty Nigerian military is a shadow of its former self.  It is difficult to stomach the fact that the Nigerian military which helped to stop political and military conflicts in different parts of the world, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Lebanon, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Sudan is unable to put an end to the Boko Haram disaster that has claimed more than 35,000 lives and send 3.5 million people into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps as refugees.

The question is, why is Nigeria fumbling so badly in fighting Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits, thereby, shredding its internal security architecture? In fact, due to its incapability in inflicting a decisive military blow against Boko Haram, other non-state armed elements, including herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers and violent gangs are crawling over the country. In a frenzy of uncontrollable proportion, they are kidnapping, killing, destroying and terrorizing the populace without the slightest fear of Nigerian security forces.  Nigeria seems like a country that does not have an army, airforce, navy, police, and intelligence agencies to protect its citizens and territory. Technically speaking, Nigeria is becoming a failed state.

Purpose of the Article

The purpose of this article is to explore the factors which hinder Nigeria from successfully ending the Boko Haram menace and insecurity in general.  To accomplish the task, the  following hypotheses are proposed: (1) the war against Boko Haram is winnable in a very short time if the Nigerian military is allowed to fight without political interference; (2) there is no political will to end Boko Haram insurgency due to other strategic considerations by those who wield political power in Nigeria; (3) the so-called herdsmen and bandits are part of the jihadist terrorist network like Boko Haram; and  (4) the more government officials try to explain the abduction and release of the Kankara GSSS students, the more they create doubt about the authenticity of the abduction.

1.The war against Boko Haram is winnable in a very short time if the Nigerian military is allowed to fight without political interference.

First, the Boko Haram war is merely a brush fire compared to the Nigerian Civil War.  Therefore, if those who wield power wants to end it, they can expedite the process by mobilizing the armed forces for a total war.

Second, without any doubt, the Nigerian military has the capability to defeat Boko Haram in a decisive manner if there is a political will on the part of the national leadership to allow the military to do so.  It should be recalled that during President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika was bent on inflicting a fatal blow on Boko Haram by mobilizing the Nigerian Army to carry out an all-out effort to stop the menace.  Unfortunately, as soon as some powerful individuals realized that Lt. Gen. Ihejirika was serious about putting a stop to the jjhadist threat, there were outcries from some very powerful individuals to discourage President Jonathan and the general from doing so.  Statements were made indicating that Southern Christian leaders were bent on destroying the Islamic North since both President Jonathan and Lt. Gen. Ihejirika were Christians from Southern Nigeria.  For instance, current President Muhammadu Buhari warned that “the Federal Government stop clamp down of Boko Haram insurgents, saying Niger Delta militants were never killed or properties belonging to them destroyed.” (PointBlank, 2013, June 2).  Thereafter, he added   an “attack on Boko Haram was an attack on the  North.”  The warning indicated that Boko Haram was fighting for the strategic interest of the Islamic North, hence, President Jonathan had no right to destroy the organization militarily.  Both were also accused of violating human rights of the people.

It should also be recalled that the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, decried the proscription of Boko Haram and Ansaru by the Jonathan administration,  arguing that “the recent proscription order against Boko Haram and Ansaru, desirable as it may be in tackling the terrorist organizations, violates the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by stifling the press and tampering with the fundamental human rights of Nigeria (Proscribing Boko Haram and Ansaru wrong, says CAN(2013, June 10).

The view that Dr. Jonathan and his generals were massively violating the human rights of northern citizens prompted Sharon Faliyacham to write: “I expect that by now a powerful coalition of northern leaders should hold a World Press Conference and declare that they are being destroyed systematically through a well-orchestrated state sponsored terrorism, and should raise a powerful delegation to visit world leaders and raise the same issue, and finally take the matter to the International Criminal Court of Justice and secure some arrest warrants” (2014, September 8). Gen. Ihejirika noted the political effort to malign him by saying, “When we commenced operations in Maiduguri against Boko Haram terrorist’s sect, text messages were sent round, to the fact that the Chief of Army Staff has deployed a General of Igbo extraction to avenge the killing of Igbos during the civil war.” (Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, spits fire, 2013, February 16). The campaign to sow discord started as a senior northern military officer was redeployed following a Boko Haram’s bombings.

The political pressures, warnings and threats from some of the most powerful elements in the Upper North dampened the enthusiasm on the part of President Jonathan and Lt. Gen. Ihejirika and other senior military officers to mount an uncompromising effort to stop Boko Haram.  The gap created by the tactical slowing down of the war effort allowed Boko Haram to grow and spread throughout the North-East region like an uncontrollable wild fire. 

Apart from statements made by powerful individuals to stop prosecuting the war against Boko haram, many Nigerian soldiers, police officers and some DSS agents seemed to have sympathy for the organization and assist the jihadists in various ways.  Hence, Al Jazeera reported: “ten generals and five other senior military officials have been found guilty in a court-martial” (2014, December 18).  The officers were found guilty for abetting the enemy in one form or another.

To show that Boko Haram can easily be defeated, prior to the elections of 2015, the entire Borno State which was under the control of the organization had to be retaken.  As a result, the Nigerian military, led by Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah and a mercenary force from South Africa combined their effort to drive away the jihadists.  The success of the effort allowed people to vote in Borno state of Nigeria.  As a result, former President Jonathan handed over to President Buhari a Borno State that was secured and a Boko Haram that had been degraded and pushed to the edge of the Sambisa forest and Lake Chad (Adebowale, 2020, December 5). The success of the combined effort indicated that if the military attacks had been sustained when President Buhari came into power, Boko Haram would have been totally liquidated.

Third, as indicated above, as soon as President Buhari took over the mantle of leadership as the president of Nigeria in May 2015, he terminated the contract which allowed the mercenary force to work with the Nigerian Army to rout Boko Haram from Borno State in 2015.  Around 2016, soon after Sambisa Forest was supposedly retaken by the Nigerian military, the Federal Government declared that Boko Haram had been defeated.  This view was reinforced by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism who insisted that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated.”  Thus, while the Federal Government maintained the narrative that the war had been won, Boko Haram continued to inflict death and destruction on Nigerian security forces and the civilian population in the North-East.

Fourth, the view that the Nigerian Army can single-handedly put an end to the Boko Haram menace is reinforced by a statement attributed to former Governor Kashim Shettima who said:

            Some of our greatest accomplishments in the current counterinsurgency efforts were

            recorded under army generals who are not from Borno and northern Nigeria….And we

have recorded in the last six weeks outweighs what was accomplished in the last three years, especially under Gen. Nicholas which is yet another hero of our time (Haruna, 2018, February 5).

The statement indicated that the Nigerian Army has capable officers who can put an end to the Boko Haram problem.  However, there are some officers, may be due to religious affiliation or financial interest, betray the military effort to win the war by not being proactive in degrading the jihadists.  The governor felt disappointed that senior northern military officers tended not to commit aggressively towards degrading Boko Haram.  The implicating being that there is a hidden goal in place that makes it difficult for some senior military officers to commit to ending the war.         

Fifth, the fact that Nigerian soldiers are willing to fight to win the war if given the right tools to do so can be shown by the disappointment they expressed over the lack of appropriate and effective equipment to do the job.  Frustrated, one Nigerian Army officer said the “war is winnable if the generals give us what we need.  Instead they buy soft-skinned Hilux.  That is not a weapon…Give us MRAPs.” (Anyadike, 2018, October 30).  This implies that while Nigerian soldiers are ready to fight and win the war, for whatever reason, they are not given the appropriate military equipment to do the job.  The question the becomes:  who does not want the Nigerian Army to end the Boko Haram war by refusing to arm them effectively?

Sixth, the desire to fight and end the war even compelled a high-ranking military officer, Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, the former Theater Commander of Operation Latiya Dole to risk his military career by publicly expressing his frustration over the failure of the army to provide appropriate equipment to do the job.  On video while being shot at by Boko Haram fighters, he complained about wrong intelligence and the lack of weapons to confront Boko Haram whose fighters outgunned his own troops.  For daring to go public, he was court-martialed and demoted. (Adebowale, 2020, December 5).  If a general got so frustrated about the lack of equipment to do the job effectively, it means that there is a high political hand that does not want Boko haram to be annihilated. Otherwise, the general would not have been treated the way the Army did, instead of giving him the tools to fight and win the war.

Definitely, the issue is not with the Nigerian armed forces, rather, it is the lack of political will by some powerful individuals who control Nigeria officially and unofficially that does not want the war to end.

Seventh, if the Chadian military can single-handedly almost defeat Boko Haram, the Nigerian military can also do the same.  It should be recalled that in the early April 2020 military counteroffensive, the Chadian military forces almost ended the Boko Haram menace, if not for the fact that the surviving members of the organization fled into Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger Republic and Chad did not want to violate the territorial integrity of the country. If Nigerian military had reinforced following the Chadian counteroffensive, Boko Haram would have collapsed.  Thus, the Nigerian military too can easily defeat Boko Haram in a very swift manner if there is a political will to allow the armed forces

 to operate freely like professional military organizations.

Eighth, thousands of gallant Nigerian soldiers and civilian JTF members gave up their lives while fighting  against the odds to prevail over Boko Haram  A few of the gallant officers who gave up their lives include: Col. D. C. Bako, Lt. Col. Ibraahim Sakaba, Lt. Col. O. Umusu, Lt. Col. K. Yusufu, Lt. Col. Abu Ali, Lt. Col. B. U. Umar, Lt. Col. Yusuf Aminu, Lt. Co. A. E. Mamudu, Lt Col. Azubuike, Capt. Victor Ulisi, Lt. Lirfa Dashe, 2nd. Lt. Chibuzo Ezenwa (Adebowalee, 2020, December 5).  These does not include other officers and thousands of gallant Nigerian soldiers, Airforce personnel and members of special forces, as well as those of the civilian JTF.  Indeed, the members of the armed forces need the right tools and a political will that allow them to conduct the war in a decisive manner.

(2) there is no political will to end Boko Haram insurgency due to other strategic considerations by those who wield political power in Nigeria. 

The Nigerian military and police forces can easily put an end to Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits that operate like members of terrorist organizations,

 if there is a political will by the leadership of the country.  However, the armed forces cannot perform if utterances, actions and inactions and the body languages of those who wield political power do not provide an environment that allow military leaders to operate without the fear of antagonizing certain powerful individuals.   The following provide a catalog of reasons that show that there is no political will to allow for the annihilation of Boko Haram and associated groups.

First, Boko Haram’s Islamic jihadism is very attractive to millions of Nigerians who wish to Islamize Nigeria.  Those who share the ideological sentiment with Boko haram see the organization as an Allah-inspired force to do the needy for the Islamic dream in Nigeria.   Fortunately for Boko Haram and unfortunately for Nigeria, some Nigerians who share the same ideology with Boko Haram are very powerful political, military and religious tycoons in the country.  They are so powerful to the point of influencing national policy towards the war against Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits.  It should not be forgotten that when the late Gen. Awoye Azazi, the former Director of National Security (DNS) made a statement indicating that some high and mighty personalities in PDP were responsible for supporting Boko Haram, he was severely criticized to the point of being terminated from the DNS position. In fact, he eventually died in a helicopter crash that some Nigerians believed was sabotaged to kill him since he was a threat to those who wield power in the country.

Second, some people are motivated to make tremendous sum of money from the war, hence, oppose defeating Boko Haram or ending the war very quickly.  Those who are benefiting financially put political roadblocks which makes it difficult for the Nigerian military to operate effectively against the jihadists.  There is no doubt that a large percentage of the funds that have been allocated to fight the war is embezzled by some of those responsible for running the war. In an investigative report, Premium Times quoted a Transparency International Report which stated that “a network of Nigerian military chiefs, politicians, and contractors worked together to steal more than N3.1 trillion through arms procurement contracts between 2008 and 2017” (Emmanuel, 2018, May 15).  The need to accumulate wealth through the war, perhaps, contributes to the reason why high-quality military equipment are rarely purchased by some of those who are responsible for acquiring arms and equipment. 

Third, there are some Nigerians who believe that the abductions of the Chibok, Dapchi and Kankara students were motivated to ensure huge financial payments from the government.  As a result, there are elements in society as well as in the security agencies who work with Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits to ensure that the war does not end and kidnappings go on. Even though every peace-loving individual is happy that the students of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) have been released, nevertheless, there is a suspicious feeling that the abduction was arranged just like that of Chibok and Dapchi.  The suspicion is fueled by the fact that the abduction took place in an area that had extensive security umbrella.  In other words, how was it possible for men riding motorcycles to abduct over 344 students in a security zone without being intercepted by the army or airforce or police or DSS?  Perturbed by the incessant cases of abductions, killings and destruction of communities, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State felt frustrated and unhappy about the situation.  Boluwaju Obahopo of Vanguard reported: “Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said that certain politicians are frustrating the war against insecurity by President Muhammadu Buhari.  The governor said those politicians are politicizing insecurity for selfish political and economic gains while describing them as enemy of the country (2020, December 19).

Fourth, there is no doubt that a sizable number of political, military and religious leaders in the Islamic North supported Boko Haram while Dr.  Goodluck Jonathan was the president of the country.  As a result, they equated Boko Haram with Niger Delta/South-South militants.  Hence, after a three-day conference held in Kano, northern elders call “on the federal government to grant amnesty to Boko Haram sect members.  They urged the government to initiate a restoration, reformation and rehabilitation programme that would reintegrate demilitarised Boko Haram sect members into society.  Specifically, they urged President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue with the sect and grant its members amnesty just as it was done for restive youths in the oil-rich Niger Delta region” (Northern elders seek amnesty for Boko Haram members, n.d.).

Thus, it could even be argued that Boko Haram was encouraged to grow by some regional leaders in order to get the same treatment given to Niger Delta/South-South militants, regardless of the fact that Boko Haram is a terrorist organization and the Niger Delta militants are not.    Niger Delta militants fought for equity, justice and fairness in the distribution of the oil wealth, as well as encourage the Federal Government to develop the oil region which lays the golden egg for the entire nation.  The militants did not kill people recklessly and destroy communities as if they had gone insane.  They focused their attacks at the sources of their marginalization and deprivations.  They were willing to negotiate at every given moment with the stakeholders (regional leaders, oil companies and the federal government).  They followed the traditional African concept of just war doctrine by warning the targets of their attacks in advance before actually carrying out any operation.  They also warned civilians to flee any operational area before they carried out an attack to reduce collateral damage.  As soon as Niger Delta/South-South leaders persuaded them to desist from armed opposition, they stopped attacking oil facilities and allowed negotiations to take place.

On the other hand, Boko Haram is like a mad dog that has been unleashed by malevolent forces to destroy Nigeria.  It is beholden to a violent Islamic agenda that is a direct threat to the territorial integrity of Nigeria.  It wants to ban Western education which no sensible society will accept as a condition for achieving societal progress.  It does not follow any acceptable traditional just war doctrine, apart from terrorizing, killing and destroying recklessly.  In short, it is a terrorist organization.  Sadly, some northern elders and leaders who supported Boko Haram during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency cannot even tell the leadership of the organization to cease reckless attacks against unarmed civilians, towns and villages in the North-East.  Similarly, these leaders find it difficult to persuade the armed bandits who are inflicting destruction and death in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and other states in the North to sto doing so..  Despite the horror, there are still powerful individuals who support Boko Haram In order to achieve their religious, political and financial goals.

Fifth, instead of paying-back-in-kind for the thousands of Nigerian soldiers, civilian JTF members, unarmed civilians, and members of international humanitarian organizations that have been killed by Boko Haram, the Nigerian military actually has a program designed to rehabilitate captured and surrendered Boko Haram fighters.  Basically, thousands of captured

Boko Haram members are rehabilitated while their colleagues continue to invade, kill and destroy.  After being in rehabilitation camps for a period of time, they are released back into society as if they had done nothing wrong.  There is no doubt that the program to rehabilitate Boko Haram members was in response to the demand of the elders and leaders of the North which demanded that amnesty be given to Boko Haram, as indicated in #4 above.

Governor Babagana Umaru Zulum of Borno State and Senator Dume who represents Southern Borno State have argued against the rehabilitation program since the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government do not provide the same kind of program to support the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have been forced to live in internally displaced persons camps. In actuality, the civilian refugees who are victims of Boko Haram live in squalor in the camps while Boko haram members live in well-equipped rehabilitation camps.  Sen. Ndume opposed the rehabilitation program by saying “deradicalizing repentant Boko Haram members is a misplacement of priority, stressing that the government should focus on rehabilitating the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various camps across the North…it is unfair for the government to lavish its resources on ex-Boko Haram insurgents who threaten the peace of the nation and not those affected by the insurgency” (Ige, 2020, November 12).

Nigerians wonder why is it that hundreds of thousands of people who have been brutalized and forced to live in refugee camps are treated in a ramshackle manner while Boko Haram members who are responsible for brutalizing thousands of Nigerians and killing thousands of both soldiers and civilians are pampered by the Federal Government of Nigeria.  Here again, it seems that a higher political hand is at play to protect Boko Haram.  This means that the strategic interest of sustaining the organization is far more important than the strategic interest of maintaining peace and stability in Nigeria. 

Generally, in an ongoing war, captured or surrendered soldiers are kept in prisoners-of-war camps until the termination of hostilities.  In the case of Nigeria, captured and surrendered members of Boko Haram are immediately rehabilitated and released back to society.  Some of them eventually end up rejoining their comrades to continue the war to kill Nigerians and destroy communities in the country.

Sixth, the fact that Boko Haram, particularly the wing that is associated with the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) has been very effective in attacking military targets, implies that there are some Nigerian soldiers, intelligence agents and government officials who are actively aiding the organization. 

For instance, on September 1, 2014, while a unit of the Nigerian Army was seriously engaged in repelling an insurgents’ attack on an army barracks in Bama in Borno State, a Nigerian Airforce bomber joined the fray but instead of attacking Boko Haram fighters it attacked the army barracks by destroying the armoury and inflicting heavy casualty on Nigerian soldiers (Faliyacham, 2014, September 8).  People wondered why a Nigerian Airforce plane bombed a Nigerian Army barracks that was obvious, even from the air. Similarly, in October, 2014, a Nigerian Army colonel and some junior officers were arrested for setting fire on three armoured personnel carriers while taking part in an offensive against Boko Haram between Gulak and Madagali in Adamawa State.  In reacting to the unpatriotic act, an army officer questioned, “How can it be explained that several APCs that cost up to $1 million each in some cases or more will be willingly destroyed by commissioned officers (Cos) who swear to defend the territorial integrity of their nation, just to help terrorists” (Omonobi, 2014, October 11).  The same Nigerian Army officer added “But the truth is many of them are sabotaging Nigeria and making the insurgents look formidable for reasons that cannot be explained” (Omonobi).

In fact, 2018 and 2019 were characterized by a remarkable increase in Boko Haram/ISWAP attacks against military bases.  The period also experienced an increase in the number of deaths involving Nigerian soldiers, both officers and non-officers.  Due to the successes, the organization has been able to capture critical Nigerian military hardware.  It is safe to say that increasingly Nigeria buys the arms and the Boko Haram/ISWAP uses the arms to fight Nigerian troops. In other words, Nigeria is technically buying arms for Boko Haram to fight against Nigeria. James Reinl wrote “How stolen weapons keep groups like Boko Haram in business” (2019, April 19).

To show that the situation has deteriorated under the current administration compared to the Jonathan administration, Yemi Adebowale noted, “during the Jonathan era, there were 11 formal IDP camps in Borno State, with less than 100,000 people.  Under Buhari’s years, the number of formal IDP camps grew to 33, with over 700,000 people.  In the last five and half years, over 3000 indigenes of this state have lost their lives to Boko Haram (2020, December 12). 

Seventh, if a higher political hand is not at play, why is it that Abubakar Shekau is not afraid of the Nigerian military but is very afraid of the Chadian military.  Time after time, Boko Haram tries very hard to avoid an encounter with the Chadian Army while the organization is not afraid of the Nigerian Army. As a result, he pleaded sobbingly for the Chadian Army to leave him and his organization alone. He pleaded, “People of Chad, leave us alone, this operation is not approved by the Qu’ran.  It is not the will of the Prophet Mohammed but if you want to continue, God will help us too because he is bigger than you (Opejobi, 2020, April 7).  His fear of the Chadian Army and lack of fear of the Nigerian Army seems to indicate that he has assurance from some powerful elements in Nigeria that nothing will happen to him and his boys.  Therefore, he is not worried about the Nigerian military.  Perhaps, the assurance is responsible for the lack of will by the political leadership of Nigeria to allow the military to apply full force to finish the job.  Perhaps, the assurance is also responsible for the fact that whenever Boko H

aram is about to be crushed, something happens to rejuvenate it.  As a result, it could be said that both Abubakar Shekau and Boko Haram have more than nine lives.

Eighth. The issue of the lack of political will to prosecute the war comes into play in the manner in which the Nigerian armed forces fight the war. Even though the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce are parts of the same military establishment coordinated by the Armed Forces Defence Headquarters with a Chief of Defence Staff (CODS), they do not seem to integrate their actions in fighting Boko Haram and the bandits.  The Nigerian Army seems to do its own thing and the Nigerian Airforce also seems to do its own thing even though both are supposed to fight a common enemy.  It appears that both forces are competing to outwit each other and to get the attention of the president, instead of working together to eradicate the Boko Haram menace.  Similarly, the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) do not seem to work cooperatively with the military forces to share intelligence in an effective manner. 

As a result, even though Boko Haram does not have an Airforce, thereby, allowing the Nigerian Airforce to dominate the airspace, the Airforce does not utilize the aerial advantage to pulverize Boko Haram forces when they attack a military base or a community.  Due to the inability by the Airforce to dominate the air space, the insurgents sometimes spend three to five hours to attack an army base or a community without the Airforce joining the fray to neutralize the Boko Haram threat.  Imagine a Nigerian Army unit being ambushed and fighting for three or more hours without the Airforce rushing in to lessen the burden on the troops on the ground.  This is why on numerous occasions, Boko Haram fighters have been able to overrun military bases, towns and villages protected by Nigerian soldiers without incurring much injury. For instance, Zowo village in Gubio Local Government Area was invaded by insurgents on June 20, 2020.  The insurgents fought in the area for over three hours and killed 69 people (Adebowale, 2020, December 12).  The troops on the ground did not receive aerial support from either jet-fighters or helicopter gunships. The Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) has been very effective in ambushing and attacking Nigerian Army targets in the North-East.  In the process, on numerous occasions, it has been able to cart away sizable quantities of weapons to enhance its arsenal while Nigerian soldiers scamper for safety. 

The lack of security coordination can also be detected in the recent kidnapping of the 344 students from the Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) in Kankara, Katsina State on December 11, 2020.   An initial report indicated that the bandits arrived the school riding motorcycles and operated for hours without any major response from the police, army and the Department of State Service (DSS).  Thus, bandits, like Boko Haram, can invade any Nigerian community at any time of their choosing and spend hours in inflicting pain and destruction without interference from the security forces.  On many occasions, the security forces only showed up after the bandits have left.  The Kankara school abduction is eerily similar to the Chibok, and Dapchi kidnappings. In the three cases, the security forces only responded after the insurgents or bandits have completed their operations and left with their captives.


If there is a political will to actually fight Boko Haram, the Nigerian Airforce would have its units attached to the army units on the ground to facilitate communication and ensure quick response whenever Boko Haram attacks. The Nigerian Police Force and the DSS too should have direct lines of communication with the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce for a quick reaction response to any threat.

Ninth, if there is a political will to end the Boko Haram menace, most of the troops stationed in the South-South, South-East and South-West would have been mobilized and deployed in the North-East front to increase the size of the troops on the ground.  With a large military presence, a major offensive can be launched to flush out Boko Haram elements in the Sambisa forest and the Lake Chad region.  The Airforce role should be to dominate the airspace by carrying out regular bombardment of suspected camps for days in order to compel many Boko Haram fighters to surrender.

It should be recalled that when Boko Haram ambushed and killed 95 Chadian troops in March 2020, the government of Chad mobilized a large force to attack Boko Haram in early April 2020.  In the process, it was able to reduce the fighting capability of Boko Haram by about 80%.  It was this large offensive that compelled Abubakar Shekau to plead for Chadian troops to leave his forces alone.  It was also this offensive that compelled many Boko Haram fighters to attempt to surrender.  Therefore, the Nigerian Army, Airforce, Police and DSS should assemble a large force, backed by up by special forces to go after Boko Haram.  After stabilizing the North-East, the forces should be deployed to the North-West to do a massive weeding operation

Tenth, any careful observer of the Nigerian Army will notice that the organization spends more time demonstrating its military might in the South-East, South-South and the South-West through its “Crocodile Smile 1, II, and III” and “Python Dance, 1, II, and III”, instead of sending the troops to join the war against Boko Haram and bandits in the North-East and the Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara axis.  A careful observer will also notice that the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force, and the DSS tend to react very swiftly to the slightest provocation in the South-East and the South-South while moving very lethargically in the actual theater of war in the North-East and the North-West.  This creates the impression that the Nigerian Army seems to assume that the threat in the south is greater than the threat in the north, hence, it reacts very quickly to show its might in SE and SS while not being eager to show its might where it is really needed to stop the wanton killing and maiming of people and destruction of communities. Indeed, the “Crocodile Smiles” and “Python Dances” are a waste of time, manpower, resources and money since the greatest threat to the national security of the country lies elsewhere. It is inferable that the army and the police are deployed to the SE and SS instead of the North-East in order to slow the pace of the war against Boko Haram.

Eleventh, the inability to put a death nail to the Boko Haram threat is not due to the incapability of the Nigerian armed forces, rather, it is due to lack of political will on the part of the political leadership to allow the armed forces to do their job professionally without political interference.  On numerous occasions, Nigerian troops have defeated Boko Haram fighters and forced them to flee to escape total annihilation.  Similarly, on many occasions, Chadian troops have inflicted mortal blows to the capability of Boko Haram.  These took place in Gamboru, Bama, Damasak, Gajiganna, and so on and so forth. The biggest Chadian offensive took place in early April 2020 when the country launched a massive operation against the organization to pay-back-in-kind for the killing of 95 Chadian soldiers, as indicated above.  After taking and holding Nigeria territory, it pleaded with Nigeria to send in troops to prevent Boko Haram from reoccupying the area.

Twelfth, it was widely reported in the media after the Chadian counter-offensive in early April 2020 that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai had relocated to the North-East to be directedly involved in coordinating the war effort to put an end to Boko Haram. PM News reported, “Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has relocated to the North East as the Nigerian army gets ready in final onslaught against Boko Haram.  Buratai will be overseeing and directing the overall operations in the theatre and other Nigerian army operations across the country from the North East” (War against Boko Haram: Buratai relocates fully to the North East, 2020, April 11).    So, what happened to the effort?  Is he still in the North-East or has he left?  Why has the war not ended despite the presence of the army chief of staff?     It seemed that as soon as the focus on the Chadian military success was removed from public consciousness, there was no more reporting about the presence of the Army Chief of Staff in the warfront. 

Thirteenth, it should be recalled that following the Chadian infliction of damage on Boko Haram and the Nigerian counteroffensive as a result of the visit of the army chief of staff, Kingsley Nwezen of This Day reported that the Coordinator of the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Maj. Gen. John Enenche said “ while there was no official contact with the terror leader, his body language showed that he was ready to surrender.” The statement meant that the war was about to end as Shekau’s body language indicated a desire to end the war.  If Boko Haram was almost brought to its knees, thereby, compelling Shekau to want to surrender, then what happened later to prevent him from surrendering.    This is December 2020 and Shekau has not surrendered. Instead, Boko Haram continues to inflict destruction and death on Nigerians.  This means that either his body language was wrongly diagnosed or a political hand had stepped in to prevent the surrendering, thereby, allowing him to breathe a fresh air.

Fourteenth, despite the atrocities that Boko Haram has committed against military, police, and civilian JTF members and the civilian population, Nigerian military authorities have never shown any anger that would have motivated them to take the war to the jihadists since this administration came into being.  Similarly, the military authorities have never shown any urgency to put an end to the menace by marshalling a large military force to launch massive attacks against Boko Haram the way Chad did after 95 of its troops were ambushed and killed.  Boko Haram survived the Chadian offensive by fleeing to the Nigerian side of the border.  Frustrated by the fact that its forces could not cross into Nigeria to finish the job, President Idriss Deby Itno pleaded for the Nigerian military to reinforce and prevent the Boko Haram from escaping the offensive but Nigeria reacted lethargically, thereby, enabling Shekau and his organization to rejuvenate. The lethargic response seemed to have prompted the Chadian leader to say that his troops would not hand over caches of weapons captured from Boko haram to Nigeria.  He stated quite undiplomatically, “We won’t hand over Boko Haram weapons to Nigeria, unless) (Vanguard, 2020, April).  Later, he declared, “from today, no Chadian soldiers will take part in a military mission outside of Chad’ (Vanguard, 2020, April 11). This meant that he was frustrated with the manner in which Nigeria was prosecuting the war.

Fifteenth, a perplexing issue that boggles the mind is that while Nigeria has been fighting Boko Haram for about 10 years now, it seems incapable of gathering appropriate intelligence that would have enabled the military to carry out targeted attacks to eliminate the leadership and logistical centers of the organization.  On the other hand, it was amazing that President Deby of Chad knew where Abubakar Shekau was hiding in April 2020 and ordered him to surrender while the Nigerian authorities have never shown any inclination to indicate that they know where the leaders of the organization are hiding.  The question is, why did the Chadian president know where Shekau was and the Nigerian military, police and intelligence agencies acted as if they did not know where he was in April 2020?  To make sense of the situation, it is preferable to accept the view that Nigerian security agencies know where the leaders and logistical centers of Boko Haram are.  However, the lack of political will on the part of the political leadership of the country has thwarted the need to use intelligence in a manner that can result in putting an end to Boko Haram.  This could be corroborated by the video which showed Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi expressing his frustration over wrong intelligence that led to his troops being ambushed by Boko Haram fighters.

Sixteenth, on the issue of gathering appropriate intelligence to fight the war, some Nigerians, including retired military officers and security consultants have suggested the importance of security forces working closely with members of local communities to gather critical intelligence.  The suggestion makes sense in theory but not in practice since it is fraught with danger.  The danger comes in the form that if members of any local community in the theater of war work closely with the security forces by passing critical intelligence about the whereabouts and the activities of the insurgents, who will protect the community when the insurgents decide to pay the members of the community back by attacking them for spying and snitching on them.   In other words, without protection, it is dangerous for any community to work closely with security agencies because it is most likely that the insurgents would monitor the community to know who is working with the government forces.  In fact, it should be recalled that Boko Haram stated that it attacked and killed rice farmers in Zabarmari village near Maiduguri in retaliation for the community’s working with the military to capture and hand over one of its fighters to the security forces (Nigeria: Boko Haram killed 76 farmers in Borno State, n.d.).  Therefore, it is insufficient to merely suggest an active working relationship between local communities and security forces to gather intelligence without setting up a program to protect the communities against retaliation by the insurgents and bandits. If Nigerian security forces want to cultivate an active working relationship in Nigeria, they must first develop a protection program for the communities to prevent retaliation.

Seventeenth, it is unfortunate that, suddenly, the Nigerian military, police and intelligence agencies now realize the importance of working with the civilian population to gather intelligence. It is unfortunate in the sense that the members of the Nigerian armed forces have traditionally referred to the civilian population as “bloody civilians”’.  Hence, whenever there is a confrontation, the military often reacts as if it is fighting a war against an enemy nation by attacking, beating up, killing and destroying the communities that are involved in the civilian-military altercations.  The list of Nigerian communities that have been brutalized is very long but a few will do.  In this regard, Odi, Zaki Biam, Odiama, Gbaramatu, and Ayakoromo readily come to mind.  The most recent cases involved the heavy-handed military crackdown by shooting and killing of some EndSARS demonstrators at the Lekki Gate in Lagos and the army onslaught against Oyigbo/Obigbo in retaliation for the killing of some soldiers and police officers.  Oyigbo/Obigbo was sealed up while the troops carried out search, shoot and arrest of suspected perpetrators.

The Nigerian Police Force too has been very oppressive against the Nigerian populace.  Apart from forcing citizens to pay illegal fees at check points, people have been beaten or killed  extra-judicially without any reason.  Quite often, police officers who killed are left off the hook without the law taking its course.  It was the unnecessary killings of unarmed civilians by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that finally compelled Nigerian youths to organize a national

protest against police brutality. Thus, after decades of the armed and police forces oppressing and brutalizing the civilian population, these forces now want civilians to cooperate with them to exchange intelligence.  They know that Nigerians do not trust them.  The view that the Nigerian masses do not trust those in uniforms is reinforced by Mr. Azu Ishiekwene who wrote:

“It has obviously taken five years for the military high command to find out that the average Nigerian – whether a Zabarmawa or an Ijebu man – doesn’t trust the man in uniform (2020, December 4).

Eighteenth, the clearest evidence that there is no political will to crush Boko Haram is attributed to a statement made by Lt. Gen, Tukur Buratai.  He stated: “There is general misunderstanding of what insurgency and terrorism entails.  There is likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years.  It only depends on the level of escalation and the appropriate responses by all stakeholders both civil and military authorities” (Joseph, 2020, December 3).  The statement reveals a lot about why the Nigerian Army is unable to inflict a decisive blow against Boko Haram, for the following reasons:  (1) it is strange that the head of the army is conceding incapability to win a war;  (2), it is strange that instead of marshaling his forces to expedite the pace of the war in order to end it quickly, he is forecasting that the war could last for twenty years; (3) the statement contradicts the narrative that Boko Haram has been defeated; (4) if Gen. Buratai knew that the war might drag on for about twenty years, why did he not inform the presidency and the minister of Information and Culture that the war had not been won; (5) perhaps, Gen. Buratai is aware that there is no political will on the part of the political leadership to crush Boko Haram, hence, he is preparing Nigerians to stomach the possibility that the war might not end soon; and (6) the COAS’s view of the war nullifies a statement that the Coordinator of Defence Headquarters Media Operations, Maj. Gen . John Enenche made in early April 2020, indicating that Shekau’s body language created the impression that he was about to negotiate to surrender.  The COAS position on the state of the war simply adds to the catalog of unanswered questions about the direction of the war.  If Chad was able to mobilize its forces in early April 2020 to inflict extensive damage on Boko Haram, why is Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa, finding it so difficult to do the same?

Nineteenth, if the Chief of Army Staff maintains the view that the war against Boko Haram might go on for about twenty years, the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Mallam Lai Mohammed explains that Nigeria is being denied the weapons it desired ( Omonobi et al, 2020, December 12) and the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) argues that Nigeria lacks “sophisticated modern weapons” to win the war quickly (Umeh, 2020, December 7), then it means that Nigeria is forfeiting its sovereignty.  The reason is that under international law, in order for a nation to gain the status of statehood and maintain its sovereignty, it must have a territory, a population, a government that is accepted by the majority of the people and be able to exercise sovereign authority over its territory.  Therefore, if Nigeria cannot protect its territory, population and gain the support of the majority of the citizens, then it means that Nigeria is not able to maintain its sovereignty.  Under the circumstances, the independence of Nigeria is questionable since it cannot protect itself and its citizens. Basically, Nigeria is surrendering its sovereignty, hence, Boko Haram, herdsmen, bandits, and cult gangs are able to roam free and do as they wish.

The fact that Nigeria is increasingly incapable of protecting itself and its citizens is very obvious as Boko Haram, herdsmen, kidnappers, and bandits invade, attack, destroy and kill Nigerians at will in a very alarming rate.  As the marauding bands invade without Nigeria’s security forces responding proactively to thwart the invasion, it means that the security forces are being overwhelmed.  As the security forces are being overwhelmed, Nigerians in Borno, Benue, Katsina, Taraba, Niger, Kaduna, and Zamfara states are paying dearly.  The most recent horrendous killing of Nigerians took place in Zabarmari, Borno State.  Other zones of the country are not spared of the fear resulting from the incapability of the security forces to deter the unprovoked attacks, kidnappings and terrorizing of entire communities.  It is crucial for President Muhammadu Buhari, Lt. Gen. Buratai ( the Chief of Army Staff), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) (the Director of National Security), Yusuf Magaji Bichi ( the Director of the DSS), Mohammed Adamu ( the Inspector General of the Police), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar ( the Chief of Airforce Staff), Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (the Chief of Defence State), Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) ( the Minister of Defence), and other senior security chiefs  to realize that Nigeria is forfeiting its sovereignty since the country is increasingly incapable of maintaining its status as a sovereign state.

Twentieth, the reasons provided by government officials and security chiefs to explain why Nigeria has not been able to rout the Boko Haram are totally unconvincing for a number of reasons.  First, President Buhari was elected as president because a considerable number of Nigerians felt that since he was a retired military general, he would do a better job in containing and possibly defeating Boko Haram than former President Jonathan who was a civilian.  So, Buhari and his team knew their assignment right from the moment his administration took over power in May 29, 2015.  Second, former President Jonathan had said repeatedly that some foreign powers made it exceedingly difficult for Nigeria to buy appropriate weapons to fight Boko Haram.  This meant that the Buhari administration was supposed to fix the problem of arms supply as soon as he came onboard. Third, this administration declared in later part of 2016 that Boko Haram had been technically defeated.  This was seconded by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism on two or more occasions where he emphatically stated that the war had been won.  At the time, the minister of defence did not say that Nigeria was suffering from lack of military weapons.  Then, all of a sudden, lack of military weapon has become a problem in 2020.   If the war had been won, as indicated by the presidency and the minister of information and culture, then how can the same war not be won due to lack of appropriate weapons?  The excuses merely reinforce the view that a delay tactics is being deployed to prolong the war because there is no political will to annihilate Boko Haram. 

Twenty-first, the argument that there is no political will to end the menace caused by Boko Haram, Herdsmen, and Bandits is further buttressed by the indecisiveness of the political leaders of the Upper North.  For instance, Governor Babangana Umaru Zulum of Borno state’s convoys have been ambushed three times, resulting in the deaths of both security personnel and civilians.  After the recent Zabarmari’s attack which resulted in the death of about 76 farmers, the governor suggested the redeployment of mercenaries to fight the war.  His suggestion was backed by other North-East governors (N’East govs back Zulum on mercenaries deployment, (2020, December 2).  No sooner he called for the deployment of a mercenary force, he turned around to indicate “clearly that President Muhammadu Buhari  has still performed better in handling Borno’s security challenges (Marana, 2020, December).  The statement shows that the governor is not serious about dealing with the Boko Haram matter.  He cannot on one hand call for a mercenary force and then turn around to say that the existing mechanism is working better.  If the president is doing a better job then he should not call for a mercenary force.  It is this kind of posturing that is making it difficult for the Nigeria military, the DSS and the police to carry the war to Boko Haram in a fully mobilized manner.  It should be recalled that some of the northern elders and political leaders who are now putting pressure on President Buhari to take strong measures to reduce insecurity were the ones who called for giving amnesty to Boko Haram fighters.

Twenty-second, it could even be hypothesized that excessive political interference on the part of some powerful individuals in the country forced former President Goodluck Jonathan to hire the South African Defense Force known as the Specialized Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection (STTEP) to engage the Boko Haram when he realized that the Nigerian military was mired in politics and highly compromised, hence, could not carry the war to Boko Haram in a manner that would have  resulted in the termination of the organization.  The sudden manner in which the STTEP contract was terminated in 2015 seems to reinforce the view that there is no political will to end the Boko Haram war.  

Twenty-third, for those who do not want the Nigerian military to end the war, it should be noted that the more the war drags on, the more there will be suffering, poverty and hunger.  The reason is that the violent actions of Boko Haram, herdsmen, bandits and cult gangs have a serious negative impact on the Nigerian economy.  If farmers in Borno and other parts of the country cannot go to their farms, they starve for lack of food.  At the same time, the food supply nationally is disrupted, resulting in high food prices.  When prices of foodstuffs go up considerably, hunger creeps in to increase poverty.  Consequently, the longer the war drags on, Nigeria’s economy will shrink, thereby causing a higher unemployment rate in the country, This can lead to political instability and a threat to the survival of the country.

Twenty-fourth, despite the reputation that the members of the armed forces have in inflicting pain and destruction on “bloody” civilians when provoked, they have been very restrained in dishing out a mortal blow to members of Boko Haram and herdsmen who have killed thousands of Nigerian soldiers and civilians.  Nigerians wonder why the Nigerian Army is restrained from paying-back-in-kind to Boko Haram fighters.   The only plausible reason to explain the military change of behavior concerning dealing harshly with Boko Haram members, herdsmen, and bandits is that there is a political hand at play to dissuade them from dishing out reprisal attacks against the jihadists the way they do to “bloody” civilians.  Look at the manner in which the Nigeria Army pay-back-in-kind to the people of Oyigbo/Obigbo and look at the manner in which the Nigerian Army is restrained in paying-back-in-kind to Boko Haram members, herdsmen and bandits.  Even the abductors of the Kankara school students are probably not going to face what Odi, Zaki Biam, Odiama, Gbaramatu, Ayokoroma, Lekki and Oyigbo/Obigbo people faced for annoying the military and the police.

Twenty-fifth, The view that there is no political will on the part of the Nigerian leadership to deal decisively with Boko Haram and associated elements like herdsmen and bandits is further demonstrated by the fact that Nigerian authorities have not arrested any major financier of  Boko Haram and the other violent groups.  Despite almost ten years of military and intelligence gathering operations against the jihadists, no big financier and supporter of these groups have been arrested, tried and sent to prison for causing so much pain to Nigeria.  On the other hand, the United Arab Emirate (UAE), an Islamic country, actually arrested, tried and sentenced six Nigerians to do time in prison for sponsoring Boko Haram. Thus, the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal sentenced Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu to life imprisonment while giving Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRaman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim ten years each (Six Nigerians convicted in UAE over Boko Haram funding, 2020, November 9). Recently, the Republic of Cameroon arrested Mr. Blama Malla, a member of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement and former member of the Cameroonian parliament for alleged “ties with the Boko Haram terrorist group” (Former Cameroon lawmaker arrested for suspected ties with Boko Haram, December 17).  Since the Nigerian military insisted that it rescued the 344 Kankara students, Nigerians pray that the abductors are arrested and tried for kidnapping, just as the Federal Government insisted on trying the organizers of EndSARS movement.

Twenty-six, perhaps, most Nigerians are not aware, some of the individuals who openly supported Boko Haram while former President Jonathan was in power are now government officials in this administration.  Thus, it is difficult to be a friend of Boko Haram and turn around to destroy it.  This contributes to the reason why Nigerian security forces dance in circle instead of moving forward militarily to put an end to the Boko Haram menace.

3.  The so-called” herdsmen” and “bandits” are part of the Boko Haram Organization

Despite the fact that public officials have made strenuous effort to differentiate herdsmen and bandits from terrorists even though they act and react like Boko Haram to terrorize Nigerians, it is inferable that they are all jihadist organizations that are bent on accomplishing the same goal.  Therefore, they are technically one and the same with different appellations.

First, despite the fact that herdsmen and bandits have killed thousands of Nigerians and destroyed hundreds of communities, the Federal Government of Nigeria refuses to brand them as terrorists.  This is despite the fact that the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) classified herdsmen as the fourth deadliest terrorist organization in the world in 2015 (Buchanan, 2015, November 18).  Again, the Global Terrorism Index noted that Fulani herdsmen killed more people in 2018 than Boko Haram (Toromade, 2018, June 12).  This meant that herdsmen were deadlier than Boko Haram in that year.  On the other hand, the Nigerian government did not hesitate to quickly characterize the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization and proscribed it.  Since the proscription, Nigerian security authorities have tended to react to the slightest IPOB infraction with swift heavy-handed police and military reinforcements.  Due to the heavy-handed manner in which Nigeria reacts to the IPOB and the underhanded manner in which it reacts to herdsmen and bandits creates the impression that herdsmen and bandits have a strong political backing while IPOB does not. This arouses people to wonder why the government is behaving so strangely.

Second, due to the strange manner in which Nigeria’s government defines terrorism, the IPOB is regarded as a terrorist organization while other countries do not view it as such.  Hence, IPOB is able to operate freely in most Western countries without being clamped down.  On the other hand, based on the report of the Global Terrorism Index, other countries in the world tend to regard herdsmen and bandits as terrorists.  The reason is that herdsmen and bandits operate like Boko Haram, by terrorizing entire populations and creating unnecessary fear. If the Federal Government is really committed to eliminating insecurity in the country, why is it hesitant in characterizing herdsmen and bandits as terrorists?  It is inferable that due to the terminological somersault concerning terrorism, Nigerian security agencies feel that their hands are tied and they cannot do much to eliminate terrorism.

Well, the reason for the puzzling behavior with regards to the treatment of Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits vis-a-vis IPOB is gradually unfolding.  The unfolding began with the kidnapping of 344 students of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) in Kankara in Katsina State on December 11, 2020.  It should be recalled that initially, the kidnapping was attributed to have been carried out by bandits who rode into the school with motorcycles.  People scratched their heads in wonderment as to how the bandits were able to cart away more than 300 students with motorcycles without being seen or confronted by security agents (police, army, airforce, and DSS) as they drove away along the way.  The puzzle about the irreconcilable facts relating to Boko Haram and the bandits and the manner in which the bandits took the captives away on motorcycles started to unfold when Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram announced that the kidnapping was carried out by his group.  He justified the operation by saying, “What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet.  They are also not teaching what Allah and his Holy Prophet commanded.  They are rather destroying Islam” (Why we kidnapped Kankara School boys- Boo Haram, 2020, December 15).

The revelation that Boko Haram carried out the kidnapping and not bandits indirectly means that the so-called bandits are probably members of an organized jihadist group or Boko Haram per se.  Thus, it can be inferred that both the “herdsmen” and “bandits” are different units of the same Boko Haram or jihadist organization. This further means that the goal of the “herdsmen” and “bandits” is exactly as the goal of Boko Haram, which in the long run, is intended to Islamize Nigeria. This, perhaps explains why there is no political will to use heavy-handed security measures to clamp down on these elements.   

The abduction in Kankara follows the same strategic blue-print as that of Chibok and Dapchi.  It is mind-boggling in the sense that while Nigerians are still trying to reconcile the facts about the capability of Boko Hara to invade two school compounds (Chibok and Dapchi) in zones with considerable security presence and cart away hundreds of students, suddenly the Kankara school incident hits the airwaves.  The fact that Boko has used the same tactics in raiding and abducting hundreds of students without any inhibition indicates that there is a linkage between the organization and some powerful individuals in society and in the security agencies.  This is the only plausible way to explain why the security forces have failed to stop Boko Haram on three occasions.   Indeed, it is impossible for a non-state actor to abduct 344 students and successfully cart them away without some active support. The possibility of linkage should not be dismissed off-handedly since Boko Haram’’s Islamic ideology is very attractive to many people in Nigeria.

While the administration and its supporters, including some politicians, retired military officers and security consultants insist that bandits and not Boko Haram carried out the Kankara abduction, it is more plausible to say that Boko Haram is the brain behind the operation and not bandits.  To carry out an operation of this magnitude, the planners must strategize, receive appropriate intelligence about the target, equip themselves with the tools to neutralize any potential security incursion, have the means to transport hundreds of abductees, have a secured place to keep the hundreds of victims to prevent security forces from intervening to rescue them, and provide housing, food and health care to hundreds of individuals.   Indeed, only a well-organized and disciplined group can pull such an operation very successfully. In the case of Nigeria, the Boko Haram is the one organization that has the logistics, experience, intelligence connections, safe places to keep abductees and be able to feed them.  Therefore, the so-called bandits who kidnapped the over 300 students of the GSSS in Kankara in Katsina State are simply a unit or an affiliate of Boko Haram.  This means that Boko Haram has spread tactically by breaking itself into organizational cells in the forms of “herdsmen” and “bandits.”

4. The more government officials try to explain the abduction and release of the Kankara GSSS students, the more they create doubt about the authenticity of the abduction.

Following the release or rescue of the 344 GSSS students that were abducted by bandits in Kankara, Katsina State, government officials and security officers have given contradictory explanations about the abduction. 

First, the world was told that bandits raided and abducted about 334 students of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS). 

Second, it was widely reported that the bandits arrived the school on motorcycles and abducted such a large number of students. 

Third, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State indicated that the whereabout of the abducted students had been located in a forest in Zamfara State.

Fourth, he said that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACAN) was actively involved in negotiating with the abductors and hoped to have the students freed.  Bashir Bello of Vanguard reported “The Governor said the release of the students was facilitated by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, who engage in talks with the bandits and government noting that no single kobo was paid as ransom” (2020, December 17).  

Fifth, as soon as the students were freed on Thursday, November 17, 2020, Governor Masari  informed the public that “Some hours ago, those assisting us in talks with the bandits said they have released all children in captivity.   We have sent vehicles to transport them to Katsina” (Bello, December 17).  To allay fears that heavy ransom was paid, the governor emphatically stated that no ransom was paid.  He was seconded by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, who insisted that no money was paid to free the students.  The statements indicated that the students were released through active negotiations carried out by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.

Sixth, the president spoke and created the impression that the students were rescued through a military operation that went so smoothly that not a single individual was killed.  The president’s position about a military rescue was immediately supported by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche who disclosed, as Sumaila Ogbaje reported: “ The Defence Headquarters said that the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji successfully rescued all 344 abducted students  of Government Secondary School Kankara, Katsina state on Thursday  following credible intelligence”  (2020, December, 18).  The Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Mr. Garba Shehu, reinforced the military rescue narrative by saying “Once more, the Nigerian military has delivered on the big stage.  They had a plan, kept to it, and got the job done without firing a single shot.  Bravo to the Nigerian Military and our security agencies for a well-coordinated and professionally executed mission to the President’s order reuniting the boys with their parents” (2020, December 18).

The contradiction in explaining how the students were kidnapped and how they were freed creates the impression that the abduction was a staged event.  Nigerians wonder about how the bandits were able to cart away over 300 students on motorcycles.  If it is true that the bandits actualy used motorcycles to abduct the students, it means that there were about 172 abductors who took part in the operation.  Each abductor had to carry two abductees. Nigerians also wonder about the capability of the abductors to ride motorcycles for miles in such a large number without attracting the attention of the security forces.  Is it possible for such a large number of abductors to ride motorcycles into a school premise and abduct over 300 students and ride away without attracting the attention of the security agencies in a security zone?

 Another factor which tends to contribute to the impression that the abduction was an orchestrated event is the disagreement between the major individuals who participated in resolving the abduction. As indicated above, Governor Masari of Katsina State attributed the release of the students to Miyetti Allah who called to inform him that the students had been released by the bandits.  In response to the news from Miyetti Allah, the governor decided to send vehicles to Zamfara State to pick up the students.  The governor did not mention any military operation before the release of the students.  Likewise, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State corroborated the position of Governor Masari by claiming “that MACBAN negotiated the release” (Bello, 2020, December 18). Then the narrative concerning who was responsible for negotiating the release of the students changed suddenly.  Maj. Gen. John Enenche, the Coordinator of Defence Headquarters Media Operations disputed the MACBAN involvement in negotiating the release. Precious Bello reported: “John Enenche, spokesman of DHQ said the military rescued the students and not MACBAN members” (Bello, 2020, December 18).

So, which version of the rescue story is correct.  The most plausible version is the one involving Miyetti Allah.  The reason is that both Governor Masari and Governor Matawalle agreed that Miyetti Aah coordinated the negotiation for the release of the students.  This version is also believable in the sense that both Governor Masari and the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, insisted that no ransom was paid.  If the students were rescued militarily, there would have been no reason for these two high public officials to maintain that no ransom was paid.  There is no doubt that the Nigerian military and police forces were reinforced and were ready to act militarily but it is more probable that negotiation yielded the release of the students.   This accounted for the lack of any major injury.

The contradictory explanations for what happened and the manner of the release or rescue of the students prompted the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, to say that the abduction and release of the students was a scam.  Dapo Akinrefon reported:  “In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin stated that the recent abduction and rescue of the Kankara school boys in Katsina State by bandits is a joke” (2020, December 19).

Seventh, by claiming that it was the armed forces which rescued the students and not the MACBAN, the military puts itself in a situation akin to the Lekki Toll Gate incident.  In that incident in Lagos, the Nigerian Army had to change its story about the shooting many times, thereby, causing public disbelief.  Here again, the Defence Headquarters has put itself in a situation where it has to explain what actually happened.  For instance, if the military establishment insists that it was the military that rescued the students and not MACBAN, then Nigerians want to know whether the abductors were arrested?   Why is it that neither the Nigerian Army nor the Nigerian Police Force has held a press conference to parade the abductors and explain the next line of action that would be taken against the abductors?  Why is it that no statement has been made as to when the culprits would be charged for kidnapping the 344 students?  Indeed, Nigerians would expect the Nigerian Army to hand over the suspects to the Nigerian Police Force for prosecution.  Otherwise, most people, foreign countries and the United Nations might be persuaded to believe that the abduction was a staged event.

The Nigerian military cannot claim credit for rescuing the students without also punishing the abductors the way it did in Oyigbo/Obigbo where the Nigerian Army launched a reprisal attack against the community to pay for what some youths did to some solders and police officers.  Similarly, the Nigerian military cannot bear responsibility for rescuing the Kankara students without arresting the abductors the way the 222 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Bolou-Tubegbe in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State did.  In Tubegbe, the members of the 222 Battalion that were in pursuit of some kidnappers were alleged by some members of the community to have burnt down houses (Sunday, 2020, December 11).  Thus, if the Nigerian Army can carry out punitive operations against some kidnappers, then the Nigerian Army cannot carry out a massive operation to rescue 344 students without arresting the bandits who perpetrated the crime. 

Responding to the Hypotheses

In reference to Hypothesis #1, there is no doubt that the Nigerian Army working with the Nigerian Airforce, the Nigerian Police Force and the Department of State Services can end the Boko Haram war within six months without seeking foreign assistance.  The Nigerian Army has a reputation for decisive action when given the authority to act.

There is no doubt that the DSS and other branches of the security forces have appropriate and reliable intelligence about Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits.  These forces know exactly when to act in order to cripple Boko Haram and the marauding bandits.  However, their hands seemed to be tied by lack of political will. 

In reference to Hypothesis #2, the aforementioned circumstances, events, actions and inactions indicate strongly that there is lack of political will to end the war by those who have other motives in mind. Some people do not want the war to end due to religious, political and financial reasons.

In reference to Hypothesis #3, the similarity of tactics used to abduct students in Chibok, Dapchi and Kankara show that herdsmen and bandits have a working relationship with Boko Haram or are parts of a larger jihadist network. 

Additionally, the fact that these abductions tended to take place around areas with some security presence means that there are working relationships between the jihadists and some government officials and influential politico-military elites.

In reference to #4, the contradictory statements about the manner in which the GSSS students gained freedom from the abductors means that the truth has not been told about what really happened.  This increases the believability that the Kankara abduction was a staged event, intended either to score political points or make large sums of money.  It seems, to a large extent, that MACBAN was responsible for negotiating the release of the students.  This does not take away the fact that the security forces were mobilized to put pressure on the abductors to release the students.

The longer the Federal Government of Nigeria hesitates to allow the military to do its professional job due to excessive political interference, the longer the Nigerian economy will suffer.  If the economy continues to go down, the greater the level of poverty and suffering among Nigerian masses.  If nothing is done quickly to stop Boko Haram, the suffering of the people can lead to violent demonstrations and protests against this administration.

Indeed, the Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits can be defeated in a very short time if there is a political will on the part of those who make and guide policy towards national security.  If Boko Haram is so powerful, why is Abubakar Shekau afraid of the Chadian Army while he is not afraid of the Nigerian Army? 


Based on the aforementioned factors, circumstances, actions and inactions, the following recommendations are made:

  1. It is necessary for President Buhari to personally address Nigerians about the security and economic situations on regular basis.
  • Nigeria is a democracy and public opinion seems to tilt towards the view that it is time to change the chiefs of the security forces.  Consequently, the president should change the chiefs of the armed forces.  The current chiefs have overstayed, thereby, disrupting the standard operating procedures in the military.  This is impacting the morale of the officers and men and women of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce and the Nigerian Navy.  
  • Since the national security of Nigeria is threatened by Boko Haram, herdsmen, bandits and cult groups, the Federal Government should increase the size of the army and the police by carrying out massive recruitment efforts.  Currently, both the army and the police are overstretched.  A country of about 200 million people needs a much larger military and police forces. It is also necessary to enhance the conditions of service for members of these important organizations.
  • Since the Nigerian situation is increasingly perilous, it might be necessary for the government to call back into service some retired military men an women whose vast military experiences can be utilized to facilitate the war effort.
  • President Buhari should immediately detribalize the leadership of the security forces so that every Nigerian can feel that he or she is represented at the highest level of the security architecture of the country.  Currently, whenever the chiefs of the security agencies meet, it creates the impression that a council of tribal security chiefs are meeting to determine the fate of a multiethnic state such as Nigeria.  In other words, the members of a singe ethnic group cannot speak for the security interest of a multiethnic nation.
  • Traditional and religious elders and political leaders in the Upper North should divorce themselves from the love-hate relationship they have with Boko Haram.  Their mixed messages create a very difficult situation for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Police Force, and the DSS.  These forces act and react based on the utterances and body languages of public officials and public figures who wield power in Nigeria.
  • It is necessary to establish congruity in the political administration of the country in order to ensure stability.  This means that a federal system should not be operated like a unitary system where the central government does not allow the states and local governments to thrive politically, economically and financially.
  • If it is agreed that Nigeria is a democracy, then it must not be administered as an authoritarian state.  Doing so creates instability since democracy and authoritarianism are incompatible.
  • For the civilian populace to work amicably with security agencies in sharing information, the armed forces should stop treating the civilians as mere “bloody civilians’ that could be beaten up whenever there is a confrontation between the two groups.  Similarly, the police must stop treating Nigerians as mere money-making machines that could be shot at.
  1.  There is a dire need to coordinate the flow of information in this administration.  No two officials of the administration should speak on the same issue without first coordinating with the presidency.  For instance, the explanation about the rescue of the Kankara students creates confusion that contributes to doubt about the authenticity of the abduction.  The Defence Headquarters claimed that the military rescued the students while the governors of Katsina and Zamfara stated that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association was responsible for negotiating the release.  Which of these two versions are Nigerians supposed to accept as the correct version?
  1. The same security and law enforcement standards must be applied across the board in Nigeria.  If a government treats some Nigerians as sacred cows who are above the law and subject other Nigerians to the full weight of the law as if they are second class citizens, insecurity and instability become the order of the day.  Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits exploit the double-standard to cause a general insecurity.
  1.  Recruit more people into the Customs and Immigration services and send them to man the porous borders in the north to stop foreign herdsmen and bandits from coming into Nigeria to cause havoc In Northwest and North-East.
  1. The Federal Government should invest on drones that can be stationed in the border areas to monitor human movement.  A task force made up of the army, airforce, police, customs and immigration should be responsible for monitoring the border.  If a massive human movement is detected, helicopter gunships should directed to the vicinity to check the migration.  Nigeria cannot claim to be a sovereign state when it cannot even protect its territory from foreign invaders.


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It is time for Christian and Islamic Authorities to Render Apology for instituting international slavery against Black Africans and others

It is time for Christian and Islamic Authorities to Render Apology for instituting international slavery against Black Africans and others

By Priye S. Torulagha


Concerning the massive industrial-scale subjugation and enslavement of Sub-Saharan African people for centuries, it is surprising that secular authorities have been more forthcoming in accepting culpability and acknowledging the iniquities inflicted upon black Africans as a result of their violent capture, inhuman shipment and enslavement in the Middle East, Europe, Southwest Asia and the Americas.  In other words, it is indeed puzzling that politicians and public officials, who are generally maligned for being amoral, unethical and corrupt by religious authorities, have been forthright in accepting responsibility for the roles their governments and citizens played in initiating and organizing the international enslavement of black Africans.  Indeed, Western public officials are even willing to discuss the issue of reparations for slavery.  On the other hand, Christian and Arab/Islamic authorities have remained very quiet, almost to the point of feigning ignorance of the fact that their religions contributed immensely in issuing the proclamations, edicts, policies and practices that justified the invading, capturing, killing and enslaving of millions of Black Africans and others in the world.

Ordinarily, the leaders of Islam and Christianity would have been at the vanguard in apologizing and taking appropriate measures to redeem their honor for the ignominious roles that their religions played in setting the stage for sending millions of people into a living hell on earth for centuries.  On this matter, it is assumable that many black Christians and Muslims in the world do not realize that their religions played major roles in setting the agenda and climate which culminated in the organized capture, forcible transportation and enslavement of millions of their people.

It is probable that most Black Christians and Muslims are not aware of the roles their adopted religions played because Christian and Islamic religious leaders (popes, bishops, reverend fathers, pastors, caliphs, mullahs, imams and missionaries, teachers,) have been very adept in making sure that their congregations are not educated about the history of the roles that their religions played in killing and enslaving millions of people.  This seems to be particularly the case in black Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Latin America, the Middle East, Southwest Asia and Europe where millions of black people go to mosques on Fridays and to churches on Sundays to hear imams and pastors/reverend fathers preach.  These preachers always focus their sermons on biblical and koranic sayings without making any effort to teach the history of Christianity and Islam.  Therefore, it is argued here that most black Christians and Muslims do not have the slightest understanding of the violent history of their adopted religions, although many have vast knowledge of the Bible and the Koran.

The most pitiable part of the relationship between blacks and the two major religions (Christianity and Islam) is that there are now thousands of them who regard themselves as bishops, pastors, reverend fathers, caliphs, mullahs, Imams, emirs, missionaries, and religious scholars, yet, they keep their mouth sealed and pretend not to know that their religions played significant roles in the internationalization of black enslavement. They preach heavenly salvation but do not want to atone for the evil committed by their organizations in the past.  In other words, it seems that black leaders of these two religions do not want their members to know what really happened, hence, feed them constantly with selective biblical and koranic stories and ideas without teaching the history of the religions.  Thus, black Christian and Islamic leaders are doing today what Islamic and Christian leaders did in the past.   They avoid telling the violent history and focus entirely on the heavenly promises of salvation found in the holy books.

Although institutionalized international slavery was abolished in the 19th century, the effect of the evil commerce continues to haunt many African people.  In fact, in India, a group of black Africans known as Siddis, numbering about 20,000 or more have been living in isolated villages in the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and the city of Hyderabad in Telangana state for centuries.  Some are also located in Pakistan.  They are black Africans from East Africa who were taken to India as far back as the 7th century by Arab and later by Portuguese and British slave traders.  They were originally referred to as Habshis but are now identified as Siddis (Vallangi, 2016, August 4).

There are also thousands, if not millions of black Africans living in Turkey, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.  These blacks are highly marginalized and deprived, hence, very poor with little education. They exist at the mercy of God because government authorities in those countries generally do not pay attention to them.  They are treated as invisible beings, even in the twenty-first century. For instance, in Turkey, archival information about the African people, otherwise, known as Afro-Turks, is scarce.  Due to utter neglect, their population is dwindling.  Fortunately, the late Mustafa Olpak wrote an insightful book to raise consciousness about the plight of his people before he passed away (Lerner & Whitehouse, 2917, October 27).   Similarly, even though there are more blacks (Afro-Iraqis) in Iraq than in Turkey, not much is known about them also.

Thus, despite frequent commentary about human rights in the world, the rights of African people who were taken away by force, then brutalized and exploited, are rarely the focus of international discussions.  Even the United Nations rarely initiate discussions about blacks who were forcibly taken out of their world to unknown places and treated as non-humans. Sadly, the African Union (AU) too has not made a concerted effort to connect with various groups of blacks who are located around the world, following the international slave trade.

Similarly, in many parts of Latin America, millions of blacks continue to live in obscurity and are highly marginalized because some of the governments treat them as invisible beings.  For instance, in Mexico, blacks are treated as untouchable people (Okeowo, n.d.)  The same could be said of blacks in Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and so forth.  They, like their brothers in Turkey, Iraq, India, and other Middle Eastern countries, live at the mercy of God because they are generally ignored, maligned and discriminated.  It was recently that Peru officially accepted that blacks exist in the country (Peru This Week, 2008, December 8). 

Arab/Islamic and European/Christian Contributions to the International Enslavement of Sub-Saharan Africans

It should be noted that slavery did not start with Arab/Islamic and European/Christian slave trades.  Slavery has been part of the human experience for a very long time.  Thus, every society in the past, including those in black Africa, had engaged in one form of slavery or another.  Similarly, the ancient empires and political kingdoms, in every part of the world, relied on slaves as a means to drive their engines of economic production and prosecute their wars.  Even in the twenty-first century, some forms of slavery, including human trafficking, sex trafficking and slave labor continue unabated in various parts of the world, despite laws against slavery.

Despite the historical fact about the existence of slavery as a social institution, Christianity and Islam, which promised to change human behavior and prepare the way for heavenly salvation, were supposed to operate on noble principles that treat people with godly dignity.  They were expected to create a globalized social environment that allows for peaceful and harmonious coexistence among peoples of different races, ethnic groups, tribes and classes.  Unfortunately, they fell short in propagating the noble principles to create a nirvana-like world of heavenly grace and instead, embarked upon an agenda which polarized the world, summarily condemned millions of people to death for being apostates, promote racism and ethnicity, destroy indigenous cultures, and sentenced millions of Sub-Saharan Africans and Native Americans into slavery and death while constantly threatening the Jews with extinction.  In attempting to explain Christian and Islamic involvement in mass enslavement of people, Adam Hochschild stated:

In the end, neither Christianity nor Islam is that different from most other major religions, which usually remain major because they sanctify whatever is the social structure of the day. And for centuries that structure was one of slavery (2001, March 4).

Thus, it could be argued that Islam and Christianity assisted immeasurably in introducing an institutionalized industrial-scale form of international mass enslavement of people.  To show that Islam and Christianity are responsible for laying the religious and legal justifications for the mass-scale enslavement of millions of black Africans, it is necessary to briefly describe the contributions of the two religions towards mass-scale slavery.

  1. Arab/Islamic Contribution to International Slavery

First, Arab/Islamic involvement in commercialized whole-scale slavery started much earlier than the European/Christian Atlantic Slave trade. Part of the effort to spread Islam included the enslavement of defeated groups, including Arabs, Asians, Europeans and Black Africans.  Thus, the Arab/Islamic slave trade that affected black Africa could be broken into three segments: namely, the North African/Horn of Africa slave trade, the Eastern African slave trade, and the trans-Saharan slave trade.  In Africa, blacks in the North-Eastern and Eastern flanks of the continent were probably the first to experience the raiding and capturing of their members by Arab traders and later by Islamic jihadists.  It is reported that, perhaps, Bilal (b. Rabah), who was beholden to Abu Bakr, a major Islamic leader, was one of the first African blacks to have been a slave and also one of the first to convert to Islam (Hunwick, 2002, p1).  Zanzibar (for the Eastern African slave trade) and Mauretania (for the trans-Sahara slave trade) were noted for serving as transportation hubs for carting away millions of people.

Many black Africans ended up in North Africa, Middle East, India and probably Southern Europe through Turkey.  As Islam spread deeper into black Africa, more people were captured and sent away as slaves. It is estimated that about 10 to 20 million blacks were captured as slaves and sent away.  Some historians believed that over 20 million black people were sold into slavery through the trans-Saharan route (Moore, 2014, June 2).  Ronald Segal in his book “Islam’s Black Slaves:  The Other Black Diaspora” noted the enormity of the Arab/Islamic slave trade by stating “The Calipha in Baghdad at the beginning of the 10th century had 7,000 black and 4,000 white eunuchs in his palace” (Ibid). Adam Hochschild agreed with Segal by noting that the Caliph of Baghdad had 11,000 slaves at his palace (2001, March 4).

Second, in particular, the Arab/Islamic slave traders castrated many captured black men, especially young men so that they could not reproduce. Many of the castrated black men ended up serving in various palaces throughout the Islamic Middle East and Africa.  Adam Hochschild noted that Muslim elites “wanted them (slaves) as guards, and soldiers, as concubines, as cooks, as musicians, and simply to show how rich they were” (ibid). In particular, the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs were noted for recruiting many blacks (Zanj) to serve as soldiers in their military forces.

It should be noted that under Islam, it is justifiable to treat non-Muslims as slaves.  However, the treatment of slaves is regulated, to a certain degree. Thus, the mistreatment of slaves is banned and they could gain freedom.  Likewise, slave owners are expected to provide medical care to them.  Therefore, it was not surprising that some slaves rose in rank and occupied important strategic positions in many Islamic states in the past.  For instance, a caliph in Egypt in the 11th century was the son of a black slave concubine.  Likewise, a former Turkish slave named Baybars, led a military force that defeated a Mongol army that attempted to conquer Egypt in 1260.  Similarly, an Ethiopian slave became the vizier to the sultan of Delhi in India (Hochschild, 2001, March 4).  While non-Muslims could be enslaved, they could pay a tax called Kharaj/Jizya to avoid being captured and enslaved (Boddy-Evans, 2019, June 30).

However, slaves were treated as humans in one hand and as property on the other hand.  They were not allowed to be heard in the court of law.  Hence, slavery was common and many Islamic leaders in the past had slaves.  This made it difficult to abolish slavery in Islamic societies, even after the international campaign to stop slavery had put a stop to the despicable trade in the West, it continued in the Islamic world up to the twentieth century.  The BBC noted that when the Atlantic slave trade was abolished, the Eastern slave trade actually expanded (2009, July 9).

Third, the Arab/Islamic slave trade existed for about thirteen centuries, starting from about 650 CE in the Middle East, including North Africa, since military forces were used to spread the religion in that part of the world.  However, it became a major feature of interaction in Black Africa, starting from about the 8th or 9th century, beginning from the North-East and extending to South-East and Southwest Africa.  It resulted in the deaths of millions of captured black people.   Carlos David Aquilar cited John Alembellah Azumah, who estimated that over 80 million black Africans died on their way to the slave centers of the Middle East through the trans-Sahara route (2017, June 27). Thus, the Arab/Islamic slave raids were very brutal and inhumane.  However, it must be noted that some scholars maintain that the total number of Africans captured and sold as slaves were less than ten million since the population of the sub-continent was less than the figures often quoted.

Fourth, unlike the Western/Christian Atlantic slave trade, slavery continues even today in Islamic countries in North Africa and the Middle East.  Charles Jacob noted that blacks continue to be sold as slaves to serve Arab/Muslim masters in Algeria, Libya, Mauretania, Nigeria and Sudan (2018, July 16). Additionally, the rise in militant Islamic movements has led to the continuation of enslavement of people.  The Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) and a host of militant Islamic groups continue to raid, capture, abduct and engage in human trafficking which eventually results in the enslavement of people.  In Nigeria, herdsmen went on a rampage reminiscent of an Islamic jihad from 2016 to early 2019.  The herdsmen rampage in Nigeria seemed to have been borrowed from the Janjaweed rampage in Darfur in Sudan and the Seleka militants in Central African Republic.

Libya, after the fall of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, has been particularly notorious for being a center for human trafficking and enslavement. Many African migrants ended up serving as slaves in the country.  The victims are both Muslims and Christians.  It should also be noted that human trafficking and treatment of people as slaves also seem to take place in many parts of the world, including the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Thus, slavery has not abetted, rather, it is taking on a different coloration and modus operandi with a devastating effect in the modern era.

An important historical notation is that Islam was spread initially in black Africa through peaceful means.  Many black Africans voluntarily converted to the religion as they traded and intermingled with their Arab neighbors, starting from about the 8th century.  Two of the most noted African political leaders who converted to Islam were Mansa Uli and Mansa Musa 1 of the Mali Empire (Cartwright, 2019, May 10).  Although the leader of the ancient Ghana Empire did not convert, nevertheless, he tolerated the Muslims.  The militant form of Islamization began much later in black Africa as the Muslims attempted to convert those who had already converted to Christianity, especially in Nubia, Ethiopia and some parts of East Africa.  Around the 18th century, Muslim Fulanis initiated the Islamic jihad in the Lake Chad region of Africa (Cartwright, 2019, May 10).

  1. Christian Role in International Enslavement of Sub-Saharan Africans

Unknown to many Christians is the fact that it was the Christian Church (Roman Catholic) which laid the religious, military, political and legal basis for the Atlantic Slave Trade that resulted in the massive enslavement of black Africans and Native Americans and the eventual colonization of the non-Western world by some European nations.

First, Pope Nicholas V issued papal bull “Dum Diversas” on June 18th 1452 which declared:

We grant you (kings of Spain and Portugal) by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture and subjugate the Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, countries, principalities and other property…And to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery (Browne, 2011, July 27).

Second, the same Pope Nicholas V issued the Romanus Pontifex of 1455 which gave Portugal the exclusive right to the territories along the West African coastline.  Under the papal bull, Portugal had a right to invade, plunder and “reduce their persons to perpetual slavery” of non-Christian societies (Elliott & Hughes, 2019, July 19). This meant that Portugal had a right to attack, plunder the resources and enslave the people in non-Christian territories. In this regard, Since Muslims (Saracens) were non-Christians, they were also subjected to capture and enslavement by Portugal.  Hence, many Arabs also fell prey to the papal bull, authorizing capture and enslavement.  Indeed, the Romanus Pontifex was an official proclamation or edict by the Christian Church, authorizing the conquest and enslavement of non-Christians.

Third, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal bull titled “Inter Caetera” in 1493 which authorized the Christian nations of Portugal and Spain to attack, conquer, loot, enslave and colonize non-Christian territories.  The papal bull read:

Out of our own sole largess and certain knowledge and out of the fullness of our apostolic power by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on earth, do by tenor of these presents, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south by drawing and establishing a line from the Artic pole , namely the north to the Antarctic pole, namely the south, no matter whether the said mainlands and islands are found, and to be found in the direction of India or towards any other quarter, the said line to be distant

one hundred leagues towards the west and south from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde.  With this proviso, however that none of the islands and mainlands, found , discovered and to be discovered, beyond that said line towards the west and south, be in the actual possession of any Christian king or prince up to the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ just past from which the present year one thousand four hundred ninety-three begins (Timeline, n.d.).

Basically, Pope Alexander VI simply extended the decrees or edicts issued by Pope Nicholas V by dividing the non-Christian world into two and giving the Christian nations of Portugal and Spain the rights to invade, pillage, conquer and enslave the non-Christian populations of the territories.  This resulted in slavery and the colonization of Africa, parts of Asia, Middle East and the Americas.  It should be noted that Portugal and Spain benefited immensely from the proclamations of these two Roman Catholic popes.

Fourth, Portugal was not happy with the manner in which the non-Christian territories were divided since the division tended to favor Spain.  Therefore, both countries negotiated the Treaty of Tordesillas on June 7, 1494 to adjust the boundaries.  The boundary line was moved to 370 leagues (1185 miles) West of Cape Verde Islands.  This enabled Portugal to gain possession of Brazil.  Pope Julius II approved the change in 1506 to legalize the adjustment (Campbell, n.d.).

Fifth, the Atlantic slave trade started from the sixteenth century and continued until the nineteenth century.  About 12.5 million black Africans were forcibly transported to the Americas, as indicated by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Data Base (Gates, n.d.). This is a conservative estimate since the UNESCO puts the total number at about 25 to 30 million people (UNESCO, n.d.).

Sixth, the desire by other European nations to acquire colonies like Portugal and Spain resulted in Africa suffering another major blow when the Berlin Conference was held, starting from November 15, 1884 and ending in February 26 1885 to carve the entire continent into colonial possessions.  The conference enabled Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to join Portugal in devouring the continent colonially.

Black Christians and Muslims 

It is amazing that on Fridays, millions of black people trooped to various mosques to offer prayers to Allah and seek Islamic salvation.  Similarly, on Sundays, millions of black people trooped to the churches to pray to God and seek Christian salvation.  Most blacks who engage in this weekly ritual strongly believe that their adopted religions are the right path to God/Allah.  In fact, many black Africans are so convinced of the godliness of their adopted religions to the extent that they are even willing to decimate their traditional religious cultures and supplant them with Christianity and Islam.  Due to a desire to embrace these two religions whole-heartedly, many black Christians and Muslims now unhesitatingly refer to traditional African religions as “idol worshiping” and ignore the fact that every religion in the world engages in some kinds of idolism in order to connect with the Supreme Being symbolically.  For example, the cross and the crescent are idols/symbols that Christians and Muslims revered so much.   St. John Henry Newman, who was canonized at the Amazon synod, noted that important symbols in Christianity originated from pagan religions (Winfred, 2019, October 25).  Indeed, the cross, Christmas Day, Easter and Trinity originated from pre-Christian religions. Yet, black Christians and Muslims think otherwise about the fact that their adopted religions too have many fetishes, symbols and idols in their religious practices.

Similarly, many blacks have no hesitation in characterizing traditional African religions (Ancestralism) as satanic, destructive and ungodly, yet, the atrocities committed in the name of indigenous African religions pale in comparison to the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity and Islam.  Despite this reality, many blacks continue to believe in the false narrative about the godliness of their adopted religions.  The truth is that these two religions are responsible for taking actions that resulted in the degradation of the black race.  They did so by initiating and justifying the massive, industrial-scale capture and enslavement of black Africans for centuries.  How is it that religions that supposed to have positively changed the world and make people to love their neighbors as themselves turned around to create the most despicable havoc in the history of the world? Blacks and Native Americans are still experiencing pain inflicted by slavery and colonialism while the Jews are always on alert to avoid being decimated as the two major religions threaten them constantly.

In particular, most blacks seemed unaware of the fact that the hatred, dehumanization and justification for black enslavement and the continuing racism against them emanated from a story in the Old Testament of the Bible.  In Genesis 9:22 – 9:27 and possibly Genesis 10:6 is the story of Noah and the reactions of his three children to his drunken nakedness.  According to the story, Noah was so drunk on a particular day that he passed out and remained unclothed.  One of his sons, Ham, saw him naked and did not cover him up with cloth, thereby, embarrassing the father by telling his brothers about their father’s condition.  On the other hand, his other two sons covered their father up with linen while looking the other way to avoid seeing his nakedness.  Noah reacted against Ham by cursing his grandson, Canaan, who was the fourth son of Ham, by saying that he shall be a slave to his brothers.  Some people in the Middle East and the Christians turned the story around to say that Canaan, the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah and his descendants were black, hence, the belief that blacks are condemned by God to serve as slaves to other races.  This mythological story greatly contributes to the view that blacks are condemned to be slaves in the world.

To rationalize the irreconcilable logic, an Arab expert on Jewish legend, Wahb b. Munabbih, is credited with narrating the Noah story by explaining:

Ham, the son of Noah was a white man, fair of face, God-Mighty and Exalted is He – changed his color and the color of his descendants because of the curse of his father.  He went off and his offspring followed him and they settled on the sea shore.  God increased and multiplied them, and they are the Blacks (Hunwick, n.d.).

It is evident that historical knowledge about the world is turned upside down.  Hence, every negative incident or situation or event is either attributed to or associated with black people even when they have nothing to do with the matter.  On the other hand, every positive incident or situation or event is either attributed to or associated with non-blacks.  This is why even in the twenty-first century, the global media rarely cover any positive news or event about black Africa and the black world.  Thus, most people in Europe, Asia, and the Americas continue to assume that black Africa is merely a jungle where people live on trees and hunt wild animals.  The truth is that blacks are the least violent and destructive people in the world if global history is critically examined.  Similarly, traditional African religions are the least violent and destructive on earth.  It could also be said that the black race is the least imperialistic.  Similarly, African traditional religions are not imperialistic. Yet, popular knowledge in the global educational market place is twisted to create false narratives.  Hence, the black person is an endangered species on earth.

Cultural Destruction

Apart from justifying the enslavement of non-Christians and non-Muslims, these two religions are also responsible for decimating unique indigenous beliefs, cultures and practices throughout the world.  Indeed, many ethnic groups in the world, including those in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and South Pacific Islands have lost their religious cultures and languages due to the uncompromising nature of these two religions, as people convert to them.  The preachers of Christianity and Islam, in a holier than thou frame of mind, do not tolerate any culture or belief that stands in the way of their religions.  Thus, the destruction of traditional beliefs, cultures and practices are as destructive and harmful as other evils that have been perpetrated on humanity by the adherents of these two religions. Recently, Pope Francis had to apologize for the embarrassment caused by the removal and dumping of carved Native American wooden Pachamama statues into River Tiber from a Vatican-area church in Rome by some fundamentalist or conservative Christian elements (Winfred, 2019, October 25). This took place during the Amazon synod organized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Time to Render Apology and Make Reparations

As stated earlier, public officials of various Western countries, interest groups, scholars, and citizens have spoken in various ways in an attempt to address the issue concerning the international enslavement of black Africans and Native Americans.  Some have even proposed ways to make reparations, even though a general agreement has not been reached.  On the other hand, Christian (particularly Roman Catholic) and Arab/Islamic leaders have not been eager to engage in an open discourse concerning the roles their religions played in contributing to the massive enslavement of black Africans.  Similarly, the leadership of the Catholic Church has not been forthcoming in talking about the actions of the church in contributing to the massive enslavement and killing of indigenous people in the Americas. Additionally, the Catholic Church has not made a statement concerning the evils that it unleashed when it sanctioned the colonization of the non-Christian world, thereby, subjecting Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Pacific Islands and some parts of Asia to European subjugation, exploitation and colonialism.

If Christian and Islamic leaders really want the world to believe in the godliness of their religions, they must join the international public debate by officially apologizing for the ungodly acts, edicts, and decrees they issued and the actions they took to justify the international enslavement of black Africans.  They are also obligated to make reparations because there are millions of Africans who are still suffering from the pangs of slavery in the Middle East, some parts of Southwest Asia and probably Southern Europe, in addition to those in the Americas. The same goes for Native Americans who are still suffering and are also treated as invisible beings in their own territories in the Americas. They must also apologize for constantly threatening the Jewish people with extinction for insisting on the right to maintain their ancestral religion (Judaism) and traditions.

The African Union (AU) is also obligated to render apology and create a program that connects Sub-Saharan Africa with various black groups in the world.  Part of the program should include an educational fund in which children of the Africans in the diaspora, both in the Eastern and Western worlds) attend some selected secondary schools and universities in the continent on fully paid scholarships.  The AU should also donate funds to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in the United States, the countries of the Caribbean Basin and Afro-Latin America. A possible third option is to establish a small business loan program for Africans in the diaspora.



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The Boko Haram War: Why Nigerian soldiers are no longer motivated to fight

The Boko Haram War: Why Nigerian soldiers are no longer motivated to fight
By Priye S. Torulagha
War is a very serious business because it involves life and death situations. Although, soldiers are trained to fight, destroy, kill and possibly die or be captured while doing so, nevertheless, they are human beings. They express the same emotions like other humans. They have wives, husbands, children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grand-parents and so on and so forth. Thus, they want to live and take care of their families, just like other human beings. Therefore, due to the enormity of the implications of fighting a war, it is very essential for any government that wants to initiate or engage in a war to provide a convincing reason to justify why it is necessary for people to go fight, kill and be killed. Likewise, the government must be fully prepared by mobilizing the population and resources before sending soldiers away to engage in warfare.
If the government provides a clearly convincing justification, then people, particularly soldiers, would be motivated to go fight, kill and be killed or captured. Likewise, if the government takes proper and effective care of the welfare and other needs of the soldiers, then, they would be highly motivated to fight valiantly. Unfortunately, in the war against Boko Haram, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not provided a convincing reason why Nigerian soldiers should go fight, kill and be killed or captured. In addition, the Federal Government, acting through the Nigerian Army, has repeatedly failed to take proper and effective care of the welfare and needs of Nigerian soldiers, including equipping them with modern and appropriate weapons. Moreover, the policies, utterances, actions and inactions of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the Nigerian Army have greatly contributed to the dwindling level of motivation on the part of Nigerian soldiers to continue to fight Boko Haram.
Like their civilian counterparts, many Nigerian soldiers seemed to have critically examined the policies, utterances, actions and inactions of the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army and realized that the Boko Haram war is not a worthy cause for them to risk their lives. Perhaps, having drawn such a conclusion, many, including senior and junior officers, as well as infantry men and women, have probably lost confidence in the ability of the political and military leadership of the country to prosecute the war to a successful conclusion. This, in turn, has contributed to the dwindling level of motivation on the part of many soldiers to fight a war which is increasingly being viewed as a financial chess game, initiated and instigated by those who have political, religious and financial axes to grind, in one form or another.
In reaction to the dwindling level of motivation or lack of commitment on the part of some Nigerian soldiers to continue to fight, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), perhaps, in frustration, made a controversial statement which castigated them, thereby, further adding to their lack of motivation. For instance, in June, 2019, Gen. Buratai declared:
It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our
operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks
or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the

Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely
falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or service cause (Sahara Reporters, 2019, June 19).

Then, on Thursday, August 15, 2019, the Premium Times reported: “The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has taken punitive measures against senior military officers under whose watch a key brigade fell to Boko Haram terrorists last week” (Ogundipe, 2019, August 15).

Thus, the statement made in June 18, 2019 and the action being taken to punish the culprits, as reported by Premium Times on August 15, 2019, clearly indicate that the war is not going well, despite previous statements made by the Chief of Army Staff, official spokespersons of the Nigerian Army, the Federal Minister of Information and Culture and the presidency that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. On the other hand, it is an admission that Boko Haram is actually doing much better militarily while Nigerian troops are facing a number of problems.

Although, many Nigerians knew as far back as late 2016 that the war was not going well, as demonstrated by commentaries made on social media, nevertheless, the presidency and the Nigerian Army kept telling the world that the war had been won. In fact, in late December 2016, during the Guards Brigade Regimental Dinner, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, the theater commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, handed over a captured Boko Haram flag to President Muhammadu Buhari, thereby, creating the impression in the minds of many Nigerians that the organization had surrendered, after Sambisa Forest had been retaken by Nigerian troops. Thus, after many denials, the head of the Nigerian Army has finally admitted in July 2019 that the war is not going as expected, by criticizing Nigerian soldiers for not being sufficiently motivated to fight the war.

The Purpose of this Article

The purpose of this article is to explore and identify the reasons why an increasing number of Nigerian soldiers are losing faith in the war, thereby, resulting in their lack of motivation or commitment to engage in combat. In this regard, it is argued here that the policies, utterances, actions and inactions of the presidency and the Nigerian Army are responsible for the dwindling motivation or lack of commitment on the part of some Nigerian soldiers towards the Boko Haram War.

Theoretical Foundation

In order to successfully explore the issue, it is necessary to examine some pertinent theories which deal with human needs and motivation. Abraham Maslow conceptualized the theory of the hierarchy of human needs. According to him, human beings have five basic motivational needs, namely, (1) physiological needs dealing with oxygen, water, food, physical health and comfort; (2) Safety need which requires being safe from danger, attack and threat; (3) belongingness and love need which involve the need for positive and loving relationship with others; (4) Esteem need which involves the need to feel valued and be self-valued; and (5) self-actualization need which is a burning desire by every individual to develop to his or her full potential (Maslow, 1954).

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory implies that leaders need to understand the importance of meeting the basic needs of people, if they want them to be motivated, loyal, dedicated and productive, whether in an organizational setting or in a political state. The alternative implication is that if the motivational needs of the citizens are not met, they are less likely to be loyal, dedicated and productive. Translated, if the needs of Nigerian soldiers are not met, they are less likely to be loyal, dedicated and motivated to fight the Boko Haram War.

Although controversial, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is buttressed by Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y (1960). McGregor seems to divide leaders (managers, supervisors, directors) into two categories: namely, those leaders, managers and supervisors who have a very negative image of employees or subordinates (Theory X) and those that have a very positive image of employees or subordinates (Theory Y). Accordingly, managers, leaders and supervisors who view subordinates or employees or citizens in a negative manner are more likely to regard them as being passive, lazy and ambitionless, hence, must be led, coerced, threatened and punished to compel them to work. On the other hand, leaders, managers, and supervisors who view subordinates or employees or citizens in a positive manner are more likely to regard them as capable individuals who are willing to work with minimum supervision if given the enabling environment to thrive. Thus, Theory Y leaders, managers, and supervisors incline toward establishing an enabling organizational environment that meets the interests, needs and expectations of the employees, thereby, motivating them to work and achieve the goals of the organization.

In applying McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y to the Nigerian situation, it is obvious that many Nigerian soldiers, like many Nigerian citizens, do not appeared to be motivated any longer because both the presidency and the Nigerian Army tend to incline towards Theory X, rather than Theory Y in dealing with Nigerian soldiers in particular and the Nigerian population at large. This means that the Federal Government and the leadership of the Nigerian Army are not providing the enabling environment for Nigerian soldiers to fight effectively and win the war against Boko Haram.

Chris Argyris (1964), also influenced by Maslow’s concept of self-actualization, maintains that the way organizations are structured and managed tend to conflict with the personality and actualization needs of employees because organizations generally seem to treat employees like children, without taking into consideration their self-actualization needs that are crucial in motivating them to increase productivity.
Thus, if Nigerian soldiers feel that their needs are not being met because the political and military leaders treat them disdainfully, then, they are not likely to perform at their optimum level in the battlefield.
Having briefly examined Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y and Argyris’s organizational treatment of employees, it might also be necessary to examine a model or a rubric which is useful in analyzing organizational effectiveness. Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal (2003) developed a four-item rubric or model, otherwise, referred to as “frames,” for analyzing organizations. The four frames are: (1) structural frame, (2) human resources frame, (3) political frame and (4) symbolic frame. The structural frame examines the manner in which an organization is structured as well as how people are grouped or classified to work. The human resources frame looks at job descriptions, the manner in which employees are treated, including wages, working conditions, opportunities for promotion, health and other benefits, as well as interpersonal and group dynamics. The political frame looks at the power structure and the conflicts emanating from the internal politics of the organization. The symbolic frame examines the organizational culture and symbols that help to integrate the interests of employees with those of the organization, thereby, increasing synergy and productivity.
Factors which Contribute to lack of Motivation by Nigerian soldiers to Fight Boko Haram

Having identified some crucial theories which deal with human needs that contribute to motivation, it is now necessary to identify the specific factors or reasons which have contributed to the dwindling level of motivation or commitment on the part of Nigerian soldiers towards the Boko Haram War.

It should be noted that, at first, Nigerian soldiers, paramilitary police forces and intelligence agents were highly motivated to fight Boko Haram with the hope of crippling the organization. However, the motivation was dampened as soon as many soldiers got to the battlefield in North-Eastern Nigeria and realized that the war against Boko Haram is not a straightforward military affair. In other words, the soldiers realized immediately that Boko Haram is a multifaceted organism that defies military logic due to the political, religious and financial nature of the war. The level of motivation dropped considerably in 2014 during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as Boko Haram launched successful attacks and captured a large chunk of territory to establish a Caliphate. However, the Nigerian Army, under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah succeeded in recapturing the territory to enable elections to take place in March 2015. The following provide the reasons why Nigerian soldiers started losing faith in the war.

First, Boko Haram was established by some of the most powerful political, religious and military tycoons in Northern Nigeria. Some of the individuals were (are) high government officials, religious leaders and senior military officers. Due to the favorable status of the organization in the eyes of some powerful individuals in Northern Nigeria, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), a former military head of state of Nigeria, openly declared in 2013 that an attack against Boko Haram was an attack against the North ((Shiklam, 2013, June 4). He warned the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration from clamping down on Boko Haram by saying ““the Federal Government stop clamp down of Boko Haram insurgents, saying Niger Delta militants were never killed or properties belonging to them destroyed.” (PointBlank, 2013, June 2). Those statements from a former head of state of Nigeria, poured a political cold water on the aspirations of President Jonathan and Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, the then Chief of Army Staff (September 3, 2010 to January 2014)) from launching an all-out war to defeat Boko Haram. This compelled both men to exercise political caution in handling the Boko Haram, in order not to offend the sensibilities of powerful northern political and religious elites and the masses who conceptualized that the war against the group was being staged by Southern Christians to wipe out Northern Moslems.
Second, some of the highly connected individuals provided intelligence and encouraged some soldiers, police officers and intelligence agents to help Boko Haram with logistics, intelligence and materiel. Some of these Nigerians, especially, soldiers, actually crossed over to fight with Boko Haram against Nigeria.
1. A Nigerian soldier in Bama was shocked when he realized that some Boko Haram fighters were actually Nigerians soldiers who had trained with him in Kontagora. Due to the fact that some Nigerian soldiers were actively assisting Boko Haram, the Nigerian Army “arrested several soldiers fighting in the north-eastern part of the country for alleging giving vital security information to members of the terrorists group, Boko Haram” (Omonobi, 2014, October 13).
2. In another occasion in 2014, a Nigerian soldier commented that a Nigerian Army officer directly contributed to having Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram fighters. He narrated the manner in which the officer gave two different military uniforms (green and desert camouflage) to the Nigerian troops and allowed the Boko Haram to ambush and decimate the unit that wore the desert camouflage (Dockins, 2014, April 5).

Afraid that they were being sent to be slaughtered, many Nigerian soldiers mutinied and refused to go and fight. They could not trust some of their officers and neither could they trust some of their comrades since some soldiers were actively aiding Boko Haram against the Nigerian Army (BBC, 2014, August 19). Concerned that it was losing control of its own troops, 54 Nigerian soldiers were sentenced to death “for mutiny, assault, cowardice, and refusing to combat Boko Haram“(The Telegraph, 2014, December 18).

The fact that some senior and junior military officers and infantry men were actually fighting for Boko Haram was confirmed when the Nigerian Army actually tried some senior military officers for aiding the enemy. Al Jazeera reported in late 2014 that “ten generals and five other senior military officials have been found guilty in a court-martial“(2014, December 18),

Third, gradually, patriotic Nigerian soldiers, policer officers and intelligence agents realized that the war was not a war but a political chess game instigated by some powerful individuals to score political points. This realization began to create doubt about the sincerity of the war. It should be noted that during and after the Bama confrontations with the Boko Haram in 2014, during Jonathan’s administration, many Nigerian soldiers started to feel that they were merely being used as canon-fodders to feed the insatiable appetites of the political chess players who wanted to effect a regime change in Nigeria. It was during this period that many Nigerian soldiers started to leave their post without leave (AWOL) to save themselves from being sacrificed politically. This led to the arrest and trial of many run-away soldiers who preferred not to fight again, unless they were sufficiently equipped with effective modern weaponry.

Fourth, Nigerian soldiers, since the start of the war against Boko Haram, have repeatedly complained that their needs are not properly being taken care of by the higher-ups in the Nigerian Army. They complained that they were not sufficiently equipped to fight Boko Haram. In other words, many patriotic Nigerian soldiers felt and continue to feel that they are being treated as sacrificial lambs since they are not sufficiently equipped to confront Boko Haram militarily. Some also complained about the lack of payment of their allowances (Anyadike, 2018, October 30). Mr. Roland Owie, a former senator who represented Edo South agreed with the soldiers by saying “Their morale is gone because many of their colleagues are dead and they are not being motivated through welfare, intelligence and superior equipment” (Gabriel, 2019, September 7).

Fifth, Nigerian soldiers seemed to have noticed a change in attitude towards Boko Haram when Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) became president in 2015. This is evidenced by a shift in policy which allowed captured Boko Haram fighters to be released based supposedly on the view that they had “repented”. Hence, on a number of occasions, captured Boko Haram fighters, including some important military commanders, have been released. Again, in line with the policy, the Nigerian Army released 150 Boko Haram fighters in July 2019 (Idowu, 2019, July 23). Thus, the frequent release of Boko Haram prisoners of war by the Federal Government creates a psychological feeling that Boko Haram fighters are more important than Nigerian soldiers, perhaps, due to religious and ethnic affiliations. The policy also seems to reinforce a feeling in the minds of many Nigerian soldiers that it is not worth the risk to fight Boko Haram. Indeed, who would want to risk his or her life to fight a war knowing full well that those enemies captured are likely to be released by the army to enable them to rejoin their organization with the possibility of fighting against Nigerian troops again.

If the Federal Government and the military establishment pay attention to the psychological effect that the release of Boko Haram fighters might have on Nigerian troops, they probably would stop releasing captured Boko Haram fighters on the grounds of “repentance” while the war is still on. Unfortunately, neither the Federal Government nor the Nigerian Army is paying attention to the concerns raised by Nigerian soldiers about the release of Boko Haram fighters while the war is still on.

Sixth, some Nigerian soldiers appeared to have lost their motivation to fight after realizing that some elements within the security forces were and are actively involved in assisting Boko Haram to carry out operations against them. It might be necessary to cite three cases to refresh the mind:

1. The kidnapping of the Chibok girls in April 2014 would not have been possible without active participation of some members of the security forces. For Boko Haram to invade the Chibok Government Secondary School and abduct 276 students in a security zone without detection by any unit of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Police Force and various intelligence agencies boggled the mind. As a result of the failure of security, there are still about 100 Chibok girls under Boko Haram custody.

2. Similarly, in a characteristic Chibok style, Boko Haram was able to penetrate a security zone and abduct 110 students from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi without any unit of the security forces intercepting them. The funny part of the entire episode was that Boko Haram returned 100 of the students on religious grounds by passing through security checkpoints without being detected. Thus, it returned the girls and disappeared into the horizon without being accosted by any unit of the security forces. The organization refused to release one of the students (Leah Sharibu) because she is a Christian and not a Moslem.

3. The increase in Boko Haram/ISWAP attacks against military targets and the successful killing of many Nigerian soldiers, including officers, between 2017 and now, indicates that there are still a considerable number of Boko Haram “moles” or “sympathizers” in the Nigerian Army.

These incidents, no doubt, contribute to the feeling by many Nigerian soldiers that the Boko Haram War is not a war but a staged drama intended for political, religious and financial gains. Many Nigerian soldiers, like most Nigerian citizens, are probably convinced that both the Chibok and the Dapchi abductions were staged events in which some members of the security forces actively participated. Similarly, some Nigerian soldiers are convinced that the increasing Boko Haram attacks on military targets are done through the active support of some soldiers who have a religious or financial interest in ensuring Boko Haram’s success.

Seventh, it seems that many Nigerian soldiers do not support the idea of paying Boko Haram to release abducted victims. The reason is that each time Boko Haram is paid to release some abducted Nigerians, the organization is able to buy more sophisticated weapons and recruit more fighters to fight Nigerian troops who are battling them. No sensible soldier would want to fight a war against an enemy that he or she knows is receiving payments from the government. The payments keep Boko Haram afloat financially, thereby, enabling it to buy weapons and recruit more fighters. In other words, it is a no-win situation for Nigerian soldiers who realize that their own government is making it possible for the enemy to be militarily resuscitated whenever it is about to be defeated.

Eighth, the manner in which the presidency and the Nigerian Army communicate information about the war seems to contribute to lack of faith on the war by some Nigerian soldiers. The reason is that the facts on the ground in the theater of war are rarely communicated to the public in a clear and understandable manner. Hence, most Nigerians do not really know what is happening. Indeed, there is no sensible human being that would be motivated to fight a war, in which he or she knows that the government and the army constantly muddle up the facts about what is actually transpiring in the battlefield. Can you imagine a Nigerian soldier who has just lost some of his comrades in a Boko Haram ambush to read in the newspapers and to hear on television an official report by a military spokesperson or a high government official denying or under-reporting the fact. Thus, each time the military establishment, especially the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, denies a report of a high casualty rate, the morale of the soldiers in the battlefront is drastically reduced because the denial shows a lack of empathy and sensitivity to the plight of the soldiers risking their lives.

Indeed, each time the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government denies a fact about what has taken place in the battle field, the soldiers lost confidence in the military establishment and the presidency. In other words, who wants to fight and die for a cause in which the government is not willing to tell the truth? No soldier wants to fight a war where he or she cannot trust the government of telling the truth about what happened to him or her, in the event that he or she dies. It is not surprising that Senator Roland Owie strongly believes that President Buhari is not being told the truth about what is really going on (Gabriel, 2019, September 7). Perhaps, President Buhari is actually not being told the truth, hence, his assertion that Boko Haram has been degraded to the point that the members are now to be treated as bandits, even though Nigerian soldiers are being killed more today than in the past ( Punch, 2019, September 10).

Ninth, it is predictable that Nigerian soldiers are not happy about the allegation that the Nigerian Army buries some of its fallen soldiers in unmarked secret graves in order to hide casualty figures (Parkinson, 2019, July 31). Although, the army vehemently denied the allegation, nevertheless, the soldiers in the vicinity of the burials probably know exactly what has been going on. Moreover, since it is infantry soldiers who are most likely to carry out the secret burials, it is quite possible that some of them might have informed their comrades and family members about whether secret burials are taking place or not. Therefore, it is very crucial for military authorities to visualize the potential implications before releasing any information to the public concerning the war against Boko Haram. In particular, military authorities should understand that the soldiers in the battlefield are most likely to be affected negatively by any information that does not accurately reflect what actually happened in any confrontation with Boko Haram.

Tenth, it is probable that a considerable number of Nigerian soldiers are suspicious that something fishy is happening to the funds allocated for prosecuting the Boko Haram war. They wonder why the funds do not generally flow downwards to the point of taking care of their basic needs and equipping them with appropriate and effective arms to fight the enemy. The likelihood of massive pilfering of funds is backed by the fact that some retired and active senior military officers have been charged for embezzlement of military funds (Emmanuel, 2018, May 15). While conducting an investigative report on corruption in the military procurement system, Premium Times, quoting Transparency International, reported: “a network of Nigerian military chiefs, politicians, and contractors worked together to steal more than N3.1 trillion through arms procurement contracts between 2008 and 2017” (Ibid). After repeated demands for better military equipment and their upkeep, it is understandable why some soldiers are no longer motivated to fight. Why should they if some people are accumulating private wealth through the embezzlement of funds that are designated for the war while others are paying with their lives. A Nigerian Army officer noted that the “war is winnable if the generals give us what we need. Instead they buy soft-skinned Hilux. That is not a weapon…Give us MRAPs.” (Anyadike, 2018, October 30).

Eleventh, it seems that some Nigerian soldiers are wondering why is it that whenever they are almost at the point of knocking off Boko Haram militarily, the Federal Government and the army either directly or indirectly create situations that allow the organization to recover. Indeed, on many occasions, the Nigerian Army has come very close to inflicting a crushing defeat on Boko Haram. Yet, things happened to prevent the army from knocking out the enemy. This creates a feeling of endlessness to the war, thereby, feeding the conspiracy theory that those who are benefitting politically, religiously and financially from the war do not want it to end.

Twelfth, perhaps, as a result of Boko Haram’s desire to establish an Islamic Caliphate, it seems that there are some Nigerian soldiers who strongly identify with the religious and political aspirations of the organization. Those soldiers create problems for their patriotic comrades by destroying the espirit-de-corps that is essential for soldiers to fight together. Thus, it seems that many soldiers who are battling Boko Haram are not sure whether their officers and colleagues will turn the guns against them or betray them in support of Boko Haram. The anxiety emanating from lack of trust contributes to the reasons why some soldiers do not want to risk their lives anymore.

In this regard, it appears that the Boko Haram ambush of a military convoy made up of soldiers of Super Camp 3 and the 231 Battalion of the Operation Lafiya Dole on September 7, 2019 was due to intelligence penetration. It certainly seems that the Boko Haram was fully aware of the mission of the military convoy, hence, laid an ambush. Following the ambush attack, the insurgents carted away a gun truck and N15.492.000 meant for the payment of the daily allowances of about 20,000 troops (Ogundipe, 2019, September 8). This ambush would not have taken place without someone in the Nigerian Army passing critical information to the Boko Haram about the mission of the convoy.

Thirteenth, the fact that Boko Haram, particularly the wing that is associated with the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) has been very effective in attacking military targets, implies that there are some Nigerian soldiers, intelligence agents and government officials who are aiding the organization. In fact, 2018 and 2019 have seen a remarkable increase in Boko Haram/ISWAP attacks against military bases. The period has also seen an increase in the number of deaths involving Nigerian soldiers, both officers and non-officers. Due to the successes, the organization has been able to capture critical Nigerian military hardware. It is safe to say that increasingly Nigeria buys the arms and the Boko Haram/ISWAP uses the arms to fight Nigerian troops. In other words, Nigeria is technically buying arms for Boko Haram to fight against Nigeria. James Reinl wrote “How stolen weapons keep groups like Boko Haram in business” (2019, April 19).

Fourteenth, Nigerian soldiers are human beings and not robots. Hence, like their civilian counterparts, they are probably disturbed by the high level of insecurity in the country and much concerned about the general lack of political will to take proactive measures in curbing herdsmen attacks, banditry and kidnappings. Some tend to feel that the government is not doing enough to mobilize the security machinery of the state to clamp down on the increasing lawlessness in the country.

Fifteenth, as Nigerians, some soldiers seem to be losing the appetite to fight Boko Haram because their villages and towns have been ravaged by herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers. In addition, some of them now have their family members in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and the national government is not doing enough to rehabilitate them. In other words, the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army should not expect some, if not most Nigerian soldiers to continue to take the risk to fight, kill and be killed or captured while their villages and hometowns are being destroyed by ravaging herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers.

Sixteenth, the Nigerian Army is expecting too much from troops whose families live in perpetual fear in North-central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and South-South zones of the country as a result of herdsmen attacks, banditry and kidnappings. Some of these soldiers would rather prefer to go home to fight to protect their families, villages and towns against the marauding hordes, instead of being used to fight Boko Haram. In other words, why should any Nigerian soldier have the motivation to fight somewhere else while his or her own village or town is being devastated by marauding gangs?

Seventeenth, some of the policies, actions and inactions of the Buhari administration tend to alienate some Nigerian soldiers. When some of these soldiers look at the national security infrastructure, they do not see their own kind at the leadership positions of the security organizations. Similarly, when they look at the national government, they tend to see only Nigerians from certain sections of the country making all the critical national policy decisions for the entire country. Some of them also tend to feel that the Nigerian Army is no longer the “Nigerian Army” due to the lopsided nature of the leadership command structure of the organization. In other words, the Nigerian Army no longer reflects a national character, in terms of the individuals who are making critical national defense decisions. This forces many soldiers to think that they are being treated as second or third class citizens.
Thus, when Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd)) made the allegation that the Nigerian Army is colluding with herdsmen and bandits to kill Nigerians, many Nigerian soldiers probably concurred, even though they could not express their personal feelings openly. This allegation was reinforced when a unit of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army based in Takum, Taraba State, killed three police officers and two civilians and released a notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, who was arrested by the assassinated police officers. The military action showed that the commanding officer of the unit was allegedly working with the kingpin, hence, he ordered his troops to kill the police officers.
Eighteenth, some, if not most Nigerian soldiers, are probably disturbed by a perceivable double standard in the manner in which national security actions are taken. For instance, the Federal Government was very proactive in proscribing and characterizing the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization. Likewise, the Federal Government was very proactive in proscribing the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and characterizing it as a terrorist organization. Similarly, the Federal Government was very proactive in stopping and arresting the leader of the Revolution Now Movement, Mr. Omoyele Sowore. Yet, the Federal Government has been unwilling to proscribe elements associated with herdsmen who have killed thousands of Nigerians. This double standard affects the morale of many Nigerian soldiers because they expect the same standard to be applied across the board nationally to ensure equity.
Nineteenth, although the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army have denied the rumor that most soldiers sent to fight Boko Haram are from the south, nevertheless, the rumor persists. As a result, it is speculated that southern soldiers who are mostly Christians and Ancestralists are the largest number of casualties in the war (Anyadike, 2018, October 30). This rumor reinforces the feeling in the South and the Middle Belt that the Boko Haram war is being used to decimate soldiers who are Christian, as part of a grand strategy to Islamize the country. Whether true or not, the allegation creates a demoralizing feeling among non-Islamic soldiers who are fighting Boko Haram.
Twentieth, there is no doubt that the security architecture in the country has broken down as the security agencies compete rather than cooperate in tackling insecurity emanating from herdsmen’s attacks, banditry and kidnappings. The rivalry became very noticeable when the DSS issued a report which made it impossible for the Nigerian Senate to confirm the appointment of Mallam Ibrahim Magu as the substantive head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). As a result, for the past four years, Mallam Magu has been serving as an acting head of the agency. It is also inferable that the kidnapping of the 276 students of Government Secondary School in Chibok and 110 students of the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi was due to lack of cooperation on the part of the Army, DSS and the Police to work together in ensuring a tight security around the schools. This enabled Boko Haram to abduct almost 400 students from both schools without a hitch.
Twenty-first, some Nigerian soldiers probably complain that the Nigerian Army is not sufficiently rotating the troops to distribute the risk of fighting Boko Haram. As a result of the failure, some soldiers are made to remain continuously in the battle field while some have never been rotated to the warfront. By failing to do so, some soldiers remain in the warfront for two or three years without being rotated to allow them to rest (Anyadike, 2018, October 30). This takes a toll on morale of those soldiers who risk their lives repeatedly in the battlefield. In fact, the family of the late Lt. Lirfa Dashe of the 81st Division, 22nd Task Force Brigade, threatened to take legal action against the Nigerian Army because their son served in the front for three years consecutively without being rotated. When he finally returned to Lagos with the hope of marrying his fiancée, he was recalled and sent back to the front, where he finally lost his life when the Boko Haram attacked Jilli army base in Geidam area of Yobe State on July 14, 2018 (Ibid).
Twenty-second, some Nigerian soldiers complain about “overbearing seniors (officers) who have no regard for their welfare; systematic corruption that robs them of allowances; and the poor standard of equipment and medical care” (Ibid). Indeed, there is no army in the world that would be motivated to fight effectively if the senior officers do not care about the welfare of their troops. In fact, Alhaji Abdulkareem Olola Kasumu, the President General of the Afonja Descendants Union of Ilorin, agreed with the observation by noting “…the police and soldiers in the country are not being treated well. They are poorly remunerated and are not happy. They are ill-equipped, so they cannot face those people who are perpetrating crimes in the country”(Oyekola, 2019, September 8).

Twenty-third, it appears that Nigeria is fighting a twenty-first century war with twentieth-century military strategies and tactics. On the other hand, Boko Haram is fighting the war with classic guerrilla and twenty-first century strategies and tactics. Otherwise, imagine the Nigerian Army dispatching a military convoy from Damaturu in Yobe State to Biu in Borno State in a Boko Haram infested territory with merely gun-mounted Hilux trucks without heavy armored carriers and air cover to protect soldiers, supplies and money that would have been used to pay the allowances of about 20,000 soldiers, as shown by the ambush in Azare-Kamuya on September 7, 2019. The lack of a coordinated military effort compelled Mr. Eze Onyekpere, of the Center for Social Justice, to question the tactics being used by the armed forces when he wondered “It appears to be a lack of co-ordination. Someone will attack a military compound and for two or three hours the battle is raging and no one coming to support them. Where is the airforce?” (Munshi, 2018, December 6).
As a result of uncoordinated tactics, Nigeria is sacrificing soldiers, equipment and money unnecessarily while Boko Haram is targeting both hard and soft targets with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. It seems that Nigeria is not interested in winning the war.


Determining the causative factors for lack of motivation through the application of the theories of needs and organizational analysis
Having enumerated some of the factors that contribute to the decreasing level of morale or motivation by Nigerian soldiers, it might be necessary to subject the identified reasons to the theories of needs and the model for organizational analysis.
First, it is obvious that the identified twenty-third factors fall within the bounds of Maslow’s physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs. These are the reasons:
1. Nigerian soldiers, going back to 2014, have repeatedly complained about lack of appropriate weapons, unworkable weapons and outdated weapons that could not match the velocity or fire power of the arms operated by Boko Haram.

2. As Boko Haram attacks and ambushes against military targets and communities multiply, the concern that some soldiers are moles working for the insurgents increases among patriotic soldiers.
3. The strategies and tactics being used by the higher-ups in the Nigeria Army tend to make some soldiers to wonder about the commitment of some of their senior military officers who tended to place them in places that expose them to Boko Haram attacks without giving them sufficient protection and equipment.
4. It seems that soldiers are not rotated in a manner that distributes the risk of fighting Boko Haram. As a result, some soldiers are compelled to bear an undue risk by being kept in the battlefield for too long.

5. The perceptions that non-Islamic soldiers are disproportionally deployed to fight Boko Haram, creates the feeling that there is a conspiracy to use the Boko Haram war to deplete the Christian and non-Islamic population generally.

6. These concerns make many Nigerian soldiers to feel that their physiological, and safety needs are not being met.
Second, the Buhari administration’s policy of releasing captured Boko Haram fighters on the grounds of “Repentance’ affects some Nigerian soldiers’ morale and sense of self-actualization.

1. The fact that some captured Boko Haram fighters are released due to “repentance”, seems to provide them the opportunity to go back and rejoin their colleagues to fight Nigerian troops again/   This creates a feeling that a final military victory is not possible. In other words, no soldier wants to be placed in a circumstance where the hope of victory is not possible.

2. The fact that the government pays huge sums of money to Boko Haram in order to release some kidnapped civilian victims enables the organization to buy more sophisticated arms and recruit more fighters to fight Nigerian troops. This leads to a feeling that the actions of the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army threaten the self-actualization need of Nigerian soldiers.
3. Since it appears that whenever Nigerian troops are about to crush Boko Haram, the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army often end up taking actions that either directly or indirectly allow the organization to escape and rearm, there is a feeling that the way will never end. This threatens the safety needs of the soldiers who have to fight endlessly.

4. The fact that the Buhari administration loaded the national security system with mostly members of a particular ethnic group and religion, tends to lower the morale and sense of belongingness of some Nigerian soldiers. This creates a feeling that Nigeria does not belong to all Nigerians.

5. Under these circumstances, many Nigerian soldiers seem to wonder why they should sacrifice their lives for a cause in which their sense of belonging has been diminished.
Fourth, in closely examining the leadership style of the president and the head of the Nigerian Army, a conclusion could be drawn that both the presidency and the leadership of the Nigerian Army incline towards Theory X in dealing with Nigerian soldiers who are fighting Boko Haram. As a result, instead of trying to fix the problems that contribute to low morale, the soldiers are being blamed for lack of commitment. Therefore, it is inferred here that the application of Theory X, instead of Theory Y, contributes to the dwindling of morale among Nigerian soldiers who are fighting Boko Haram.
Fifth, based on the factors identified above, many, if not most Nigerian soldiers who are fighting Boko Haram, seemed to have their self-esteem diminished by the actions and inactions of the presidency and the leadership of the Nigerian Army. Many of them are probably thinking that they are being made to fight a war in which victory is not desired, due to the political, religious and financial interests involved.
Sixth, if the morale issue is examined through the structural and political frames of the Bolman and Deal model of organizational analysis, the soldiers are most likely to be blamed for the problems besetting the military in the war against Boko Haram. However, if the morale issue is analyzed through the human resources and symbolic frames, then, the political and military leadership are most likely to be responsible for causing the dwindling level of motivation or morale on the part of Nigerian soldiers. Indeed, it is concluded here that the political and military leadership, and not the soldiers, who are responsible for the dwindling motivation or lack of commitment on the part of Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram.


The situation can be reversed to the point where morale is enhanced, if certain actions are taken by the presidency and the Nigerian military establishment, particularly, the Nigerian Army.
1. President Buhari should reshuffle the leadership of the security agencies in order to reflect national character, with the hope of making all Nigerians feel that they belong to the same country. Right now, it is predictable that many Nigerian soldiers do not feel that the country represents their interests.
2. The presidency and the head of the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Defense Staff must make sure that the needs of soldiers and their families are effectively and properly taken care of. It is too much to ask Nigerian soldiers to risk their lives when the country is not interested in taking care of their concerns and needs.
3. The release of captured Boko Haram fighters on the ground that they have repented should be stopped. It is like a slap on the face of Nigerian soldiers who fight so hard to capture Boko Haram fighters. It saps the morale of Nigerian troops to realize that soon or later, captured enemy fighters might be released by the government.
4. A thorough investigation is needed to ascertain whether the rumor that funds allocated for prosecuting the war are being largely embezzled by some senior military officers.
5. The Nigerian Army and the DSS need to conduct thorough house-cleaning investigations to identify the saboteurs (moles) who are passing information to Boko Haram. There is no doubt that the successes recorded by Boko Haram in recent times against the Nigerian Army are greatly due to the organization’s ability to get tactical intelligence about army movements and operations.
6. The Nigerian Army, Airforce, Department of State Services and the Nigerian Police Force need to develop a collaborative effort in waging the war against Boko Haram, rather than compete unnecessarily for the attention of the president. These services must work together in confronting Boko Haram.
7. The communications styles of the presidency and the Nigerian Army need to be improved to ensure believability. Currently, the language, tone and manner in which the presidency and the Nigerian Army communicate about the war creates doubt, thereby, contributing to low morale among soldiers who feel that the truth is being sacrificed for political, religious and financial reasons.
8. Lastly, the armed forces must be sufficiently equipped with effective modern weapons. Nigerian soldiers cannot face Boko Haram with dilapidated and ineffective weapons.


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Liquid Minerals versus Solid Minerals: A Tale of Double Standard in the Regulation and Management of Mineral Resources in Nigeria

Liquid Minerals versus Solid Minerals: A Tale of Double Standard in the Regulation and Management of Mineral Resources in Nigeria

Priye S. Torulagha


It is often said that in every bad situation, there is a sliver of hope. Thus, the chaotic, murderous and despairing situation in Zamfara State led to the confirmation that Nigerian citizens can actually purchase licenses to mine solid minerals such as gold.  This means that Nigerians living in areas where solid minerals are found can actually engage in mining as a form of business to generate income to take care of their families and communities.  The revelation comes as a shock to indigenes of the oil and gas producing region of the country.  The reason is that in that region, the inhabitants are not allowed to engage in any exploration and selling of the products due to stringent federal regulation.  Only the well-connected individuals are allowed to operate oil companies.

For purpose of this write up, liquid minerals are limited to petroleum and liquidified natural gas products.  Of course, petroleum can be both liquid and solid also.  On the other hand, solid minerals here are limited to those minerals found in the non-oil producing regions which are naturally occurring inorganic solid substances.   They include barite, bentonite, bismuth, bitumen,  cassiterite, chromite, clay, coal, columbite, dantalite, diamond,  feldspars, fluorite, glass, gold, granite, gypsium,  Kaolin, kyanite, lead,  limestone, lithium, manganese, marble, mica,  phosphate, rutile, silica sand, silver, talc, tin ore, tourmaline, uranium, wolframite, zinc and so forth.

The Zamfara revelation shows that the Federal Government operates two standards in the management of mineral resources in Nigeria.  While the Federal Government has passed stringent acts, including the Oil in Navigable Water Act of 1968, the Petroleum Decree of 1969, the Oil Pipeline Act of 1069,  the Offshore Oil Revenue Decree of 1971, the Petroleum Production and Distribution Act of 1975, the Exclusive Economic Zone Act of 1978, the Land Use Decree of 1979 and the Gas Re-injection Decree of 1979 to gain total national control of the liquid minerals, Nigerians in regions with solid minerals can earn a living from mining with little or no federal inhibition.    For instance, the Federal Government that is so intolerant of private mining of oil and gas in the oil region, actually registered about 600 mining cooperatives to engage in mining of gold around Zamfara State and the surrounding environs (( .  This means that Nigerian citizens who inhabit regions where solid minerals are found can actually form private mining cooperatives to carry out exploration of solid minerals.

The registering of 600 mining cooperatives seems contrary to the tenets of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.  One of the conditions of this act is that “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or exploit or impound water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this act” (

The first inkling that Nigeria has a double standard in dealing with minerals in the country came about during the Ife vs. Modakeke conflict in early 2000s.  During that conflict, the late Maj. Gen. David Ejoor revealed during an interview that the mining of gold was a contributing factor in the escalation of the conflict.  In other words, the two communities (Ife and Modakeke) were partially feuding over the right to mine as well as own the proceeds generated through gold mining.  The late general explained that the then head of state, Chief/Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo helped to resolve the conflict peacefully without deploying the military to stop them from mining gold in the area (Osinaike, G. & Oyegunle, J. [July 6, 2005]  Maj. Gen. David Ejoor’s eye-opening statements. Vanguard. Posted on 7/6/2005.).  On the other hand, the general noted that former President Obasanjo sent the Nigerian military to the Niger Delta to militarize the oil conflict.  Thus, Gen. Ejoor felt that there was a double standard in the management of minerals in Nigeria.  The second revelation of a double standard came about through a media report which described private mining of tin ore in Plateau State, especially near Jos and surrounding environs (  This meant that individuals were allowed (and continued to be allowed) to mine tin without the Federal Government sending the military to stop them.  The third revelation about a national double standard in the regulation of mineral management in Nigeria took place when Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State made a press statement during the launching of the first Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit indicating that the state, especially in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area, has one of the largest deposits of gold in the country.  He went as far as to say that Kaduna State actually has more gold deposits than the Republic of South Africa.  Then, he announced that the state government was looking for private mining companies to mine the gold ( .

When Governor El Rufai indicated that he was searching for private mining companies to mine gold in his state, the citizens of the oil region were taken aback since they know that the governors of their own states cannot engage the services of private mining companies to explore oil and gas in their states. Moreover, any exploration activity must be approved by the NNPC.  Generally, it is well-connected Nigerians who are able to establish oil exploring companies.

Due to the fact that Nigeria has total control over the management of oil and gas, it is not surprising that oil stocks (blocks) are given to highly connected individuals who have no relationship to the oil region.  In fact, the citizens of the oil region are not even informed when Nigeria decides to distribute oil stocks.  Most of them do not even know the names of the individuals who own the oil blocks in their communities.  It is a very strange relationship between the indigenes of the oil region and those Nigerians who own the oil blocks in their communities.

The national double standard is so obvious that in the liquid mineral zone, to ensure total national control, the armed forces (Joint Task Force) are deployed to prevent any disruption of oil and gas operations.  Citizens who threaten the oil business in any form or manner are ruthlessly dealt with.  Hence, Nigerians in the oil region feel like third class citizens who have no right to exercise any authority over minerals that are found in their communities.  The Nigerian Navy and Army patrol the region to ferret out any illegal oil mining activity.  Those caught doing so are detained and their equipment confiscated. On the other hand, Nigerians in Osun, Plateau, Zamfara and other states where gold and other solid minerals are found can engage in private mining of the minerals without incurring the wrath of the Nigerian military. The Nigerian military is not deployed to ferret out illegal mining activities in regions that have solid minerals. In Zamfara State, if not for the fact that the killings and destruction had gotten out of control, the Federal Government would have not deployed the military.

Actually, the citizens of the oil region cannot even determine which oil company should come into their territory to explore oil and gas.  The oil companies only deal with the Federal Government and the citizens of the region have no input whatsoever in decisions that the government make concerning the exploration of oil and gas.  As a result, the oil companies treat the citizens as creatures that have no natural and economic rights.  They violate Nigeria’s environmental and gas flaring laws with impunity, knowing full well that Nigeria does not care much about what happens to the citizens of the oil region.  They rarely employ people from the oil region to work in the oil companies.  In fact, the youths of Ugborodo community in Delta State just completed an 11-day demonstrations and protests against Chevron for lack of employment and support for community development activities.  Almost every community in the oil region bemoan the lack of social responsibility on the part of the oil companies towards host communities.

Nigeria is not interested in enforcing the laws, hence, it keeps postponing the deadline for stopping gas flaring.  Thus, the entire region is polluted and Nigerian leaders have no interest in spending some of the wealth generated from oil exploration to clean the oil region.  In other words, it is alright to exploit the region but it is not alright to spend money generated from the region to clean the mess created by petroleum exploration.

Due to lack of concern, the Niger Delta is probably the most polluted oil region in the world.  Even the effort to clean Ogoniland came by way of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).  It is predictable that the Federal Government is not enthusiastic about spending some of the oil wealth to clean the  Ogoni pollution.  The lack of interest contributes to the delay tactics being used to execute the project.  The Premium Times published a story alleging that most of the sixteen firms awarded contracts to clean the environmental pollution in Ogoniland are unqualified to do so ( ).  If the report is accurate, then it means that the Ogoni clean-up project is simply another avenue for those who are highly connected to make money through fake contracts.  It must be noted that the Federal Government, through the Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma and Mr. Marvin Dekil, the head of the HYPREP, responded quickly to say that the news story is inaccurate.

Apparently, while the Federal Government insists that it is solely responsible for managing all mineral resources in the country, the Solid Minerals Development Fund, which was inaugurated in 2013, after having been established through the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007, has not taken off in a manner that creates any recognizable impact.  This means that the Federal Government is only paying lip service to the need to activate the full potential of the solid mineral sector in contributing to the economic development of the country.

Perhaps, due to political reasons, the Federal Government does not seem totally committed to the regulation of solid minerals in the county, despite the Minerals and Mining Act of 2007, as indicated above.  The Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police Force and the Airforce are not deployed in regions where solid minerals are found to stop illegal mining activities.  Therefore, for decades Nigerian citizens in those regions have been very active in mining those minerals.  They are not worried of being arrested or shot at for engaging in illegal mining activities.  Thus, they generate wealth that does not even go to the coffers of the Nigerian state.

The lack of national interest or political will in stringently regulating and managing the solid minerals sector so as to generate a robust national income is evidenced by the fact that solid minerals only account for less than half a percent of the Nigerian GDP.  To reverse the low trend, the Federal Government developed a plan in 2015 which envisaged increasing the percentage of the GDP in solid mineral production to 5% in 2015 and 10% in 2020.  Unfortunately, the projection did not materialize, hence, the national government now intends on generating about three percent of GDP from solid mineral production in 2025, as noted by George Lwand ((

If the Nigerian government is only interested in generating 3 percent of the GDP through solid mineral exploration in 2025, this means that the oil region would continue to bear the greatest burden in shouldering the responsibility for generating foreign exchange.  This further means that private citizens would be allowed to continue to mine solid minerals in the non-oil producing regions.

The nation’s lack of political will in generating wealth through solid minerals is further demonstrated by the fact that it was in November 27, 2018 that the Federal Government awarded sixteen contracts to mining companies to offer consulting services in preparation for the exploration of solid minerals (  This implies that the national government is not really interested in fully exploring solid minerals while it concentrates its effort in maximizing the exploration and exploitation of the oil region. Perhaps, this is the reason why oil accounts for 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange, even though the service sector is the largest contributor to the country’s GDP (   No wonder, the oil region is devastated due to oil pollution.

The fact that the Federal Government continues to focus its attention in maximizing its foreign exchange earnings through oil and gas production, perhaps, contributes to the president’s unwillingness to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).   Similarly, it could also be said that the lack of national will to treat the oil region equitably has been responsible for the long and torturous journey that the PIGB bill took before the National Assembly passed it.  It should be noted that the bill started as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)) in 1999 and kept being dangling in the air in the National Assembly by those legislators from the non-oil producing regions for almost twenty years now ( ). It is certain that if oil and gas were located in the regions of the power-wielding groups, the oil region would have been treated differently than what is happening to the oil region today.


The Reaction of the Oil Region towards the Double Standard

Nigerians from the oil region react in ways that baffle the mind concerning the double standard that exist in the enforcement of national laws dealing with mineral resources management in the country.

First, the senators and representatives of the oil region that are in the National Assembly (NA) have either spoken very little or nothing at all about the dichotomy in the management of mineral resources in the country.  These representatives, perhaps, have tactically decided not to say anything about the fact that Nigeria has a double standard which affects their constituents very negatively.  It seems that the elected legislators have internally accepted the view that the oil region must be sacrificed to sustain the country.  Otherwise, they would have spoken loudly to show their displeasure regarding the manner in which their region is being unduly exploited.

Second, the oil region, made up of ten states, has had cabinet ministers/commissioners in all the military regimes and civil administrations that have ruled Nigeria since petroleum became a major source of national income.  These personalities have known for decades that the oil and gas region is treated differently from regions with solid mineral deposits.  Yet, they did not (and have not) work frantically to change the policy which penalizes the inhabitants of the oil region while rewarding the inhabitants of the regions where gold, tin, coal, columbite and other solid minerals are found.  Even in President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration, there are highly placed government officials from the oil region, serving as ministers, directors and political advisers, yet, they do not seem interested in persuading the Federal Government to change policy and equalize the playing field for exploration of minerals in the country

Third, the governors of the oil producing region seemed not irked and cheated by the fact that while governors in solid mineral producing states can invite private mining companies to come to their states and carry out mining activities, they cannot do so in the oil region.  In other words, the governors of the states with solid minerals can actually create wealth and employment through mining the minerals in their own states to boost their economies while the governors of the oil region cannot do so. It is puzzling why the governors in the oil region have not filed a class action suit to force the Federal Government to apply the same standard across the board in the management of liquid and solid minerals in the country.

In fact, when Governor Nasir el-Rufai announced that he was working out a plan to invite mining companies to explore gold in his state, a governor in the oil-producing region would have tested the constitutionality of the draconian military-era decrees that nationalize oil and gas ownership by announcing that he too would invite an oil company to explore oil and gas in his own state to test federal response.  Unfortunately, none of the governors paid attention to the implication that a governor in the same country can invite foreign mining companies and governors in oil-producing states cannot do so.  The lack of response to Governor El-Rufai’s announcement means that the governors of the oil-producing states have accepted the status quo, hence, decided not to challenge the Federal Government constitutionally.

Fourth, it is also puzzling why the governors and the national legislators of the oil-producing states have not put political pressure on the National Assembly and the president to denationalize liquid mineral resources if solid minerals are not put under the same stringent national standard.

Fifth, another baffling thing about the lack of proactive response from the oil region is the almost absent-mindedness of the civil society organizations in the region to the double standard that exist between the manner in which the Federal Government treats the oil region and the total lack of national enforcement in the management of solid mineral resources in the country.  It seems that civil society organizations in the oil region are not bothered by the fact that the citizens of the region are not having a fair deal in the country.  Apart from the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) which made a press statement decrying the unfair treatment of the oil region and called for a constitutional amendment, following the revelation that individuals are allowed to explore gold in Zamfara State (, no other major regional organization has made a press statement about the dichotomy or the double standard.

Sixth, it is inferable that the indigenes of the oil region are overwhelmed and defeated to the point that they have given up any hope that Nigeria will reconsider its double standard and allow them to engage in private mining or gain at least 50% of the revenue accruing from oil and gas exploration and production.  It is assumable that after decades of protesting and decrying their unfair treatment without a positive response from the Federal Government, many of them have given up and simply decide to exist, knowing full well that there is not much they can do to change the minds of Nigerian rulers.

Seventh, the different national regulatory standards for solid and liquid minerals have existed since the enactment of the Petroleum act, yet, the sons and daughters of the oil region which had served as leaders of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and oil-related agencies kept quiet and allowed their people to be exploited.

Eighth, the most surprising fact about the anomalous situation is that a son of the oil region, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, actually served as the head of state of Nigeria for six years without crafting a bill to equalize the standard for regulating liquid and solid minerals or remove the ignominious acts that turn the citizens of the oil region into third class citizens in Nigeria.


Reaction of Nigerians from the Non-Oil Producing Regions concerning the Double Standard in the Management of Mineral Resources

First, a considerable number of Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions strongly believe that oil and gas are national resources that belong to all Nigerians, irrespective of the region in which the resources are being explored.  As a result, they insist that the wealth generated through oil and gas must be shared nationally.   In fact, in 2014, Usman Bugaje went as far as to say that the oil actually belongs to the North, even though it is found in the South-South, South-East, and Southwest zones of the country (

Second, strongly believing that oil and gas are national resources, many Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions always show their displeasure whenever youths in the oil region disrupt oil and gas exploration.  As a result, whenever oil production is disturbed or interfered with, some Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions would use all kinds of expletives and or derogatory statements, such as “lazy,” “oil thieves,” “criminals,” “stupid” and so on and so forth, against Nigerians from the oil region for disrupting their national resources.   Yet, they remain quiet over the fact that the Federal Government does not apply the same stringent standard in the management of solid minerals in other parts of the country.  These Nigerians are not irked by the fact that some Nigerians in the non-oil producing regions can literally mine solid minerals and enrich themselves and their families while citizens of the oil region cannot do so.

Third, the citizens of the non-oil producing regions are not angered by the fact that wealth generated from the mining of gold, tin and other solid minerals are not distributed nationally to the benefit of all citizens and states in the country as the wealth generated from oil and gas.  Thus, while these Nigerians claim that oil and gas are national resources, they do not seem to attach the same standard of national ownership to solid minerals.  As a result, they are not expressing their displeasure at the realization that some Nigerians can actually purchase licenses to explore solid minerals while citizens in the oil region cannot obtain licenses to explore oil and gas, unless they are part of the political clique that have national influence.

Fourth, those Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions that insist on total national control of oil and gas production have no problem with the fact that there is little or no national control of solid minerals.  Hence, they are not screaming and using expletives to describe those Nigerians who are buying licenses to explore and profit from solid minerals.

Fifth, the general lack of comment by Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions following the revelation that individuals have been mining gold and other solid mineral in Zamfara and other states, shows that Nigerians, like the Federal Government, apply a double standard in their view of mineral resources ownership in the country.  Since oil and gas are not found in their regions, they insist that the wealth generated from the liquid minerals must be shared across the nation.  However, they are not willing to insist that any wealth generated through exploration of solid minerals must also be shared across the nation. This means that it is alright to violate the economic rights of those Nigerians in the oil region but it is not appropriate to violate the rights of Nigerians in regions that have solid minerals.

It should be noted that before the discovery of oil, solid minerals contributed substantially to the national economy.  However, since the black gold became the mainstay of the economy, the Federal Government, whether by omission or tactical reasons, has basically allowed solid minerals to be exploited by individuals and cooperatives. This puts tremendous pressure on the oil region to bear the financial brunt for generating national income to run the country.

Sixth, while many Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions insist that the oil wealth belongs to the entire country, they are not insisting that the Federal Government should bear responsibility in cleaning the environmental pollution that has been visited upon the peoples’ of the oil region.  Thus, these Nigerians want the oil wealth but are not bothered by the fact that the oil region is dying due to massive pollution and gas flaring.

Seventh, high-level Federal Government officials always talk about increasing oil and gas production but they rarely say anything about the need to clean the oil region.  In particular, officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC) have a tendency to announce to the entire world the steps being taken to increase oil and gas production but they rarely say anything about the environmental cost to the indigenes of the oil region.    They assume that the citizens of the oil region are not politically relevant, therefore, there is no need to take measures that are necessary to improve the quality of life in the oil region.


The implications of the Double Standard in the Management of Liquid and Solid Minerals in Nigeria

The implications are far-reaching and reflect the self-induced crises that beset the country.

First, despite the fact that Nigeria has both liquid and solid minerals that are capable of generating enormous wealth to fuel the economy and run the government, the leaders of the country, for about five decades now, have relied almost exclusively on revenue generated from the oil region to maintain the entire country.  The 36 states and their local governments depend greatly on the oil wealth, allocated through the Federation Account, to take care of their financial needs.

On the other hand, even though solid minerals are as important as liquid minerals, Nigerian leaders do not really care much about generating national income through the effective management of such minerals.  It is amazing that Nigerian leaders are not conscious of the fact that solid minerals can generate tremendous wealth for Nigeria.  In fact, South Africa and many countries in the world actually rely on solid minerals to generate wealth and build their economies while Nigeria, for whatever reason, decides not to pay attention to the enormous wealth that can be generated through effective management of solid minerals in the country.  If Governor Nasir el-Rufai statement concerning the enormity of gold deposits in Kaduna state were to be taken seriously, why is the Federal Government not keen on maximizing the exploration of gold in the country?

It should be noted that Nigeria had relied upon the exploration of solid minerals during and immediately after independence to run the country. Unfortunately, as soon as oil became a major commodity, Nigeria abandoned the solid mineral sector. A country with about 200 million people needs to generate national income from both liquid and solid minerals in order to reduce poverty and unemployment.

Second, the fact that Nigeria is willing to allow individuals to explore solid minerals while not allowing individuals to explore oil and gas seems to indicate that Nigerian leaders regard the oil region as a captured foreign territory that is subject to exploitation. Again, only highly connected Nigerians that are allowed to operate oil companies, not the communities which own the resource.

Third, by enacting all kinds of laws to nationalize oil and gas to the extent that the indigenes of the oi region cannot benefit directly from minerals that are found in their territory while allowing Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions to mine gold, tin, coal, and other minerals, Nigerian leaders seem to be sending a message that Nigeria regards the citizens of the oil region as third class citizens.  It means that the citizens in the oil-region are not as important as citizens in the non-oil regions.  As a result, they are subject to exploitation.

Fourth, by policing the oil region with the armed forces to ensure undisturbed exploration of oil and gas by the oil companies, Nigerian leaders are telling the citizens of the oil region that their territory is a colony of Nigeria, hence, subject to exploitation. Perhaps, this explains why whenever an oil or gas pipeline is disturbed or tampered with, Nigerian security forces threatened to punish an entire community for the criminal activities of the few.  Many community leaders in the oil region have been beaten up, detained and even killed because some youths in the area were suspected to have been responsible for disrupting oil operations.  The Nigeria military even threatened to hold community leaders responsible for the actions of pipeline vandals ( In fact, on numerous occasions, the military’s Joint Task Force (JTF) has ordered community leaders in the oil region to report and possibly apprehend suspected militants and hand them over to the government for prosecution.

However, in solid mineral producing regions, the military does not threaten community leaders for illegal mining of minerals.  Even in Zamfara State, the Federal Government was only forced to act because the violence was getting out of control.  Apart from that, there is no special military unit designed to protect solid minerals in Nigeria while the JTF is all over the place in the oil region.

Fifth, by allowing Nigerians in the regions where solid minerals are found to engage in private exploration, Nigerian leaders are sending a message that they are purposely discriminating in favor of their own people while discriminating against the citizens of the oil region who have no political power to effect a change in national policy.

Sixth, by not being interested in nationalizing solid minerals which are mostly located in the regions where most of the power-wielding groups come from, Nigerian leaders are sending a message that they are willing to sacrifice the national interest to enable their own people to generate private wealth and create employment in their own communities.

Seventh, since it is estimated that Nigeria only desires to generate about 3 percent of the GDP through the exploration of solid minerals in 2025, this indirectly means that Nigerian’s political leaders do not want to deprive their own people the ability to earn income through exploration of solid minerals which are found in their territories. In other words, Nigerians whose territories have solid minerals have natural and economic rights to enjoy the wealth generated from their territories while Nigerians who are from the oil region have no such rights.

Eighth, the most alarming thing about the fact that the Federal Government has two polices concerning the management of the nation’s minerals is that the leaders of the oil producing region know that there is a different standard for liquid minerals and another for solid minerals, yet, fail to do something about it.  The leaders of the oil region failed in the following ways:

a.  They did not protest and take legal action to stop the undue nationalization of liquid minerals while solid minerals are only partially nationalized. Their failure to act proactively has resulted in the inability of their people to generate income from minerals that are found in their territory while other Nigerians are allowed to explore and generate income and employment from solid minerals.

b.  They know that oil blocks are given to individuals who are mostly from the non-oil producing regions, yet, did not scream loudly to stop the practice. In other words, the leaders of the oil region stood by while the Federal Government gave oil rights to selective few to amass tremendous private wealth from public resources.

c.  Despite the fact that the sons and daughters of the oil region have variously served as heads of the NNPC and Ministers of State for Petroleum, yet, they did not make any substantive effort to ensure that Nigeria apply the same standard for all minerals. They allowed oil and gas to be nationalized to the extent that the citizens of the oil region are rendered as mere onlookers while others feast on the resources from their territory.

d.  The senators, representative and governors of the oil-producing region allow the dichotomy to exist between the undue federal control of liquid minerals and federal lack of control of solid minerals.

e.  Even after the revelation that private citizens are allowed in Zamfara State to carry out exploration of gold, the leaders of the oil region still remain quiet as if they are not aware of the different standard that the leaders of Nigeria are using to exploit the oil region.

Indeed, the Federal Government registered about 600 private mining cooperatives. This means that private cooperatives operated by Nigerians are able to earn income officially from solid minerals (    It should also be noted that 50 mining leases and 952 exploration licenses were awarded to foreign and local mining companies and individuals in 2007.  During the same time, the government encouraged private investment in solid minerals exploration by relaxing some of the regulatory rules (    On the other hand, there is no relaxation of the regulatory rules in the liquid mineral sector.



It is obvious that Nigeria has two polices or standards concerning the regulation, control and management of mineral resources.  As a result, the policy towards solid minerals is different from the policy on liquid minerals.  The double standard penalizes citizens in the oil region while rewarding citizens in the non-oil producing regions.  Thus, the double standard is a violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens of the oil region who have been compelled to sacrifice their existence in order to sustain Nigeria.

To ensure equity, it is time for Nigeria to eradicate the double standard and streamline the management of mineral resources in the country.  In this regard, if it continues to allow individuals in the solid mineral-rich regions to generate income through private mining, it must denationalize oil and gas and allow the indigenes of the oil region too to generate income through private exploration.  Otherwise, it must make sure that all minerals are nationalized stringently the way oil and gas are. Similarly, national income generated through the exploration of solid minerals must be distributed through the Federation Account to all the states and local governments.