“I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest. To serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity, uphold her honour and glory, so help me God.“
That was the national pledge 480 Nigerian troops who had absconded from their duty to defend the security and territorial integrity of their fatherland Nigeria, were reciting as they secretly fled to the neighbouring country, Cameroon, following a fierce gun battle with Boko Haram insurgents. Now that the Cameroonian authorities had repatriated the fugitive soldiers back to Nigeria, the troops had decided to recite the same magical pledge as they were being handed over to the Nigerian authorities ““ if not for anything, to show their patriotism. Or minimize the wrath of the stone faced Nigerian authorities, standing with long canes in their hands, waiting for the 480 terrified absconders. However, the troops ended the sacred pledge with “so help me Boko Haram.“
“So help me Boko Haram?“ The fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom, amongst many Nigerian soldiers. Hold on! Since when have Boko Haram Jihadists turned themselves to God? Who made the terrorists the fearful gods amongst the Nigerian soldiers? Probably, they might not be gods elsewhere; but surely, they seem to be in Nigeria. Since Boko Haram, a radical Islamic group, operating in the Northeast of Nigeria, which vowed to eradicate the Western education in Nigeria, stepped up its bloody campaign against Nigerian institutions, Christians and individuals, the audacity and military invincibility of the militants is no more in question. Nor is the sadistic and cruel determination of Boko Haram in doubt. Recently, Boko Haram engaged in a fierce battle with the Nigerian soldiers, who could not withstand the military shrewdness of the jihadists.
“This operation is the mother of all battles. Boko Haram must be conquered. We must annihilate them“¦. Evaporate, disperse, dissipate, dematerialize, dissolve, vanish“¦“¦..“
That was the last instruction from the commander of the Nigerian troops sent by the government to mesmerize Boko Haram terrorist group, which have been causing nightmares and instability in Nigeria. Boko Haram must be dealt a terrible blow. They must be conquered, the commander insisted. Within the twinkling of an eye, the commander found himself in a soliloquy. Or worse still, he seemed to be talking to his militant enemies, who were approaching him, determined to infringe maximum pains on the Nigerian soldiers. That was the last time the commander set his eyes on 480 of his troops.
Ironically, the Nigerian soldiers were rather not only annihilated, they evaporated, dispersed, dissipated, dematerialized, dissolved and vanished to Cameroon, begging the country`s president Paul Biya to send his troops to help fight Boko Haram. Or to plead with the terrorists to go for 40 days and 40 night prayers, so as to allow the absconded soldiers a free passage to Nigeria. Would you blame the fearful Nigerian soldiers who had complained, a week before fleeing to Cameroon ingloriously, that they did not have enough military arsenals to match the intimidating military might of the terrorists? It did not help either, that the jihadists had recently declared Gwoza town seized by them, an Islamic caliphate and vowed never to recognise the authority and existence of Nigeria as a country.
But the Nigerian military debunked the absconding allegations. The 480 Nigerian troops, the military intimated, were in Cameroon for a “tactical manoeuvre.“ You hear that? Asked by Kata Kata`s reporter to explain the “tactical manoeuvre.“ military jargon, the army spokesman cleared his throat, as if he had a big ball of fufu hanging inside his throat.
“The troops arrived in the wee hours; some of them were still in military fatigue while others were on the vest. The returning soldiers looked unkempt and dishevelled and injured, others were seen wearing short knickers and torn uniform as they went to the popular side of the Mubi market to buy second-hand clothes popularly called “Gwanjo” to replace their torn clothes or disguise their army uniform for the obvious reasons.“ The army spokesman tried to explain.
Aha! Which other definition of “tactical manoeuvre“ do you need? Meanwhile, in the clearest sign of audacity, the insurgents not only told the residents of Madagali town, to ignore the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state acting Governor Umar Fintiri on Sunday, the jihadists were equally seen moving freely and brandishing their guns. When Oga cat is not at home, the houseboy mouse becomes the king.
Now that the 480 Nigerian troops have returned from their “tactical manoeuvre“ and the Boko Haram boys are having a field day, defying the state curfew, declaring their own Islamic “caliphate“ and refusing to recognise the existence of Nigeria as a country, the stake is extremely high. It is either the militants do all it takes to keep hold or even expand their newly captured “caliphate“ or the Nigerian military, fresh from their “tactical manoeuvre,“ will let the militant know that they have taken more than they can chew. Perhaps, this might not be the last “tactical manoeuvre“ from the Nigerian army. Or Boko Haram group will soon learn they are going too far. Either way, the battle would not be a child play.
When two elephants fight, the grass will suffer. As far as Boko Haram is not fully eradicated in Nigeria, innocent Nigerians ““ including the military – will continue to suffer due to the Boko Haram insurgency.
The above story is a parody. It is entirely fictitious; therefore none of the characters mentioned in the story are real.