What defines the fullness of life is freedom and liberty to exist. Even animals are conscious of it. Those who enjoy freedom hardly appreciate the blessings of that small, but unquantifiable grace of God Almighty, until it is severed. A caged being is undoubtedly, the most melancholic soul anyone can encounter.
His entire self-worth and dignity are violated. These are virtues which inherently and centrally define a venerated humanity, but sometimes, deprived by circumstances. A confrontation with any soul incarcerated invokes the feeling of empathy and everything about him, defiantly assails the eyes, even the mere physique.
When news of the Nigerian Army’s rescue of 148 civilians, amongst them 58 women and children during clearance operations in Borno state went viral on social and traditional media, hearts leapt in joy.
Soldiers rescued the hostages from Bama, Modu Kimeri and Gulumba Gana. Apparently, they have been caged for years by fleeing remnants’ of Boko Haram terrorists and troops launched extensive clearance operations, “in the Lake Chad Islands and fringes of the northern borders of Borno State,” to rescue them.
Other Nigerians felt as if, they were the ones imprisoned by terrorists for years, but have regained freedom. There is celebrations’ everywhere, especially in the affected families. They have continued to offer silent prayers of appreciation to God for enabling Nigerian soldiers to perform this wonderful task. The accolades on President Muhammedu Buhari have multiplied in tenfold from these families.
An African proverb says, you can only appreciate the value of what you have when you lose it (paraphrased). And the rescued hostages can only appreciate the Nigerian Army, with the dawning reality that they are once again free people, not subjected to the dehumanizing and humiliating treatment in the hands of terrorists in deadly camps located in forests and caves.
Boko Haram insurgents used women captives as sex slaves, especially in Modu Kinetic, a remote village in Bama LGA of the state. The freed captives re-enacted pathetic and gory tales of rapes, child slavery and forced labour to troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole and other security agencies.
The narratives could break any hardened heart with tears and reminds of the slave trade narratives, particularly, the tales of Olaudah Equaino or its prosaic and dramatized version in the epic novel, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family , authored by Alex Haley, where Kunta Kinte acts the African plight in servitude.
Actions speak louder than words. In spite of the reliefs and great sacrifices the Nigerian Army is making to protect the sovereign Nigerian nation, some Nigerians in conspiracy with suspected foreign organizations’ prefer to malign and unduly castigate soldiers. Amnesty International (AI) is at the forefront of these vitriolic projections of the Nigerian Army led by a conscientious officer, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter- insurgency operations. Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai.
But sometimes, criticisms are good, even if they sprout from malice or satanic minds. It assists the criticized target to go extra miles in practical actions to disprove the negative propaganda. It is the loud and pious statement the Nigerian Army has made with another rescue of over 148 Nigerians from the fangs of Boko Haram terrorists.
And soldiers have not relented in their avowed determination to secure lives and property of Nigerians. Those who listened to President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2018 Democracy Day speech to Nigerians would easily concede that soldiers have ensured or influenced the release of over 20,000 Nigerians held captive by insurgents in the last three years.
AI recently released a report, alleging the rape or sexual abuse of Boko Haram victims in camps domiciled in the Northeast. But asked again, proof for the claims, AI would shrink like little babies. The organization is suspected of connivance with local and foreign agents to destabilize Nigeria, by promoting actions inimical to a peaceful and secured Nigeria.
By this unwritten script, AI prefers to invent, fabricate and promote reports which have glaring empathy for terrorists; but intentionally turn a blind eye to human rights violations perpetrated by the same Boko Haram terrorists, a fanatical and satanic sect. AI is challenged to dust any of its previous reports which it has ever documented human rights violations or abuses by terrorists’. But ironically, AI jumps excitedly at the dubious promotion of its formulated reports, which slight and cast aspersions on the Nigerian Army to service the ego of their alleged foreign paymasters.
Amnesty International downplays any positive news or exploits of the Nigerian Army for reasons only the arrowheads of the organization can explain. They have sustainably attempted to dampen the morale of troops on battlefield with such extremely distasteful reports. But the soldiers under Gen. Buratai have demonstrated again and again that they are more sophisticated for the petty international politics or espionage mission of AI in Nigeria and other hirelings of the destructive schemes against Nigeria.
Regardless of these, the resolve of the Nigerian military to stand up for their country can never be broken by such pedestrian tricks.
Nevertheless, AI and their associates can promote anything against the Nigerian military and other security agencies. But it would never blur, distract or obliterate the practical and positive results of soldiers on battling terrorism in the country. Nigerians know and feel the impact and no amount of propaganda by AI and other cursed souls is strong enough to erase the national and international legacies Nigerian Army has generously deposited on the land.
And Nigerians in villages and communities like China, Sabon Gari-1, Sabon Gari-2, Sabon Gari-3 and Sabon Gari-4 villages who relish the priced gift of freedom from terrorists grip, because of the intervention of soldiers offer prayers every minute for Gen. Buratai and the soldiers. Villagers in locations such as Nguzoduwa, Falla, Bulangala, Botori and Bula Matawa would never believe or accept AI’s seemingly paid propaganda against the Nigerian Army, which has thrilled them infinitely.
Definitely, AI and accomplices in the evil Shrine must know that the Nigerian Army is focused, disciplined and professionally splendid. The release of such volume of Boko Haram captives barely a month after Amnesty International falsely and baselessly accused the Army of sundry crimes against humanity in the Northeast is direct demonstration of how the Army has overpowered the distractions and bad blood unleashed by AI and minions.
It is a revenge mission against AI by Nigerian Army, which pleasantly conveys the message that the Army knows exactly what it is doing about the Boko Haram crisis and the security of Nigerians over terrorism. Gen. Buratai has vowed that as long as he remains the COAS and leader of the counter-terrorism war, every Nigerian held hostage by Boko Haram would be freed by soldiers.
So, AI can mouth all obscenities on soldiers, but the Nigerian Army would continue to disprove them through actions, as evidenced by the latest release of another 148 Nigerians in Boko Haram captivity.
By Prince Ugo
Ugo writes from the United Kingdom