STILL ON FOREIGN INTERVENTION
By Moshood Isah
The heinous activities of terrorists in Nigeria have no doubt tainted the image of Islam and Muslims much more than they have dented the image of the country. The latest of such atrocities is the abduction of over 200 girls in the remote village of Chibok in North-eastern state of Borno. The girls who were allegedly forcibly converted to Muslims have been in captivity for more than one month now, having been abducted on April 14, 2014. So far, clues remain bleak on how to rescue them.
While the Boko Haram terrorists’ group claims to be fighting for Allah, foremost Islamic groups and scholars, even globally notorious extremists have condemned the group. Thus, the stunning abduction appeared too much even for fellow militants normally eager to condone terrorist acts against the West, its allies and interests.
Boko Haram was rejected long ago by mainstream Muslim scholars and Islamist parties around the world for its seemingly senseless cruelty and capricious violence against civilians. The notion of whether the insurgents are fighting for Islam as alleged by some Christian clerics should be less pertinent than the need to evacuate the menace from our society.
The presidency has also come under excruciating criticism on its perceived inaction towards quashing the menace of insurgency in the country. This has probably pressured it into accepting offers for help in combating this menace by permanent members of the United Nations Security Council led by the United States of America. Scoops also have it that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu has also conveyed his sympathy and solidarity and as well offered to send a team of counter-terrorism experts to assist in the ongoing search and rescue mission.
The eventual decision to accept foreign assistance may seem to have come rather late but just a few were actually aware that Nigeria had pleaded for this help long before the insurgency deteriorated to its present level. Nonetheless, the recent acceptance by foreign allies to assist the nation in the search for the abducted girls may not have come at a better time. This is due to the fact that the event has escalated the animosity between and amongst religious and ethnic groups. More so, political insinuations and accusations have also not gone unnoticed as it is alleged that there is more to the macabre of the abducted girls than meets the eye.
Ultimately, President Goodluck Jonathan has welcomed and accepted a definite offer of help from the United States of America and others in the ongoing effort to locate and rescue the girls abducted from Chibok four weeks ago. This is likely to include the deployment of U.S. security personnel and assets to work with their Nigerian counterparts in the search and rescue operation. There are reports though yet to be verified that US marines are already in the country for this purpose and more.
While some have lauded this development, many others remain skeptical. It is pertinent to also mention that the use of US killer drones is not yet on the cards, just a few marines and technical expertise. There is also need to remind pessimists that China, Israel and France have also offered to help with security expertise all in the quest to locate these abducted girls and return them to their families.
The fact is that Nigeria is inexperienced in fighting terrorism; the idea of foreign help is just a matter of when and to what extent. To think the US is here to wage war against Northern Nigeria in order to decimate the Muslim majority, as being insinuated by some clergymen, is unfounded. This is especially considering the large population of Christians in the North-east. There is also the need to remind us of the fact that the United States is currently hunting for the Ugandan Rebel Leader Joseph Kony who leads the Lord’s Resistance Army. Thus, the stereotypical believe that the United States don’t offer succour for goodwill may be lulled for a while.
Although it is still a bit pardonable to instigate that the United States may not help Nigeria for free as it is believed that ‘nothing goes for nothing’ all the same, there is need to understand that the Nigerian military are not making headway in the rescue mission and thus needed intelligence and logistic succour, which the US can muster.
In a nutshell, what Nigerians need to do is remain optimistic and give all the needed moral support to the President and his service chiefs in a bid to rescue the girls. Rather than criticize virtually every step taken by the President, all hands should be on the deck to see to the end of barbarism of the militants.
*Isah writes from Sapele Street, Garki 2 Abuja
BY ADEBOTE OLUWASEYIFUNMI
If the result of the last six months FG versus ASUU battle that spanned July 1 to December 20, 2013 was a success in all universities or by extension to other tertiary institutions in Nigeria, So be it!
Yet the truth must be said that the case is different for the grand institution of Ogun State, Nigeria- FUNAAB. You may say that the institution is still far too young to be stable at 26 years old, particularly when compared with the likes of UNN, UI and others that have been in existence for a while, say for over 3 decades, but honestly it won’t be foolish to ask for the sake of knowledge and not for criticism= “Is 26 years not enough to prove to the world that the federal institution of repute is in the hands of well-able intellectuals?”
As much as I honestly would state that I’ve got no personal grudge or ‘beef’, no not one against the present administration, a substantial portion of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta community would agree even with a fool that things have not gotten any better since May 2012 when Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun bowed out in a grand style and white hands (at least as seen by the majority- the students).
With a quick reflection on the sacred books, I quote Proverbs 29 vs. 2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked begin to rule …” the former part of this biblical verse must have been what was on the minds of all FUNAABites at the transition of academic power. Well, they had all believed that a righteous man is set to sit on the throne of a very good man, but they were not all wrong after all.
Played politics or not, by the month- April, it dawned on the faces of those concerned with the institution’s on-goings that Professor (Pastor) O.B, Oyewole would assume the office of the vice chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta- FUNAAB, championing the course of the Federal Institution for another five years ceteris paribus.
From the FUNAAB of 1988 coordinated by Prof. Nimbe Adedipe, to the FUNAAB advocated by Prof. Adu, on and on, till it slipped down to the five golden years of Prof. O.O, Balogun; definitely, hiccups had come, tough times had battered administrators faces, the debates have continued and the podium is yet to welcome decorum.
Without overemphasizing or importing some hyperbolic figures of speech, I’m so sure that even an 18-page write-up would not be sufficient to highlight, let alone discuss the many issues that have caused FUNAABites to groan particularly in the last two years- by inference, since Prof O.B, Oyewole’s administration.
Where do we start, the endless cries of the post-graduate students over the inconsiderate rocketed school fees “…in a federal institution,” the murmurs of abandoned Farm Practical Year (FPY) students made to suffer at four alien locations, way distant from the school community, the audible street chats of over 3,000 thousands youths- the fresh guys at large over the unbearable experience of what registration in FUNAAB have posed to be, the confusing state of the ICT center, the ill-treatment at the various banks within the community, the empty classroom or lecture hall as widely accepted, the scanty laboratories and the full-equipped lectures halls with “out of bound notice” boldly pasted right before the doors…
Lot more could be said, but these are a few of the many reasons that have caused FUNAABites to groan and wail in throbbing pains. Well, aren’t Nigerian students meant to suffer? So, why pity them because of these few minor issues?
If these estimated 15, 000 FUNAABites are prepared to face all situations good or bad that would question their educational quest, let them face it- and face it alone, especially at this time when it is clear before their own eyes that (their mediator) Academic Staff Union of Universities- ASUU is very happy with (their enemies) oh! Not so- their number one enemy- Federal Government of Nigeria- FGN.
As a dumb, I’ll speak, I’ll groan, I’ll shout till I am heard. For there are many questions yet unanswered and I still will ask one more for anyone to respond- “What class of thoughtlessness and unforgiveable grievance on the part of the institution is it, to admit roughly 15, 000 students into the university and present only 2, 000 students or less the benefit of ‘enjoying’ the degraded hostel facilities while leaving over 13, 000 students with no option than to be swindled, scammed and defrauded in the strangling hands of greedy house owners, hungry janitors and unfaithful house contractors, who charge innocent students at ridiculous amount do them no good than fixing them in horrible structures, by the name villas, castle, quarters while the institution watches on?”
If I had a sledge hammer, I would hit it hard on the Management on Transport Committee- MANCOT as their buses is commonly christened, if the institution has decided to torture her students, is there any crime if they help to alleviate these problems by at least transporting the neglected over 13,000 students in to the campus? Of the over 30 MANCOT buses provided the unit, why should less than ten be on the road? Spare us the explanations of maintenance or available drivers (for a well-meaning institution will address these minors).
The lackadaisical attitude of most of these drivers is another headache. Well, one could stupidly justify them, if you had to think for them how they’ll have to drag those wrecking jalopies on that bad roads sufficiently filled with pot-holes and hilly bumps. Students whose only choice was to be transported by the MANCOT buses will have to hurriedly rush out of their houses to catch up with practical classes find it more terrible on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, when they have to join the queue which could get as long as one would not like to describe (say 300 meters) only for the MANCOT chairman to drive by smiling from the owners’ corner of his official car, and whenever he deems it fit, he stops by and smile at the eagers students with his hands pocketed beside his protruding stomach, as if that’s the best he can do.
Thank God for the few greedy commercial vehicle drivers would help to transport the rich students out of the campus and leave the remaining poor ones to struggle for the few MANCOT buses.
This is just about the plight, the pains and the silent groaning of FUNAABites, with no intentions of badmouthing or zero the efforts and round-the-clock hard works of those who have been up to task, but in essence it is expected that this will help to correct the abnormalities, stir up the lazy, project a better future and prepare capable graduate that we can be proud of when they stand out and stand tall among others in the academic world.
*Oluwaseyifunmi is based in Lagos State, South-West, Nigeria. He is a student of the College of Environmental Resources Management at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Efirstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>