Fifteen Nigerian Military Officials Found Guilty of Arming Boko Haram

Now it’s beginning to make sense.

Boko Haram, the mass murderers in the name of Allah who have rampaged at will over Northern Nigerian for years never made sense of me.

They were heavily armed and appeared to be able to burn down churches and schools, engage in protracted assaults on large institutions, without undue interference from the government of Nigeria. Boko Haram could waltz into any location, kill, raze, burn and kidnap, then waltz back out and nobody stopped them.

They are a good-sized band of armed men, rampaging over the countryside, yet nobody can figure out where they are. They have no visible means of support, yet they are fed, clothed, sheltered, armed and trained — all, we are led to believe, by magic, or the terrorist fairy or some such.

It never made sense. Not one bit of sense.

In fact, it reeked of government corruption on a vast scale.

This has been going on, and the bodies have been piling up, for a long time. So far as I know, I was the only one who kept asking these impertinent questions about who was funding them, why the Nigerian military couldn’t find them and take them out, and what, exactly, was so rotten in Nigeria. My questioning ranged far and wide, including what I fervently hope turns out to be wrong fears that somehow or other the oil in Nigeria had involved American interests in this killing on some level.

Whatever was going on, I knew absolutely that the stories we were hearing did not add up.

The smell of it all finally got seriously international when Boko Haram kidnapped around 300 school girls with the stated purpose of selling them as sex slaves. (They did say they were going to sell some of them as “wives,” but “wife” in this context sounds like sex slave to me.)

All it took was a bit of looking. Or rather just a tad of not ignoring the obvious. The international outrage allowed the obvious to come up and start biting prominent Nigerians in the nose.

In what I expect, if there is any genuine honesty building in Nigeria, will be the very first and smallest revelation, ten of Nigeria’s generals and five other high-ranking officers have been found guilty of supplying arms to Boko Haram. These are generals from the same military that was in charge of protecting the civilian population from the terrorists.

Reports coming out of Nigeria say that soldiers have been talking about this — and being ignored — for quite some time. There are other reports that members of the Nigerian military actually participate in Boko Haram’s raids on the civilians that the military is supposed to protect. Then, after murdering the people whose safety they are charged to maintain, these same soldiers go back into column with whatever passes for a “legitimate” military in Nigeria.

I’m guessing that the police, as well as government officials on every level, are involved in this, as well.

People I know in Nigeria have told me that the corruption there is overwhelming. They tell me that it is impossible to engage in business with the government at any level without bribing officials. Bribes are taken as a commonplace, something expected in order to function. I’ve been told that Christians demand and accept bribes, as well as others.

I have a small message for every Nigerian Christian: Do not ask for or accept bribes.

I have another small message for every Nigerian Christian clergyman: If you are not preaching about honesty and exhorting your parishioners to stop soliciting and accepting bribes, you are ignoring one of the most poisonous sins in your society. Get with it preachers: Preach.

As for the generals and members of the Nigerian military who have committed this treason, I think the death penalty is warranted. I generally oppose the death penalty, but this is a situation in which the government is too corrupt to trust to keep these people out of action where they can not continue to do harm. When the government cannot provide for the public safety without the death penalty, then the death penalty becomes a necessity.

This breakdown of governance needs to be stopped if Nigeria is to survive.

From ABC News:

Ten generals and five other senior military officers have been found guilty in courts-martial of providing arms and information to Boko Haram extremists, several Nigerian newspapers said Tuesday, though the military insisted there was no truth in the reports.

They follow months of allegations from politicians and soldiers who told The Associated Press that some senior officers were helping the Islamic extremists and that some rank-and-file soldiers even fight alongside the insurgents and then return to army camps. They have said that information provided by army officers has helped insurgents in ambushing military convoys and in attacks on army barracks and outposts in their northeastern stronghold.

Leadership newspaper quoted one officer saying that four other officers, in addition to the 15, were found guilty of “being disloyal and for working for the members of the sect.”

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, who last week denied reports saying senior officers were being investigated, reiterated in a statement on Tuesday that defense headquarters “wishes to state once again categorically that there is no truth whatsoever in the report.”

He called it a “falsehood” concocted by those who “appear hell-bent on misleading Nigerians and the international community to give credence to the negative impression they are so keen to propagate about the Nigerian military.”

Nigeria’s military often denies substantiated reports, such as on extrajudicial killings of civilians and detainees. It is accused of such gross human rights violations that the U.S. efforts to help in the rescue of nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls have been limited by U.S. law restricting sharing of some types of information and technology with abusive security forces.

The alleged sabotage by senior officers could explain the military’s failure to curb a 5-year-old Islamic uprising by Boko Haram that has killed thousands despite a year-long state of emergency in the northeast.

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  • Manny

    I guess that foreign policy by hashtag didn’t work.

  • pagansister

    It is no surprise that the government is involved with that terrorist group. Whether anyone is powerful enough to correct what is obviously a well entrenched standard of corruption in that country yet to be seen. Will the conviction actually make a difference?

    • kenofken

      It’s hard to see how the conviction will make a difference. Can we have any confidence that those convicted are even those responsible, or primarily so? Chances are, they’re just the water carriers for the real higher ups and are being sacrificed to stop the inquiry from looking deeper. Maybe they took the fall because they couldn’t come up with sufficient bribes! Given this, the death penalty is even less likely to have the intended effect. Those killed will also be scapegoats. Under this system, it’s quite likely that some of them will turn out to be whistleblowers or some of the few who didn’t go along with the rot. Others will just be politically inconvenient people who will be eliminated under the handy pretext of eliminating corruption.

  • FW Ken

    I would have guessed that Saudi Arabia would be involved, and may be, of course.

    Maybe it’s the prevalence of media with 24 hours a day of programming to fill, but I’m growing more concerned about international disorder. Certainly Nigeria, but also our willingness to intervene against Syria’s legal government, supporting rebels as brutal, or more brutal than the legal government. I find this exchange of 5 high level terrorists for one, possibly treasonous deserter (admitting that we may not know the whole story) very disturbing. The apparent expansionist plans of Russia… and so on.

    • pagansister

      I agree that that the exchange of 5 to 1, the 5 being pretty nasty fellows, a bit disturbing too. I also agree we may not know the reason our guy walked off base w/out any armor, weapon etc. I am glad that, at least according to the news, the Army is investigating or plans to anyhow. Who knows what state of mind Beau (his name?) is in right now—PTSD may be involved here too. The tradition of not leaving our soldiers behind is a good one, and he is a soldier. Humanitarian reasons said we bring him back (his health was deteriorating) but do we actually give the enemy 5 high risk men in return? Well, we did as I expect that was the only deal the enemy would agree to. Time will eventually sort this out.