As a worldwide international effort to rescue the 276 schoolgirls being held captive by Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria gets underway, the Nigerian military’s failure to respond to earlier warnings about the abduction was exposed in a report issued by Amnesty International. In the report, which cites multiple interviews with credible sources, Amnesty International reported that Nigerian security forces had four hours of notice prior to the April 15 attack by the rebel group Boko Haram but were said not to have reacted because of their fear in engaging the extremists. “This abduction could have been prevented,” Amnesty spokeswoman Susanna Flood said, of the Nigerian military’s inaction. No information so far on the who, what, why, where of this insider information, however.
In a strong statement late Thursday, The military opposed what it said were the attempts of some civic groups to “drag the military into politics.” That’s laughable since Nigeria has only recently surfaced from drowning under a sea of military dictatorships in 1999. Since its “independence” from Britain as a commonwealth in 1960, Nigeria has been ruled by eight military regimes interspersed by civilian rule in 1979 and 1983.
Critics of the critics say don’t blame Jonathan and the military. They say that there two diametrically opposed legal systems running parallel to each other in Nigeria, the Islamist Sharia legal system and secular Nigeria with its English common law system. Amah Jones, writing for the GlobaVille News says,
The Nigerian Army is a very capable modern military organization, but the dualism of allegiance which characterizes both its Northern Muslim officers as well as the Islamist North’s political Establishment, has made the army’s task a lot more cumbersome.
First, many of the Northern Muslim officers as well as rank and file troops are themselves members of the Boko Haram. They provide intelligence, aid and comfort to fellow Muslim brothers fighting to unseat a government controlled by a kafir or infidel Christian president from the South. The Boko Haram is the Northern Muslim political elites’s military wing.
Friday, British security experts joined the Nigerian and American forces hunting for the young girls. Britain said its aim was not only to help with the current crisis but to defeat Boko Haram. Personally, as a black woman who associates her heritage with Africa (particularly Nigeria, where a geneology trace has my family’s roots coming up from), I would have loved for Jonathan’s military to have made such a pronouncement. But I know first hand as an African American, how political corruption, greed and power can render any government impotent.
In a statement made at an economic forum on Thursday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said in regards to the presence of the international security force in his country, “I believe that the kidnap [sic] of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,”
Some in Nigeria hope this will also be the official beginning of the end of Jonathan’s presidential reign as well. Nigeria, which has been identified as a regional power in Africa and of possessing the world’s 26th largest economy, will hold its presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 14, 2015. President Goodluck Jonathan has not yet announced his intentions to run, but his perceived desire to do so has fractured his People’s Democratic Party against a backdrop of increasing political violence. Many consider him a weak leader who has failed on election promises to end the corruption that has crippled the economy.
Since elected in 2010, Jonathan also failed to stop an Islamic uprising that forced a state of emergency covering one-sixth of the country. Dozens of party loyalists have defected to new opposition coalitions, possibly offering the first real competition to the Democrats, who have been in power since the end of years of military dictatorship.
People the world over, via the social media outlets, will be following the progression of this election a lot closer, thanks in part to the events unfolding in this region right now.
I know I’ll be.