By Bayo Oluwasanmi
In March, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi in a viral video revealed that soldiers lacked weapons to fight Boko Haram terrorists. The core dilemma for a soldier is to fight an enemy combatant without weapons.
Adeniyi exercised his selective conscientious objections to fight Boko Haram without weapons. His unwillingness to fight on moral grounds, should be respected and protected. He should not be punished for the corruption and ineptitude of military commanders turned mercenaries who profit from Boko Haram insurgency.
Adeniyi has a moral responsibility to disobey military orders which go against his conviction and justice. The Nigerian Army is disobedient by design. For the Buhari administration to force soldiers to fight Boko Haram without weapons is not only morally unjust, but morally perilous.
According to the BBC Africa in an article published 19 August, 2014, quoted a soldier who requested anonymity that “40 of his colleagues would refuse orders to deploy.” The soldier told BBC Hausa service that “soldiers are dying like fowl. The Nigerian Army is not ready to fight Boko Haram.” He said soldiers were not given enough weapons and ammunition to take them on. “Boko Haram are inside the bush, everywhere. They (senior commanders) are sacrificing soldiers,” he said.
That was in 2014. This is 2020 and we are still talking about soldiers fighting terrorists without weapons. The Buhari regime deliberately prolongs the war so that commanders, service chiefs, and military contractors will continuously reap windfall profits from the war.
The Budget Office of the Federation says in 2018 and 2019, the Defense Ministry, Defense Headquarters, the army, navy, and air received over N238bn to fight Boko Haram. In addition, in 2017, $1bn from the Excess Crude Account was approved by the federal government to prosecute the war. In spite of the massive infusion of fund, our soldiers still lack weapons. Needless to say, no weapons were procured. The money was shared among the war commanders and top government functionaries.
Adeniyi doesn’t deserve to be court-martialled for refusing to fight Boko Haram with sticks and stones. He could only be court-martialled if he refused to go to war if all necessary weapons, tools, and equipment were provided.
Adeniyi represents the best of our military. A rare patriot. He brings stamina and grit to his character by exposing the rot in the army. He should be commended and not be criminalized. A military order to go to war without weapons is unlawful and can be disobeyed because the order cannot be reasonably executed.
Adeniyi has demonstrated nobility of courage and self-sacrifice. He risks his life by being exposed to intense combat and carnage. He has experienced slow-motion explosions as well as rapid machine-gun fire, the visceral violence and unrelenting gore that are constant and permanent features of war. He deserves to be treated like a hero. And he’s our hero.
Boko Haram was founded in 2002. Launched military operation 2009 to create an Islamic state. Buhari promised to wipe them off in six months in office. Almost five years in office, Buhari as Commander-in-Chief has not only failed to decimate Boko Haram, he is actively fighting soldiers fighting Boko Haram. The Commander-in-Chief is fighting his soldiers for demanding weapons, ammunition, armoured vehicles, to fight Boko Haram. He is fighting his soldiers for begging for food, allowances, uniforms, shoes, and other necessities to stay alive.
Soldiers without weapons. That’s how General Buhari fights terrorists in the 21st century. But General Adeniyi can’t fight Boko Haram without weapons. Nothing should happen to him!