Nigeria is a failed state – Akpore
Chief Jomo Ono Akpore – Idise is a retired infantry officer of the United States Army. He is a war veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and presently, he is an international security consultant. He spoke with Jon Egie on the issue of insecurity in Nigeria in relation to the Boko Haram insurgency and asserts that Boko Haram can be crushed in a week if the government is serious.
Do you see the United States of America presently as a friend of Nigeria?
They are very much so. The US is not just a friend but she is a partner of Nigeria economically, militarily and what have you, the US will continue to be a friend of Nigeria.
But recent reports said the US has not assisted Nigeria enough in its fight against the insurgents especially in its request for sale of arms and equipment to fight Boko Haram, how do you react to that?
America is doing very well in that regard because the Nigerian authorities have been shamefully dishonest about Boko Haram. There are many dimensions to Boko Haram. So, who is fooling who? You can’t fool the world. The political leaders, there is a military industrial complex that has been fooling the military leadership in Nigeria so they have become very dishonest about Boko Haram. Some highly placed persons are profiteering from Boko Haram. If for example, you have APC (Armour Personnel Carries) running the streets in a nation state in peace time where you have a Commander in Chief then you need to start asking yourself question and you have so many battalion of the Nigeria Army and the Air Force.
You do not expect the US to sell weapons to the Nigeria government then at the end of the day those weapons will end up with Boko Haram. Now if you watch the formation of Boko Haram, if you watch their activities it tells you obviously that they are more than just insurgents and probably they are members of the Nigerian Army. Even if they are not members of the Nigerians Army, they are well trained soldiers in mufty, so who is deceiving who? Boko Haram can be crushed in a week and the military authorities in the United States know that. The pentagon knows that there is nowhere in the world where you have an APC running around the streets in peace time and you have a Commander in Chief in that country and so many battalions of the Nigerian armed forces. Come on my man, get out of that. So the politicians are playing games and people are dying. Boko Haram can be crushed in no time. Even as a private citizen if we have the go ahead we will topple them and wipe them out. There is a military industrial complex and it is a threat not only to Nigeria and the political class here, it is also a threat to the sub-region of West Africa and when it spills over it is the same politicians like the former governor of Borne State, Amodu Sheriff, these are the same guys that are going to be eaten up by Boko Haram. Yes! It is just time.
You say there is a military industrial complex, people are dying and government is inefficient and dishonest, so how would this affect 2015 general election?
Well if they do not control it, it will snowball, it will get very chaotic and if gets very chaotic and the Commander in Chief is not able to control that and it spills all over the country, you can be sure that some guys will make an announcement for a fresh election.
So what charge should be given to the leadership?
They should come clean with Boko Haram. They are playing a game. They are in a market place where some persons are making money with Boko Haram. That also has the potential to truncate the democracy. If the President is unable to take charge of the security of the country then somebody has to take charge and you can be quite sure that some young officers are quite capable, more than capable.
Sometime ago it was reported that Nigerian troops were fleeing from Boko Haram, as a US trained solider and a citizen of Nigeria how did you react to that news?
I think I died.
Yes, as an infantry man I died. It is a shame. Trained infantry men under command should not do that. You do not run away from a fight. When units start to run away from a fight then you need to ask yourself some questions. Maybe it was being stage managed. Because if you watch the cadets and the formations of this so called Boko Haram, it tells you that they are somehow affiliated with or from the Nigeria military. Something is happening that the world is not being told. They are playing politics with Boko Haram and that is why America does not want to be involved in that stupidity.
Some people have alleged that the government knows about the Boko Haram, do you buy that allegation?
It may clearly be so if you look at it from dimensions.
You are a Nigerian born US citizen, are you today proud to be a Nigerian?
Well, that is not the point. It does not really matter whether I am a Nigerian or I am an American, I am a world citizen. Really my allegiance is to the Creator, Almighty God. You see, the world is becoming a global village so my loyalty is more to the global village.
How do you think the average American sees Nigeria as a country today?
The average American sees Nigeria the way Nigeria is, bottom line.
You said earlier, that Boko Haram can be crushed in a week; can you suggest ways to crush Boko Haram?
Those suggestions have been made a million times to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and they have not heeded.
How would you advice the average Nigerian as we enter the 2015 political year?
That there is still hope for the country, the dark cloud not with standing there is hope for Nigeria.
Still on Boko Haram, who do you think can make efforts to stop them?
The Attorney General of the FRN and the General Officer Commanding the armed Corps of Engineers. They can keep Boko Haram out of business.
Why do you locate these people as those who can stop Boko Haram?
Because it is not something you can discuss publicly since it is a very tactical matter. They can reduce the production of movement of bombs in Nigeria. A bomb can be made in 15minutes and materials to make the bomb are all over the place.
So what has the Attorney General got to do with that?
That is something to be discussed within.
Recently, a French plane landed in Kano, did you see that as part of the Boko Haram issue?
Those are parts and parcel of the security breakdown of Nigeria. We are in denial, Nigeria is a failed state. When you have vigilante patrolling the streets, armed, carrying guns and that is what the police are supposed to do, it is a failed state. When you have vigilante armed and they are standing around policemen, it is a failed state. When you have vigilante patrolling around armed and you have armed soldiers around, that is a sign of a failed state. Then when you have armed soldiers more than a squad or a platoon or even a company outside of the barrack for more than 30 days in any nation state on planet earth, it is a failed state. You will not see soldiers on the streets, mounting roadblock in Canada or in the United States of America or anywhere in Europe or even in the Balkans. You only find soldiers doing roadblock in failed states. When you have people buying generators to run electricity for themselves, it is a failed state. When you have people digging bore holes to produce water for themselves, it is a failed state. It just goes on and on, Nigeria is a failed state and that is why I am more of an Urhobo from the Niger Delta than a Nigerian. In fact, I am a reluctant Nigerian presently.
Earlier you said there is still hope…..
Oh, there is still hope because Nigerians have been hopeful long, long even before the country was born, before she was brought together as a nation state, there is still hope. However, Nigeria is a failed state and if the security situation worsens, there is going to be total breakdown of law and order that the federal government of Nigeria will no longer exist, not only that, the United Nations might not be able to control the situation and don’t forget, when that comes, the boys might make an announcement for a fresh election.
What is the way out?
The way out is a better government.
We have a good one?
What yardstick do you use to measure a good government?
The parameters they have used to measure the Jonathan administration as being very successful are the improvement in very many sectors compared to past administrations and that is why they are trying to give him a second term for 2015. Do you not think so?
Any successes that they have claimed are artificial and not only artificial, they are fraudulent.
What would you suggest to ensure political stability in Nigeria?
If free and fair elections are held and the right people get into offices, the people should be voted in instead of imposing people through appointments.
Do you expect free and fair elections in 2015?
It is not going to be absolute; Nigerians are Nigerians so it is not going to be absolute.
We will play the Nigerian role as Nigerians are Nigerians, then will Nigeria cease to exist?
No, Nigeria will not disintegrate but there will be pockets of maximum violence and the Nigerian security system will fail woefully. Look, we only have Boko Haram in the North East and the government is unable to control it, supposing we have the Boko Haram in every state. If you have the Boko Haram in every state, all government officials will run and move out of Abuja.
Back to the mystery plane in Kano, France claimed ownership and the Nigerian Air Force just allowed it to be released, what do you understand by the whole gambit?
It is part of the same problem of Nigeria, it is just shenanigan. Don’t forget that the former National security Adviser, Gen Azazi advised and even openly stated that the problem of national security in Nigeria is caused by the ruling party and at that point I knew that they were going to kill him and they did.
What he said do you believe it was true?
Yes, not was true, it is true and will be true until we make genuine changes in this country.
Do you see the president’s life as safe in the face of this upheaval?
From all indications, from what is happening in the landscape in terms of security matters even his own security personnel now have the capacity to serve him a hot bucket of bomb for breakfast if not launch.
And when that happens?
Then many people will have to go home.
Thank you very much sir.