Last year I made a suicidal journey to some parts of what Shekau, the dreaded leader of Boko Haram called his ‘Emirate’ at the height of his power in 2014.
My point of take-off was Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and from there I moved to Gire, Song, Gombi, Hong and Michika. After my tour of this land of rustic beauty, I had very harsh words for General Alex Badeh, the Chief of Defense Staff under President Goodluck Jonathan.
“This beautiful country side has unfortunately produced one of the most despicable and tragic citizens of Nigeria, former Chief of Defense, Alex Badeh….” I wrote in this column.
Still raging with anger, I was unstoppable in my tirade against Badeh: “By making a truce declaration which he knew was fake, Alex Badeh inadvertently told the world that he was a wretch, a scoundrel, a liar and treachery personified. If it were not for Badeh, these expressions in the English language would have been meaningless. If it were not for Badeh, many Nigerian soldiers and civilians would have been alive today. If Badeh were in the Chinese or North Korean military, he would have been shot summarily. If Badeh were in the American Army, he would have been jailed for life or condemned to death waiting for the hang man’s noose.
“Amazingly, President Jonathan who should have fired the liar kept him there without even a query. This man was not a military man; certainly not a General. Alex Badeh was a decorated, celebrated and experienced quack.”
Shortly after my tirade, Senator Paul Wampana, who was Speaker of the Gongola State House of Assembly in the Second Republic (1979-1983) and who took me to my first visit to Vimtim when I was a reporter in those days with the News Agency of Nigeria called me on the phone. We had not seen or spoken to each other for years. Why was he calling me? Did he read what I said about his townsman Alex Badeh – both men come from Vimtim in Mubi Local Government of Adamawa State. Was he going to rebuke me for my harsh words?
I felt relieved when I went to his office and discovered that he wanted my assistance on something else. Still, I managed to raise the name of Badeh at the end of our other discussions. He did not see my article and was in any case not very happy with his townsman’s performance as Chief of Defence Staff.
How did I then feel when I heard the news that the same Badeh was shot and killed last week? Did I rejoice? Did I gloat? Did I say it serves him right?
No. I felt sad when I saw the picture of his massive blood-stained body sprawling lifeless in the Tundra truck at the scene of the attack.
If I had advocated last year that Badeh ought to have been shot summarily, why was I then sad that somebody had carried out my wish?
My advocacy of last year was based on the fact that his actions in the fight against Boko Haram had cost Nigeria the loss of the lives of many patriotic Nigerian military men, many helpless civilians and a large swath of Nigerian territory. These losses were clearly avoidable. This territory was part of German colonial possession in Cameroon. The United Nations ceased it and it became its Trust Territory after Adolf Hitler was defeated in the Second World War.
The Premier of the Northern Region Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, worked very hard to add this throve of unexplored wealth to Nigeria in the plebiscite of 1962 conducted by the United Nations.The people of the area responded favorably to his efforts and following his victory at the plebiscite, he named the Province after himself -Sardauna Province.
I felt sad that the people of the area were being killed and the place declared property of some criminal elements led by Shekau because of the wholesale incompetence of Badeh and Goodluck Jonathan. During my trip to Michika last year, I saw first-hand and was exposed for the first time to what life really was like in Shekau’s ‘Emirate’. I saw burnt out schools, hospitals, churches, mosques, markets and more. I saw vandalized electric cables and bombed out bridges. The damage done is beyond description and I wanted Badeh to be dealt with according to our laws and not to be hunted and killed on the road like a wild animal.
About two months before the killing of General Badeh, the Nigerian Army discovered the body of a missing general, Idris Alkali who was killed and buried in a shallow grave at a place called “No man’s land” in Lafande community of Jos, the capital of Plateau state.
The killing of Alkali was sequel to a series of gory events in and around Jos.On September 2, 2018, at about 8:00pm, unknown gunmen attacked a shopping complex located at Lafande Community on the outskirt of Jos metropolis in Dura-Du District of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. As a result of the attack, 11 people were killed while others sustained various degrees of injuries.
The attack triggered protests by the people of the area on the morning of September 3, 2018. Irate youths in the state barricaded some roads during the protests and the General who was travelling along that road in his Toyota Corolla car was stopped, attacked and killed by the youths after he had introduced himself as an army general.
General Akinroluyo speaking for the Nigerian Army said said that the irate youths, after killing the General, “followed his car to the abandoned mining pit filled with water on many tri-cycles popularly known as “Keke NAPEP” jubilated for reason best known to them or for mission accomplished.He was later buried in a shallow grave in an area.”
The killing of two generals even at a war front in a situation of international war is a tragedy for any country. Nigeria is not fighting any international war; at least we have not been told so. These deaths aredemoralizing to both the military and those of us they call “bloody civilians”. If generals could be killed so cheaply, how safe are we?
Some arrests have been made in connection with the killing of General Alkali. But given the chaotic state of judicial administration in Nigeria, we are not sure how the case will go.
Sadly, Nigeria even under a government we voted massively for, because of a man we thought could secure our lives and properties is moving back to the PDP years- the Hobessian state of nature where life is “”nasty, brutish and short.”