He is reputed for engineering massacre, pogrom and homicide. He is a shooter and firearm expert – The fear of Biafran Agitators; the nemesis of Boko Haram; the sworn adversary of Shiite Islamic sect; and now, the most likely Niger Delta’s August visitor.
But what does the region owe to his visit? He is certainly not attending a Town Hall meeting in the region like other aids of President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Nigerian institution of government under his charge is not a talk shop; neither is it a financial institution that can lend or grant loans to the Deltans; But ammunition handling and operational agency.
It is on this note the country’s major media outfits had few days ago paraded General Buratai’s men in Khaki as undergoing all manner of trainings in preparation for his August Visit to the Niger Delta Area. While they have shown us ‘Operation Crocodile smile’, we have also seen his’ men’s ‘amphibious practices’ as well as other code names.
There is no gainsaying General Buratai has shot himself into the Golden book of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration owing to the manner he had handled different protests in parts of the country by the Biafranists, blockades by the Shiites, as well as the orgy of prosecution of the Boko Haram wars in Borno which in all, culminated in blood flow and letting.
While there is no ado for his Biafra Agitators’ onslaughts, owing to the number of souls lost in such encounter, he is applauded for his Boko Haram’s battles and triumphs. While he was lauded for denouncing coup plots by his men against his boss, he has no single eulogies for his unprecedented massacre of the Shiites in Zaria.
Yet, the ‘’brutish Buratai’ is fabled for doing the unimaginable. The unthinkable is his assigned role. The unprecedented remains his comfort zone. Indescribability rests in his actions’ aftermath. And uneasiness typifies the mood of his watchers.
The above scenarios are the most likely things to expect in Buratai’s journey to the oil rich zone of the country, where the militants also code-name themselves ‘Generals’ too. Even when they are not of the same zest, one is consumed on whether the Army chief, considering his level of preparation, sees the proposed battle against the militants as ‘Generals vs. Generals’ encounter.’
But whatever his assumption, in events the General invades Niger Delta areas in search of his hosts, the Niger Delta Avengers, the branded bombers of oil installations and cripplers of the country’s economy, hereunder are some of the ugly engagements of the military in recent past that must not be revisited under any guise:
The Odi community episode in Bayelsa, where deaths of innocent children, pregnant women and a host others were harvested like a country that had long hated its people, as well as lost its national compass and pledge must not for whatever reasons, be repeated in this part of the world.
The incident, as bad as it was, represents the ugly side of this country’s history any day and any time. It smacks off sensitivity as well as skillfulness in operation. And then, dennotes the worst of engagement in defense of the country’s killed policemen, as vengeance was visited on the innocent, in the place of the hunted.
The Zaria incident, where the Shiites Islamic sect, number over 700 (as was reported), were killed like ants can never translate to a show of strength and vigor, but that of shame and National embarrassment. It embodies in entirety, the recklessness and hatred of a government against the people it solely swore to protect at all times.
Never in the history of this nation was such story told that a general in demonstration of his military capability wasted such a number of souls in defense of his authority and power. The president Barrack Obama’s outburst thereafter that the incident be probed was a signal the unimaginable was done.
The Biafran protesters carnages in major parts of the South Eastern parts of the country was unfathomable, and should never be rehearsed, as the unarmed can be dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets in civilized societies when it is suspected their gathering could lead to break down of laws and orders, instead of shootings and butcheries.
That singular occasion exemplifies the darkest period of this administration, and the Amnesty international has since affirmed this, by alluding to the fact, innocent Nigerians were killed by the Nigerian Soldiers in those scenes. This only typifies a management where the sanctity of human blood is desecrated and quashed by the same institution saddled with the task of shepherding it.
There is nothing more sacrosanct as the ‘rights to life’ of the citizenry as enshrined in the constitutions of different governments and countries. It is the most essential aspect of every sphere of life, and one of timeless responsibility of governments everywhere.
The practice of ‘shooting at sight’ as has been the tradition here is mundane, moribund, antiquated, outlandish, immoral, unprofessional and unethical. And no sane government would choose to war against same people it has undertaken to promote and protect as government is all about protection of life and property of its people.
So in events that the ongoing dialogue between the government and the Niger Delta Avengers collapses, as it is bound to, the government in taking to plan B, (engaging in a gun duel with the creek fighters) as already echoed by the Army chief of staff, General Tukur Buratai, should always remember, in hunting their targets, they owe a responsibility to protect their host communities and its inhabitants.
The innocent must not be at the receiving end of casualties for living amidst the Avengers, as the military is expected to indulge more on intelligence gathering and skilful battles. This is more so as any more extra life lost in the proposed war other than the government’s target will continue presenting this administration as blood tasty.
Gwiyi Solomon writes from Abuja