By Tajuddeen Ahmad Tijjani
Various reports revealed that US senators are planning to halt the agreed sales of warplanes to the Federal Republic of Nigeria on human rights concerns. This unpopular decision leaves many Nigerians in awe, wondering why would the so-called peace-loving United States do that to a nation bedevilled by security challenges, ranging from violent secessionists, killer herdsmen, banditry, kidnapping and Boko Haram — an insurgency that consumes more than 36,000 lives from 2009 to date.
The number one enemy of Nigeria is insecurity, as the country’s security agencies are having difficulty in surmounting the problem over the years. No doubt, the government of the federation is trying everything humanly possible to end the ugly trend. However, the challenge continues to prove insurmountable, mainly due to the lack of state-of-art weaponry in the country’s arsenal. Understanding this particular shortcoming forces the Buhari administration to shop for sophisticated armouries from the United States of America – a perceived important ally of the Nigerian state. Unfortunately, the bilateral relationship that exists for decades between the US and Nigeria that is expected to play a significant role in facilitating the arms deals and intelligence sharing has been disregarded by these US senators.
Suffice to say; this is not the first time the US turns down Nigeria’s demand for war gadgets on the purported account of human rights records. Denying Nigeria’s request during the Jonathan administration was undoubtedly one of the significant factors that made Nigerian forces deficient in combating Boko Haram, hence leaving the insurgency to prevail then. Now we are faced with many other terrorist acts; we cannot afford to experience the repetition of what happened before. Therefore, to accomplish this task of securing the territorial integrity of our nation, we must think outside the box and source alternatives to acquire sophisticated war gadgets that would help us eliminate terrorists and terrorism in the African most populace nation.
Ostensibly, America is not helping matters in our war against insurgency. No good ally would deny Nigeria a purchase of weapons at this challenging moment of turmoil. As a matter of urgency, the federal government should leave America and shop for the needed warplanes elsewhere. We can try the likes of Russia, China, Japan, South Korea or Germany to have expeditious delivery and usage because they are best with sophisticated ware fare all over the world.
It’s high time for Nigeria and Africa to realise that some Western countries are not interested or concerned about our peaceful coexistence. It’s, therefore, significant to give priority to research and development to find ways to save ourselves from such last hour denials. Relying on the US to help us address the multiple security challenges in Nigeria and Africa is becoming suicidal. We must find some better allies that would be ever willing to help us out of any predicament unconditionally.
Tajuddeen Ahmad Tijjani writes from Galadima Mahmud Street K/Kaji Azare, Bauchi State.