It never used to be this way. Admitted, something went wrong along the line, but how long would it take to fix it and get back on track?

I remember growing up in the 90s, war-torn West Africa countries constantly sought our support in order to fight rebels and terrorists. We had the most gallant soldiers on the continent. We were often proud to see our soldiers leave for Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast etc. on peacekeeping missions.

Nigerian Army formed an integral part of the ECOMOG. They played a huge role as part of UN troops on peacekeeping missions across Africa. We had sophisticated weapons because a good chunk of our budget went into purchase of ammunition. We fortified our soldiers, and they were famous for their boldness and tacks on the battlefield.

Most troubled zones in Africa are experiencing peace today because of the huge role Nigeria played both militarily and financially. Even when the president of Sao Tome and Principe was ousted through coup d’etat, democracy was restored almost single-handedly by the then Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, thereby discouraging military adventurism in politics in that country. That was the kind of influence and respect Nigeria commanded within Africa.

For years, commanders of the Nigerian armed forces were made top military personnel in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone due to their experience on the battlefield. Now who would have thought that same military would become a symbol of timidity and shame in our lifetime, that the military would be seen as a tool for political bargains, or that ammunition purchased for military use would be diverted straight into the hands of militants in the creeks.

It’s a sad time to be a Nigerian soldier. A time when well-funded insurgents like Boko Haram have suddenly become the biggest threat to our soldiers.

Boko Haram reared its ugly head again and made the headline after killing over hundred Nigerian soldiers in the Northeast region of the country, yesterday.

As I write, our president is yet to make an official statement as regards the killings. Silence happens to be what our gallant soldiers get for their pains and deaths. To make matters worse, the oppositions are busy politicising the deaths of these soldiers. These are people who took orders and put their lives on the line for our collective freedom. And while at it, their commanders were attending political events in Abuja.

The terrorists went as far as making a video while killing them. The video is on the internet. The families could see how they killed their loved ones. Isn’t that pathetic? Yet, the Nigerian Army Chief claimed Boko Haram were able to attack because they disguised as friendly Nigerian soldiers. His statement is a proof of our porous security and intelligence failures. When your soldiers can not distinguish between themselves and imposters, then there’s a serious problem.

We are not safe as citizens. Our soldiers flee each time the enemy attacks. Our greedy politicians use the deaths of soldiers to score cheap political points. The giant of Africa now crumbles beneath the feet of insurgents. There was a country.