The Oasis Reporters
December 19, 2019
Any patriotic Nigerian who has watched/listened to the clip of CBS Channel News Network not long ago with Raymond Ibrahim, an expert on the Middle East and Islam, journalist and fellow at the David Howard Freedom Institute linking Turkeys President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s complicity in weapons transfers to the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria will have cause to be worried. The interview shed more light on an earlier intercept of a telephone call apparently on weapons transfers from Erdogans’ Turkey to Nigeria and Boko Haram insurgents to be specific.
Anyone with even just a brief knowledge of Turkey should recall that Turkey used to be a Christian nation (Anatolia) until the Islamist onslaught which almost completely changed the religious demographics in favour of Islam.
With the coming to power of the Islamist AKP party on who’s back Erdogan rode to power, Turkey has since become a major supporter of violent religious extremists including the ISIS and Boko Haram. At the core of this interview is an intercepted phone call back either in 2014 or 2015 which confirmed without a doubt that Erdogan, his State, government and party were transferring weapons from Turkey to Nigeria.
To whom were the weapons so transferred?
To Boko Haram of course. Because of this the insurgency after all these years has obviously found a life of its own and almost becoming a form of business between the troops supposedly engaged in the counter insurgency campaign, the locals and perhaps the insurgents.
The common denominator in the theatre of operation particularly around the Lake Chad area is MONEY. In a chat with someone I met just about a week ago, this individual told the story of a relation, a Colonel in the Nigerian Army who served in that theatre for about 3 years or so, and that while there, this Colonel has built 4 houses back home. Having recently been redeployed to Army Headquarters, the Colonel is engaged actively in lobbying to return to the operational theatre. I listened in complete shock if this is the level to which the quality of officers at that level has sunken. Surely, there is so much that is wrong with the situation in that theatre of operation as things currently stand. Put simply the operational area around the Lake Chad is infested with a cocktail of international and local businessmen including some (not all) of the troops on the ground.
Arising from Turkey’s involvement in Nigeria is the question, Why is Turkey so interested in Nigeria?
There are 2 major reasons driving this interest. The main reason being the very fact that Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and therefore an attractive target to the Islamist. This viewpoint is helped by the fact that the northern belt bordering the Sahara to the South is largely peopled by adherents of the same faith and therefore from the Islamist point of view, a soft target. The deduction being to destabilize Nigeria and Islamize her and every other nation within the West African belt would naturally follow suite. The other reason is that Turkey has a developed Military Industrial Complex which translates to the requirement for a market(s) for products.
One very important question is, By what means and routes are the arms shipped?
The theatre of operation is landlocked except from Nigeria thus suggesting complicity by some of the neigbours who may well be facilitating the shipments. If the arms are originating from Iran, they are easily shipped through Yemen which is contending with a crises of its own and across the Red Sea to Sudan also under a leadership sympathetic to Islam then through Chad and then to Boko Haram via the porous borders. Where such arms originate from Turkey, the route will naturally be through the Mediterranean to the coast of North Africa through either Libya also fighting for her own life and straight to the operation theatre. In all of this, how are our foreign service officials helping to frustrate these shipments or at the very least have Nigerians well informed ?
Having had a career in the Nigeria Army at the officer level and having had the rare privilege to have been a Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, the subject matter of Insurgency and Counter Insurgency operations are therefore not new. One of the most important Principles of Insurgency is Foreign Support. Without foreign support I have doubts if any Counterinsurgency operation can extend beyond just a few months. At best the Boko Haram phenomenon is an embarrassment to this nation and everything it stands for. I say this standing on solid grounds for the following reasons.
First. Nigeria has one of, if not the best trained Military South of the Sahara. Secondly this Nation fought and survived a Civil War years ago and finally this nation has the resources, human and material to prosecute a successful Counterinsurgency Operation to its logical conclusion but for politics and religious considerations.
Let us consider first the geography of the operational domain. That part of North Eastern Nigeria is landlocked but the terrain and vegetation is such that weapons can very easily be smuggled through either Chad, Cameroon or Niger for that matter. Incidences of arms consignments were reported at our ports sometimes ago and such consignments impounded by the Nigeria Customs but since the reportage the story quickly evaporated into very thin air. Domestic politics has contributed in no small measure in frustrating the progress as the willingness to apply State resources to the operation was lacking and at a point it did appear as if a romance of sort existed between the insurgents and agents of the government of Nigeria when the PDP held sway . There were complains of lack of the right arsenal and inadequacy of logistics. The justice system is still trying to deal with issues relating to the diversion of funds meant for arms procurement for political purposes. Regrettably, this was done when our soldiers were abandoned or at least so many thought, in harm’s way. Could anything be more treacherous?
It has been 5 years since a different political party (APC) took power and much progress has been recorded due to increased supplies to the troops in operation but the Insurgents have continued to operate, although they have lost much of the grounds they used to control which confirms the substance of the Raymond Ibrahim’s interview.
From the onset of the Boko Haram insurgency, I knew that some rogue foreign powers must be involved in many ways. Is it not just a few weeks back that there was a protest march to the French Embassy in Abuja protesting French interference in Nigeria’s domestic matters but particularly the Boko Haram insurgency? The levity with which the Federal government appeared to be confronting the problem was all that was required for the insurgents to put large swaths of Nigerian territory under their control. Of late the Nigerian military has applied pressure on the insurgents thus recapturing some of the areas hitherto under Insurgents control but that the insurgents are still a potent force capable of mounting daring attacks on communities and military posts within the theater of operation does suggest the involvement of some foreign powers which the Raymond Ibrahim Interview confirms.
For now, Erdogan equals Turkey, and the AKP party in power. The AKP is and has been an Islamist political party and Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in the driver’s seat. There can be no doubting the obvious fact that Turkey in many ways did prop up ISIS as well as Al Baghdadi’s Islamic Caliphate. That Baghdadi and remnants of his followers were pushed to a corner just some kilometers from the Turkish border where their leader was neutralized clearly confirms the rogue nature of Erdogan’s Turkey. Put simply, wherever there is an ongoing effort at extending the sphere of Islamist influence, you can expect to find Turkey and Erdogan on the ground. Our own foreign service personnel ought to have brought the truth about foreign involvement in the Boko Haram insurgency to the fore much earlier . They may well have done that but for the very nature of the Nigerian State and it’s current leadership any such information could have been suppressed.
From the body language of the current leadership’s actions or inactions, every sane and patriotic Nigerian knows that the Fulani are treated in Nigeria as a special race. Many an internal crises have occurred and still occurring in this country which have led to deaths and destruction of property but because Fulani are involved you do not get to hear any government response. Where on the other hand the Fulani are at the receiving end, the government response is always very swift.
Is it any surprise therefore that PMB in Cairo Egypt recently announced, or so it appears that there will be no visa requirements for Africans desirous of moving to Nigeria. If this is true, it will be shocking that in the 21 Century when descent nations are tightening their borders, Nigeria is throwing open hers not to quality people but to Fulani all over the continent to move in and make Nigeria a homeland. Some of the Fulani largely have constituted themselves as nuisance within the West African belt but particularly in Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Behind all of this is the spread of Islamist interest. History has told us very clearly that Islam has not been spread by any other means aside the SWORD. Do you now see the Turkish connection? Turkey is not alone in all of this as The Islamic Republic of Iran has had a very long history of sponsoring Islamic movements around the world. Have the pieces of the puzzle not fallen into their positions as it seems ?
Written by Col. Dauda Gora (rtd).
He writes from Kaduna, North West Nigeria.