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Boko Haram: The answer lies within

Published by Tribune on Tue, 02 Dec 2014

I have watched with total dismay as the Federal Government spent the time that we don't have, whining about the United States of America's refusal to sell ARMS to Nigeria in order to combat the insurgency the country is faced with. I had expected that the government will look inward and see how the country can self-develop/manufacture the basic weapons needed to combat an insurgency such as ours. Nigeria is too big and the people too talented for the government to be making this type of excuses. The unacceptability of the complaint is righted; the incompetence, shameful and the lack of new initiative, laughable. Nigeria deserves better.In war times, serious countries in the absence of external support, improvise, become creative and in order to surmount whatever difficulties or challenges they may be facing, put to work, the country's best brains. In 1963, during the Nigeria Civil War, the Biafrans put this theory to test and history has it that more than 75% of the weapons they used, were manufactured by them, in Nigeria, right there in the East. In fact, we were made to understand that, but for external intervention, the Biafrans would have won that war due to the sophistication of their weapons and their war strategies. If this group of Nigerians who by the way still exist in Nigeria today, could come up with such creativity as far back as 1963, then imagine what they can come up with in this modern day and age when they have acquired more knowledge and skills, even outside the shores of this country.The $9.3 million plus $5.7 million, a total of $15 million, amounting to 2.58 billion in naira, is our money in the hands of the South African government, for the same purchase of arms through it has now been returned. So, it is either someone is really playing a fast Hudini on us, or the incompetence of this government is staggering.I am certain that a North Korean Leader will not look outside for basic arms needed in a war like ours. What exactly do we need that we don't have' Corruption and self-gains have made Nigeria look very incompetent in the eyes of the world. Nigerian Navy within the last six months have crashed four of its helicopters due to incompetent pilots who perhaps, never graduated as the best student in the training school but because he has an 'oga at the top', gets to fly without passing basic test.Japan, China, North Korea, even India, will not be wallowing in despair should the United States or any other country refuse to sell ARMS to them. They will look within them and come up with a satisfactory result of what they want. We have military engineers, universities of technology and world class artisans, enough expertise to make us good arms in three months'why can't we put them to work' Call the artisans in Nnewi, Aba and Onitsha, our professors of mechanical engineering and our military Engineers, challenge them to give Nigeria a world class weapons in three months and see what result will emerge in three months time. Nigerians can build tanks, APCs and RPGs suitable to challenge and defeat Boko Haram.The United States of America is passing through its own challenges, so no offence when it refuses to listen to the Nigerian government whose level of unseriousness they had seen since the insurgency escalated. My advise right now to President Jonathan, is that he should stop complaining and get to work. We should utilise the resources within and see how this security challenge can be brought to an end.Okoroafor lives in Abuja.
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