Without Political Will, Inaugurated Attack Helicopters Won’t Help Nigeria — Chima Christian

The Federal Government of Nigeria has been called upon to back up their recent acquisition of military hardware with commensurate legal and political instruments by designating attackers of sleepy Middlebelt communities as terrorists.

Chima Christian, the Executive Director of Africa’s Morning Centre For Public Policy and Good Governance made this call in Abuja on Thursday while reacting to the inauguration of two newly-acquired T-129 ATAK helicopters and King Air 360i aircraft by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Federal Government, had on Wednesday, inaugurated the aircrafts into the service of Nigeria Air Force. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima commissioned the aircrafts at the NAF Base, Makurdi, Benue State saying that the aircrafts will boost the operational capacity of the armed forces. 

In his statement, Chima urged the Federal Government to invoke sections 3, 48 and 49 of Nigeria’s Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act of 2022 to designate the marauders killing, terrorising, persecuting, forcefully displacing Middle Belt communities and repossessing their lands as terrorists.

According to the public policy analyst, without a clear designation, followed by the political will to enforce Nigeria’s Constitution, Terrorism Act, Land Use Act and other relevant laws, the acquired pieces of military hardware will all amount to nothing as soldiers cannot go after anyone the government seemingly considers a friend.

Chima said the choice of Benue State for yesterday’s inauguration of the attack helicopters was a welcome symbolic gesture. He however insisted that the government must demonstrate their commitment to protecting the indigenous peoples of the Middlebelt region, and indeed all Nigerians by removing kid gloves and treating the killings in the Middlebelt region as acts of terrorism.

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