In an Exclusive interview granted General Alexander Madiebo rtd by journalists last weekend, every well meaning Nigerian will agree that he seems to be talking sense as regards security challenges in the country.
Responding to one of the questions, General Alexander said:
“I commanded the Biafran Army and we were losing the war gradually over two and half years, yet (Chukwuemeka Odumegwu) Ojukwu did not change me. You know why? Rightly or wrongly, he believed there was nobody better than me. He also knew that we were not equipped to fight the war, so changing individuals will make no difference. If you have a General with a rifle and a private soldier with a machine gun, the private soldier will win. You have to have a standard Army with the equipment they need before you start judging the commanders. I say all this because the failure or otherwise of the security in the country can either be blamed on field commanders or the government.
The government in that they haven’t provided what is needed to tackle the challenge and commanders not using what is available properly. But the third force is that there appears to be divided loyalty in the area. If everybody were true Nigerians, the rebels, the fighters, I mean the Boko Haram fighters, are not spirits, they are living with people in the areas and you cannot say that you are living with Boko Haram and you do not know. They know them, the people living around them know them too well. People are harbouring them, so they are well known, they are not ghosts. It is just that some of them seem to have divided loyalty either because of money or because of religious affiliation.
The government has to improve not only on armoury and so on, but on intelligence. You must train people who must get out facts on those responsible. As I said these are human beings and somebody/people know them, so there must be sufficient intelligence gathering. Why is it that people that know those individuals are not reporting to the authorities, that is what should be found out. So, you need more intelligence gathering, there is the need to infiltrate the group, of course, the military should know the tactics, the strategy on how these things are done. Security chiefs have had enough they must be tired, but if you change them don’t expect anything to change in the field. It is one single person in command of the Army (Chief of Army Staff), one single person in-charge of the Navy and so is the Airforce and others. So, removing one person can’t change performance overnight, so, my view is that they must improve on their intelligence and they must make sure they have basic equipment because one man does not fight a war. If you remove the person, say (Chief of Army Staff) he may even be happy. If I was removed as the Commander of the Biafran Army, I would have thanked God, but you cannot in the middle of the war you say that you don’t want to continue, that you want to leave. First of all, you will be arrested and maybe killed. But those who are doing it now, having done it four-five years, maybe they need to rest, but that rest does not mean any automatic improvement in the battlefield. They must ensure they have basic military essentials to prosecute such an assignment. Is not even the basic essential most times that matter most, but you must know; who are the Boko Haram? What is their drive? What is crucial and more important at some point is intelligence service/gathering on Boko Haram as I said earlier. You must fish out people among them who are sabotaging the fight. Some are there to gather information and give back to Boko Haram on where you are, your strategy etc, and they will come and attack you unexpectedly and finish you. Fish out those that are doing a double standard job, infiltrate the entire group and place. As it is now everybody is talking about the commanders and that they don’t have or lack ideas; what ideas do you have in guerilla warfare except to go and find out who the guerillas are? Then you use your strategy to take them out.”
General Alexander affirmed that the federal government has more role to play in ensuring that the soldiers are well equipped sophisticated armoury facilities and better welfare packages to combat criminals.