[OPINION] Remembering Our Arm Forces; The Labour Of Our Heroes Past Shall Never Be In Vain By Adebayo Afeez B.

arm forces

The transition of our ruling system to democracy in 1999 have seen our military return to barracks. The then president, Olusegun obasanjo who himself is a retired military man made immediate reforms in the military. Our nation have witnessed over 16 years of uninterrupted democracy mainly because he retired the “brains and senior officers” who could plot a coup during his regime.

Decades of military rule in Nigeria have made the military and military officers (including retired officers) formidable political players. Our high level politics has so far witnessed influx of retired military officials at the highest level of politicking that have produced former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and our current president, Muhammadu Buhari. The likes of former senate president , David Mark, T.Y Danjuma, Chief Tony Anenih, Olabode George, Ahmad Ali  amongst others have all immensely influenced our democratic policy till today.


In Africa, Our brave military men made their marks at various peacekeeping efforts, notably in Liberia and serriaLeone in the 90’s. Their successes in this efforts no doubt can be attributed to their level of discipline, although cases of looting by the army were reported, the level of their effort in those countries can’t be overemphasized. More recently ,our efforts in Sudan and Mali have also recorded some level of success, that might not have been greater than the later mainly because of corruption in the military.


Our brave men that have paid the ultimate price on the battlefields has martyred heroes are been celebrated by the same people have failed to provide them machineries,welfare packages and trainings they needed to survive on the field. The inadequate investment in trainings, failure to maintain equipment and dwindling cooperation with Western forces has damaged Nigeria’s armed services that was formerly regarded as one of the best land armies in the world. The recent case of mutiny in the army wouldn’t have surfaced if there was an enabling environment for our soldiers to operate.

In 2014 Nigeria spent nearly 938 billion naira ($5.8 billion), a quarter of the federal budget on security. Of that, the defense ministry took more than a third, but only 10 percent was for capital spending!.

Some expert believe that the starvation of the military since the beginning of our  democratic rule started with the Obasanjo regime as a strategy to ensure they couldn’t conduct more coups,while some see it as failure on the part of government for us to have a toothless Military.


One of the signs of a third world country is to see the military debased to handling internal security operations like riots, crimes, election monitoring e.t.c that are meant for the Police force. Sheer intimidation, attacks on civilians, the use of soldiers to settle personal scores, the participation of soldiers in criminal activities, including armed robbery, sabotage in operations, and the setting up of illegal toll-roads to extort money from motorists, military officers’ blatant private expropriation of public resources  and biased admission of unmerited cadet officers into the Defence academy have contributed to the low reputation which the armed forces currently enjoy.


In a report released on June 03, 2015, Amnesty International said that since March 2011, Nigerian soldiers and militiamen have murdered, tortured and abused thousands of detainees. The report says an estimated 1,200 people were extrajudicially killed, and about 7,000 young men and boys died while in military custody. Amnesty also said military commanders either sanctioned the abuses or ignored the fact that they were taking place. The rights group says it based its report on years of research and analysis that included leaked internal military documents and interviews with hundreds of people.


Our depleted armoury have flawed our efforts to maintain our border intergrity against smugglers and terrorist who sometimes possesses superior weaponry!. Just recently , President Muhamadu Buhari directed the Ministry of Defence to design a plan for the establishment of a military industrial complex for local production of weapons.He described as unacceptable Nigeria’s current over-dependence on other countries for critical military equipment and logistics saying “We must evolve viable mechanisms for near-self-sufficiency in military equipment and logistics production complemented only by very advanced foreign technologies”.

For Nigeria to attain its peak in security, our democracy must be strong enough to avoid any intimidation by the military. overdependence on foreign countires for weapons will further deepen our economy and limit our capacity, futhermore excessive dependence of the giant of Africa on other foreign countries definetely cause a political and economic instability which might affect Africa as a whole.


As Nigeria remembers her fallen heroes who have paid the ultimate price on the battlefields, our soldiers that are currently on the battlefield facing the insurgent should be given the enabling environment to serve their fatherland. We all should bear in mind that the fate of any country depends on her military, while the outlook of any military depends on the  citizenry, Simple! ,we are just the manifestation of our own military.

God Bless Nigeria

God Bless The Nigerian Army

Adebayo Afeez B.

Public and international relations analyst

[email protected]