Goodluck Jonathan And His Coast Guards

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It was on DAILY TRUST’s page 3, of November 2nd, 2010. You might not even have noticed the story; but the nut and bolt is that Jonathan’s government has instituted a “technical committee” to work out modalities for the training of ex-Niger Delta militants as coast guards “in order to complement security agencies in protecting the nation’s coastal areas”. Vice President Namadi Sambo stated this “during an interministerial/inter-agency meeting on human capital development masterplan for amnesty programme”, in Abuja.  Underlining the urgency of the plan to create a coast guard made up only of allegedly-repentant thugs from the Niger Delta, the “technical committee” was given only “nine days to complete its assignment and submit its report to the Federal Government”. Just nine days, to create a coast guards outfit!

 

According to Sambo ( the voice of Esau and Jacob’s hidden hand), “the incessant insecurity at our coasts is as a result of inadequate coast guards who may give information and perfectly protect the coasts”, therefore, “there is need to train more people as coast guards”, adding that “sustainable peace in the Niger Delta can only be achieved if there is enough surveillance by the security agencies”. Pursuit to that, the regime rushed a “technical committee” to work within NINE DAYS, to achieve “enough surveillance”, through creation of a coast guards force made up of “ex-militants”! Sambo apparently didn’t see the contradiction in his own statement, about “incessant insecurity” at our coasts, yet we all know that it is the same militants that have been responsible for most cases of brigandage, bunkering and acts of piracy that have blighted our coastal areas. Their proposal to solve the problem is to handover protection of our coasts to the same characters. Jonathan’s regime must really think it can insult the intelligence of Nigerians!

 

In the first place, it is absurd and patently unconstitutional, to create a military or paramilitary force made up of only the indigenes of one part of Nigeria, except there is an ulterior motive behind the whole scheme; and in a matter like this, Jonathan does not deserve a benefit of the doubt, because his gung-ho defence of Niger Delta militants, makes it safer to be suspicious of motives behind the creation of such a force, as contemplated. This is afterall a band of criminals who argue that the oil in the region is ‘theirs’, and have therefore launched anti-state, anti-national subversive acts, abetted by the political elite of the South-South. So what stops them from barring other Nigerians from conducting legitimate business in the coasts after their empowerment as a coast guards force? This is reason enough to worry about the plan. The second reason is the rush! Nine days of work; and there are rumours already, that the “technical committee” is actually a decoy, because the regime is working on a different and more secret template, and has even begun contemplating the purchase of ships, armaments and other paraphernalia of the new coast guards to be made up of only the indigenes of the Niger Delta!

 

Has Jonathan informed the National Assembly he is creating an exclusively Niger Delta militants’ coast guards: those who spent the better part of the last decade terrorizing the coastal region of Nigeria? Or can what amounts to a regional navy be created through executive fiat? The surprise is that nobody knows the exact content of what looks like a Niger Delta armed forces in the making, except perhaps Goodluck Jonathan and his inner circle. So while Northern politicos are fighting for zoning; and members of the National Assembly are blinded by their  desire to hijack the NEC of their various political parties and governors  frantically search for means to protect their hegemony within the wretched, vote-rigging contraptions they call parties; and the Nigerian people are lost in the battle for day-to-day survival, Goodluck Jonathan is putting in place the building blocks of a regional force that will patrol our coastal waters, and if we extrapolate into the future, could move from “complementing” the security forces (in the words of Namadi Sambo) to SUPPLANTING them, if the need arises. And those in politics ought to remember the threat issued by Jonathan’s minister, Labaran Maku, a few week ago, that there will be problem for Nigeria, if Jonathan does not get the ticket nor become president in 2011.

 

The other reason that should give us the pause is that for about five years, between 2002 and 2007, many army officers were discovered to have been part of a criminal racket stealing military equipment from the Nigerian Army armoury in Kaduna and Jaji, and were then selling them to Niger Delta militants. Some of the people implicated in that grand act of subversion, are playing leading security roles in the Jonathan regime today. Can’t we draw frightening parallels between what they did against Nigeria, while in uniform, and the plan to create a so-called coast guards today? The Nigerian political elite must ask basic questions about the intentions of the Jonathan regime. Why is it rushing to create such an exclusive, regional force, and in so much secrecy? Can’t we recall the controversy which trailed the effort to create a National Guard during the military period? Why are we acquiescent and silent now? Jonathan’s coast guards force is a gift horse; but we must be very wary of such a gift! Nigerians, SHINE YOUR EYES WELL, WELL!!

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