The Martyrdom of Lance Corporal Martins

Like John the Baptist was featured on earth on a divine mission, God the creator is still creating people for such purposes. In Nigeria, however, many had long died standing for what serves the nation’s best interest. Buhari’s former chief of staff, Abba Kyari, was on a mission to represent Nigeria overseas. Unfortunately, he imported Coronavirus into the country. He eventually paid the supreme price and died for what would ordinarily not have fallen into his line of duties. That was our recent martyr who freely offered himself for the ‘good’ of the federation of Nigeria.

The country could be a jungle, apologies to Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. It may have gradually become a zoo where all animals are equal but with some being more equal than others. It may have become a banana republic where only the tigers have the exclusive reserve to misbehave. Other lower animals should expectedly be preys to the predators so that peace can reign supreme in the jungle. An orderly place would most be known for its stock. It would be known for strict adherence to justice. People of conscience would most be set for any mission that serves the greater interest of their people. But when the interest of the few becomes the yardstick for actions, it becomes clear that priority has been shifted.

A man like President Muhammadu Buhari has his peck. He could best be known as a huge disgrace to leadership. This may not be directed to him as an individual. But the garment of failure would not escape his shoulders simply because of the failures of leadership. A president who gave a mandate to his trusted friends deserves more loyalty than what his lieutenants have offered. The service chiefs have presented themselves as the greatest disgrace to the judgement of Mr President. This is why insecurity has remained a thorn in the flesh of Buhari’s administration.

Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein is still in detention. His detention by the Nigerian Army came because he published a viral video online exposing the ineptitude of the nation’s service chiefs. ldakpein is from the 8 Division, Sokoto, of the Nigerian Army. In that viral video published on June 23, 2020, he said the Nigerian Army Lieutenant General and Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf , should be ashamed of himself. He described him as a coward who should not desire the loyalty of Nigerians because he too is not loyal to the President who appointed him to lead the insecurity and anti-terrorism war.

Martins Idakpein said General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the current Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff; Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, current Chief of Air Staff of the Nigerian Airforce; and Bashir Magashi who is the Minister of Defence were not loyal to the President. He added that even the chief security adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and President Buhari have all failed the nation by not living to the expectations of Nigerians.

Lance Corporal Idakpein alleged that while Boko Haram were using sophisticated weapons to kill people in the North, the cabal had hijacked the terrorism fight, using the guardroom to lock up innocent soldiers who only needed weapons to fight terrorists. He informed the general public that though he had offers to leave the Nigerian Army to a foreign country, he insisted that with Nigeria’s enormous economic potentials, it was a country worth dying for.

“Nigeria is worth dying for. It is my duty as a member of the Armed Forces to fight and defend the integrity of this great country and save the lives of citizens. Soldiers are dying every day and their wives are becoming vulnerable. If giving my life will end the anomalies in the Nigerian Army, I will gladly do so. Nigerian Army must be restructured.

“Only Femi Falana is fighting for us. I use this medium to call on independent lawyers to stand by me because I will sue the Army chiefs and President Buhari at the International Criminal Court”, he concluded.

Expectedly, Idakpein was immediately arrested and detained by the Nigerian Army on grounds of insurrection. His wife, Victoria, who later addressed a press conference calling for his release was also immediately arrested and detained. This forms the basis for the motion by the House of Representatives to move for his immediate release. At the plenary on Thursday, the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, moved a motion entitled, ‘A Call on the Nigerian Army to Release Lance Corporal Martins Idakpein from arrest based on his Expressed Opinion’, calling for his rescue.

Elumelu said, “The House is disturbed that though Section 122 of the Armed Forces Act forbids the military from perpetually detaining any officer, Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein has been held in detention till date and his wife who tried to secure his release has also been detained. “This is an affront to the letters of Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, which guarantees the fundamental human rights of citizens.” The House mandated the Committees on Defence and Army to “investigate the alleged detention of Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein and his wife.” The House asked that “ldakpein should be brought before the relevant House committees and the leadership to brief them on the happening in the northern part of the country.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, on June 18 had reprimanded his service chiefs over their failure to curb worsening insecurity in the nation. The President reportedly told the top military officers their best was not good enough. The national security adviser (NSA), Major General Monguno (rtd), had told State House correspondents that the President was concerned over the declining security situation in the country. “He is extremely unhappy about what is happening. He feels that even though the security agencies are doing their best, their best is not good enough for him and he wants an immediate reversal of the current trend and immediate reversal of our misfortunes in all their dimensions”, he had said.

The revelation had become a mind blowing discovery to average Nigerians who said the President was waking up to the reality of the country’s security crisis. The Peoples Democratic Party, through a press release signed by their national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that they were vindicated that their cries over the years have become visible to the President. They called for the immediate dismissal of the security chiefs so that peace could return to the country.

Truth is, while it is settled that President Buhari has admitted the ‘complicity’ by the security chiefs in their inability to confront the nation’s security challenges, none could be right to condemn Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein. Nigerians seem to have forgotten that it was in this country that a man pocketed a legally appropriated fund for procurement of equipment to aid the fight against insecurity. Select men of the federation looted and shared the loot. Boko Haram members and other terrorists now possess more admonitions than the nation’s armed forces. The terrorists now take the war to the soldiers who are more famous for repelling attacks. Although Buratai may have been ‘testing the microphone’ in the unlawful detention of Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein and wife, one thing is sure, he himself has lost his sense of loyalty and oath of allegiance.

Buratai must be reminded that if he was brave enough to confront integrity test, he should have stopped the existence of Boko Haram within a year into Buhari’s administration. He must remember that Buhari his boss, for five years has lost trust in his capacity to defend the nation and openly confessed that his best is questionable. Tukur Buratai must start his detention with President Buhari who told him to his face that he is incompetent. Buratai must understand that continuous detention of Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein and wife is suspicious and would attract the Order by the House of Representatives for investigation, the possible confessions of other soldiers, multiple suits against the Nigerian Army, more investigations by independent journalists and the notice of the International Community.

Ultimately, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, must not forget that Martins ldakpein cited relevant sections of the Constitution of the Nigerian Army while making his public statement; hence Buratai must know that it is not Martins’ court marshaling that would count. He must think deep and realize that the martyrdom of the lance corporal must not happen without Nigeria’s deliverance from the current fangs of carnage and savagery.

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