Issues Arising from the President’s Acquisition of Military Planes.

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– By Elempe Dele.

This article would try to discuss two issues; the illegal aquisition of military hardwares from the US without requiring the approval of the NASS to make such financial acquisitions, and whether such hardwares are necessary for now with the type of warfare we are faced with. To me, such a military advice that even made the president who is supposed to be ‘aware’ of what he needs to fight insurgents within his country went to dip his hands into our finances wrongly, which constitute a breach of public trust and gross misconduct. The purported act by President Muhammadu Buhari, of appropriating $496m (four hundred and ninety six million US dollars), without the approval of the National Assembly, is not only condemnable, but can be viewed as an act of excessive abuse of executive powers. That act, is a violation of relevant provisions of the constitution in Section 80, sub sections (1), (2), (3) and (4), which state that all public expenditures MUST be approved by the National Assembly, which is the organ of Federal Government of Nigeria that being together the wider representations of Nigerians as constituents. It follows, then, that a National Assembly approval is an approval by all Nigerians on the utilisation of their commonwealth.

The type of war you are fighting will determine the types of weapons to purchase. There are two types of warfare; Conventional Warfare and Guerrilla Warfare. Conventional warfare is conducted by uniformed soldiers in organized units with the backing and support of host nations. Such forces typically are well equipped, well trained, and have a logistics chain to supply them.

Guerilla warfare is conducted by civilians who have taken up arms, or by the remnants of defeated conventional forces, or both put together. These forces typically fight without the support of a nation’s government, like Boko Haram and other armed bandits, killer herdsmen…they are basically not in uniforms…are not organized into battalions or regiments or divisions, and have minimal if any logistics chain, procuring material, weapons, munitions, and supplies either by purchase from arms dealers, unofficial supply from outside nations with an interest in the conflict, or through theft of their opposing force.

One notable difference is that while conventional war may see involved forces on attack or defense, guerilla wars are typically defensive wars for the guerillas.

Guerilla warfare is one of the most difficult forms of warfare, both for the guerillas and for the forces against them. The guerillas must contend with minimal if any support, and being thoroughly outclassed in equipment against their more conventional enemy. Typically a guerilla force is outnumbered, outgunned, and outmaneuvered by their enemy by a wide margin. Guerillas only true advantages is in surprise: as they have no logistics chain, no permanent bases that announce themselves with perimeters of chain link, they are difficult to find and will take great pains to avoid detection. Attacks by guerillas are similar in many respects to attacks by special operations forces (not the same thing as special forces): they rely on speed, surprise, and careful planning. If the attack lasts too long, an insurmountable number of better equipped forces and their accompanying air and artillery and armor will be brought to bear. A guerilla force, 99,999 times out of every 100,000, can not win a battle of attrition against conventional forces. They have to hit, achieve their objective or abort, and fade away before their enemy can bring its firepower to bear.

It is difficult for conventional forces because of the elusive nature of guerillas. These are not uniformed enemy forces; they will hide as civilians, disguising their movements among normal civilian traffic, revealing themselves only long enough to strike and fade. They make extensive use of traps and bombs, forcing their enemy to be on constant alert. When a conventional force does manage to confront a guerilla force in a set piece battle, especially a large scale one, it nearly always goes to the conventional forces victory owing to superior equipment and support and training.

One final distinction: conventional forces typically enjoy certain protections under varying conventions of war, such as the Geneva Convention. Guerillas do not. They are generally held as rebels.”
Colonel (rtd) Pat Miller, with added examples by this writer.

A retired weaponer in the US Army has this to say about the type of weapons needed for guerrilla warfare:

“Depends on the shooter. What I would use for guerrilla warfare in suburban areas would be small, lightweight weapons. I have an MP7 that’s made just for that purpose.

It also depends solely on your idea of combat. If you are looking for weapons with a high damage output, penetration capability, or muzzle velocity, look for high-caliber or explosive weaponry.

If not that, you want things that are small, compact, and lightweight. Weapons like an MP7, P90, or even MP5 would do fine. Small caliber so it won’t penetrate too far through walls and cause collateral damage, but a shot that lands center mass will definitely cause some hurt to your target.s terrorists and criminals, and exist outside the laws of war”.

Its obvious that the type of war in Nigeria today is guerrilla warfare:,remnants of Boko Haram and other armed bandits, Fulani Herdsmen, are the ones kidnapping and killing Nigerians, slaughtering them, burning their homes…and that would have determined the type of arms the government would have gone to shop for; light weapons, just as the above weaponer advised, light weapons, not jets that would be delivered in 2020! Since its local communities these killings happen mostly, arm the locals, the vigilant groups… who can be identified by their community leaders, train them with such light weapons to defend their communities and pay them salaries and other benefits as if they are your conventional army or other security forces. While these is going on, your start developing your security forces towards handling that challenge by creating special combat forces to tackle the challenge…It was a poor military advice in my own opinion for President Buhari to agree to such purchase even when he was a military commander.

Then the illegality of the payment for the Tucano bombers from the US without the permission to do so by the National Assembly is a strong issue against the president, forming the basis why there is a wild call for his impeachment. That act itself was not only barbaric and medieval, it contradicts in totality the values of democracy; the type of government that has orders and laws that free people follow, and everyone and institutions are subjected under a constitution they swear to uphold.

By no effort of the imagination can we ever conceive that in 2018, Buhari, who was sold to us in 2015 as a born again democrat, as a man with integrity, could be spending without due process. The conviction has deepened within me more and more that the practice of not requiring the National Assembly for approval before going into extra-budgetry spending is unwarranted by the constitution, unsanctioned by codes of conducts and other authorities, condemnable by common reason and sense of right, and altogether unjustifiable. The totem which holds democracy is the separation of power between the three arms of government. Any infraction by any against the other reduces democracy down to dictatorship. Let this flagrant abuse of executive power not become a consequent pattern of social and political misconduct for others to follow. Patterns like this essentially can be repeated in the future if no sanction is metted now. Such notions of discounting the principle of seperation of power are characteristics of dictatorship; this has been confirmed at every point in history. No doubt, democracy could be a political make-up for conceivable tendency towards autocracy.

Elempe Dele is a Social and Political commentator from Edo State and works as a freelance writer.

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