News Analysis

Lessons From The Rescue Of The Kidnapped American Citizen In Nigeria

Recently, the Naval Special Warfare group in the United States of America rescued her citizen, Philip Walton, held hostage in Nigeria on October twenty-six, this year.

In a covert operation by the U.S special forces Philip Walton was freed unharmed in the Boko Haram territory in Borno state while six of the seven abductors were killed and none of the six elite officers was hurt.

The way and manner the operation was carried out reflects the efficiency of the officers of the American Armed Forces and responsive governance which Nigeria and her Armed forces need to draw lessons from.

On the eve of a Presidential election in the United States, when the entire machinery of the country could have been diverted to internal security and covid-19 pandemic ravaging the country, the rescued Walton, an adventurous small-scale farmer, could have been abandoned to his fate.

By this, The American government was able to demonstrate that an American in distress anywhere in the world means much more to them.

In the words of the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo: “the United states is committed to the safe return of all U.S. citizens taken captive.

This has shown again that where there is a will, there is a way, for any nation that takes the security of her citizens as paramount.

It is necessary that Nigerian government be more proactive and responsive to the plight of her citizens who are either in captive or kidnapped.

For instance, at least one hundred and twelve out of the two hundred and seventy-six Chibok schoolgirls are still missing six years after they were taken into captivity.

Also, the Dapchi girl Leah Sharibu has not returned two years after her abduction, despite the federal government’s promises and attempts to secure her freedom.

With military intelligence, precision, and bravery as well as the political will on the part of the government, many of the hundreds of Waltons held captive could have been freed.

Gone  are the days when the Nigerian Army executed such gallantry with successes and this can still happen with a well-trained, equipped and result-oriented military  personnel to  curb insecurity bedeviling the country.

Moreover, the military with its main responsibility of preserving territorial integrity is overstretched, as the personnel with a limited number of recruits, is fighting in all states, from tackling insurgencies, clashes between farmers and herders, religious, tribal conflicts, and down to civil disturbances like the #end SARS protests.

With the state of Nigeria Police Force, the Army has been more preoccupied with the primary functions of the police, this cannot yield the desired result of preserving the territorial integrity of the country.

Nigeria as the giant of Africa should reposition and retool her armed forces with a view to making it efficient and effective in the discharge of its constitutional duties.

Anything other than this will not engender the confidence of Nigerians in their ability to defend and protect the citizens both at home and abroad.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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