By Tunde Odesola
Goliath and Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, is the highest-ranking military officer of the Nigerian Armed Forces. His duties include: formulating operational policies and programmes for the Army, Navy and Air Force, with a view to attaining national security.
The Defender of the Nigerian Universe, General Irabor, has able lieutenants in the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, – all Goliaths in their own rights – though smaller in size, but with offices more sought after because they have under their direct controls, officers, men and money.
Irabor isn’t the Philistine giant from Gath, who wore to war a bronze helmet, coat of scale armour weighing 5,000 shekels, bronze greaves to protect his legs, and had a javelin slung across the back with a shield bearer going ahead of him.
Irabor is the Nigerian Goliath from Delta. He’s an Ika. Many people, who don’t know that the Ika are a unique people from Aliokpu Agbor, see Irabor as an ika, a Yoruba word for the wicked, because of his merciless role in the bloodbath at Lekki.
On the way to war on October 20, 2020, Irabor armed himself with an AK-47, endless rounds of ammunition, bulletproof vest, helmet, jackboots, knives, teargas, flashlight and horse whip, coming metaphorically behind his abominable shield bearers, who had perforated many heads with bullets and crushed countless bones even before Irabor’s calvary halted in triumph at the notorious Lekki Toll Gate, the place of skulls.
Irabor is the Nigerian Goliath, who exactly 15 days after his 55th birthday anniversary, marked amid prayers for long life and prosperity, went to war against thousands of unarmed Nigerians that include children and women. He returned home with a basketful of dripping heads hurriedly interred in an unmarked mass grave lit by the gaze of the distant owl, which provided light for the midnight secret operation.
What are the sins of the shot Nigerians? One, they dared to hold aloft the Nigerian flag and two, they demanded a better country from their sightless and selfish rulers.
In the inferred view of Goliath Irabor, who knew that bloodied military guns were cleaned and locked away after the Lekki massacre, Nigerian youths are a truly lazy and stupid bunch, always asking for what their country can do for them, and not what they can do for their country.
I think this is why Irabor, the numero uno of the killing Nigerian military, frowns on the leakage of the report by the panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State government to investigate the massacre carried out by Nigerian soldiers and police against innocent citizens at the Lekki Toll Gate in October 2020.
It’s not in the character of generals to talk without thinking. With Irabor, speech is silver: silence is stupid. The body language of the Anioma General without a war medal reflects the belief that the man with a gun is always right, no matter the emptiness in his skull.
Last Monday, the no-death anthem composed by the media fiends of Abuja stuck in the throat of Irabor, whose Army had vehemently denied shooting a live bullet at the scene, let alone hurt a fly.
Repeatedly, the Goliath in Irabor had looked down on Nigerians, and thrown a challenge at them, taunting the citizenry to produce a shred of evidence linking his Army to the killings at the notorious toll gate in Lekki, just like the big Philistine did to Israelites in the Valley of Elah.
Illogical, incoherent and insensitive, Irabor, in a viral video, more concerned that the report became public knowledge via ‘a wrong channel’, than showing remorse and apologising for the innocent lives that his zombie soldiers mowed down in cold blood on the Black Tuesday of October 2020. Irabor is the cynic, whose conscience conveniently sits on the truth while his boots regally trample on justice, shamelessly.
In the interview conducted by African Independent Television, the acting Goliath squawked, “I’d like to indicate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional armed force. We are peopled by Nigerians and we remain committed to constitutional mandate.” What nonsense!
He continued, “So, we will not, at this point, think that Nigerians should make disparaging remarks regarding the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the sense that we are professional armed forces.” Professional kill-and-go, you mean, sir?
Irabor rambles on, “If there are issues, of course, we address them within the ambit of the provisions. It would not be right to disparage men and women who have worked so hard to ensure that the territorial integrity of this nation is kept intact.” This is the type of narratives Irabor feeds Nigeria’s passive Commander-in-Chief, making Daura falsely believe he’s in control of 36 states, when the North-East has fallen to insurgents and the Indigenous People of Biafra make the rules in the South-East.
Typical of a deluded bully, lashing out at seen and unseen enemies, Irabor derogatorily dismissed the police by reminding Nigerians of the suferiority of the Army over the police. He boasted, “I can assure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are well-disciplined and we do not engage in any ignoble acts. If Nigerians do not trust us, then we won’t be doing what we are doing, and in any case, it is the Armed Forces of Nigeria; we are not talking of the police.” I respect the Armed Forces, so, I won’t question Irabor claiming supremacy over the police just as I won’t question Boko Haram’s superiority over Irabor’s army.
It’s not completely out of depth that Goliath Irabor faulted the leakage of the report. His action is in line with officials and chief executives that work in lawless environments. But instead of the Irabors of Nigeria to resign or speak the truth, they dismember it and hunt down anyone pronouncing or writing the letter T.
I say this because October 20, 2020 wasn’t the first time the Nigerian Army that produced Irabor would kill the truth. The Army had been killing the truth long before the clock was invented, and has continued to kill the people and kill their truths till this very day.
Though it’s laughable that Irabor is aggrieved about the Lekki report being leaked through ‘a wrong channel’, I’ll show why Nigerians can’t trust the Nigerian Armed Forces or governments at all levels to implement the report.
After sitting for two and a half years, the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa-led panel submitted its report on human rights violations and nationwide communal unrest nationwide to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2002.
The General, whose reign was most awash with blood, Ibrahim Babangida; and General Abdulsalami Abubakar, whose regime was criticised by the Oputa commission for the death of MKO Abiola in custody, blatantly shunned the public hearing. Nigerians watched helplessly as a court dismissed the panel as illegal. It took courage on the part of two activist groups, Nigeria Democratic Movement and Civil Society Forum, to publish report.
Soja Irabor, the report of the Kaduna State Commission of Inquiry into the killing of 347 Shiites including children and women by soldiers in December 2015 hasn’t seen the light of the day. No soldier has been brought to book, but the victim, El-Zakzaky, has been on trial ever since.
Also gathering dust on bookshelves are the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel report on the financial allegations against former EFCC acting chair, Ibrahim Magu; report on arms proliferation by a panel set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan, report by a panel set by Jonathan on 234 abducted Chibok girls.
Ten years after, the recommendations of the Stephen Oronsaye report that called for the scrapping and merging of some agencies have yet to be implemented.
Can anyone trust an army that burnt Fela Anikulapo’s house in the broad daylight of February 18, 1977, threw his mother downstairs, and yet blamed it on unknown soldiers?
•Odesola, a journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from the United States of America, USA; and can be reached via: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: @tunde odesola;
Twitter: @tunde_odesola and