Since the war against terrorism started in Nigeria, many a soldier have we lost. These are real men, real people with families and friends that knew them and love them. They made ultimate sacrifices by laying down their lives for the citizens of Nigeria. Are they getting the honour they deserve even in death, from the same country they gave their lives up for? Are their families getting grief counseling and financial compensation to handle their deaths? Are other citizens inspired enough by these selfless sacrifices to want to sign up and risk doing same for us? I do not think we are doing enough to show our appreciation for sacrificing their lives for our safety. By "we", I mean largely the OATTs at the DHQ (OATT= Ogas At The Top).
Perhaps I should walk you through what I feel they went through up to their dying moments just to protect and serve you and I. They enlist and ensure rigorous trainings to become skillful Soldiers/Air Force Pilots. They miss out on a lot of family commitments because their number one commitment and loyalty lies with the Force. They live, breathe and eat everything about the Force. They devote themselves mentally, physically, emotionally and financially to the Force. They OATTs psyche them up to be as brave as super heroes and they buy into it. They are like armed gladiators in uniforms.
Then comes the time they've been waiting for. A time to face real enemies not the imaginary ones in training. A time to save millions of Nigerian lives, threatened by terrorists. They are fired up and ready to go and bring these nefarious beasts down, after all, the lives of millions are in their hands. They head out, and come face to face with these beasts. The only thing is this, no one prepared them for the vast difference between their archaic weapons and the enemies' sophisticated ones. Still, they fight on because a nation is counting on them. They fight their best but alas, their weapons are no match for the opposition and they are all brought down. The survivors look around and see their colleagues/brothers-in-arms, lying dead, battered and shattered beyond belief. They get a flash of the faces of their wives and children. They remember their own wives and children as the terrorists drags them away from the scene. The beasts are angry because they took out quite a number of their own army. They want blood. They bay for it thirstily. But first, they must send a message out to the "infidels" who'd dared send the army and their troops to attack them rather than succumb to their demands. They film them, chanting away irrationally about killing for Allah, about doing all they are for Allah. Our boys know it's all bollocks because if their God was strong enough, He would fight for Himself not send them on such toe-curling "errands". They steel their hearts and try to brace themselves for what's coming. They pray for their wives and children and hope they never get to see the footage of them being slaughtered like rams. They hope their OATTs would do right by their families and compensate them for the ultimate sacrifices they've made for the country. They remain brave soldiers till the end. They remain brave soldiers till the last artery is sliced into. They fade away into oblivion.
That's just a bit of what our troops go through in ensuring we are safe. It is gory, and sad. What could be worse than that? I'll tell you. It's far worse when these military OATTs DENY THE EXISTENCE, CAPTURE AND SACRIFICES OF OUR BRAVE BRAVE SOLDIERS. First they said those that fled didn't flee but were indulging in "tactical manouvre", next they round them up, bring them in and try them for "cowardice"!
The picture above is of late Chimda Hedima, an Airforce Pilot whose aircraft was shot down by Boko Haram terrorists. Reports show that he fought bravely till the very end, deliberately refusing to flee and killing about 63 extra terrorists in the process. He was captured and decapitated gruesomely by Boko Haram. Here is a young man with a wife and children and possibly parents. He had friends and colleagues but he thought about you and I and paid the ultimate sacrifice for us all. He is a HERO.
Sadly, the OATTs at the DHQ have denied his aircraft was shot down and denied the be heading even though the video says otherwise. Because I am remembering our fallen heroes in this post, I will refrain from saying what I should about these OATTs at the Defence Headquarters.
I just want all Nigerians and the world to acknowledge as appreciate what our troops are doing for us. I pray their loved ones are comforted and compensated in huge ways. I pray their souls will rest in perfect peace. I pray their sacrifices will not be in vain. I pray we will tell our children about these heroes. I pray an end will come to terrorism. I hope we would never forget those who risked their lives for us.
Rest in peace, o gallant ones.