By Idowu Maryam
A military court in Abuja on Monday, convicted a former Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Olusegun Adeniyi, who in a viral video complained that the military lacks the military armoury to fight Boko Haram.
The court found the major general guilty of making and sharing a video on the counter-insurgency operation in the North-east in a manner that ridiculed the armed forces of Nigeria.
The court ordered his demotion by at least three years. His orderly, Tokunbo Obanla, a private, was also found guilty and sentenced to 28 days in jail with hard labour.
The report said the tribunal found Mr olusegun Adeniyi, guilty of violating some sections of the policy on the use of social media against the armed forces of Nigeria.
The said policy was released on June 11, 2018, on the directives of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.
Section 15 (g) of the policy specifically forbids personnel from “posting any video, audio, materials pictures during exercises/operations.”
The Nigerian Army had in July ordered Mr Adeniyi to face court-martial, four months after he was seen in a rare video talking about how the Nigerian troops were being overwhelmed by Boko Haram terrorists.
Mr Adeniyi was leading a large troop of soldiers on a special operation when they were attacked by Boko Haram.
The commander was seen in two of four video clips giving a recorded situation of report to the Chief of Army Staff, lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
He blamed the deadly attack that happened to his men on bad assessment that was conducted before they deployed.
Our soldiers were ambushed and killed in the attack. The military said 47 died, but the figure was later reviewed downwards.
In the video, the theatre commander was seen amongst troops talking about how his team suffered a massive loss of soldiers and equipment because they were outgunned by Boko Haram.
“I know you were crying because they kill your regular…look at me, that is not the time to cry,” he said, as he kept jerking the shirt of the trooper who was apparently weeping.
Mr Olusegun Adeboye, the theatre commander was seen in another video and heard telling the soldiers that “it appears the people we are fighting have more firepower than us…”
He later directed the troops to gather all the bodies of the soldiers that died into available vehicles in order to quickly move them out of danger zone.
The commander’s revelation that the troops in the field are not adequately armed to fight. later the military authority claimed that Boko Haram has been defeated
Mr Adeniyi in the video said he lost different types of equipment and was almost left immobile due to a massive attack.
Facing the camera and addressing the Chief of Army staff, the Theater commander said, “Good morning sir, I’m standing here with Sector 2 Commander; the armed helicopter has just come to hover our air, the instruction I gave them was that anything they see moving they should engage because most of my gun trucks are not moving. Like I said earlier, the three battalions are fighting as deployed — nobody is running.
“But what we have here, I will give you some estimates, sir. Boko Haram has fired more than a hundred mortar bombs at us; they have fired 80 to a hundred RPGs at us; in addition to eight to 10 gun trucks firing at us from all sides. We have not run, and the soldiers are not misbehaving or disobeying orders.
“We have casualties. I will come and see you in person on what we need to do. But we are not running.”
Still in the video, Mr Adeniyi pointed at some of the MRAP trucks that have been detroyed and demobilized.
“This is what we are facing in the Timbuktu triangle, sir. We are not running, we are fighting as a system to curtail the situation and achieve your mission, sir.”
Mr Adeniyi was removed as commander of Operation Lafiya Dole shortly afterwards, with Mr Buratai commending him in on April 5 for successes recorded in the anti-insurgency war under his leadership.
“Adeniyi came at a point when virtually most of the FOBs were falling and his coming was a turning point in Lafiya Dole’s operation, Mr Buratai said during a dinner organised in honour of Mr Adeniyi at the Military’s Command Guess House, in Maiduguri.
“This one; no matter the lapses, no matter the inadequacies and no matter what happened, nobody can take that away from him as part of his successes.
“He came at a time when things were already crumbling and his leadership style turned things around to bring us to where we are today.
“He never led from the rear, he is always in the front. That is the type of leadership that is required and that is an excellent attribute of a field leader. I have always emphasised that you must lead by example.
“So Adeniyi, be rest assured that you have made your mark. You are leaving the Theatre, but you will be required to share the experience you have gathered here. You will be consulted accordingly,” he said.
But four months after the commendations, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi was summoned to Abuja for trial. And now, He has been found guilty.