A Lance Corporal’s suicide mission

Posted by News Express | 12 July 2020 | 1,356 times

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Attempting suicide is still an offence under irrelevant Nigerian codes. A successful one becomes a case for God. In Japan, suicide is an act of courage.

In other parts of the world, it is largely recognized as a mental health problem deserving expert handling. When your legislators have brand new SUVs to share, small things should not distract them. The preservation of the lives of the unwashed masses has never been prime on the Nigerian legislative agenda. If the revised budget had been about the poor man, it’ll still be queuing on the legislative order paper.

There is only one area of our national life where suicide is covertly acceptable; indeed propensity towards suicide could be an entry requirement. It’s in the armed forces. That is where people sign papers to lay down their lives for the cohesion of a nation, even an ungrateful one. That is the only place where suicide is legal. Basically every Nigerian family has had a casualty of war.

In countries where soldiers take their commission seriously not harassing their paymasters the bloody civilian; society rewards their gallantry with utmost respect. Nigeria is praying to get there someday soon.

Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini released a disturbing suicide video a couple of weeks back. He reminds of an era most of us pray to forget. That era in which a poorly trained soldier shoots his way to a radio station to declare that he and his misinformed colleagues were taking over.

There was Idakpini, dangling a handbook he titled – The Tradition, Customs and Ethnics (sic) of the Nigerian Army. There he was reassuring ‘fellow Nigerians’ that he was not breaking military protocols. He may not be, but he was murdering tenses along the way as he read from what he called the military ‘constitution.’ He was particularly inured with the military code of ‘loyalty’ before breaking it by calling his army chief a coward, a traitor and a betrayer of his commission. Very strong words you expect to be followed with instances, documents and incidences. You got nothing! Instead, he was asking for legal representation for his impending court martial hoping that if he were executed, his death would not be in vain.

Such blatant disrespect of one’s code of ethics could only appeal to charlatans. The words Idakpini used to describe his army chief are not rare. A good soldier desiring change would have addressed his grievances to his unit commander or his army chief through appropriate supervisory authorities. He would have cited incidences and brought out how his complaints had gone without redress.

If he had done any of these, he would have earned a bit of respect from bloody civilians like us who have called his commanders worse for good reasons. But here is a soldier still on the oath of his commission, sworn to be subject to the orders of a superior officer blatantly playing politics with his life.

There is a gulf of difference between a lance corporal and a general and it is common knowledge even to a bloody civilian, that you did not call your superior names. It tantamount to gross disrespect and a treasonable act of insubordination both acts that could cause mutiny or disharmony within a ranked institution.  If it won’t be tolerated between a driver and his managing director, it should not even be considered in a military formation.

We’ve all said that the current military heads have overstayed their welcome. We’ve argued that they have nothing new to offer except the perpetuation of total chaos and insecurity. We’ve said that because right before their very eyes, we are losing entire villages to bandits. Robbers are in control; they even send letters ahead of their operations. Kidnappers and ritualists work with herdsmen to target people in their homes and farmers on the field while these officers are chauffeur-driven through traffic with their sirens blaring.

Boko Haram, the ragtag army of insurgents that unleashed on Nigeria over a decade ago is as deadly as it could be. General Buhari promised to extirpate them within three months of swearing in, its five years and all he gives are semantic technicalities and lame excuses. Bloody civilians are allowed to say these things as long as they do not go with a megaphone near a military barracks or formation. Soldiers are under command, and commands have structure, structures regulate the military regimen. Breaking ranks endangers not just the single soldier but also his comrades at arms and disrespect for the nation. It is an aberration.

Even when, as recently happened with General Olusegun Adeniyi, senior officers have had cause to complain, they manage to follow protocol. In Adeniyi’s case, he reeled out gory statistics inhibiting the success of his troops at war. Idakpini is a musician!

Basically, Idakpini said nothing. He did not regale us with the experience that warranted his outburst. His was an ad hominem argument. He did not tell us why he was disappointed with his army chief. If he gave instances, we would be working on those numbers for his plea. If he told us what he and his colleagues suffer in the theatre of war, we would be rallying to get them what they lack. Instead he unleashed an empty verbal barrage devoid of substance.

Lance Corporal Idakpini was clever by half, asking for help against court martial. He knew he would not get away free. He wanted to earn the support of the gullible public or he was exhibiting signs of an undiagnosed mental health issue. No true patriot supports a soldier in mutiny who has no substance in him. Idakpini broke ranks with his colleagues and insulted the nation.

We could afford to swat Idakpini like a gnat. But Idakpini needs help of a different kind. We cannot allow the military to kill this fly with a sledge hammer until his mental state has been examined. He needs thorough psychiatrist examination to determine his state of mind. Since he has exposed himself and his colleagues to mutiny, his trial should not be hushed. It should be open to the public. Now that he has learnt to handle the gun (hopefully) he cannot just be discharged as he would be a threat to others. Those whose hearts rule their heads should find jobs elsewhere, far from the army.  (Daily Trust)




Source: News Express

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