Once upon a time, there was a man named Abram. He was rich in livestock, silver, and gold. He’d recently moved from Egypt into the Negeb, with his wife, Sarah and his nephew, Lot. Eventually, they settled on a location between two cities named Bethel and Ai.

Lot, was also very wealthy. Lot had flocks and herds and tents rivaling those of Abram. Eventually, it became difficult for the two great men to live together. Abram’s and Lot’s servants were constantly fighting over pasturing land.

Abram spoke to Lot, “We’re family, and this situation is causing too much friction between our two camps. I’ll give you the first choice of pasturing land. Choose where you want to go, and I’ll put enough distance between us so that we can live in peace, and not have our camps constantly quarreling with each other.” Lot chose the Jordan valley in the east to settle with his camp, because it was very green and well watered. Lot liked the seeming safety of the nearby cities, so he chose to pitch his tent in the vicinity of Sodom. Abram then chose the land of Canaan in the west.

For twelve years, Chedorlaomer King of Elam was a sort of emperor over a region ruled by 8 other Kings that had become his clients. In the 13th year, some of those kings rebelled against him, choosing to no longer be under his yolk of rule.

King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the [unnamed] King of Zoar, rebelled against Chedorlaomer. Five kings in total.

Chedorlaomer, rallied the remaining 3 kings under his rule in an effort to quash the rebellion. They were Tidal King of Goiim, Amraphel King of Shinar, and Arioh King of Ellasar. He led their combined armies through the entire region, conquering six new kingdoms that had never been under his rule, before turning and facing the five kings that had rebelled.

Though the odds were in the rebel’s favor, the superior command of Chedorlaomer defeated them, and the armies of the five rebels routed across the hills of the region.

Chedorlaomer took possession of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions. They enslaved the people of both cities, and they also kidnapped and enslaved Lot, Abram’s nephew, along with all of his family, servants, and possessions.

One of Lot’s servants was able to escape, and fled to the only other safety he knew: Abram. He told Abram everything that happened.

When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people. – Genesis 14:14-16 ESV

There’s a lot in this world that doesn’t make sense to me, but this story makes perfect sense. My very DNA screams in agreement. You protect the ones you love, you protect your family.

Read the story for yourself: Genesis 14. Where does it say Abraham prayed before rescuing Lot? If prayer before you do anything was such a big theme in the Bible, surely it would have been important to include in Abraham’s story?

The most religious nation on the planet

I’ve chosen this story not so much because it’s one of my favorites, but because Nigerians seem to only be able to comprehend a situation if viewed through a religious lens.

I can’t tell you how many times I held my tongue when people’s reaction to the girls’ kidnapping on social media was, “I’m praying for a miracle!” or “God will…”

I’ve literally typed out responses to these comments, stared at them, and decided against posting because the poor person wouldn’t understand where all this anger was coming from. I remember the phrase, “Don’t use a sledge hammer to swat a fly.”

Today, I’m willing to use a sledge hammer, because I’m about to bring down a house built on a faulty foundation.

People have given our first lady, Madam Patience Jonathan, a hard time for her emotional outburst of, “There is a God, Oh!” The pot calls the kettle black. Isn’t that the Nigerian reaction to everything? Pastor Bakare decries her religious outburst, yet says in the same message, “Nigeria is the apple of God’s eye, ” and pronounces a curse of terrorism and death upon America itself for having the gaul to want to help, based on a night vision dream he had in 2005. “All those that want to scatter Nigeria, God will scatter!” is equivalent to “DiarisGodOh!” Nigeria’s brand of religion makes no sense to people that think.

A Nigerian tries to take advantage of you but assures you that God will reward you for giving in to his selfishness:

“Ah, my brother, God will bless you!”

A Nigerian police officer beats a civilian for no reason, you have no recourse so you say:

“God will punish him!”

Boko Haram kidnaps 300 girls in the night, and the reaction from most on social media is something akin to:

“We’re praying for a miracle!”

Oh you religious Nigerian, who thinks prayer and night vigil is the answer to the world’s problems… There is more prayer and night vigil in Nigeria than on any other nation on the earth, and what has it accomplished? Has it fixed our roads, restored our power, uncorrupted our leaders and people? Has it conquered tribalism and caused us to live in unity and peace? Can you drive at night from Benin City to your village? For all the religious fervor, Nigeria has no testimony.

Here in America, a woman could drive from LA to San Franciso at night, in California, America’s supposed “den of wickedness,” unarmed and alone with no fear of armed robbery, kidnapping, or rape.

The religious leaders themselves are becoming fat off of your superstition and ignorance. Yes, continue sowing seeds for your “breakthrough” so David Oyedepo and TB Joshua can buy another private  jet.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. – Matthew 23:27

You understand religious language, do you not? How many times did the Lord scatter Israel, for less than what we’re doing. Get it together, or be scattered, oh you nation that prioritizes the criminalization of homosexuality, innocent people who simply wish to be left alone, before restoring electricity to houses in need of it, or paying your policemen a decent wage and restoring their pensions.

This isn’t how I normally talk. I don’t like using overly-religious language and phrases, but sometimes a good old fashioned prophetic rebuke is in order.

Bring Back our Girls

Bring Back our Girls

Monday, May 12th was the official #BringBackOurGirls rally at the State Capitol Building in downtown Phoenix, from 9am till 12pm. I don’t typically go to rallies. In fact, this is the first rally/protest/march I’ve ever been to in my life.

The reason this rally was an exception for me is because of the concept of international pressure. If you constantly have social media and news talking about an issue where a government is inept and silent, eventually they’ll be embarrassed into acting.

I prefer the hashtag #RescueOurGirls because “bring back” almost implies that the people that took them could bring them back. Rescues can only be performed by rescuers, not the kidnappers themselves. It’s a minor branding qualm, but it’s not anything to really get upset about.

Here’s a little video clip of some of what transpired. I’ll let it speak for itself.

How we will actually get our girls back

God will not peer down from Heaven with binoculars and start teleporting the girls from the camps back to their homes. No angels will come rushing in on a flying Nimbus and strike the Boko Haram insurgents with blindness while the girls take the providential opportunity to escape.

Trained and willing men, armed to the teeth with guns and knives, and protected with body armor will attack and kill Boko Haram insurgents in a bloody gun battle. Armored personnel carriers, tanks, and helicopters will be the horses upon which our knights ride. Boko Haram like’s night raids? Well then, we can show them how a night raid is really done in the Sambisa forest.

Nigeria’s solution

If we wanted to solve this without international troops on our soil

I hate the idea of playing armchair General, but this is more to prove a point to over-religious Nigerians, and to show people how a good and capable leader would have handled this debacle.

It’s times like this that I regret not having served in the US Armed Forces like I wanted to at one point in my life. Nevertheless, the solution seems obvious to anyone with common sense, a tactical mind, and a reasonable knowledge of history.

If every time the military attacks Boko Haram they have advanced warning – If soldiers are saying that they are purposely under-armed by their superiors when engaging with Boko Haram, and that their brothers in arms often engage in purposeful friendly fire – then you have a serious infiltration and sponsorship problem on your hands. But what do you expect from a government that has abandoned serving the people, and has instead become a racket for corrupt men to enrich themselves?

If President Jonathan himself says that there are Boko Haram sympathizers in his cabinet, then you have a clear solution in front of you. Don’t use the military to attack Boko Haram! At least not in the way you’re used to.

Before I go into this plan, I should first say that something like this has been done before. Here is a wikipedia excerpt of one of my favorite policies enacted by any President in recent history:

President Mikhail Saakashvili fired “the entire traffic police force” of the Georgian National Police due to corruption, numbering around 30,000 police officers.’

A new force was built around new recruits. The United States State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law-Enforcement Affairs has provided assistance to the training efforts.

So how does Nigeria rescue the girls? It’s a 4-step plan:

1. Assembly
2. Training
3. Intel & Reconnaissance
4. Action

Assembly

Use your Presidential powers as commander-in-chief to form a new, but very small and specialized military branch that exists alongside the current defense infrastructure. Name it whatever you want. This department will be comprised of trusted army, navy, and police veterans who have passed background checks, lie detectors, and come from regions in the country least likely to have any ties to Boko Haram. They will be paid well, and their families taken care of should something happen to them.

None of them will be volunteers, they will be chosen and given the choice of “yes” or “no”. This is in an effort to maintain the integrity and the secrecy of the missions of this branch, and to prevent corrupt interference from powerful generals, police, or politicians.

Nigerian military assets and the financial budget will be procured by the President himself for use by this new department: Helicopters, APCs, tanks, etc.

This emergency branch will be lead by the President himself, and the smaller squads led by the highest ranking capable recruits.

Training

Once the men have been assembled, they’ll be trained by American and British operatives, whether they be the Green Berets, the S.E.A.L.s, British S.A.S., or FBI in counter insurgency, counter-terror, and equatorial survival and warfare.

These trained men will eventually become a bona fide military branch unto themselves with their own Generals, and commanders, and sub commanders.

Intel & Reconnaissance

This new military branch will use some of their procured budget to purchase 2 or 3 reconnaissance drones from the US, equipped with thermal and night vision optics.

Then all the girls that escaped from Boko Haram on their own will be debriefed on where they were taken, how they escaped, how numerous were their captors, how well armed are they? Using this intel, reconnaissance will be performed on the Boko Haram camps in Nigeria along with Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

Forget the national sovereignty of Nigeria’s neighbors. If they’d been unwilling to harbor these terrorists, or able to deal with them, there’d be no need for us to go looking in these countries in the first place.

They won’t risk international humiliation for trying to thwart a rescue operation for 300 girls. Something tells me they don’t even have the military capability to know when another country sends a drone into their airspace. I always tend to over-estimate the military capabilities of these nations and forget that they’re corrupt and rotting from the inside out. The money that should have been spent on a new radar system was probably put into some mansion in London.

Action

Once reconnaissance has been performed on their locations, battle plans are drawn, known only to the operatives, and several test runs will be performed at a secret location with structures made to mimic the Boko Haram camp in detail.

On the night of attack, helicopters fly under the radar to transport the various teams and armor a few kilometers outside the Boko Haram camps. They move in under the cover of darkness by vehicle, surrounding the camps.

This will be a simultaneous strike on as many Boko Haram camps as possible to cripple the enemy.

There will be loss of life on our side, maybe even a few of the girls could die in the rescue, but the only alternative is to do nothing or begin trading captured militants for girls, both of which are unacceptable.

In Conclusion

This doesn’t solve the Boko Haram problem, but it does bring back our girls, and provides the nation with a capable counter-terrorism organization. Aliko Dangote himself said, “The only way to stop Boko Haram is to create jobs.” He has a serious point.

It’s a much taller order to fix the Nigerian Police force, and the rest of the Nigerian Military, without stepping on powerful toes and instigating a coup. I don’t think you could just sack the entire Nigerian police force of almost 400,000 men and women without already having a trained, sworn, armed, and capable replacement at the ready. You’d only be creating a dozen new Boko Harams.

You’d need a method of re-integrating those now jobless men and women into your new system provided they pass background checks and training. It’s all about creating a new culture and a new power structure.

Unfortunately, my rescue solution may already be too late, 4 weeks after the kidnapping. This is something that you do the moment you enter office, regardless of whether such a department is needed to engage an pressing issue like the kidnapping of 300 girls. Nevertheless, the 2015 elections are coming up, and the first steps of any serious President would be to create a new National Police force under a different name, and build it up with international help until it’s ready to take over the job. Once the country is more stable, a state police force could be viable.

Fortunately, countries like the US, Canada, UK, France, and Israel have sent in help in the form of trained and willing men with guns. Understandably, many Nigerians are upset at how embarrassing it is not to be able to solve our own problems. If there’s one thing Nigerian culture hates, it’s washing your dirty linens in public.

Here’s an idea: stop spending your laundry machine money on airplanes for pastors, and armored cars for politicians. Pastor Bakare was right about one thing, the people always get the leaders they deserve.

So, my dear Nigerians, sorry for the tough love, but this is how you get our girls back. Not by praying for a miracle.

Photo Credit