On April 22 this year, the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (71) (rtd) was on the spot. He told State House correspondents that “Nigeria is bleeding”. During the media chat, he informed us all that he has been a lawyer for the past thirty four years. I guess the country knows him more as a general than a legal practitioner. To bleed is simply a blood loss, you must have been wounded before you can bleed. “Make no mistakes that our nation is bleeding now”. Major- General Magashi declared.
Wikipedia described Bleeding, also known as a haemorrhage, or simply blood loss, as blood escaping from the circulatory system from damaged blood vessels. Bleeding can occur internally, or externally either through a natural opening such as the mouth, nose, ear, urethra, vagina or anus, or through a wound in the skin. Hypovolemia is a massive decrease in blood volume, and death by excessive loss of blood is referred to as exsanguination. Typically, a healthy person can endure a loss of 10–15% of the total blood volume without serious medical difficulties (by comparison, blood donation typically takes 8–10% of the donor’s blood volume). According to Wikipedia, the stopping or controlling of bleeding is called hemostasis and is an important part of both first aid and surgery.
On February 18 this year, the same General Magashi told defenseless Nigerians to defend themselves and appealed to them not to be cowards. While wondering why people were ‘running from minor things,’ referring to attacks by bandits, he said that victims of banditry should resist such attacks and signal to the criminals that “even the villagers have the competency and capability to defend themselves.” He added that the bandits would sometimes carry only a few rounds of ammunition. “Is it the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to keep alert and to find safety when necessary. But we shouldn’t be cowards,” the minister told reporters. “At times, the bandits will only come with three rounds of ammunition. When they fire shots, everybody runs. In our younger days, we stand to fight any aggression coming for us”.
Major General Magashi is not new to controversy. His declaration to “Nigeria is bleeding” captures what is going on in the country at the moment. When he was appointed the Minister of Defence in 2019, I wrote a piece on “All Eyes On Magashi”. I do not intend to delete on what I wrote. Let us look at the schedule of the Minister of Defence. In the past, the Ministry of Defence used to have four Ministers. There was Minister of Defence, there was also Minister of State for Navy, Mister of State for Army and Minister of State for Air Force. There was also a time where there was Minister of Defence and Minister of State for Defence. I am referring to post 1999 era. Now General Magashi has no Minister of State. The man who said “Nigeria is bleeding” is no doubt a super Minister under President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. Let us examine his schedule and responsibilities as Minister of Defence combined.
This include formulation and implementation of policies and programmes on defence, co-ordination of Defence Programmes that commit the entire military to matters of military operation, ensuring the combat readiness of the Armed Forces, advises the President, Commander-in-Chief on deployment of troops, strategic doctrines, procurement decisions, and defence policy, co-ordinates the execution of Armed Forces Development Project, approves the clearance of foreign military aircrafts and warships, signs defence agreements, liaison with Armed Forces of foreign countries, approves the appointment of Defence attaches and member, Armed Forces Council/Board, Chairman, Armed Forces Tenders Board, member, boards of Armed Forces Training Institutions (NDA, National War College and Staff College), member, Joint Intelligence Board, member, Defence Council and Security Council and any other duties that may be assigned by the President, Commander-in-Chief. Other responsibilities are Welfare of Ex-Service men including Military Pensions Boards, co-ordination of the Armed Forces Resettlement Scheme, matters of war graves, military museums and national cenotaph, matters of the Nigerian Legions, supervision of the Parastatals of the Ministry: Defence Industry Corporation and Tafawa Balewa Square Investment Limited.
I must however add that he became the military governor of Sokoto state between August 1990 and January 1992. Between September 1985 and August 27, 1993, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR, appointed seventy four military governors. General Magashi was one of them. He took over from Colonel Ahmed Muhammadu Daku and he was succeeded by Colonel Yahaya AbdulKarim. Other military governors appointed by General Babangida at that time were Colonel Danladi Zakari, Colonel John Ewerekumoh Yeri, Wing Commander Mohammed Ndatsu Umaru, Major Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Colonel Anthony Ukpo, Colonel Olayinka Sule, Group Captain Abubakar Salihu, Colonel Raji Alagbe Rasaki, Commander Eben Ibim Princewill, Lt-Colonel Oladayo Popoola, Police Commissioner Fidelis Oyakhilome, Colonel Sasaenia Adedeji Oresanya, Colonel Ekundayo Opaleye, Colonel Lawrence Onoja, Group Captain Emeka Omeruah, Lt-Colonel Adetunjii Idowu Olurin, Navy Captain Sunday Abiodun Olukoya, Commander Anthony E. Oguguo, Colonel Jonathan Tunde Ogbeha, Wing Commander I.O. Nkanga, Colonel Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar, Group Captain Gbolahan Mudashiru, Wing Commander Isa Mohammed, Commander I. E. Mohammed, Colonel Garba Mohammed, Lt-Colonel Garba Ali Mohammed, Lt-Colonel Ahmed Mohammed, Lt-Colonel Abdullahi Mohammed, Colonel Abdul One Mohammed, Lt-Colonel Mohammed Buba Marwa, Lt-Colonel David Bonaventure Mark, Lt-Colonel Fidelis Makka, Colonel Mohammed Maina, Colonel Bashir Salihi Magashi, Navy Captain Allison Madueke, Lt-Colonel Yohanna Ateyan Madaki, Colonel Joshua Mamman Madaki, Colonel John Yahya Madaki, Group Captain M.A. Lawal, Colonel Alwali Jauji Kazir, Lt-Colonel Aliyu Kama, Navy Captain Oladeinde O. Joseph, Group Captain Jonah David Jang, Lt-Colonel John Mark Inienger, Lt-Commander Amadi Ikwecheghi, Lt-Colonel Lawan Gwadabe, Navy Commander Olabode George and Lt-Colonel Chris Abutu Garuba. Others are Colonel Idris Garba, Lt-Colonel Herbert O. Eze, Commissioner of Police Sani Ahmed Daura, Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Daku, Colonel Ishaya Bakut, Colonel Patrick Aziza, Colonel Abubakar Tanko Ayuba, Lt-Colonel Ernest Kizito Attah, Navy Captain Ekpo Archibong, Colonel Dan Archibong, Major Abdulmumuni Aminu, Lt-Colonel Mohammed Christopher Alli, Lt-Colonel Abu Ali, Group Captain Ibrahim Alkali, Colonel Robert Akonobi, Navy Captain Mike Okhai Akhigbe, Group Captain Frank Ajobena, Colonel Leo Lapade Ajiborisha, Adeyinka Afolahan, Navy Captain Adeyemi Afolabi, Colonel Abdulkarim Adisa, Group Captain Ernest Olawunmi Adeleye, Group Captain Luke Chijiuba Achulor, Navy Captain Joseph Abulu, Lt-Colonel Ahmed Aboki Abdullahi and Colonel Godwin Osagie Abbe.
To be continued tomorrow
Teniola, a former director at the Presidency, wrote from Lagos.