Beko Ransome Kuti's Brig General Son Faces Mutiny Charges

The Ransome-Kuti family has a history of radicalism even though they had a celestial background. Over the generations, the family, which was deeply involved in activism, crossed the path of the Nigerian authorities.
Funmilayo, the matriarch of the family, was a celebrated women’s right activist. She was a hard core lady, prolific woman nationalist and representative of the feminist cause in her time.
This trend continued with the late King of Afrobeat and the most vocal of the second generation Kutis, Fela. His younger brother, Beko, was equally an enigma of some sort.
Together with Fela, they both experienced the harsh condition of the numerous cells as they were variously imprisoned in the cause of fighting for the oppressed masses.
Enitan, son of the late pro-democracy activist, Beko, and nephew to Fela in line with the family tradition has again defied the norm as he joined the army against all expectations and rose through the ranks to become a Brigadier-General in the Nigerian Army.
The army, trusting his capability, handed him the task of routing the dreaded Boko Haram sect that has terrorised the country for so long a time now. That task, however, has again brought the family face to face with the authorities.
At present, Enitan’s life hangs in the balance. What transpired between him and the Nigerian authorities and how could he possibly escape the hangman’s noose?According to an internal memo dated March 11, the Nigerian Army ordered 30 of its top officers to proceed to the Army Headquarters Garrison in Abuja to face a judicial panel reportedly over their conduct and performances in the ongoing war against Boko Haram.
The memo listed the senior officers who were instructed to depart their current posting and head for the Army Headquarters garrison for “jurisdiction”. The officers are to be court-martialed for various offences.
The most senior among the officers is Brig.-General Enitan Ransome-Kuti, the son of late human rights activist, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti. He is to answer questions on the role he played in the loss of Baga, a town in Borno State to Boko Haram in January. Ransome-Kuti was the commander of the Multi National Joint Task Force.
In what is known as Baga massacre, Boko Haram members carried out series of mass killings in the town and its environs between January 3 and 7. The attack began on January 3 when Boko Haram overran a military base that was the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force containing troops from Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.
The militants then overran the town committing mass killings which climaxed on January 7. Fatalities were reportedly “heavy” but their extent remained unclear.
Local officials and residents who fled were quoted as saying that “over 2,000″ people were killed or “unaccounted for”, but others report “at least a hundred” fatalities, while the Nigerian Ministry of Defence said that no more than 150 people were killed, including militants. Several government officials denied that the fatalities were as extensive as reported, with some even claiming that the massacre never took place or that the Nigerian military had repelled the militants from the region, a claim that was refuted by local officials, survivors, and the international media Since the news broke, reactions and counter reactions have trailed the incidence from concerned citizens, public affairs analysts and non-governmental organisations. But how are the Ransome- Kutis taking this development? Their matriarch, Yemisi Ransome- Kuti, explained; “Well, the case is in the court and we cannot comment much.
But we don’t think the soldiers should be sanctioned on the altar of the inefficiency of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.” It confounds many that the Ransome- Kutis have a soldier-son despite the sinister rage involving the late matriarch, Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti, her son, late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and the Nigerian Army under General Olusegun Obasanjo-led government and Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s reign respectively. But Yemisi said; “It is not the military that is the problem, it is the people in the military.
The military is a very noble profession and certainly we need our soldiers to defend our territorial integrity. The family has no quarrel with the military but those personali-ties that have been part of the military in Nigeria. There have also been very sound personnel in the military that we admire who are honest and have stood for the rights of others over time.
We know of Col. Abubakar Umar and quite a number of honourable soldiers. We’re never against any group or persons, but against wrong principles and behaviours particularly when these impact so badly on our people.”
Perhaps, the revelation of Senator Babafemi Ojodu would reiterate late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti’s disposition to his son, Enitan’s career choice in the Nigerian Army. He said, “I first met Enitan many years ago in his dad’s house at 8, Imaria Street, Anthony Village.
He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the army then. He came visiting his dad who is my mentor. Enitan was introduced to me by Beko as, ‘meet my son in the army’. Beko’s son in the Army? I asked myself in surprise.
“It was at a time when Beko and his elder brother, Fela, were engaged in a battle with the military that made them come in and out of prison. ‘Are you surprised?’ Beko asked me. At the time, I had just joined Beko and Alao-Aka Bashorun as a volunteer to organise a sovereign national conference. We both left the residential section of the twin duplex for his office which also doubled as a clinic where we talked more about Enitan , his relationship with him and his military career.
I will not see Enitan again until the death of his dad and I think then he had become a full Colonel in the army,” he said. Sometime in 2013, Ojudu’s Committee of Defence and Army in the Senate was on oversight function to the Army Headquarters in Abuja. One of the officers introduced to the committee was Enitan who had risen to the rank of a Brigadier-General. “I shook hands with him and introduced myself as Babafemi Ojudu, a friend and follower of his dad and Uncle Fela Anikulapo Kuti.”
They got talking and the general promised to call him afterwards. But no call came to the senator “until early this year when I got a distress call from Lande his younger sister. “Senator, Enitan has been arrested”, Lande shouted across to me on the phone. “What is the problem?” I asked. “It is over the Boko Haram saga,” she said.
This was the reason Ojudu promptly called Femi Falana, a close associate of Enitan’s dad. Falana opened his high-wire contacts in the army and soon enough, Ojudu concluded; “We later got to know that he was sent to fight Boko Haram insurgents in Baga and things went bad for lack of requisite equipment and supplies.
The army, in its wisdom, still expected him to perform wonders. For failing to rout Boko Haram insurgents on that assignment he was recalled to the headquarters, arrested and facing trials with others.” Lande, when contacted, said that, “We know that even President Jonathan himself had come out to say that the army is not well-equipped.
They’re just looking for where to put their blame, you cannot tell people to go and fight and expect them to use their bare hands when they’re not equipped.” But how is the general’s mother taking this trial, Lande retorted, “Sorry, I don’t know about that. We’re not from the same mother.” Posing against the sentiment of the Ransome-Kutis, security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu’s divergent views read in part, “The situation is that the army is acting within its right and authority to court-martial persons due to perhaps bad leadership. In fact, it’s because we live in a democratic dispensation now that there’s even a question about it. In many other places, they will just be tried without interference.
The story of the ill-equipment of the army is also a question of leadership, if you feel that the military is not equipped enough and you don’t want to fight a war, then resign from the commission.
Why stand there and let your base be overrun? The point is that we must have discipline. “The reason we still have a military that has a good fighting force today is because they’ve been able to instil discipline in their men. And whether you’re a senior or junior military officer, you’re subject to the same rules of discipline.
If someone knows he doesn’t want to subject himself to the rigour of military discipline, let him quit. “There are trades like selling garri or other businesses you can delve into.
You cannot be in the military and don’t do what it requires. There are other avenues you could put forward complaints that equipment was inadequate and other reason you cannot protect the location and so on. It’s very unfortunate but I’m not interested in the personality who is being tried but in the fact that somebody has been found to be in clear violation of the military rules of justice and the person should stand trial.
“I don’t know what the outcome of the trial is going to be, but they must stand trial to serve as moral standards for others. If you don’t want to fight, the next guy does not want to fight, then who the hell is going to do the fighting? If you don’t want to fight, why are you in the military?” Ekhomu said. The Yoruba name of the general in the eye of the storm, Enitan, literally translates to “a child of circumstance.”



Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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