To understand the logic behind the exoneration of Brigadier-General Francis Omata of the sad Lekki incident, one has to understand Army Command Structure.
Any Army is built from the smallest unit up to the entire troops force of the country.
These units are very specific with a number range of personnel from 4,10,40,300,100-3000 to 10,000 to 20,000 personnel.
- Fire Team 2-4 Riflemen.
This is the smallest unit in any Army. It consists of a Machine gun crew, a Grenadier and a Lance Corporal.
- A Squad 4-10 Soldiers.
This group contains two to three Fire Teams and is commanded by a Corporal.
- A Platoon 20-40 Soldiers.
This group contains three to six Fire Teams and is commanded by a Lieutenant assisted by a Sergeant (senior Non Commissioned Officer).
- A Company 150-300 soldiers.
This group contains four to six platoons and is commanded by a Captain who reports to a Brigade Major.
- A Battalion 1,000-3,000 Soldiers.
This group consists of five to fifteen companies and is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and assisted by a Regimented Sergeant Major who reports only to the Lt. Colonel. This is the first Semi Independent group in any Army, and can sustain battles and administration on their own.
- A Division 10,000-20,000 Soldiers.
This group Oversees the effective operation of several Battalions and is commanded by a General Officer Commanding (GOC) a Brigadier or Major General.
This command structure is rigidly adhered to by every Army. Logic alone can show the impossibility of a Squad or two of less than 15 soldiers being led in any operation by a Brigadier General.
How did the name of Brigadier Francis Omata become associated with this tragic incident?
Brigadier General Francis Omata on getting the signal that a rogue element from an Army unit was near the protesters immediately moved to the site to prevent any negative action.
Alas he arrived shortly after these rogue soldiers had committed this heinous crime. He immediately rendered every assistance he could render on site and calm the grieving victims.
Grieving in such sad situations are usually assuaged with a blame focal point. The highest ranking military Officer on scene, even though a first responder becomes the focal point.
Its unfortunate in our grief, we’ve decided to sacrifice the life and hard work of a decent hardworking Nigerian for the sins of the fathers.
Alas the children have eaten sour grapes, and their teeth are now set on edge.
Why would we do this to a nice person who willingly puts his life in danger for our safety?
The nation has always called for willing sacrifice in defence and protection of her citizens. Soldiers like Brigadier Francis Omata heed her calls.
Each time the nation has called for such willing sacrifice for our protection, Brigadier Francis Omata has responded selflessly “Here I am”.
Are we to sacrifice our own for the callousness of others?
Brigadier General Francis Omata. Here he is.
The man Francis Omata
Francis Omata is no different from any other Nigerian. He had similar upbringing to any one of us. He was a brilliant and well rounded student in Primary school from 1975-1981. He proceeded to FGC Okigwe from 1981-1986, where he was loved and respected. He passed out in flying colours and chose The Nigerian Defence Academy as his first choice of further education, after dedicating his life to the service of his nation (Nigeria).
His service to his country has taken him all over Nigeria and on international Peace Keeping missions. His endearing personality has enabled him build long lasting human relationship contacts wherever he went.
He’s an ardent disciple of the Geneva Convention, and his guiding Principle is “WINNING THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF ALL OPPOSITION FOR HARMONY”.
Brigadier General Francis Omata is neither an alien nor a monster. He is a selfless person. A husband, father, a brother, a neighbour and a friend. He is the good neighbour next door, the ideal friend who puts others before himself.
The thought of a Brigadier General commanding a Squad of soldiers is as Preposterous as a Police commissioner being the arresting officer of a street squabbling group of rascals.
Let’s apply logic before we sacrifice good life.
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