The Boko Haram war has consumed many Nigerians, including military men in active service to their fatherland. One of such men was Captain Ayam Nzan Anara, with service number N/13986. He was a professional of the Nigerian Army, whose task was to vigilantly guard our corporate territorial integrity. He did this for eight years in the North-East.
In fact, he did not care if he did not rest or sleep, and whether he would live or die. He died in the course. He lived most of his military life in brutal conditions, night and day in trenches and in the fiercest places of battle.
According to Mingo Kane, the author of Scars of the Prophet, a soldier is a person who has sworn to the ancient creed to defend his home and kin or country, and will fight until the end. And that’s what the late Captain Anara represented.
The late Captain Anara was born on January 2, 1982 at Okosora in Ikom, Cross River State. He obtained a diploma in Public Administration from the University of Calabar in 2003, and in 2007, earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Cross River State University of Science and Technology (CRUTECH), Calabar. He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army as a member of the Short Service Course 39 on April 11, 2011 and was posted to the headquarters the Nigerian Army Armour Corps, Bauchi.
The late Anara was promoted to the ranks of lieutenant and captain in 2013 and in August 2017.
He attended various courses like the Quick Response Group course in 2011, Counter Terrorist and Counter-Insurgency courses in 2012, Young Officer Course (armour) in 2014 and Tank 72 Course in 2014. He was appointed administrative officer in the headquarters of 21 Brigade Garrison, Joint Task Force, Maiduguri. He was the Officer Commanding, Benisheikh and Alfa Company 7 DSG, Kumshe in 2016 and later Adjutant, 221 Tank Battalion in 2017. At the 233 Battalion, he was Officer Commanding Forward Operation Base in Dapchi, Yobe State, Forward Operation Base, Kukareta and later, acting Operation Officer, before his death.
He was awarded Field Commander Medal in 2012 and General Operation Medal in 2016. He died aged 37.
He will be greatly missed by his family members and his aged mother.
I had an opportunity to visit him in Kainji, Niger State in 2017 when he was at the Wawa Barracks. The visit was in connection with the wedding of Roland, one of our brothers, coming up later that year in Port Harcourt. My late brother was already waiting in the park to pick me to his residence inside the barracks. When we got there he treated me rightly as a brother. He further gave me his new 306 Peugeot car with a cover letter indicating that I was to drive the vehicle from Kainji to Abuja and Cross River State, and then, Port-Harcourt in order to convey relatives to the wedding. ,Even though he could not attend the wedding due to his tight schedule, his kind assistance made the ceremony an easy and memorable one.
He was fun to be with. I felt very confident, having lived with him in Abuja each time he came around. The last time he came was when I accompanied him to visit other relatives in Abuja.
We stayed back at Roland’s residence in Madalla, discussing all night, about sweet memories of our growing up. The following day, he dropped me at my place of work and headed to see his wife in Mararaba, Nasarawa State. We were communicating frequently while he was in Damaturu until I heard he was killed while trying to repel an attack by Boko Haram. I could not have imagined he is no more.
He was energetic and full of life, a friend to all of us. His family, wife and son, and indeed, other family members will miss him.
His relatives and colleagues all gathered at Maimalari Military Cantonment cemetery, Maiduguri, Borno State exactly one month after his demise on December 7, 2019 and lowered the remains of a gallant man who served but did not return home. Wreaths were laid at his tomb in his memory for being a hero for securing our comfort.
With his bravery, courage, military skills, perfection and excellence, he confronted the dreaded Boko Haram. And this, he did relentlessly even in extreme conditions. Today, he is our real hero in death. He was buried on the very ground he stood and fought against the enemies of the state. However, we are consoled by the fact that he contributed his quota in the fight against insurgency.
Just as he always said while alive, that Boko Haram would be defeated, even with the last man standing, I am courageous that one day, the enemy will be truly defeated. Captain Anara, you have paid your prize of defending the country. Rest with the Lord, you and all the departed. Amen.