Boko Haram and Nigeria (2)
Boko Haram is said to be an organisation that hates Western education. It is a militant and fundamentalist organisation that believes that any trace of the influence of Western education must be wiped out from all the areas of the organisation’s influence.
The organisation’s leader was a young man called Mohammed who was very handsome, stoutly built and who had a commanding personality in the society. The Police made a grave mistake by shooting the Boko Haram leader to death in an operation designed to silence the organisation for ever. Everybody’s belief was that the killing of Mohammed would leave the Boko Haram sect leaderless and consequently lead to its natural death. The Police and everyone became disappointed, when instead of the Boko Haram dying, it began to expand in its operations and scope.
Many innocent Nigerians started to lose their lives to the militant activities of this sect. Though the sect was said to be a fundamentalist Islamic movement, it became clear to all that Muslims also died in their hundreds in such operations. Though many Christians with their churches have suffered large scale massacres in the violent operations of this sect, one must however admit, that Muslim believers have also been murdered in many of the Sect’s operations.
The sect operates largely in the Northern parts of Nigeria. Its first operating base was in Borno State. Since its leader was killed, the organisation has struck in Yobe, Bauchi, Kano, Abuja and many other centres in Northern Nigeria.
When the National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi (rtd) came out to speak out on the Boko Haram, he stated unequivocally that politicians were behind the Boko Haram operations. His honest comments triggered off a storm of criticism from some political quarters in Nigeria. I was not in Nigeria when Azazi made his devastating comments on the Boko Haram and its political connections. I was abroad to cool down after a political hurricane that nearly blew me off my feet in the April Convention of the PDP held in Abuja. Azazi was correct in his views. He had said the bitter truth. The Yoruba people say “the witch cried yesterday and a child died the next day, who does not know that it is the witch of yesterday that had murdered the child that died next day.”
In 2011, some powerful politicians from the North had declared that if certain things were not done in the political build up to the 2011 elections in Nigeria, then they (the political leaders) would make Nigeria ungovernable. After the above declaration, came the instantaneous violent replies of the Boko Haram members evidenced by the killings that have attended their operations. I say again, many innocent Nigerians have been murdered in these operations.
Let me state it openly that though we can not state that the Boko Haram operations do not have direct connections to the political statements made before the 2011 elections, we may however be wrong to say that it is the Northern political leaders that made the pre 2011 April election statements that have been the champions and promoters of the Boko Haram in the Northern States of Nigeria. This is why no matter what is said, the Boko Haram Organisation is definitely led by a group of people who are very intellectuals. The Boko Haram leaders may just have seized and used the political climate to advance their operations. General Azazi (rtd) is still correct in his postulations because, it is the political elite that must pull itself together to profer solutions to the activities of this organisation that has became without doubt Nigeria’s ‘Achilles heels’.
Must we say the Boko Haram people have been preaching heresy by their disdain and contempt for Western education? No. Last week, I reviewed the attitude of the Western powers to the operations of liberation movements in Africa. I maintain again that there was once a policy of the West to encourage the rise of fundamentalist Muslim organisations in the Arab world.
Such was supported by the West to check the menacing political challenges coming from the then ‘oil’ rich conservative political leadership from the Arab world.
It was under that situation that Muamar Gaddafi and his radical government emerged in Lybia. It was equally under that situation that the regime of the Assad dynasty flourished in Syria.
The ‘West’ started to rewrite their policies and programmes of support for the emergent radical regimes in the Arab world after the sad and tragic Lockerbie air disaster which claimed several American and Western European lives. The fault for the lockerbie was immediately put at the doorstep of Muamar Gaddafi of Lybia. We all know that the West, particularly America never rested, until Gaddafi was silenced for ever a little while ago.
The Lockerbie air disaster was bad and evil. The killing of Gaddafi was (to me) unnecessary. Anyone who is interested in fully coming to terms with the period I have described here about the West and Arab nationalist struggles should read the book “The Road to Ramadan” authored by Mohammed Heikal who was the man that made the Egyptian Al Ahram news agency one of the most authoritative news agencies of the world since the early 50s.
I sincerely appeal to my fellow countrymen and women to properly understand the Boko Haram organisation. We must be honest in fully coming to terms with the organisation’s growth and development so that we may be able to proffer profer solutions to what has easily become Nigeria’s greatest problem of all time.
There was a time in the history of Nigeria (particularly during the second republic) when we had the Maitatsine sect. It was a powerful Fundamentalist Muslim organisation (FMO), that suddenly emerged in some parts of the Northern states murdering innocent people. When General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and his friends of the ‘Beret’ military officers seized power on December 31, 1983, many of the political leaders of the country were immediately arrested by the military junta and sent into many prison centres in Nigeria. I met some of the Maitatsine rioters in Yola prison in 1985, when I was sent there by Buhari and his military friends. I remember clearly a riot inside the Yola prison that had been created by the Maitatsine detainees. One day, a Maitatsine detainee had slashed the hand of a fellow detainee with a razor blade, and had immediately started to suck the blood of his victim. The prison warders in Yola had moved like lightening to smash the revolt. We, the political detainees in Yola prison, including the late Victor Massi, and Amos Adenuga had believed that our end had come with the riot. Nigeria survived the Maitatsine revolt because Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Nigeria’s President at the time of the Maitatsine fundamentalist revolt had provided immediate solutions to the sect’s activities.
Today, Nigerians are faced with the activities of the Boko Haram which is more deadly and much more militant than the Maitatsine sect of the second republic.
Before Boko Haram becomes a franchise that can be purchased by the array of poverty stricken and jobless Nigerians, whose ranks are swelling by the day in Nigeria as a result of the economic crunch that is destroying our dear country, we must do something now. We are lucky that thus far, the sect has limited its violent operations to the Northern states (that the organisations knows the terrain too well).
The day we create a situation where other economically depressed groups of other regions of Nigeria, start to operate using the name of Boko Haram (as if they had purchased the franchise like one purchases the franchise of the well known food centres), we may simply be preparing to sing our Nunc Dimitis as a united country.
As a result of the decline in the economic fortunes of our great country in Nigeria, we have had in this country over thirty-two years of graduate unemployment. We now have university graduates and products of higher institutions in Nigeria driving cabs in Nigeria’s principal cities. We now have a grave situation where graduates are engaged as drivers and barbers in our society.
I was stunned one day when a vendor that sells newspapers at a roundabout junction in Ibadan told me that he was writing his Master’s degree papers.
Many of the members of the Niger Delta militants are graduates and holders of certificates of higher institutions in Nigeria. Many of the members of the OPC led by Dr Frederick Faseun and Gani Adams, the Massob led by Ralph Nwazurike, the Bakassi Boys, the Egbesu Boys, the Yandaba and now the Boko Haram are highly educated men and women. They are all now challenging society’s wrongs in one manner or the other.
Fellow countrymen and women, the time has come for us in Nigeria to take the bull by its horns, and attempt providing final solutions to these growing problems of our time.
This is not a time to sacrifice unjustly our security people. This is the appropriate time to pull our country back to the paths of sanity. This is a golden time to stop the unnecessary shedding of the blood of the innocent. We must act NOW before it is too late. We must not wait until we face a situation where a great country like Nigeria suddenly degenerates into fiefdoms and tribal enclaves.
What therefore must be done?
TO BE CONTINUED
EBINO TOPSY -0805-500-1735 (SMS ONLY PLEASE)