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Can northern governors fight terrorism?
Northern governors and political leaders had, hitherto, been perceivedly inertia in combating the menace of Boko Haram. The governors, however, recently rose up to the challenge with a vow to take steps in quenching the flames of terrorism in their region. Idowu Samuel examines the new commitment by the governor.
Terrorists operating in some parts of the North are getting increasingly adept in discharging their deadly operations. They have a command structure which the authorities in Nigeria have not been able to locate and dislodge.
The clinical precision with which members of Boko Haram sect operate should not be a main source of concern to the authorities so determined to stamp out the menace they constitute. The worries should rather centre on the complications and invincibility that have characterised their activities in recent time. The members have long developed the confidence and shown the arrogance to inflict pains on the rest of Nigerians due to the slackness of Nigeria’s security system and dearth of sharp instinct and ideas to combat the menace that has consumed innocent lives.
When the Boko Haram insurgence sparked off in Maiduguri way back in 2009, it was more of one state show as the targets were men and women on the street who got killed and maimed to please the attention seekers. The next set of people being targeted was the aides of the former governor of Borno State, Modu Sheriff and government officials. The former governor lost some of his close relations, while the state government lost some officials too. In a short while, Boko Haram activities moved to Yobe and started resonating in Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Abuja, Kano, Plateau, Kogi and now Sokoto.
The casualty figures have been high in all the places where the terrorists struck. At a time when it looked as if Christians in the states were the only targets, the pattern of attack twisted with mosques and muslims being now attacked. Worst still, Boko Haram had dared governors, braved Emirs, killed a Senator and a member of the House of Representatives and are equally daring the President.
The initial complacency of the northern intelligentials had been identified as one of the main reasons the problem of terrorism in Nigeria grew roots. Surveys conducted had revealed that those who constitute the religious sect in theNorth are well known with family ties easily traced. It looked as though northern leaders never saw anything dangerous in the knack by the sect for killing non-Muslims and focusing on southerners at a point in time.
Waking up from lethargy lately, the forum of the northern state governors held an emergency meeting on security challenges by the region in Abuja penultimate week. The governors at the meeting spent more than four hours in energy sapping deliberation, thus indicating their preparedness never to treat security problems in their region with kid gloves again. At the end of the meeting, the governors resolved to henceforth synergise efforts in fighting terrorism with commitment to tackling the problem right from the roots.
The Northern Governors’ Forum(NGF) led by the governor of Niger State, Aliyu Babangida constituted a committee to undertake plans for taming activities of terrorists amid expectations that implementation of a key agenda in that regard would start in the next 90 days after the committee would have made useful recommendations on the road-map to follow in the fight against terrorism.
However, Nigerians expect the northern governors to act fast. This is more so because the terrorists are increasingly gaining upper hands in the manner they operate. In which case, they find it easy to deploy suicide squads to strategic places to wreak very deadly havocs. Just early this week, the terrorists caused the death of five soldiers in Yobe State with the help of a suicide bomber. The terrorists are asking the president to embrace their religion if he would not resign. Nigerias are getting desperate, angry and anxious for solution which they feel should not delay in coming.
On the issue of Boko Haram, tempers are running high in many circles, just as unfolding scenarios are leaving the members to snigger and chuckle at effects and ripples their activities have been generating. Early in the week, the sect caused two Nigerian elderstatesmen to trade words on burning issues about terrorism in Nigeria. That manifested when Chief Edwin Clark, an Ijaw leader rapped former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida on sect’s insurgence, while Babangida also threw tantrums by calling Clark names.
That kind of development will no doubt continue to make the fight against terrorism very hazy and less co-ordinated, leaving the terrorists with enough time and space to perfect their operations. It is against this background that many considered the new initiatives by the northern governors apposite and germane.
The governors in their avowed resolve to unite in the fight against terrorism considered some factors as critical and fundamental to their success. First, they observed the need to raise a common purse to pull the revenue required in accomplishing the task. To them, lack of viable revenue profile in the northern states for creation of employment for the youths had been the bane of efforts within northern region to progress over the years.
What the governors had in mind and which the special committee it set up may recommend at the end of its sitting is the need for all the northern states to strengthen their capacity to educate many more children as the first step towards pegging the huge problem of ignorance among the youths. Education, in the long run, would address the problem of unemployment and hence remove the culture of idleness among energetic youths, as well as the culture of alms begging generally associated with the northern Nigeria
Against this background, the governors have vowed to give priority to the almajiri system of education currently introduced to the education system of the North by the Federal Government. They said the idea of integrating western education into the almajiri system would, henceforth, begin take prominence in their agenda. They agreed on the necessity for engaging resource persons on the new system to offer proper implementation strategies for all northern states.
The Forum also harped the on the importance re-appraising the family value system in the northern Nigeria as a panacea for combating youth’s restiveness in their region. On this, the governors have much work to do. Over the years, poverty has done incalculable damages to the family system in the North. The problem has predisposed parents to willingly send their wards to the streets to beg for alms. The same problem had perverted the general value system of the region, making it more violence prone. A society that allows mass idleness on the part of its youths could not have been less traumatised and bedevilled.
To correct the family system in the North requires a keen attention of the authorities who would many less privileged and long neglected children go to school. That, no doubt, requires extra efforts from the governors. Indigent parents who nurture many of the unfortunate children also need assistance. There are many economically viable ventures which the governments in northern states are promising to revive for the sake of engaging people in the society. Agriculture, cottage industries, arts and crafts which are prominent business ventures in the region count a great deal.
The impact of Boko Haram is biting harder in the northern Nigeria, a reason concerted efforts should be made to address the menace with the state governors taking the lead. It is expected that the governors would not yield to the usual snag of the Nigerian factor which usually make governments to capitulate mid way into implementation of laudable programmes and agenda. It is left to the Forum to prove its mettle in solving the problem that has assumed a more terrifying dimension with threat to destroy the north and the rest of Nigeria.Share