Boko Haram in Nigeria: What is the government not telling us.
"If insurgency lasts for more than 24hours, the hand of the government is in it." - Late Gen. Sani Abacha.
No Nigerian will attest to not having a knowledge of the existence of the infamous terrorist organisation, Boko Haram. Translating in english, the name means, 'westernization is a sacrilege'. The Boko Haram insurgency has claimed a lot of Nigerian lives running into millions since it's onset and also have been described as the most deadly terrorist organisation in the world by the Global Terrorism index.
Established in 2002 by Muhammed Yusuf, the organisation ever since has continued to overwhelm security operatives in Nigeria. According to reports, the group had propagated it's ideologies employing non-violent means under it's founder Yusuf until 2009 when it was reported that Yusuf along with his father-in-law, Baba Fugu Mohammed had been executed by the Nigerian police without proper court trial. This action on the part of the police was considered an extra-judicial killing by the late Yusuf's followers and infuriated by it, they took to a peaceful, unarmed protest which was of course quickly suppressed by the Nigerian police. Some months later, we would hear nothing from the group until 2010.
In a 'surprise' broadcast made public in that year, an individual had presented himself as Abubakar Shekau, declaring new leadership over the terrorist group Boko Haram. In the broadcast, he had condemned the execution of the Organisation's former head, Yusuf along with his father-in-law, Fugu by the Nigerian police. As regards to that, he swore to unleash calamity on the northeast of Nigeria and boldly went ahead to dare the Nigerian army to stop him. Shekau, it was soon discovered was a 'man of his word'.
In the month of September of the year 2010, an attack was carried out in the city of Bauchi, Bauchi State by the organisation leaving scores dead with the 'icing on the cake' event being the break out of more than 700 inmates from a prison in the city. But the group was not done yet. Still later in 2010, two Christian churches were suicide bombed in Maiduguri and serial IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) were detonated in Christian neighbourhoods in the city of Jos, the Plateau State capital. Epic of these terrifying activities was the abduction of close to 280 girls from a boarding school in Chibok town in Borno State in the month of April.
In 2013, in the month of April, former President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan had -like his predecessor, the late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua had granted the niger delta militants amnesty- offered to grant amnesty to the terror group if they gave up their arms. Abubakar Shekau in response, mocked the president of being 'afraid' of the group and inadvertently rejected the offer. The group has ever since continued it's dastard acts of violence against Nigerian citizens, leaving trails of blood, tears, sorrow and destruction in it's wake.
President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan was reputed to have said that the number of victims that have died as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, was greater than the number of dead accumulated in the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970. One may begin to wonder why the government has found it a daunted task to once and for all end the Boko Haram trend.
Terrorism and insurgency have sometimes been used as a tool to carry out certain clandestine activities by a government of a nation. This is usually the case when the so called government wishes to forcefully seize power from an opposition, control certain natural resources, maintain allegiance, organise and exercise imperialism, etc.
This may come as a surprise to you but in any case, the above attestation bears truth. For instance, in 1996, a certain freelance investigative journalist in the person of Gary Stephen Webb who had been in the employment of the San Jose Mercury News in America had written an article he titled, 'Dark Alliance'. In it, he stated that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America had been smuggling huge tons of cocaine into the country. Gary further disclosed that the CIA aided the massive sale of the drug in the country and submitted the proceeds to the US government who used them to fund anti-communist contra rebels who were fighting the Nicaraguan government in Nicaragua. The result of this was that drug abuse and addiction statistics skyrocketed. But the government had one hell of a time bringing the situation under control and most Americans could not understand why the government was having a hard time arresting and prosecuting cocaine dealers. Had they known that the 'dealers' were their own government, I would have loved to see how that would play out.
The point I am trying to push across from the instance I just gave above, is that the inability of the Nigerian Government to subdue the Boko Haram menace is quite unbelievable and to a larger extent, embarrassing. Can we say however that this inability of the government may not be an 'inability' but a feign at weakness carried out to conceal other interests? One cannot tell.
But there is one thing one can tell and that is two quotes from two former heads of state accentuating that the continuous existence of Boko Haram in Nigeria is perpetrated by the government of Nigeria. The first quote was made by the late Gen. Sani Abacha and it goes as thus, "if insurgency lasts more than twenty four hours, the government has a hand in it". The second was from former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan made during a church service commemorating the armed forces remembrance day in the year of 2012, he said there are Boko Haram sympathisers
"Some of them are in the executive arm of
government, some of them are in the
parliamentary/legislative arm of
government, while some of them are even
in the judiciary," Jonathan told a church
service for armed forces remembrance day.
"Some are also in the armed forces, the
police and other security agencies."
This encapsulates it all. Most Nigerians may find it traumatic to think that the deadly Boko Haram have all these while been a political tool to exert control over the people. How can they believe that the Nigerian Government hold no consideration of their well being? How can they believe that the government has been busy playing Russian roulette with their lives?
President Muhammadu Buhari had prior to his being sworn into office as president of Nigeria, promised to subdue the Boko Haram insurgents in a very short time, reassuring everlasting peace and calm in the Northeastern States of Nigeria. However, we may never know if he forgot his promise to end Boko Haram or if his administration like other administrations has gained a lot from the insurgency and so shutting them down might be a bad business choice. We may never know, for the group Boko Haram remains as strong and healthy as ever before.