Sunday August 14, 2011 – The State of Boko Haramic Tendencies in Northern Nigeria
The sudden emergence of the Muslim militant sect with its earliest base in Borno State within the past two years had gradually assumed the ferocious dimensions of an Aqaeda group whose pattern of killings and bombings is beginning to be a thorn in the flesh of security agencies in Nigeria.
It started as an innocent revolt against Western education and all it represents, the seeming secularity of its democratic forms of government based on the rule of law and democratic best practices modelled after Western countries, including the US and Britain. Boko Haram appears to be hinged on the hard core Sharia inspired laws and allied Koranic injunctions.
It has patently called a Jihad to forcibly enthrone Sharia laws in at least 12 states of Northern Nigeria, and currently it seems to have some presence in Borno,Bauchi,Adamawa,Katsina, Yobe and Zamfara states where it is sporadically painting cities and country sides red with the innocent blood of Nigerians- irrespective of religious persuasions- Christians and Muslims alike.
Their activities came to an agonising bold relief when one of its adherent boldly breached security of the Inspector General of Police convoy and succeeded in detonating a bomb at the visitors car park of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Abuja. The explosion claimed the lives of more than eight persons lost their lives, while over 70 cars were burnt to ashes. In fact, it literally shook the seven-storey force headquarters building down to its foundation. The IG, Afiz Ringim, we were told, who was the target narrowly escaped being burnt to ashes.
The IGP, we later heard, had boasted in a fit of anger to impress or please his employer, Mr. President, to smoke out the Boko Haram sect within weeks. But ironically, he escaped with the skin of his teeth from being smoked and bombed out of existence in a Boko Haram, Alqaeda- style bombings. This serious security breach within the precints of the Three Arms Zone in Abuja, where the legislative buildings, the nation’s seat of power, Aso Rock Villa and the Supreme Court building are huddled together prompted a presidential visit to the scene of destruction where President Goodluck Jonathan told the IGP: “You are not alone in this Boko Haram bombing, I too I’m a target. Don’t lose hope but rise up to the occasion, get cracking”.
To the casual observer, Mr. President’s seeming cavalier attitude to the horrific incident smacked of what many critics may ascribe to his typical lackluster response to an internal security issue that touched on the nerve-centre of the nation.
Many observers, and even newspaper columnists, believe Mr. President should show greater teeth and perhaps bite deeper than what comes across as a President who does not know how to use power. Many think that unlike his military predecessors in office, the Obasanjos, Babangidas and the late maximum ruler in Gen. Sani Abacha, he has so far failed to apply the dynamics of power.
We may recall OBJ’s exploits in Zaki Biam, Odi and Abacha’s handling of the Ogoni saga which led to the death of the poet, playwright and environmentalist Kenule Saro Wiwa, through the hangman’s rope. This came on the heels of the Ogoni-Nine and Ogoni-13 tragedies in Rivers State.
These were dark chapters in the nation’s history under jackboots of military dictatorships.
It has been a baptism of fire for Jonathan, a new breed President whose mantra of rule of law does not necessarily permit arbitrary deployment of troops on an all out war against the citizens he has sworn on oath to protect and who voted for him as a national consensus presidential candidate.
He would not dare. Not because he lacks the courage so to do. We must also remember that as a product of the militancy revolt from the Niger Delta, brewed and bred in the brackish waters of the oil polluted terrains, he would not resort to the popular AK 47 rifles rampant in the mangrove swamps and made popular by hairy- chested Egbesu freedom fighters. When the push comes to a shove, Mr. President would not be found wanting, and would definitely hold his grounds against any charging Boko Haram sect members.
Nigerians should not mistake his ready made toothpaste smile for weakness; because beneath those easy-going handshakes and gentle mien and civilized good breeding and education, lies the tough and granite heart of a lion in sheep’s clothing.
Ordinarily, one would have recommended the Barak Obama’s seemingly bestial side when he literally took out Osama Bin Laden, the former king of Alqaeda, in his one million dollar rented hideout inside Abbotabad in Pakistan with the special squad of US Navy Seals and silenced him for ever after throwing his carcass into the Arabian seas.
Boko Haram is, to most Nigerians, a bunch of rag-tag unintelligent freaks and miscreants, who are carried away by the avoidable aftermath of the last presidential elections which led to the unleashing of violence by a similar band of street urchins who killed and maimed many innocent people in some cities in the Northern parts of Nigeria. They left in their wake burnt houses, cars and charred bodies of victims.
Poverty and unemployment of youths had been blamed for the virus of ‘Boko Haramic’ tendencies in the North, where the hydra-headed dragon, is rearing its ugly head.
Many Nigerians believe and perhaps, rightly so , that if the menacing spread of Boko Haram virus is not checked early in the day as their preachings of hatred and anti- Christian messages, might culminate in a religious war between Christianity and ‘Muslimity’.
Mr Willy Bozimo, a veteran journalist, wrote from Asaba.