Before President Buhari left Abuja for London to, yet again, take care of his deteriorating health he had hosted some 82 Chibok girls released by the Boko Haram terrorist organization. The teenaged school girls were abducted few years ago at their school in Chibok town in Borno state during the Goodluck Jonathan corruption-infested presidency. The world were stupefied when news filtered in, back then, that Boko Haram had invaded the dormitory of the secondary school and, like thieves at wee hours of the night, ordered everybody out at gun point, loading them into their vehicles and disappearing into the Sambisa forest or wherever. Their number was put at more than two hundred!
The Jonathan-led federal government, then, had reacted coldly to the sad event with some government officials even insinuating that no girl was ever taken away forcefully as reported! Enter the ‘Bring-back-our-girls’ social campaign mounted online and on the streets to pile pressure on the irresponsible government to do the needful to bring back the innocent students. GEJ in his cluelessness and characteristic mediocrity never did anything serious about the girls’ abduction and rescue. Alas he lost the 2015 presidential election to the incumbent President Buhari mainly as a result of this negligence coupled with the larger Boko Haram national security menace. And when you add unchecked corruption to the stewardship of the Goodluck of a man from Bayelsa then the resounding defeat he suffered became more of a formality.
It was widely predicted that the jolly Ijaw-man would suffer an electoral shellacking (despite the billions of Dollars Santa Sambo spent) and so it happened to the happiness of majority of Nigerians whose disappointment knew no bounds. Today there are still some Chibok girls still in captivity but a higher number have since regained their freedom. It was reported that the ‘deal’ between the federal government and Boko Haram involved swapping some BH prisoners with the girls. That is, the Nigerian government, desperate to be seen to be doing something about the situation, would release some detained dangerous Boko Haram terrorists while they, in turn, would free their hostages in exchange. A bad deal but one worthy of commendation nevertheless!
The aloofness exhibited by Jonathan and his security chiefs, condemnable as it was, demonstrated the incompetence former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been highlighting lately. The hopeless inability of the Jonathanian era to guarantee the safety and security of lives and property of Nigerians (whether in Yenegoa or Zungeru, Ihiala or Ibadan) went a long way to expose his lack of preparedness for the huge task. Perhaps GEJ and his men and women failed to understand that the security of lives and property still constituted the primary objective of governance. Jonathan failed spectacularly as President because he was never prepared for the job that was bigger than his entire political life! His rise to power was as ‘goodlucked’ as his fall from same.
One of the Chibok girls reportedly refused to regain ‘freedom’ because she said she was satisfied with her husband! Love is blind indeed! One can fall in love with a benevolent jihadist to the point of preferring him to re-uniting with family and friends. Love could be stupid sometimes. The French First Lady, Brigitte, is now 64 years old while her husband, the new President, Emmanuel Macron, is just 39! The disparity in age between the two lovebirds is so much that the “grandma” has become the butt of jokes in the French vociferous satirical media. When one fell in love with his former lecturer (even as a randy student) then love could have triumphed and conquered every frontier. President Macron is a rare breed of course. If he were to be African then many conspiracy theories would have been invented to explain away his marital choice! Brigitte herself would have been accused of using ‘black power’ to mesmerise him.
According to one troubling report online back in February this year Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state had released the grim statistics of deaths and material losses suffered by the state due to the Boko Haram insurgency. He gave the data at the annual Murtala Mohammed memorial lecture held at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja. The governor who delivered a paper titled “Managing the Boko Haram Crisis in Borno State, Experiences and Lessons for a Multi-party, Multi-ethnic and Multi-religious Nigeria” said the insurgency had led to the deaths of almost 100,000 persons, based on estimates by community leaders in the state over the years.
He had said: “The Boko Haram insurgency has led to deaths of almost 100,000 persons going by the estimates of our community leaders over the years …. Two million, one hundred and fourteen thousand (2,114,000) persons have become internally displaced as at December of 2016, with five hundred and thirty seven thousand, eight hundred and fifteen (537,815) in separate camps; 158,201 are at official camps that consists of six centres with two transit camps at Muna and Customs House, both in Maiduguri……There are 379,614 IDP’S at 15 satellite camps comprising Ngala, Monguno, Bama, Banki, Pulka, Gwoza, Sabon Gari and other locations in the state. 73,404 persons were forced to become refugees in neighbouring countries with Niger having 11,402 and Cameroon having 62,002….We have an official record of 52,311 orphans who are separated and unaccompanied. We have 54,911 widows who have lost their husbands to the insurgency and about 9,012 have returned back to various communities of Ngala, Monguno, Damboa, Gwoza and Dikwa”
Governor Shettima declared that “the destruction in Borno State amounts to $6 billion and they are supported by grim statistics!” 6 billion Dollars?! A huge fund that would have gone to developmental needs of Borno State in particular and Nigeria in general wasted on the alter of terrorism madness? The casualty and cost figures, startling as they are, were the highest ever provided by any government official from a state where remote areas which witness attacks by the insurgents were difficult to reach.
Boko Haram has, over the years, done enough damage to the Nigerian socio-economic and political psyché. Their modus operandi seems to be blood-letting and more blood-letting. The late founder of the group, Mohammed Yusuf, never intended BH to be radicalized to the horrendous point we are gruesomely witnessing today. He must have formed the islamic group ostensibly as a means of registering his frustration and displeasure with the political system up north. The oppresive provocation on the part of the ruling class amounted to Islamic injustice to him. He had wanted strict application of the Sharia laws, something that would curtail executive recklessness. He had desired for the elite to do more to empower the ‘almajiris’ whose growing population constituted a threat to societal progress. Alas he was extra-judicially killed by the police leading to Shekau and his gang emerging.
Abubakar Shekau seized the group as an opportunist and turned it into a killing machine; a well-oiled horror machine laying waste to lives and properties of both infidels and ‘fidels’. Victims abound but moslems have paid a higher price in this battle of good against evil. Shekau could be said to be a mysterious man given the number of times he had ‘resuscitated’ having been ‘killed’ or ‘wounded’ in battles! On more than one occasion the Nigerian army had told us that they had eliminated Shekau or fatally wounded him only for him to ‘rise’ from the grave or storm out of the hospital to declare otherwise. Perhaps we have more than one Shekau terrorising us all; when you kill one another emerges to stand for the one that was dispatched to the great beyond!
Even the late notorious executed Lawrence Anini never lasted this long before he was found, fixed and finished! Anini was a generous audacious armed robber whose criminal robbery adventures in Benin city and its environs during the Ibrahim Babangida dictatorship in the late 80s and early 90s made headlines. He was rumoured then to be a ‘super-human’ aided and abetted by hordes of marabouts. But Shekau must have armed himself with an efficient talisman that makes it possible for him to disappear in grave moments and re-appear to mock tales of his demise or fatality. In his psychotic narcotic vernacular magniloquence Shekau is a survivalist indeed!
Boko Haram now uses young girls and mentally unstable women to carry out suicide bombings. Recently attempts were made to bomb the University of Maiduguri if only for the terror group to send the message home that Western education remains a ‘haram’ worth discouraging. But education would forever govern ignorance — so we are told by those who know better! Shekau and his mad followers, high on drugs, may be forgiven for their ignorance but their crimes speak to high heavens for justice to be done.
The fugitive monster can afford, in all fairness, not to send his children to school (if he has any) but he cannot, as a matter of right, discourage or stop us from belonging to the 21st century world by schooling our kids the Western way. Hell no! He can never succeed in his barbaric mission.
Behold, ladies and gentlemen, we are at war! An imposed unconventional war by forces of anarchy. We have on our hands some misguided northern elements (erstwhile brothers and sisters nay, Boko brothers and Haram sisters) waging war against our national interest and fundamental values. But thank goodness Nigeria has what it takes militarily and materially to conquer this barbarism born and bred in Maiduguri. In the loving memory of the departed we shall prevail! Peace to their souls!