The concluding part:
Within the interloping months of 2010 and 2011, it should be noted that the sect had been busy with ‘drive by’ throwing of homemade incendiary materials and shootings in and around the city of Maiduguri, with many causalities following such attacks. However, by the turn of the year, into 2011, the sect has become more embolden, probably or perhaps as a result of more and more sympathizers, financiers and recruits. And hence, in May 2011, several states had been bombed at a very close pace, shortly after President Jonathan Goodluck’s inauguration (it is instructive to note this last statement with a red marking). While the sect also claimed responsibility for the bomb blast attacks near a Church in Suleja in July 10, 2011. By June 2011, to prove that the sect means a serious business to shut down the entire state apparatus at will, the Police Head Quarters in Abuja was bombed, becoming as of then the sect’s most high-profile strike.
TIME LINE OF BOKO HARAM’S ACTIVITIES
The following time line of attack is indicative of how daring the group could ever be, if permitted as it has been the case hitherto: August 2011, attacks on banks in Gombi, Adamawa state,28 August 2011, suicide attack United Nation Building in Abuja.25 December 2011,a terrible suicide attack on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, which claimed about 43 lives. Jan 22 2012, the sect killed a Court Registrar in BornoTandari, Maiduguri. Jan 24 2012, gunfire rocked Sheka in Kano. Jan 26 2012 an explosion hit Kano .In Jan 29 2012, Boko Haram engaged Police in fresh gun battle in Naibawa in Kano and there was also a recorded attack on a Police Post, in Mandawari, Kano Municipal, shortly before this in Jan 27 2012.
VELOCITY AND SPREAD
The pattern of attacks is no longer confined to the North-Eastern state of Borno, it has spread to the North West and there had been unsuccessful attempt to spread South ward. From a localized radical Islamic sect with a traditional enclave in Bornu and Yobe ,with established operations base in Suleja, Kaduna and Kano ,the sect has grown into an international sect with support, training and expertise from radical Islamic organization from Somalia, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Libya, and Afghanistan among others.
And as such attacks and violence continue to intensify and spread, presently, number does not matter any longer, but rather the mode of such attack as point of historic record and statistics. While the number of causalities is just mere statistics to be contested among the various eye witnesses and the government’s version of the presumed and assumed casualties. This last statement is just a gloomy picture of how bad the situation is and how accustomed (to such ‘vampire-like’ tendency) the people of Nigeria are fast becoming in response to such conditions.
Boko Haram’s pattern of attack is fast becoming a grotesque reign of terror that continues to defy all remedy. A relentless year of bloody campaigns as embark upon feverishly by the sect is fast and ultimately leading the nation to the abyss. The sect is fast destroying cities and iconography meant to be elements of national cohesion, in addition to killing and traumatizing many thousands of people that made up the sphere of influence of the natural endowment of the nation. There is no doubt that ,the sect is fast destroying monuments that once bind the nation together, schools or educational institutions, religion and architectural heritage, the cultural precipitate and the organs of corporate life that make an identifiable sovereign society.
The Boko Haram phenomenon, is nothing but a mere purulent tip of the Nigerian boil(apology to Professor Soyinka), and hence any hasty step that is taken as the norm is with the governments in Nigeria, to deal with the phenomenon alone in isolation without deeply treating the entire known causes of such anti-social and deviant outbreak, could be likened to a mere use of palliative when a cure is readily available and cheaper. Only people that are ignorant could ever do such and we have such in abundance in Nigeria. And as Socrates once pointed out-”There is only one evil-Ignorance…”
One thing is now very obvious and that is that many in Nigeria either do not know the facts nor the truth, and or where they suspect the truth, they have consciously put shutters over the windows of their imagination. While, there is no doubts that, many Nigerians have deliberately turned their backs on knowledge, ashamed and fearful of accepting the realities which a determined facing of the facts would engender. “There is only one evil-Ignorance…”
Like during the dark days of 1966,when the plan of a group led by Muritala Mohammed had the intention of using scorched earth against Lagos and then severe the North from the South, we are at the brink of an unknown catastrophe. For the benefit of a retrospect, the only straw that stopped the entire blood let and put a lever on such seemingly inferno ,instigated by the group led by Muritala, was the British’s persuasion (led by Sir Francis Cumming-Bruce), that power to administer the country would remain with the North. Most especially since consolidating its hold on power by the Gowon’s group was just a matter of time.
Little wonder, like a vicious cycle, any time that any group in Nigeria, experienced or seemed to experience being left out of the power matrix, the next line of action is to attempt to burn down the walls of Jericho.
BOKO HARAM; IS IT A PART OF A LARGER CONSPIRACY?
Though Boko Haram has been advanced to have been inspired by al-Qaeda and the Taliban of Afghanistan, however, it is extremely difficult to make reasonable judgments about whether Boko Haram’s activities has to do with the –‘making the nation ungovernable’ comment attributed to Adamu Chiroma, most especially in the absence of detailed knowledge of what prompted him to uttered such comment and his connection if any with the aftermath of such comment that now involve the unrepentant violent attack of Boko Haram against the Nigeria State. Or is it part of a grand design ,to force or impel a return of power to the North , prematurely at all cost possible, by some few dinosaurs that are yet to go into total extinction .
While, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank(CBN) insistence on the creation of an Islamic bank at this point in the nation’s history and his ‘Derivation’ comment, in which he advanced a case for Boko Haram are serious issue and not just a mere parapraxis or Freudian slip, and hence worth being thoroughly investigated by independent intelligence team. Some of the fundamental arguments or beliefs held by the Boko Haram are that the existing system of banking, taxation and other conventional instruments of the financial institutions in Nigeria are in conflict with the direct words of Allah, and should be replaced instead with Islamic oriented ones. Boko Haram argues that Nigeria banking system, for instance exhorts and hence evil, due to its interest rates which Islam forbids seriously. Is there any need to juxtaposition the two attempts or quests any further?
As it were today, the Government of Nigeria is finding it extremely difficult to exorcise itself from the created sense of trouble in the nation as created by Boko Haram and much more daunting is its inability to create a rallying point for national unity without creating a matrix that would threaten its legitimacy and competency .And this is coming in the heel of the fact that the Nigeria intelligence community lack any known feat of astounding investigatory prowess ,due to many years of military hegemony which had destroyed in its wake ,the ability of the nation’s intelligence community to evolve from ‘ABC’ infested intelligence gathering force into a modern ‘peeping Tom’ that could d
eal with any hydra headed monster of this nature.
Moreover, a serious malfeasance could be found in the part of the Nigeria Army and intelligence forces, with the way Boko Haram has carried out many, significant and highly successful operations that had left many collateral damage behind. And this could only have remained a cause célèbre by the virtue of one known fact: infiltration. By the virtue of this, Boko Haram has so far defied every remedy concocted by the Government. And this has nothing to do whatsoever, with the ingenuity of the group but rather due to Government inability to think out of the general Nigerian known path of doing thing. And if the Government can do this by healing its wound from the inside which is presently invested with ‘enemies from within’, then Boko Haram’s threat would give way.
This is necessary, because the greatest phobia exhibited so far by the North is that since the ‘rotation of power’ between the North and South has failed to work with the emergence of president Goodluck Jonathan ,a minority from the oil rich Niger Delta, then surely, certainly a power hemorrhage has been created against the North. And that, if care is not taken by employing such unending agitation as represented by Boko Haram, as it were today, the North might not be able to get back to political power again, most especially within the shortest period of time. And for a region that have subsisted being in power and have come to know the glory and the spoils of ‘war’ associated with such, it is more honourable to die once, than to die installmentally.
In other words, it is very clear that there is a great deal of prima facie evidence that the Boko Haram have a very strong backing from the Armed Forces and intelligence community in Nigeria, and there is at the same time a number of reasons to suspect if there is any need to argue for any probative value against such assertion and for what reason, that could make such a necessity, in view of what has transpired within the short period of time that the group has set the entire nation at edge. And how it has been able to record a monumental outstanding success at will, targeting with great ease, institutions that once looked impregnable .For instance, before the recent chain bomb attack in Kano earlier this year, a purported spoken man for the sect, shortly after the attack on the U.N nation Building had made it known that attack on ‘Kano is imminent’, (Vanguard, August 28, 2011). Is it then surprising that the way and manner the sect has been able to carry out its operations ‘unhindered’ can be used to assess the extent to which the group could be said to have enjoyed collaboration from several undisclosed ,but highly placed quarters.
Event continue to casts doubt on the evidence tendered so far as concerns the questionable escape of Kabiru Sokoto(now rearrested) the master mind of the Christmas Day bombing in Niger state and the continuous jail break of several Boko Haram operatives or detainees reminiscent of Charles Taylor’s CIA induced jail break. And despite the views expressed by the popular media, and several political leaders, there is a reason to question the decisiveness of many who still believe that Boko Haram is just a terrorist organization led by some ‘lone nuts’ who are detached from fellow Nigerians and most especially and in particular Northerners. For a cursory observers this might be taken at its face value, however, for anyone that is careful enough, the pattern of attack of Boko Haram and its unhindered and ease of success, all point to a well-known fact that behind what is seen by the eyes, is a powerful ‘puppeteer’ pulling the ‘puppet’ to do its bidding. The puppeteer is by no doubt well connected and powerful.
There is no doubt that with the activities of Boko Haram, the nation cannot remain the same any longer. The sect’s negative mien and destructive proliferation of violence have undoubtedly marked the watershed of large-scale coordinated attacks incomparable to small-scale ethno-religious conflicts hitherto, which have now become a landmark reference. It is now a major conflict that heightened the Nigerian security operatives’ sensitivity to the activities of legal but violent and illegal aliens on the nation’s shore.
AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING
There have been no concerted effort at reforming ethno-regional representation and relations in Nigeria by the ethnic nationalities that constitute the nation, the little attempt by the military have had only limited success. And hence, no meaningful steps have been taken to solve the problem of ethnic mobilization and conflict apart from the usual Nigeria style of ‘throwing money at them’ policy.
IMPERATIVENESS OF A NATIONAL DIALOGUE
Hence, concomitantly as a consequence, there is still a plethora of grievances from various ethnic groups, propping up when least expected. And once one is solved, adequately or inadequately, another one rears its ugly head.
Sir Hugh Clifford, the Governor General of Nigeria (between 1920-31), in Nigeria Council Debate, Lagos, 1920, once described Nigeria as “a collection of independent Native States, separated from one another by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by ethnological, racial, tribal, political, social and religious barriers. While Keir Hansford, and others, in “Available list, of Nigerian languages” published in Studies in Nigerian Languages, no: 5 of 1976, lists 394 languages and over one hundred dialects!
Anyone that thinks or expects that one can easily jumble and tumble such ethnic nationalities that developed from such linguistic inclinations together in a mumbo jumbo like scenario and expect to have a society with peace and tranquility that could last for more than a month, could be regarded as suffering from a pathological amnesia and retrogressive dementia. Or such an expectant spin doctor must be a wizard.
History has shown that linguistic affinity plays more prominent role in building a sustained relationship and friendship, and to destroy a people destroy their language. Hence, in as much as Nigeria as a nation had found it extremely difficult to destroy over 300 languages within its borders with many years of introduction of ‘WAZOBIA’ as an unwritten lingua franca, then it is imperative that, a step must be put into the pipe line to accord a simple majority of such languages and invariably ethnic nationalities a great deal of opportunity in the administration and sharing of the wealth of the nation. And by this, it should not be mistaken for a principle of derivation as canvassed recently by Sanusi Lamido, as a major reason behind Boko Haram’s terrorist attack against Nigeria. Far be it, but rather, a political system that would give each of the constituent units that made up Nigeria, the opportunity the control of its geographical territory, under a true federal system of government.
Today, against any wishful thinking, though might looked so absurd, most especially to many who still enjoy unhindered access to the nation’s chest via the absurd nature with which the nation is run: the only lasting and enduring solution to deal with Boko Haram’s invincibility is convening of a “Constitutional” meeting in Nigeria that would accord each and every ethnic nationality a place of power and influence in the supposed emerging new Nigeria. It would not only check the present predicament instigated by Boko Haram, but as well any discountenance in the future.
A common denominator in Nigeria today, is babel of several discordant voices reverberating from aggrieved and disillusioned Nigerians, who continue to watch helplessly how the nation’s abundant wealth is being frugally wasted and frittered away by a parasitic microscopic privilege few. The story of good life as enjoy elsewhere is to an avera
ge Nigerian ,like an Holly Wood script, ’You see it, but you can’t hold it nor enjoy it’. Nigerians travel round the world, witness what good, responsible and responsive governance is all about, but they come back to Nigeria to resign to fate that it is not possible over here. And this on its own breed suppressed aggression and anti-social attributes which can precipitate or used to set the whole neighborhood ablaze at the snap of the fingers like a dog on the leash.
In addition, unless such fundamental issues as equitable redistribution of resources, addressing the widening gap of inequality, social justice, provision of basic infrastructure, employment opportunities are provided, more groups like Boko Haram will spring up in other parts of the country. There is therefore no doubt, that Nigeria is in a state of national paranoia which is regurgitating the age-old national question.
From history, most of the step taken by successive governments in Nigeria to address discontent among each of its constituent and component parts could at best be described as higgledy-piggledy. For instance, every agitation in the past had be settled by the Government, by outright ‘settlement’ spree .However, Boko Haram, has shown so far that it is more determined than any of such groups that have ever confronted the Government of Nigeria, by refusing to be ‘bought’ by the Government under any pretense. It is can be inferred that from recent antecedent of Boko Haram that the sect would not be persuaded by the Government’s ability to throw money around but rather by political patronage of the region represented by the group. And this is the divergent zone between Boko Haram and other regional militant groups that had taken up arms against the Government in the past. And it is instructive to note such divergence for accurate planning and execution.
In other words, we have engaged so much in sterile analysis and mind-numbing activities like a second nature. We must be man enough to be bold to take the step we all know to be the only way out of our national misery. If we (as a people) are not ashamed, other nations of the world are ashamed of us as a nation and as a people. Therefore we don’t need to be told any longer that there is an urgent need for a fundamental restructuring of Nigeria, so as to save Nigerians from fellow Nigerians.
Under a just God, who desires that every mortal should be free and be free indeed, Nigeria as a nation cannot endure continuously with such passion and manner for long nor forever, except a drastic move is made to readdress the many grave injustice, inequality, imbalance, discountenance, corruption and poverty associated with our commonwealth. Everywhere you go, you are bound to see hopelessness, frustration, stress, agony, despairs and anger in the faces of most Nigerians. And if you ever witness a thin line of smile, such is barely alluding to the ever green posture in the lyrics of Fela-‘Suffering and smiling’.
In Ben Okri, “The Famished Road”, the author asks a seemingly rhetoric question -“Who can dream a good road and then live to travel on it?” .Today, Nigerians continue to dream of a nation where there would be good road, electricity, drinkable water, good hospitals, good schools, safety and security of their lives and property, among others ‘little’ necessity of life. And for each dream, a fantasy is born, and for each aggregate of fantasies, a regime of vexation of the spirit is incubated and the rest is history. When the United States found itself in a terrible mess, considering the mendacity and chicanery of the politics of the nation at its infancy, the American statesman Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the American Constitution lamented that “Indeed I do tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just!”
The gravity of what confronts the nation today is apocalyptic, an ominous recipe for a complete political, social and economic disaster, and if the nation escapes it and not in tatters then it would be the 8th wonders of the world.