Boko Haram: Looking Beyond The Current Strategy

” For by wise guidance you will wage war, And in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs24:6)
-Israeli Intelligence motto

So, where are Dr. Jonathan’s counselors? Nigeria’s situation has gradually moved from what seemed like an acute Islamic insurgency into a chronic one. The confusion and the blame game at the administration’s hierarchy were not what Nigerians expected, at least not in the open. For the terrorists, It couldn’t be more hilarious watching the opponents thrown into confusion. The open discord between the nation’s NSA and the president being just that. That said, the fact that Nigeria is not alone in this problem should give the administration the motivation to work with other nations having similar problems. There is a long standing history of terrorism in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel etc., therefore, Nigeria can learn quite a lot from their intelligence units.

Fighting terror is a serious business. And across the board, these countries have one thing homogenous in their rules of engagement: they are not afraid to pick up suspected individuals irrespective of their status in the society. Granted that the geo-political dynamics of Nigeria is regional sensitive, the rules applied in fighting terror do not differ amongst nations. It is either you’re fighting it or you’re not. Terror is terror and Jonathan has not fared well in this regard. It would be recalled that since after the Munich Bombings of 1972, the CIA and MOSSAD have continued to devise new methods of engaging Islamic terror groups. And these methods are continuously being adopted by countries around the world, including Islamic nations facing similar problems.

In Pakistan for example, It’s become a routine of sort for an incumbent president to call for the arrest of his predecessor if he is found to be a material suspect in any crime. Gen. Parvez Musharraf, a former army chief, was Pakistan’s president for ten years, but today his predecessor wants him for questioning on account of a terrorist murder of a former Prime minister. The story is same in Iraq where a former Vice president is wanted in connection with series of terrorist bombings in the country.

On account of the happenings in Nigeria, I find it difficult to fathom how Dr. Jonathan can function till 2015 at the very least without hitting a dead-end. Any holistic plan of action devoid of reining in material suspects will come to naught, In a nutshell, will cut short his presidency.The majority of Nigerians who voted him into office would like to see him start to arrest those known sponsors of Boko Haram. Suffice it to say that Nigerians abhor the fuzzy sort of trials of the ones already arrested.

With the UN estimate that 70.8 per cent of the population are living on less than one dollar a day and 92.4 per cent on less than two dollars a day, not many will agree that the prevalent poverty is exclusive to a particular part of the country. It is a nation wide phenomenon, but, in which the citizens of some regions are more industrious than others and tend to survive better. Poverty in the rural communities of the Niger Delta, for instance, was/is no less severe than that of the core Northern Nigeria in question. The difference may be the latter’s dwindled largesse as a result of the advent of democracy and the cessation of military rule which favored it big time. But, in overall, there’s poverty across the land.

So, when poverty is used to mask an underlying political problem, it makes its resolution difficult even as the intended political pressure is piled on the target victim – the president. Therefore, government should not be hoodwinked into believing that the current blood-shed is predicated on poverty. In addition to naming and shaming the masterminds of Boko Haram, she should as well inflict severe punishment on the terrorists and their families.

Israel for example, has been able to function under terror attacks by having to adopt strict measures which did not exclude the demolition of family homes of terrorists. Tracking devices and the concomitant use of booby-trapped telephones are all weapons of engagement used by other nations. Booby trapped telephones serve the following purposes: movement restriction, inflicting casualties, creating a state of confusion, denying comfort and lowering morale among other hindrances. I’m yet to see it used in the operation against Boko Haram. How could they be the ones dictating the days of peace and anarchy in Nigeria, inflicting their mayhem at will? It is unacceptable.

Even at that, I’m yet to see a country where an intra-party disagreement snowballed into high-end terrorism. With selected sections of the innocent population as the target.

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