Containing the Menace Boko Haram Part 1
Boko Haram (Western Education Forbidden) also known as The Group of Al-Sunna for Preaching and Jihad or Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Liddaa’awati wal-Jihad has been a source of concern to Nigeria and he international community. Founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf (1970-2009) the group among others sets as agenda the abolishment of western education and forbids interaction with the western world, support opposition to the Government of Nigeria, institution of Islamic law in the country and full enthronement of Islam in Nigeria. To achieve these goals, Boko Haram’s leadership assembled together Islamic militants, available criminal elements and disgruntled politicians who do not only volunteered themselves but also provided the needed funds, equipment, training and travel documents; and are readily supplying intelligence information, motivational resources and protection. They cash into the already existing societal gaps created by corruption in governance, ethnic hatred, oppression, frustration, drugs, weapon proliferations, increasing violence and lack of respect for human life, existence of small to large size hate groups, rising numbers of family breakdowns and desperate politicians who see political leadership as a do-or-die affair to recruit personnel and mobilize funds to promote their cause.
Boko Haram has been described as having no clear structure and no evident chain of command. Most terrorists’ organizations are compartmented for security reasons. This is done through the use of small cells, often with as far as three or four members. Members of the cell may know very little about each other and may use assumed names (or numbers) for identification. Communications with other cells may be maintained by using only clandestine techniques. In the event a member is captured, he will be unable to identify members of other cells for police. New recruits are expected to be tested by various measures to ensure they are not government penetration agents. Participation in a crime such as a robbery or a murder may be a “rite of passage” into the organization. A new recruit thus proves his fidelity to the cause and dispels doubt regarding his motivation by committing a crime. All of these methods contribute to organizational security. But also sets the pace for the containment of several such organizations where the government is desirous in dismantling terrorism through the breeding of suspicion, mistrust, and factionalism in the system.
Although President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s government inherited Boko Haram he failed to tackle the menace with all seriousness until it became a wild wind that is blowing no one good. The Israel’s policy of containment to defeat Hamas is partly successful because of the distance between them. And the America’s policy of elimination to defeat a-Qaida is working because a-Qaida is outside America; even then America has been widely criticized for taking the war against terrorism to Afghanistan and Iraq and failed. Back home, what is Nigeria’s approach to combating Boko Haram? Direct Military Intervention (DMI) or Dialogue? Compensation and Rehabilitation as is being suggested in some quarters? What did the Federal Government of Nigeria say Boko Haram is? For God’s sake, Boko Haram is not a mere band of religious fanatics, rioters, or militants for negotiation for development (political power?) as are widely assumed.
Although link to 1980 Maitatsine group in origin, it is far more advanced in terms of organization, training, skill, technology and techniques. Boko Haram sects are trained on how to conduct surveillance of targets, collect information about these targets and how to attack such targets. The surveillance and targeting of the UN building in Abuja started some two years prior to the actual bombing. Is it not embarrassing to hear that there were soldiers on guard in the premises of Major General Muhammed Shuwa (rtd) when he was assassinated even though the JTF recently claimed that the perpetrators have been killed – legally or extra-judicially?
A group that is armed resistance to the Nigeria government, championing the establishment of an Islamic State following Sharia Law in a secular state like Nigeria and have allied itself to the global Jihad ideology expanded by Osama bin Laden and do not only forbids western education but also threatened western interest is nothing but a terrorist organization by every standard. Until we tell ourselves the truth, call Boko Haram by its real name, Terrorist Organization and go all out to combat it, we will be doing the nation no good. The government must show decisive leadership, establish first class intelligence operations and equip our operatives with superior technology and skills.
My investigations have revealed that Boko Haram is not such a close organization that a well equipped and managed intelligence operation cannot penetrate. We are all aware of how Boko Haram has grossly penetrated government intelligence and security system to the extent that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan believes Boko Haram is everywhere, even within his administration. They have used attacking of Christians and bombing of Churches to perpetuate fear in the country. And boldly dictated to the Federal Government where and how they want to dialogue. Recently, Alex Thurston joined many others to suggest conciliatory visits/speeches by President Goodluck Jonathan to the north. What an advice!
There are indications that several American correspondences including the Department of Justice (DoJ) are asking for Boko Haram to be put on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organization. Yet, back home, the Federal Government of Nigeria still categorize the sect as real, political and criminal(?) because it lack the political will to declare Boko Haram a terrorist’s organization and confront its menace in that light.
Boko Haram is a terrorist organization by every standard because it engages in illegal acts punishable under criminal law committed for the purpose of undermining Public safety, influencing decision-making by the authorities or terrorizing the population, and taking the form of violence or the threat of violence against natural or judicial person, destroying (damaging) or threatening to destroy (damage) property and other material objects so as to endanger peoples lives; causing substantial harm to property or the occurrence of other consequences dangerous to society.Boko Haram is known to have obtained support from willing sources and from individuals and organizations that have been duped or coerced. They also force members of the public to provide intelligence, funds, accommodation and special materials used in terrorist operations. Innocent youths are commandeered and used to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance,