Wednesday 27 March 2013

Boko Haram: Action Is Needed Now


The Defence Headquarters, yesterday, in Abuja dismissed fears being expressed over the increase in terrorist attacks in the northern Nigeria and the threat to move into the Southwest, claiming that Boko Haram insurgents are fighting their last battle, as their defeat is imminent.

The new Director of Defence Information, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, gave the assurance in Abuja in his maiden meeting with Defence Correspondents. He also dismissed the purported retirement of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim.

The recent multiple bombings in Kano, Jos and Maiduguri, and the attendant problem have been making many, including foreigners living in Nigeria, nervous as they believe the sect is getting more lethal and daring in their operations.

Revealing, however, that the reverse is the case, Brigadier-General Olukolade said: “What we are witnessing of recent from Boko Haram insurgents, I personally see as mere desperation. It is generally said that the battle is hottest when it is about to end. It is, therefore, obvious that this is the last fight by Boko Haram. From the way they have been working and the expectation from the headquarters, the fight against terrorism is coming to an end. Whatever is happening, the end of terrorism in Nigeria has come.

“Since its establishment, the JTF has identified and destroyed many IED factories, recovered large quantities of arms, ammunitions and IED materials, arrested most of their leaders and followers. They have also been able to identify and repatriate illegal immigrants from Niger, Chad, and Mali, among others.

“The efforts of the JTF have, to a large extent, made Maiduguri and its environs uncomfortable for Boko Haram. Some of the citizens who left Maiduguri at the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency are now gradually returning. In the past few weeks, there was the destruction of Boko Haram identified camps at Sambisa and Demboa games reserves.”



The assertion that Boko Haram is fighting its last battle is merely deceptive and its intent is to generate force confidence in the populace. Guerrilla warfare, especially when the strategy is being employed by Islamic fundamentalists, is never won by military might alone. That Boko Haram has moved the battle from the desert of Borno State to the streets of northern Nigeria and is now advancing towards southern Nigeria is of great concern.

The speed with which Boko Haram’s leadership is creating new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives also call for concern. Is the new Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade aware that the main aim of Boko Haram is to establish Islamic nation or Umman supremacy in Nigeria? If he is aware, what are the security agencies doing to curtain regular supply of recruits, funds and other necessary resources to Boko Haram?

The recent Kano bus park bombing was a horrible scene to behold; and the discovery of terror cells in Lagos coupled with our porous unmanned borders and uncontrollable influx of illegal aliens from Niger, Mali, Chad, etc calls for serious action on the part of the Federal Government to guarantee safety and security of Nigerians and residents alike.

The battle ahead is a very long and endless one and should be appreciated in that regard. Boko Haram with what Wole Soyinka called “limited knowledge of Islamic education” (if he is right) have successfully targeted and attacked the process of decision-making within the Nigeria policy and is engaging the military and other security agencies in a battle for the control of the sole of Nigeria.  The Nigerian leadership is today divided between the legitimacy and illegitimacy of Boko Haram’s demands as well as between amnesty and no amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents. Surprisingly, the renowned novelist and author of the popular novel, “Things Fall Apart” Professor Chinua Achebe passed away at the time things have fallen apart in Nigeria. A double tragedy, if you like.

Nigerian security agencies need a rethink. They should return to the drawing board, exploit the social dimension strategy to correct the disadvantages identified in the technical dimension. The shout of PEACE in the face of WAR makes mockery of the security profession. Peace is a quality that can be felt, and war is a phenomenon that can be experienced by all. When we move from war to peace we will all see it, feel it, experience it, enjoy it and thank God for it.

Let the new Director of Defence Information visit any of the scenes of Boko Haran atrocities and he will appreciate the fact that it is time for the Federal Government of Nigeria to sum up the POLITICAL WILL and SECURITY MUSCLE to tackle the menace. Or, permit states and local governments to establish their own security apparatus and take their fates in their hands. Boko Haram: action is needed now!

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