opinionBy Femi Fani-Kayode
On May 4, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader Boko Haram, proclaimed: "I am going to marry out any woman who is twelve years old, and if she is younger, I will marry her out at the age of nine. I am the one who captured all those girls and will sell all of them. Slavery is allowed in my religion and I shall capture people and make them slaves. We are on our way to Abuja and we shall also visit the South.
I am going to kill all the Imams and other Islamic clerics in Nigeria because they are not Muslims since they follow democracy and constitution. It is Allah that instructed us, we will soak the ground of Nigeria with Christian blood, and so-called Muslims contradicting Islam. We will kill and wonder what to do with their smelling corpses. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution".
It is self-evident that Mr. Shekau is not only a dangerous, barbaric, sadistic, bestial, delusional, homicidal, misogynistic, paedophilic, psycopathic and sociopathic vampire and cold-blooded murderer all rolled into one but his words adequately reflect the sheer ruthlessness and callousness that has seized the Haramite mind.
There is no doubt in my mind that he is possessed by the most vicious and cruel demons and that he has a bloodlust that is second to none. Even Al Qaeda condemned the latest atrocity committed by Boko Haram in Chibok.
Yet despite their sheer depravity they appear to have a few friends at home who insist on speaking for them. Permit me to give just one example.
Some northern elders have said that the Federal Government "should pay billions as ransom to Shekau and release all detained Boko Haram members" and that there must be "no foreign forces in Nigeria". They have also demanded that "force should not be used" in securing the freedom of the abducted girls.
These demands are repugnant. It is the same people that did not want troops to be deployed in the area in the first place.
It is the same people that did not want state of emergency to be declared in the North. It is the same people that have been urging the government to negotiate with Boko Haram in the last three years.
It is the same people that have consistently asked that Boko Haram should be treated lightly and that they should be offered amnesty even though they have slaughtered no less than 10,000 innocent people.
It is the same people that are suggesting that Boko Haram is actually a creation of the CIA, MOSSAD and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
It is one of these northern elders that referred to Boko Haram as "freedom fighters" who are simply "fighting for justice" only last year. It is another that said that members of Boko Haram ought to be treated "in the same way as the Niger Delta militants" and that they should be rehabilitated, resettled and paid large sums of money only last year.
It is another that said that "Muslims should only vote for those that would protect their interests" and that he would see to it that "Sharia law is implemented and applied throughout the whole country" in 2001.
It is another that said that Nigeria was created by the British and granted independence by them in 1960 on the clear understanding that "a northern Muslim would always lead the country" in 1994. It is another that said that if the North does not have it's way on the voting formula at the Constitutional Conference he would lead his people "out of Nigeria and into the Camerouns" just over a month ago. It is another that said that they would make our country "ungovernable" if a southerner was elected into power in 2011.
It is another that said, only a few weeks ago, that our country "would burn" if President Jonathan or any other southerner contests for the presidential election in 2015. It is another that told us last year that "poverty was the root cause of Boko Haram" and that the South was receiving too much money whilst the North was not receiving enough. How much more of this can we be expected to take?
Just three weeks after the Haramites have abducted almost 300 young school girls at Chibok, burnt down their school and kept them as sex slaves, just a few days after they abducted eight more at Warabe Village, Borno state, just two weeks after two bombs went off in Nyanya, Abuja killing a total of 150 people between them and just three days after no less than 350 innocent people were slaughtered by the terrorists in Gamborou Ngala, a border town with the Camerouns, these northern elders are saying that force must not be used against them. This is unacceptable and their suggestion must be treated with the contempt that it deserves.
'Never negotiate with terrorists '
I do not know what it will take for the Nigerian people to accept the fact that Boko Haram is the greatest evil that our country has ever had to contend with and that there can be no dialogue with such demons. I do not know what it will take for these northern elders to accept the fact that evil is evil, that you must never negotiate with terrorists and that their "gentle way" simply cannot work.
The truth is that until every single one of the Haramites is hunted down, brought to justice and despatched to hell there will be no peace in our country. We must also eliminate those who secretly encourage, fund and protect them.
I have always viewed those that suggest that Boko Haram should be treated with kid gloves with the utmost suspicion. It is either that we live in a secular state where the rule of law prevails, where beasts have no place and where murderous animals are treated like the savages that they are or we shall have no country at all.
All this talk about "not using force" must stop because it is nonsensical, it is counter-productive and it presents a very real threat to our desire to continue to live as one nation. Those that abduct, rape, kill and enslave children do not deserve to live.
Those that say that "force should not be used" should give up them their own daughters in exchange for our missing girls. After they have done that they can be as gentle as they like with Boko Haram.
In all this, President Goodluck Jonathan has much to learn and I would be the last person to endorse what I consider to be his inexplicable restraint and obvious weakness in the fight against Boko Haram. Mr. President has failed to protect the lives and property of the Nigerian people and no responsible, self-respecting and rational human being, including those that consider themselves to be his friends, should shy away from telling him so.
'Playing into critics hands'
We expect far better from him and if he fails to deliver he would not only have betrayed his mandate, violated his oath of office and let down the Nigerian people but he would also play right into the hands of his critics. These include the American Senator John Mcain, who told the world that "no government exists in Nigeria" and Senator Hilary Clinton, who said that the Federal Government of Nigeria had "squandered their oil wealth, allowed corruption to fester and now they are losing control of parts of their country".
These are timely admonitions from the Americans but they made their own fair share of blunders as well. For example, one wonders why it took the Obama adminstration up until early this year to formally recognise Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation despite repeated calls to do so earlier by many prominent Nigerians including Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of CAN. When Senator Clinton was Secretary of State, the State Department refused to label Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation even though they had butchered thousands of Nigerians. Perhaps if they had done so more lives would have been saved.
There is no doubt that our government has handled this matter in an unacceptable manner but the Americans must carry their own fair share of the blame. For Jonathan, the words of Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje are instructive. On May 9, 2014 he wrote:
"We warned Jonathan. We called for action against Boko Haram and we screamed until our voices went hoarse. Now the people who advised him against taking strong action and called for dialogue, the very people that said it was caused by poverty, the very people that promised that traditional rulers would resolve the matter, the very people that encouraged him to vacillate and do nothing or little, are the ones mocking him. Well, that is why leaders must exercise leadership. The buck stops at his table. The credit or the failure goes to him. I hope he learns!"
A word is enough for the wise.
*Fani-Kayode was a Minister of Aviation