Nigeria: Of Boko Haram, Bandits and Others

Nigerian soldiers.
19 August 2020

Nothing in this world is new, all you are seeing today are based on foundations that people have laid in the past. All you need to do is to go in search of what has happened in the past and replicate or improve upon the steps taken to achieve success.

That is why the subject of history is important, I mean true history and not contrived one. The Tamil Tigers threatened the country of Sri Lanka for over 20 years and today they are history. The leadership took decisive actions and peace now reigns in the country.

There is definitely something wrong with our security architecture and if we want to see positive results, actions must be taken to correct these defects.

When we allow parochialism to rule our judgement, we are undoing ourselves. We have cried out loud several times that this Federal Government must start ruling and making appointments without sentiments.

When the Boko Haram revolt started, it was first targeted at pockets of government institutions; people felt that it did not concern them. Then they targeted Christians; the Muslims among us felt unconcerned, some of them were beginning to think that the group was fighting a jihad on their behalf.

Then, they started attacking institutions of culture and local leadership, including dethronement of Emirs. Today, they do not recognise whether you are a Muslim or Christian, their goal is to destroy and establish their own, weird type of caliphate, which recognises no mullah, Imam or Emir except their own.

They have lost their bearings and directions. They have become bandits and kidnappers, killing and maiming innocent citizens without conscience.

Some people are still clapping for them, like we have in Kaduna State, with the senseless massacre of Southern Kaduna indigenes. There is nowhere in the world that a lawless group of people will ever bring progress to a society.

In all successful revolutions, the changes have come from organised, focused and forward looking leadership, not the type that the Boko Haram and other bandit groups in the North are promoting. Any government that decides to treat them with kid gloves will finally come crumbling.

It is clear that the Boko Haram and other bandit herdsmen of the North are getting support from people in establishments. What their agenda is we do not know; what we know is that these covert supports are serving as brick walls in the fight against insurgency.

Any government or official who gives support of any kind to the Boko Haram or killer herdsmen group is only undoing themselves; in the long run, these ones will turn against their masters. It has happened elsewhere, the most recent being the cases of Afghanistan and Syria.

The rebels of Syria invited the ISIS to join them in their fight against Assad's government; ISIS came and started killing everybody, destroying historical and religious monuments.

In the end, they turned their area of occupation into a barbaric Islamic state, and as you would expect, the revolt against Assad crumbled woefully. ISIS turned their territories of Iraq and Syria into primitive societies where human lives do not matter, where animals are valued more than human beings, as it has become in Nigeria.

The leadership must readdress itself as it concerns Boko Haram, killer herdsmen and bandit issues. It is not a tribal and religious thing, it is a matter of good or bad, it is a matter of conscience.

When the bad boys are caught and handed over to law enforcement agents, as it is now in the South, they are released promptly because they speak same language as the foot soldiers.

If the leadership of this government love the country and desire future prosperity and love for the people, they must begin to address these criminal tendencies without delay.

The Chadian army confronted Boko Haram and wiped them out of their territory within weeks. They dealt the Boko Haram a very decisive blow which made the notorious Shekau, Boko Haram leader, to shed tears. That is the stuff required to put the Boko Haram to rest.

You can never treat terrorists with kid gloves; no matter how you try to be nice, they will come after you. It is worse when terrorism is faith based as being practised by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The best way to wipe out terrorism is to deal with terrorists with equal or superior force; you do not negotiate them because if you do that, you will have to come to the negotiating table, again and again.

The Sri Lankans had same experience with the Tamil Tigers for over 20 years. If we are not decisive with our fight with the Boko Haram, we will not win the battle. It is getting worse by the day and the ground troops will be losing confidence with our approach, especially when they see captured Boko Haram fighters getting special treatment.

They have taken banditry to the President's own state and with the recent information released by the US African Command, they are gradually infiltrating into the South.

This is the story of our country presently and something must be done about it; if the establishment cannot handle it, they should allow people to defend themselves.

The governor of Borno State said that much when his convoy was attacked on his way to one of his constituent towns. There are saboteurs in our armed forces; therefore, our army must reinvent itself to be able to cope with contemporary challenges and this must be done fairly and objectively without recourse to sentiments of ethnicity and religion.

It is the responsibility of the military high command to ensure that this is done to the satisfaction of all.

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