On the 14th of May, 2013, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan declared a State Of Emergency, SOE in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, to counter and bring to an end by force of coercion the activities of the terrorist group, ”Jama’a Ahlal-Sunnah Li-Da’wa Wa Al-Jihad” also known as Boko Haram (which was founded by Ustaz MOHAMMED YUSUF in 2002, with the aim of Islamizing Nigeria while rejecting everything western which is to be viewed as ‘Haram’ or ‘Sin’), that have wreaked destruction and untold hardships on the lives of Nigerians resident in the North-Eastern parts and other parts of the North.
They had targeted Nigerians of Southern extraction, Christians and even Muslims who hold views contrary to the ‘strict’ ones they expouse after their leader was killed in police detention on the 30th of July, 2009.
Nearly 4000 people had been killed by Boko Haram in their attacks on Churches, a UN building in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, an Intra-State Bus Park in Kano (North Western Nigeria) that conveys mainly Southerners from the North to the South and vice-versa, beer parlours and pubs, hotels, military and police barracks, markets, using home made bombs, Improvised Explosive Devices, IED’s, Kalashnikov Rifles and other types of guns, machetes, and other weapons of mass destruction, WMD’s.
The earlier declaration of a State of Emergency, that affected a few Local Government Areas in some parts of the North yielded little or no fruit, as the activities of the terrorist group simply soared to levels never before attained.
Another group, Jama’atul Ansarul Muslima fi Biladi Sudan, aka ”ANSARUL” purporting to restore the glory of Islam in the Sudan (Sub-saharan Africa), which was thought to be a faction of Boko Haram sprang up with deadlier and more daring attacks, including kidnappings of mainly expatriate white contractors of foreign construction companies working in some parts of the North, an activity which was alien to the Boko Haram group before the kidnap of a French family holidaying in Northern Cameroun.
The escalation of the activities of these terrorist groups in some parts of the North informed the declaration of this State Of Emergency, which for now seem to have being yielding some fruits as there has been a massive decline in the activities of Boko Haram as well as other terrorist groups in the three states where the SOE is in effect, and by extension other parts of the North (probably not in Plateau and Benue States – in North Central Nigeria-, where maurauding Fulani cattle herders |from within and outside Nigeria| have continued to raid the local communites there with attendant loss of lives, limbs and property, with impunity, while the Joint military and police security outfit known as the Special Task Force, STF based in Plateau State continue to show a lack of ability to stem the tide of insecurity plaguing that state).
The activities of the Joint Task Force, JTF (a joint military operations group executing the SOE currently in operations in the three aforementioned states in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria) has been further boosted by a civilian group made up of locales who have helped a great deal in fishing out high and low target members of Boko Haram and other terrorists in those states.
This group, popularly known as ‘Civilian JTF’ have on several occassions even engaged members of Boko Haram in gun battles, if media reports are to be followed (considering that information in and out of the affected states have been cut to the barest minimum, with the only news been such as divulged by the JTF spokesman), leading to a recent proclamation by the Boko Haram that members of the so called ‘Civilian-JTF’ will be hunted down and killed whenever and wherever they are found.
The activities of the JTF has also been called to question after an Al Jazeera report (featuring a Nigerian soldier acting as ‘mole’ for the Qatar based media organization) indicated that the soldiers may have committed and are still committing atrocities in carrying out their activities, much of which the JTF refuted and continue to refute.
The possibility of members of the Civilian JTF to engage in a witch-hunt of people with whom they may have a grouse with also remain very high, the only good thing about this is that they usually hand over suspects which they have apprehended to the JTF for prosecution (I can only fear the worst for those who weren’t so lucky).
As for those in the custody of the JTF, I can only relate a story that made headlines some weeks back, of a man who handed his son over to the JTF, after his son disclosed all his atrocities which he committed as a member of Boko Haram. This son was summarily shot before his father as he made to escape (according to News Reports), just like that!
Barely, three months into the SOE, one can say that their activity has been successful so far, but beyond this there must be efforts geared at ensuring that groups like these do not spring up again.
It is because no lesson was learned with the Maitatsine group of the 1980’s, that Northern Nigeria is once again plunged into a Boko Haram and Ansarul scourge of a like mind and ideology.
Northern youths must be western-educated as only Islamic education limits the possiblity of developing a world view. The building of Al-Majiri (Al-Majirai, are usually kids of school age, who follow Islamic teachers or Mallams, who ideally are supposed to school them in Islamic teachings, but are found in the Northern parts of Nigeria with bowls begging and engaging in one misdemeanour or the other) schools aimed at incorporating western and Islamic studies is a step in the right direction, while no heed should be paid to those antagonist of the path that’s now being laid for these teeming children and youth, let loose aimlessly on Northern streets.
Clerics and Preachers with tendency to make hate and intolerant speeches should be derobed and prosecuted for incitement, and the anti-terrorism bill should be expanded to include this.
The culture of impunity in the North of Nigeria should stop, no longer should the deaths of Southerners and Christians go un-investigated and perpetrators unprosecuted, even when such despicable acts are committed by ‘mobs’.
Nigeria’s Northern borders should be adequately, effectively and efficiently secured to curb the activities of transnational Fulani from other West African states from infiltrating local fulani and causing disaffection between them and their host communities. Most of these intolerant preachers are from other countries bordering Northern Nigeria proclaiming ideologies of foreign Islamic groups.
Northern Nigerian (as well as others, of the constituent arms that make up the contraption called Nigeria) power brokers must also desist from financing and aiding youth groups as tools of destabilization to enforce their way on government and/or people of Nigeria based on the principle of ‘Might is Right’!
If the Nigerian government, leaders and elites of the North fail to take lessons from today’s Boko Haram and Yesterday’s Maitasine, another extremist group with more violent modus operandi will rise.
A word they say is enough for the wise.