Stop Treating Boko Haram With Kid Gloves


Barely two months after Boko Haram fundamentalists bombed the Police Headquarters in Abuja, another tragedy of monumental dimension was averted on Monday afternoon in Maiduguri when a member of the sect attempted to bomb the state police headquarters.

It would have been a tragic replay of the Thursday, 17 June bombing of the Kam Salem House, Police Headquarters in Abuja if not for the timely intervention by some policemen who shot and killed the lone bomber in Maiduguri. It was not clear if the bomber was on a suicide mission or he merely wanted to park his Honda vehicle loaded with explosives at the police headquarters and later detonate it after he had left the danger zone.

All these are mere conjectures that would have been proven one way or the other if the police had not acted swiftly to prevent the 25-year-old bomber from carrying out his tragic mission. The havoc the bomber would have wreaked on the police headquarters was grimly described by the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Simeon Midenda. He said the police headquarters would have been up in flames, with many police officers and men killed because the Honda vehicle used in the attempted bombing contained seven cylinders of gas, each weighing 3.6 kg, two jerry cans of petrol, a jerry can of gun powder, an air conditioner cylinder and a drum of acid weighing 28 kg to rapidly facilitate the detonation and the blowing up of the police headquarters into flames.

Monday’s attempted bombing of the police headquarters in Maiduguri has again raised the question of how far the Boko Haram sect can go in terrorising innocent Nigerians and even members of the security forces. The incident is another rude wake up call to security forces that they must brace up as members of the sect are not ready to jettison their violence against the larger society in spite of the deployment of troops to Borno State.

Security agencies should intensify checks on vehicles and devote more time to intelligence gathering so that they could nip any threat to peace in the bud before the sect strikes again.

A house to house search by security forces in Maiduguri, Bauchi and other Boko Haram infested states, may lead to the arrest of members of the sect and recovery of the guns and explosives they are using to kill their victims.

It is very embarrassing that two months after the Abuja bomb attack took place, no major culprit or financier of the sect has been arrested and prosecuted.

What members of the sect are doing is a declaration of a full scale war against the Nigerian state and it appears the nation’s security forces cannot handle it. It is gratifying that the United States government has offered to help Nigeria stamp out activities of the sect . But the Federal Government should play its own part to make it a reality before terrorism takes a firm root in Nigeria.

A mere slap on the wrist, which is how the Federal Government has handled the issue, has only given the blood-thirsty terrorists the boldness to continue with their attacks on the people. We may be on the way to Somalia or Mogadishu, where anarchy almost consumed everybody, if the government continues to handle the Boko Haram menace with kid gloves.

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