The Boko Haram Fallacy —Ben Nanaghan


The fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom- at least in Nigeria. Even in very high government circles the fear of boko haram is so palpable, you can even touch it. These days even state governors who have excess security details can only whisper “book haram” in their inner closets. Governors are forced to publicly recant boko haram criticisms on both state and national televisions to stay alive.

Who can blame them? Even the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, who is among the most protected Nigerians, owes his life to some miraculously divine interventionist force when this same boko haram taught him a lesson by bombing the Kam Salem Building on June 17, 2011.

And on 26th Aug, 2011 boko haram achieved international opprobrium and condemnation when they shocked the whole world by bombing the United Nations complex in Abuja, claiming 23 lives and injuring over a hundred others. This tactical error on the part of the so-called boko haram became the very genesis of its nemesis. Because it did not only arouse the sleeping security agencies into “some action” but also incurred the wrath of the whole world.

Boko haram took the joke embarrassingly too far when they threatened to target Nigeria’s seat of power, Aso Rock and its most important occupant.

This strategic blunder has shifted the emphasis, boundaries and scope of the boko haram war. As it is all over the world, wars are won and lost on strategy. It is the general with a better strategy that wins the war, not the stronger general.

The bombing of the United Nations Building on August 26 has globalised a hitherto local problem and has taken the burden off the shoulders of President Goodluck Jonathan – at least in theory.

The aim of the political sponsors was among others to paint Nigeria as a maximum security threat nation by the UN but alas it even further galvanized international solidarity to combat Nigeria’s security challenges. The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Britain’s Scotland Yard police all swung into action to “unravel” what was already known as a politically motivated venom against the President Goodluck Jonathan Government. These international security Agencies have taken over investigations of the August 26th bombing and are working on the theory that the political elite from a section of the country could be behind the spate of bombings going on in the country.

These international security watchdogs have also placed these implacable opposition politicians on their watch list and very reliable sources reveal that these enraged politicians of northern extraction with a few south western leaders held their nocturnal and dastardly meetings before and immediately after the United Nations bomb blast in Abuja. These meetings were held in Saudi Arabia and London respectively.

It is a very cheery and welcome news to hear that these international security agencies have identified some disgruntled Nigerian politicians who even today regret their lost chances of ruling this great country.

The evidences to nail these super and untouchable Nigerians have always been there for all Nigerians to see. But our security agents have for reasons of political stability always looked the other way. For instance, the suspects of the Eagles square 50th Anniversary bomb blast of 2010 had communication contact (via sms) with a Nigerian media mogul who was also the Director of the campaign organization of one of the politicians who lost the PDP primaries with so much chagrin. The media mogul was arrested but was immediately released when the disgruntled godfather bared his fangs and called for the immediate release of his “hatchet man”.

The Suleja bomb factory discovered after the UN building bomb blast is another pointer to the fact that the chief sponsor of boko haram may be residing in or around Niger state.

Did the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) or Intelligence Agency (NIA) go beyond discovering the bomb manufacturing factory to find out who the main sponsors of the factory were? Did our intelligence agencies query how a boko haram known for only wielding bows and arrows, machetes and swords raised its sophistication level to commanding high calibre guns and bombs which were of international standard?

Have our intelligence agencies wondered where all these sophisticated weaponry being shipped through our sea and airports end up? Has any shipper or consignee been prosecuted for these crimes against the nation? Or are the SSS, Police and NIA telling Nigerians that they are not aware that highly sophisticated weaponry have been illegally shipped into this country and even on a daily basis these weapons of mass destruction are imported into this country?

The spate of bombings can only be arrested if the political sponsors of this political madness are arrested and tried. This country is bigger than these former presidents who brandish nonexistent immunity clauses to cover up their evil machinations and atrocities. After all, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was arrested, tried and jailed in the 60s for treasonable felony against Nigeria and the country did not go up in flames neither did it split. So why are we afraid of arresting, and trying a former President who believes he is smarter and wiser than King Solomon? It is the greatest deception and an old diversionary strategy to blame boko haram for these spate of bombings when all Nigerians know that boko haram is only a pawn in the great chess game of the opposing army to combine the dexterity of the Queen, rooks and bishops to capture the King and end President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure.

Boko haram is being paid to execute the scripts of their sponsors. Some former Nigerian Presidents are stupendously wealthy. Some don’t even know what to do with their wealth other than to scheme to retain power by all means- the Machiavellian way. Some of them have read the “The Prince” inside out and become empty outside the corridors of power.

The press even promoted boko haram to the status of Al-Qaeda. Of course we know that there are some journalists from a section of the country who are known for their Pro-boko haram write ups. We know them.

The boko haram fallacy is a mere cover up for the Nigerian sponsors of terrorism.

The Nigerian “area boy” syndrome has made it easy for any of our trillionaire former Presidents to hoodwink the whole nation and walk tall even in ignominy.

Lagos which is generally regarded as the ancestral home of area boys in Nigeria can raise a force thrice as potent as the boko haram we know today. But fortunately the Lagos area boy is neither a religious fanatic nor an Islamic fundamentalist. The Lagos area boy does not believe in strapping himself with bombs and blowing himself up in a crowded market as the only way to find favour in the sight of his Creator as the boko haram bomber is taught to believe. The Lagos area boy does not plan to die because of his weekly “Owambe” parties which are a confirmation of his social relevance in society. Naturally heaven is painted in captivatingly luscious colours, but no one wants to die except the boko haram fanatic.

The recruitment of boko haram adherents is facilitated by so many factors. For instance our high unemployment rate which for lack of records could be put at over 30% of our job seeking population. This is a good market for boko haram sponsors who flaunt their wealth at the face of our hungry and angry jobless population.

Recruitment is also facilitated by our porous borders which are in some cases very difficult to demarcate. Some areas are not even demarcated while some are demarcated by planks and sticks, just like in ancient Greek times.

One of the first ports of call when coming into Nigeria from Cameroon is Gamboru a border town in Borno state. Gamboru typifies the futility of border control posts all through Nigeria’s borders. Most of the aliens even walk into the country under the Gamboru bridge. Nigerians also stroll into Potoko on the Cameroonian side just opposite Gamboru for their beer and pepper soup. Between Duji in Nigeria-Borno state and Difer in Niger Republic the situations are the same with an influx of aliens on both sides.

The above border scenario is to show that aliens coming into Nigeria from these neighbouring states cannot justifiably promote our boko haram sect to the status of Al-Qaeda as some alarmists want to portray. Aliens’ influx into Borno state takes place daily. It is also true that Nigeriens fleeing from war, hunger, drought and unemployment are easy game for recruitment agents who we are told dangle as low as N300,000 at suicide bombers who gleefully jostle for this lethal bait.

It is therefore inarguably fallacious and incongruous to portray boko haram as a destabilizing factor in our present political unrest. This is a political problem and I am sure President Goodluck Jonathan will summon the WILL to end this life guzzling political mess. It took just a few days for the military to crush the maitatsine uprising in 1981 in Kano. If we still have a non-partisan military in this country, boko haram should become of “blessed memory” within a maximum of 90 days.

It is possible.


•Nanaghan writes in from Lagos. E-mail: [email protected]

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