Of Biblical Jonathan And Boko Haram —Isaac Asabor



As a Christian, the war-like situation which the belligerent members of the infamous Boko Haram sect has created in our country, particularly in some northern states of the country, has seemingly brought to mind the military prowess of Jonathan as documented in the Bible. The Dictionary of the Bible authored by D.M. McFarlan describes Jonathan as the “son of Saul the first king of Israel, and dear friend of David.” The Bible dictionary went further to describe Jonathan as “…a mighty warrior, swift as a gazelle, popular with the soldiers, brave in war against the Philistines, and totally unselfish in his devotion to David, To me, there is no Theologian that has aptly described Jonathan better than McFarlan.

Jonathan, as recorded in the book of 1 Samuel chapter 14 verse 1 “…said unto the young man that bare his armour, come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.” If the biblical Jonathan were to be ruling over the affairs of the present day Nigeria, he would have for long, being the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, gone to “the other side.”

“The other side” in this context means the hideout of the Boko Haram members. Jonathan would have gone to “the other side” without telling his advisers in government and outside the government. He would have gone to “the other side” without thinking of offending any of his political godfathers not talk of letting them know his plan. Jonathan as much as the Bible recorded was never influenced by anyone. He had an independent mind. Most of his military exploits were carried out primarily for the safety of the Israelites.

As it was then, the major threat to the personal and collective security of the Israelites was the Philistines. But Jonathan ensured that through his prowess, safety of lives and properties of the Israelites were guaranteed. If the biblical Jonathan were to be Nigeria’s number one citizen at the moment, he would have ensured that the safety of lives and properties are guaranteed. The menace of Boko Haram would have been crushed like he did to the Philistines. The Boko Haram menace would have been a forgotten issue.

During the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the people of Odi were mercilessly massacred not for anything but that they allegedly harboured the killers of some security personnel. A similar situation also played out in Zaki Biam in Benue State.

The foregoing cases were cited in this piece to drive home the point that members of the Boko Haram sect should not be treated with kid-glove. Our political Jonathan should emulate the biblical Jonathan and break the stronghold of the Boko Haram sect as soon as possible. Their hide-out should be traced by security agents. The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the country, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor who on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 led a delegation of Christian leaders to the bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla said that those who bombed the church on Christmas day are not spirits. I totally agree with him. Our security men should put in more efforts to locate the hideout of the Boko Haram sect. In as much as one is not using this write-up to influence the president to overrun the community hosting members of the Boko Haram sect, he can hold the governor, the state commissioner of police, the traditional ruler, the local government chairman and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) responsible for the positive growth of such community accountable for any act of bombing that would be perpetrated by members of the notorious sect. I believe when leaders in communities realise that they would be held accountable for the crime committed by their subjects, they would definitely be alive to their responsibilities.

Therefore, the first security move in stemming the tide of the Boko Haram menace would be to identify the community that is hosting members of the sect. The next move is to summon the Governor of the state which an indicted community falls into, the Commissioner of Police of the state which an indicted community falls into and the local government chairman responsible for the governance of such community, then all the traditional chiefs of such community and the Divisional Police Officer responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in such community for a meeting with the president and his security chiefs. At such meetings, issues concerning the security challenges can be discussed in order to find a lasting solution to the menace of Boko Haram.

I believe the foregoing steps are yet to be taken by the present government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Permit me to opine that Odi and Zaki Biam were identified before they were invaded by Obasanjo’s soldiers.

Suffice it to say that for the present government to find a lasting solution to the nation’s security challenges, attempts should be made to identify the host community or communities of the Boko Haram sect.

In the Tell magazine issue number 24 of June 15, 2009 on page 42, the then commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Major General Sarkin Bello in an interview with the magazine on the military action carried out in the creeks of Delta state said “Before we struck at the residence of Tompolo in Oporoza, we were sure of where we were going to attack, we had the aerial picture and all necessary information about the target, we knew from which direction we were going to strike to avoid civilian casualties.”

A meticulous analysis of the foregoing words of the commander of the JTF eloquently confirms the fact that members of the Boko Haram sect can be traced to their hideouts, and if possible bombarded. It shows that the base of the Boko Haram members can easily be located by our security agents but they are not willing to do so through thorough intelligence gathering. Then, what is the federal government waiting for? Or is there any political consideration that is causing the delay? If there is, I make bold to say in this piece that it would not be of interest to the nation nay the global political watchers that have picked interest in the state of our national security since 25 December 2011,

It is imperative that our security agents locate the base of the Boko Haram sect with technological devices. If we do not have such devices, more technologically advanced countries like America, Japan and others can be approached for assistance. The Boko Haram menace is no more a national issue but a global issue. Before the biblical Jonathan attacked Philistine, he surveyed the area with the intent of attacking its garrison.

Finally, Nigerians would be very glad if the issue of Boko Haram is dealt with, once and for all, no matter whose ox is gored. The reason for this call for the tough stance of the president of our country is to forestall the proliferation of more deadly militant groups across the nation in the nearest future. Sincerely, if the Boko Haram issue is handled with kid gloves, there would be the tendency for similar groups to begin to spring up in all parts of the country.

Our president should act fast because the Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 8 verse 11 that “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of men is fully set in them to do evil”.


•Asabor wrote in from Lagos.

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