Is Amnesty, State of Emergency the Solution to Boko Haram Crisis? By Azeez Ibrahim
For the past 3 years now, the media are daily washed with mind boggling report on violence, especially in the northern part of the country where militant sect jama- ‘a Ahlal -Sunnah li -da’ wawa wa al-jiha-d commonly known as Bokoharam is laying siege with a vow to fight the Nigeria state until it accepts to operate only on the basis of an Islamic system.
After many years of notable attacks carried out by the sect, recklessly destroying human lives and properties to include: the mogadishu Barracks bombing in Abuja in 2010, the UN House bombing in Abuja in August 2011, police station bombing killed at least 180 people in kano in January 2012, and over 185 civilian murder in Baga in April 2013 to mention a few.
The Government proceeded to declare state of emergency in the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in northern part of Nigeria.
Many Nigerians believe the military intervention seemed yielding positive result. The question we need to ask ourselves is, can we win the war on terrorism by Army force? The declaration of state of emergency on Boko haram is not new; we witnessed it in December, 31 2011.
More than a year we are still facing the same security challenges by the same sect. To buttress this argument, during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo tenure, he declared a total crackdown on the Niger Delta militant insurgents in the region, we all knows how it ended.
Apart from state of Emergency declared, an amnesty committee has been set up by government with the aim of bringing Boko haram sect to the negotiating table and persuading them to hand over their weapons. In return they will go free, as they did to Niger Delta militants.
Amnesty for Boko haram sect will only compound the problem. It will only create more violent groups, since government will accommodate people that are violent.
Few weeks ago, oil thieves and illegal refinery operators in Niger Delta, demanded for amnesty from the Federal Government for them to stop oil theft in the region. And if we could remember a few days ago, coordinating Minister of the economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said crude oil theft was at its highest level ever and that Nigeria is estimated to lose about $6 billion annually to crude oil theft. That means soon enough government will come up and grant
amnesty to oil thieves.
Now, I doubt Jonathan’s drastic move would “completely solve” the problem of Boko haram in the country whereby 60% of her population live on less than $1 (#160) a day according to the National Bureau of statistics.
What is important is to review the issue that gave rise to the militant sect like Boko haram for the first instance. The violence by Boko haram sects represents a growing distrust from political leaders in Nigeria. Boko Haram is a symptom of multiple rationales characterised by corruption, poverty, massive unemployment, economic deprivation, economic injustice, mismanagement, irresponsible government and all products of years of bad governance. All these have been identified as one of the underlying causes of most sectarian violence in the country.
Not only Boko haram, but also many Nigerians hold Nigeria state as the enemy, each attacking it with as much power at their disposal as the Boko haram’s bombs. Vandalism and looting of public property was not seen as a crime against society by our politicians, government workers refuse to give their best in service, judiciary has become the main legitimizing institution for any corrupt practice, law enforcement officers have become body for selective prosecution, public institution (university/polytechnics) go on indefinite strikes on a whim, INEC widely manipulate the electoral process, while journalists accept brown envelops to turn black to white I.e to turn truth on its head. What all these groups have in common with Bokoharam is that, they believe
Nigeria is unfair and hold a bleak future for them.
Military intervention and amnesty only, would not lead to sustainable peace. Until we have an honest government that sincerely works toward addressing The root causes of the violent, we are going to face the same challenges.
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