Mr. President: I Am A Living Victim (Boko Haram Debacle, Your Excellency You Don’t Just Get It) By Akintayo Samson
In October 2010 Boko Haram destroyed everything I have ever worked for, leaving tragedy at the utmost level behind killing eight of my workers. They took away my life, soul and every semblance of normalcy putting me in a state of emptiness and perpetual nightmare cum despair. I know most readers will be seriously interested in my story, however to get a good understanding of my focus it is very important for me to explain why I am most suitable to write this piece.
I am Yoruba, born in Lagos but spent most of my life in the North. I relocated with my parents at the age of thirteen (13) to Gombe then In Bauchi state, lived through all the religious crisis and completed my secondary education after which I got admission at an Higher Institution still in the North. I graduated with distinction and like every young person tried adventures in few firms before making up my mind to pursue life as an entrepreneur, I ventured where most youths like me would not dare: Crop Agriculture. And from scratch with a meager start up capital, hard work, diligence and lots of doggedness over a period of five years built a successful dream farm business.
Then came Boko Haram visiting a nearby village and disaster struck. They burnt down everything, crops and farming equipment worth several millions (Tractors, Irrigations equipment, Fertilizers, Tillers, Ploughs and everything they came across). They left me in ruins and in few minutes took me and wife (then pregnant) back in graphic retardation words cannot describe. Four years later, life is still just almost not worth it.
Having said all above, I believe I have a right to address you Mr President not just on the basis of freedom of speech but as someone who has suffered direct consequences of the Boko Haram debacle that has shredded every tissue and spectre that defines humanity in Nigeria and even makes you, your Excellency and your Government looks weak and confused to the outside world. However my biggest fear is that your government don’t just get it yet about this sect. I presume at-least one of your aides will be reasonable enough to read this without any animosity, or maybe even you your Excellency will read in one of your off times. Above all I seriously hope your team of security and defence experts will provide answers to some basic issues that is most confusing and troubling:
Often, the Nigerian Military talks about Military offensives and aerial bombardments’ killing of Boko Haram insurgents but yet they keep coming back and wrecking greater havocs at higher proportions. In fact now to ordinary people on the streets the press releases of your military commanders seems more like mere fables because these attacks most times happens unchallenged only for your Soldiers to show up when the attack is over. The statements often read out are in complete opposite of what is on ground physically and Mr. President to those in line of fire being slaughtered and losing everything they have this only confirms that your military and anti terror teams really does not have a solution yet to Boko Haram.
Your Excellency, I have this basic question for you that most of us and even your soldiers on ground have not yet been able to answer :
How do you deal with an enemy that is most happy to die but belief killing innocent and defenseless citizens is the gateway to fun unlimited in their paradise?
Mr. President, this simple question makes even the bravest of your soldiers worry about Boko Haram, I tell you definitively because I have seen them tremble and most times over react as a result of their fear.
The Nigerian military treats Boko Haram like rebels, I mean like Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and Biafra where their superior weaponry and Numerical advantages counted in their favor. They forget the basic soul and life of Terror driven sect like Boko Haram is Ideology. And Strategy cum acute intelligence is the management for Insurgency not aerial bombardments and blind infantry assaults like Nigeria seems to engage.
Mr. President, How come no state Intelligence agency in Nigeria have been able to compromise Boko Haram after all these years. How come no state agent have been able to infiltrate them getting closer enough for information for potential strikes against leaders like Abubakar Shekau and other important leaders that will deal catastrophic blow to the sect and their operations? The once dreaded Al Qaeda has been reduce to more of an empty noise making organization because the United State of America has eliminated every of the terror group leaders or operatives deemed dangerous even in the most remote corners of the world. New leaders of the terror group are more pre-occupied with staying alive, which has, reduce their ability to go offensive to almost zero. This was achieve due to the seriousness and sincerity of the American Government to safe guard its homeland and citizens worldwide, the question is does all this lives being lost tragically and senselessly mean anything to you as a person and your government.
How come Boko Haram still get unrestrained access to Finance or how do you explain their access to weapons and those expensive S.U.Vs for transportation? A Government that is truly committed to protecting its citizens will have tracked down the avenues of Boko Haram’s funding, which will definitively affect the group capability to carry out their dastardly act of terror. Your Excellency weapons do not fly to the remote forest bases of Boko haram, even if those arms are being smuggled through the porous borders of neighboring countries Nigeria has the funds and intelligence capacity to cooperate with these countries and even advanced international partner countries to halt or let’s say disrupt Boko haram’s sources of weapons.
Your Excellency, Why has not your government taken up serious objections with countries where Boko Haram recruits and through whose borders Boko Haram exploits to strike Nigerian Citizens? I mean real actions and not just mere words, or is it that the lives of these innocent citizens counts for nothing to your Government? If this be the case the Your Excellency you are not fit to be President.
Beyond all the conspiracy theories and political interests the fact is Boko Haram unleashes terror in its pure raw value on ordinary people like us, and considering your background as a man from humble life who has lived in poverty and misery of ordinary life in Nigeria. How do you imagine life plus Boko Haram will be for these ordinary people most times seeking to just get some decent livelihood for themselves. I will not waste my time talking about how decades of monumental corruption, mismanagement and looting by successive government has created the monster called Boko Haram but I will tell you a true life story:
When Maitatsine religious crisis broke out in Gombe then Bauchi State in 1985, I was a child growing up and I practically saw many jobless youths recruited by the fanatical sect because they had no reasonable life. Few months later the idea of selling Petrol (P.M.S) in cans as black fuel market came and most of these boys could suddenly afford basic simply livelihood. Then came Maitatsine sect again, Mr President these boys who had been recruited by the sect just few months earlier led the revolt against maitatsine. They were no longer ready to be blind foot soldiers for some crazy and devilish religious ideology. The basic fact is this, Nigeria created the Monster called Boko Haram but the most disturbing but yet funny issue is will the Elite and the ruling class not create a bigger monster.
As for your Military strategist and commanders, Boko haram posses the most demanding and complex problem they have ever encountered. What is left to be seen is how they handle this problem, but I boldly present it to you that as regards what has been done so far: your military will never solve or reduce the tragedy being suffered by innocent Nigerians from Boko Haram. Beyond warfare, the remedy for Boko Haram is serious government strategies and policies that will develop the life of ordinary Nigerians not just paper policies and projects that end up in files with the funds being siphoned as usual.
Mr. President, at thirty-two (32) years I lost everything I built through years of hard-work and suffering worth over sixty (60) million Naira in just few minutes of impunity, how do you think a young Nigerian like me having gone through all these should take life. Do you believe it is even worth it to be called Nigerian, if you were me what will you say. The fact is this: Lives being wasted are not chickens. Some people will never get to live life normally again because of those they lost, no matter how little the properties are they are all these ordinary people have and were gotten through years of toiling and suffering. Your condolences and statement after each attack is not enough go beyond words.
For ordinary people like me who has experience the nightmare called Boko haram, we only desire that our government truly come to the aid of millions of Nigerians being savaged by these Terrorists. Do not be deceived Mr President we know the truth: your government cannot completely eliminate Boko Haram, No government can. But at-least do your utmost best sincerely to protect innocent Nigerians, put yourself in our shoes at-least you once were like millions of Nigerians- who has no shoe.
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