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The Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has being one of Nigeria security challenges. Thousands of lives have being lost to various attacks by these dreadful terrorists. It started operation and became in 2009 and it is still in town up till date. The erstwhile administration has tried all its best in combating them to soil level but all ‘efforts’ was in futility.
Though, there were series of steps taken by Jonathan’s administration to fight Boko-Haram, what the news is unveiling of our political masquerade’s face has made us understand that the Jonathan’s ‘war against Boko-Haram’ is a fraud. The money meant for procuring arms for fighting Boko-Haram have being diverted and shared among some unscrupulous ones. With these and many more reasons, the government has failed to put an end to this pressing issue.
With the advent of Buhari, the people expected a huge ‘change’ from, among others, Boko-Haram trouble to a peaceful and enabling government and environment. It should be noted, before going further, that the terrorist group carry out their operations mostly in the northern part of the country (northeast, precisely) and neighboring countries. With the ‘Change’ mantra, it is believed that the terrorist group will cease from existing in our society.
Apart from this believe, it is one of Buhari’s campaign promise to wage serious war against the sect once he’s elected. Who knows maybe that was why the citizens of the country voted out Jonathan, and voted for Buhari in order to deliver them from the present sorrow.
Buhari’s election promise was to metamorphose Boko-Haram to a thing of history within few months of emerging as the president. That’s known to all and sundry. Now that he is in power, why do these dreadful monsters still celebrate Xmas with us? That’s the question asked several times by average Nigerians. If one have voted Buhari because of his promise to erase Boko-Haram out of the country’s drawing book within few weeks, then, the person have failed to think deeply on what it takes to fight terrorism. To be frank, it is practically impossible to fight Boko-Haram within few months of his gaining the control of government.
For the purpose of this piece, let me say that since the government of Buhari have been so busy with, among others, constituting his government throughout last year, let me give him that as an excuse for not successfully destroying Boko-Haram. But, the point is that, since 2016 is a new year, the target of Buhari on the Boko-Haram must be a serious one which is going to facilitate the grinding of the sect to halt.
To be sincere, some steps President Buhari took towards combating Boko-Haram last year are so lame that it failed to produce the desired result. There were some err in some decisions which are not supposed to be taken by the president. Anyway, the purpose of this piece is not to criticize any government but to suggest some possible solutions and warn the government not to commit such errors in the future – especially this year, 2016.
One, for president Buhari to successfully fight the Boko-Haram sect, he shouldn’t make any provision for negotiation. Though, he had said it at thousands occasions that his government will negotiate with the leaders of the daylight terrorist group, he should not negotiate with them. It won’t work out successfully. These people are criminals. The ways in which they think clearly differ from ours. To us, we think killing our fellow men is not just humane, but to them, they see it as a necessity, for them to get to heaven and drill as many feminine holes as possible on the last day. That is their religious belief.
Though, I question if that is what the Holy Quran teaches, but the question is: how do we negotiate with this set of people? Those that have lost common sense to their religion? How? Criminals are not negotiated with, criminal are destroyed totally. Where in the world has ‘Negotiating with terrorists’ worked? What if the negotiators are even bombed in the process of negotiating? I even trust the suicide bombers for something- they will never negotiate with the government. They may or will think the negotiation is a means by which the government will use in arresting and prosecuting them. Yes! Those who have lost and are involved in the ultimate search for their common sense will think that way. So, to put an end to this terrorist group, they mustn’t be negotiated with. In the words of George Bush, “No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death”
Giving deadlines is another issue to be taken very serious. The Buhari government has promised to crush totally the subject matter for at least two occasions. And the witty aspect of the drama is that the more the date set by the government to defeat the ‘afemishofo’ people gets near, the more the rate at which bombing news increased. Bombing has almost become normal news in Nigeria. We see it as normal since it is something happening virtually everyday. Everyone is just confused about what to do. A total sorry case. But, it is worthy of noting that towards the end of last year, the rate of bombing reduced. But, when our government, Lai Mohammed to be precise, boasted that the sect have been ‘technically’ defeated, they (Boko-Haram) quickly ‘rejoindered’ that they are still active and alive on the land of the living. This rejoinder wasn’t a written one but a reply given by several suicide bombings. The Boko-Haram quickly inform the public about the fact that the statement made by the Information minister was guilty of fallacy. With their bombing, common sense tells us that the group hasn’t been defeated.
Why should we even be told about the defeat? To fool us? To make us happy? To make us trust the government? To make us believe in the words and manifestoes of the government? Is the information even for the interest of the people or government? Wait a little, what is technical about defeating Boko-Haram? Is either you are still on the process of defeating, you have defeated or you haven’t defeat. It is either of them. Not technically defeating the sect.
Let me draw the attention of this reader to the fact that the government promised to defeat Boko-Haram and not to ‘technically’ defeat them. That’s not even the point. The main issue is that, revealing to the public the time to defeat Boko-haram is not solving the problem but adding insult to the already sustained injury. It is rather adding fire to the flame in the sect. Even if the group have decided to put an end to their deadly activities, on hearing that they have been defeated will spring up the evil absorber in them. It is natural, nobody wants to hear of his/her defeat, even if they have been defeated, they will try all means to prove the said defeaters wrong. In this case, they’ve not even been defeated, so, it is very easy for them to disclaim the fallacious information. Since informing the public about the deadline will bring about several additional attacks, it should be discouraged. I keep thinking of this: what benefit has it to the people of Nigeria when we are informed about the defeat? No benefit. Or is it that they want us to be happy even when we are still living in a sad society? To the best of my understanding, I think, the government need not inform us about the defeat, once the sect are defeated, it will be known by all – home and abroad. No need to tell us, when we hear no news of Boko-Haram bombing, it will be visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that they have been defeated. As simple as ABC.
To fight the Islamic religious sect, the armed forces should be well equipped. Since the money meant for procuring arms have been dasukigated by the past administration, it is the duty of the present administration to get more arms for our men. The Bokos can’t be defeated if the soldiers are not well equipped. How do you expect a soldier with ‘shakabula’ to fight a Boko-Haram member with Ak-47? It is impossible. So, the army need enough weapons to fight the terrorists.
These soldiers shouldn’t be procured arms alone; they should also undergo special military training. These Boko-Haram sect are undoubtedly those with technical military training. So, to make sure these monsters are vanished from our midst, our men should be given special training, from time to time, so as for them to be victorious in the war. The training the writer is talking of is that which is much more tactful than that of the terrorists. None specially trained soldiers will not get to the promise land of defeating specially trained terrorists. Take it or leave it.
Additionally, the soldiers should be adequately remunerated. These men should be encouraged by giving them incentives. Let the family of the departed ones be compensated. These and many more will encourage the soldiers to be bold and carry out their job without fear or favor. The fact is that if these people are not encouraged by the government, the government also will not get the desired result. Hence, they should be catered for.
The issue of recruitment is also to be taken into consideration. There should be no corruption in the recruiting process. This may sounds funny to many. This is because, it is our believe that everything in Nigeria is ‘runz’. See, the issue of ‘runz’ is a leading cause of all the mess we find ourselves today. When an ‘ajebutter’ is recruited as an army through ‘runz’ and leaving behind competent and qualified able bodied men, how do we expect such ‘ajebutter’ to deliver the expected goods? It is, today, one of the problems of Nigerian army. Where some soldiers are incompetent, how do we expect them to defeat the competent terrorists? This issue should be properly addressed by the recruiting department of the army if Boko-Haram is to be defeated.
In conclusion, I will urge the Buhari led government, as a matter of urgency, to look into these issues before the sect takes over the whole country. All the loop holes identifies above should be properly filled and blocked for we to have a Boko-Haram free Nigeria. Lest I forget, the government should also try her best in identifying and prosecuting the sponsors of the sect, if victory is to be ascertained.
Festus Ogun is a ‘lawyer-in-training’, socio-political commentator and blogger.( firstname.lastname@example.org)