THE BOKO HARAM MENACE
Boko Haram is an Islamic terror group which has caused a lot of devastations in the nation’s polity and other area of it’s influence. Islamist terrorism in Nigeria has local roots and international implications. Nigeria must improve governance and do more to develop its disadvantaged Northern states, which are predominantly Muslims.
The recent attacks in kano and the Christmas bombing last year brought new awareness to the menace of the Islamic sect, known as Boko Haram. The name means: western education is evil”. This outfit has developed a distinct brand of terrorism in Nigeria by carrying out acts of violence in crowds and seeking to inflict as much blood sheds and damages as possible.
It is not exactly known when Boko Haram was formed. In November 2002, a miss world contest was cancelled in Abuja, the National Capital, because Muslim youths were rioting2 About 100 people lost their lives. The next year, the group Boko Haram became known loosely modeled on the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is concentrated mainly in Nigeria’s North. Boko Haram considers all who do not follow its strict ideology as infidels, whether they be Christians or Muslims.
Initially, Boko Haram’s violent action was limited to Nigeria’s North, but that has changed. Last year, the outfit attacked the police headquarters as well as the united nation’s building in Abuja, for instance.
While Boko Haram is certainly a Nigeria phenomenon it has grown in conditions that is typical of many African countries. The continents national borders where drawn by the colonial powers. They cut across cultural and ethnic identities. Nigeria, for instance has 250 identifiable tribes and over 400 dialects, so the country is something of an artificial national. People did not feel loyal to the states, but to their clan, tribe or sect, and it is easy to mobilize them by emphasizing identity issues.
The religious divide that is the result of Arab and European conquest compounds such problems. The Arabs planted Islam in sahelian regions, whereas the Europeans introduced Christendom.
As in much African, governance in Nigeria has for decades been characterized by predatory elites and incomplete institutional development. The general attitude is that government positions are means of enriching oneself and once patronage network. There is no real sense of serving the nation as a whole. In Nigeria, a country with huge oil reserves,
governance became grotesquely exploitative. Though the country is blessed with natural resources, the vast majority of the people is desperately poor, especially in the predominantly Muslim religions. Despite a per capital income of more than $2,700 and annual GDP growth of seven percent, 700% of the people live on less than $1.25 a day. In the north, 720% live in poverty compared with 270% in the south and 350% in Niger-Delta. No doubt, Boko Haram is infusing region into a long-charming brew of grievances about corruption, injustice and an unfair distribution of wealth and power.
The sophistication of Boko Haram’s operation indicates the group may enjoy support from some Nigerian government officials. Moreover, it is likely to have link to international terrorist organizations like the Somalia al-shabab or al-qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Boko Haram may well get support from outside Nigeria. Boko Haram is a menace that deserves attention not only from Nigerian’s government, but also from the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the entire international community.
The government of Nigeria must move beyond the blank use of lethal force, Sending tanks into the streets and declaring a state of emergency, as president Jonathan Goodluck did after the Christmas attacks, may appease an angry public, but it is not an effective counter-terrorism policy. Nigeria needs a better system of governance. Probity and accountability must become the norm, and the government must tackle social issues of education, health, employment and housing. Doing so is most urgent in the countries North. Unless there is an accelerated development programme for Nigeria’s deprived areas, sects, tribes and clans will remain the deriving force of Nigerian politics and Boko Haram is merely the most destructive expression of that trend.
THE BOKO HARAM
Boko Haram, an Islamist religious set, has targeted Nigeria’s police, rival clerics, politicians, and public institutions with increasing violence since 2009. Some experts said the group should primarily be seen as leading an armed revolt against the government’s entrenched corruption, abusive security forces, strive between the disaffected Muslim north and Christian south, and widening regional economics disparity in an already impoverished country. They argue that Abuja should do more to address the issues facing the disaffected Muslim north. But Boko Haram’s suspected bombing of U.N building in Abuja in August 2011 and it’s ties to regional terror groups may signal a new trajectory and spark a stronger international response that makes it harden to address the north’s alienation.
BIRTH OF BOKO HARAM
Mohamed Yusuf, a radical islamist cleric, created Boko Haram in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of the north eastern state of Borno. The group aims to establish a fully Islamic state in Nigeria, including the implementation of criminal Sharia courts across the country/ Paul Lubeck, a university of Califonia professor studying Muslim societies in Africa, says Yusuf is a trained salafist (CS monitor) (A school of thought often associated with jihard), and was strongly influence by Ibn Taymiyyah, a fourteenth country legal scholar who preached Islamic fundamentalism and is considered a major theorist for radical groups in the middle East.
Boko Haram colloquially translated means “western education is sin”, which experts say is a name assigned by the state. The set calls itself “Jama atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda wati Wal Jihad, or “people committed to the propagation of the prophets” teachings and Jihad”. Some analysts say the movement is an outgrowth of the Maitasine riots of the 1980’s and the religious/ethnic tension that followed in the late 1990’s. Many Nigerians believed Yusuf rejected all things western, but Lubeck argues that Yusuf who embrace technology, believed western education should be, Mediated through Islamic scholarship,” such as rejecting the time of evolution and western-style banking.
Before 2009, the group did not aim to violently overthrow the government. Yusuf criticizes northern Muslims for participating in what he saw as an illegitimate, non-Islamic state and preached a doctrine of withdrawal. But violence between Christians and Muslims (A-Jazeera) and harsh government treatment including pervasive police brutality, encouraged the groups radicalization. Human rights watch researcher Eric Guttschuss told news services IRIN that Yusuf gained supporters by speaking out against police and political corruption.”
Boko Haram followers also called yusuffiya, consists largely of hundreds of impoverished northern Islamic students and clerics as well as university students and professionals, many of whom are unemployed. Some followers may also be members of Nigeria’s elites.
In July, 2009, Boko Haram members refuse to follow a motor – bike helmet law, leading to heavy-handed police tactics that set off an armed uprising in the northern state of Bauche and spread into the states of Borno, Yobe, and Kano. The incident was suppressed by the army and left more than eight hundred dead. It also led to the television execution of Yusuf, as well as the deaths of his father in-law and other sect members, which human rights advocates consider to be extra-judicial killings. In the after math of the 2009 unrest, an Islamist insurrection under a “splintered leadership” emerged, says Lubeck. Boko Haram begins to carry out a number of suicide bombings and assassinations from Maiduguri to Abuja, and staged an ambitious prison-break in Bauchi, freeing more than seven hundred inmates in 2010.
In November 2011, the group stages it’s most deadly attack so far, in Maiduguri as well as Yobe’s Damaturu and Potiskum, targeting churches, mosques, banks, and police stations. At least 150 people were reported killed. Novembers violence garnered more international attention for the group, with condemnation from the head of the organization of the Islamic conference, the pope, the UN security council, and UN secretary general. Bombing on Christmas Day 2011 targeting churches and killing dozens raised fear about the possibility of another spate of religious violence (Reuters) between Muslims and Christians.
THE EVOLUTION OF BOKO HARAM (2)
It seems Bauchi State Govenor Isa Yuguda was instrumental in persuading late president Yaradua to curtail the menace of Boko Haram” Yuguda having decamped from PDP to ANPP, duly won the governorship in 2007. He subsequently became Yar’adua’s son in-law, and returned to the PDP, possibly losing some political goodwill in the process. He may have dreaded returning to the electorate in 2011 with “Boko Haram” roaming freely in Bauchi! I have previously noted that having fallen out with the sect, then Borno Governor Modu Sheriff was also eager to see off Boko Haram. When security forces turned on “Boko Haram” between July 26 and 29, 2009, they responded in surprising manner in Maiduguri, they exacted “revenge” in a perverse manner by turning on the nearest Christians.
While under attack from the army and police, Muhammed Yusuf ordered his followers to capture hundreds of Christians. The male captives had a simple choice- renounce your faith or die! For the females, it was renounce your faith or stay as captives, meaning slavery, servitude or worse! The worst treatment was reserved for Christian clergymen-three pastors were be-headed, with the executioners shouting “Allah Akbar” in wild celebration accompanied by celebratory fun fire. Pastor George Orji of Good news church, Wulari Maiduguri was among the three. Muhamed Yusuf personnally urged him to renounce his faith and live, which the pastor rejected and instead actually preached to Yusuf to accept the christain salvation! Incensed, yusuf ordered his immediate slaughter! Fortunately for most of the captives, government prevailed in that confrontation, so most of them were released after Yusuf’s capture.
Once it launched it’s Jihad in 2010, Boko Haram has had four categories of targets-specific Islamic clerics who disagreed with its teaching or methods; government security institutions and personnel, institutions which they considered abhorrent to Islam, particularly hotels and beer parlours; and Christians and/or churches. It is easy to understand why they would attack the first three groups-opposing Islamic clerics could potentially undermine their theology and legitimacy; government and security agencies had attacked them and killed their leaders; the disdain Moslems are supposed to have for alcohol and prostitution is well known. The resort to targeting churches and Christians, who till then had played no part whatsoever in this essentially extra-Muslim quarrel was inexplicable – the then president, governors of all states in which BH were attacked, the then national security adviser, etc, all being Muslims. The trend of BH attacking churches and Christians has since accelerated, rather then declined culminating in the Christmas day 2010 attacks on churches in Jos; 2011 bombing of the madalla church and killings in Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Borno, Bauchi, Niger and plateau states.
As previously stated, one can observe a clear transition from BH when it was pre-occupied with local politics in the North-East and Kano, and the newer version which seems to have a national or even international agenda (evidenced by the attack on the UN headquarters). It is clear that BH has been influence by Nigerian politics in general, and the north-south power struggle that ensued after Yaradua’s death in particular. Indeed it is possible to interpret their January 2 2012 ultimatum on southerners to leave the north in explicit political terms-perhaps an attempt to reverse the April 2011 scenario in which a Christian southerner obtained twenty five percent of the votes or more in most northern states! The objectives of this ultimatum and the northern Nigeria last April. Northern politicians such as Adamu Ciroma, Lawal kaita, Yahaya Kwande, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubaka has made statements which may have contributed towards creating an environment conducive to or indifferent to political violence. Changes in BH’s methods and activities (such as suicide bombing) also suggests a link-up with Al Qaeda.
The body language of some northern leaders (such as Borno elders who spoke out only whenever government took military actions and the initial response of the northern establishment) while not establishing complicity with BH, indicate at least mixed emotions! The Arewa consultative forum (ACF) very recently issued a shocking statement claiming falsely that BH’s ultimatum was in response to earlier one issued by the “south-south” in effect justifying same. The most blatant justification of BH has however
Been the one by CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who claimed to the financial Tunes, that the BH phenomenon was a consequence of divergent federal resource flow’s to the south-south and north-east since the 13 percent derivation principle in 1999. Sanusi ignored any fats that contradicted his logic-Cross-River and Edo states (both in south-south) which gets next to nothing from derivation should then be consume by terrorism; south-west and north-central states who do not benefits from derivation haven’t shown the same tendency; the south-east zone actually receives lower federal allocations than north-east, and how does Sanusi explain pre-1999 religious riots in the north (when northern states took the highest allocations based on population figures) including the 1980. Maitasine crises, or the 1995 beheading of Gideon Akaluka in Kano?
I recommended that any one interested in resolving the crises of poverty unemployment and ignorance in the north, should seek the solution in education, skills acquisition, focus on economics development and avoidance of extremist religious philosophy. The Boko Haram crises has it’s political brinkmanship!!!.
RISING AGAINST THE STATE
The context Boko Haram is easier to talk about than Boko Haram itself”. Injustice and poverty, as well as the belief that the west is a corrupting influences in governance, are all causes of both the desire to implement sharia and Boko Haram’s pursuit of an Islamic state, says experts. The emergence of BH signifies the maturation of long festering extremist impulses that run deep in the social reality of northern Nigeria, “but the group itself is an effect and not a cause; it is a symptom of decades of failed government and elites delinquency finally ripening into social chaos”.
The reintroduction of sharia criminal courts was originally proposed by the governor of the state of the zamfara in 1999, but the proposal quickly became a grassroot movement that led to its adoption in twelve states. Experts say there was widespread “disillusionment with the way shaira was implemented, and that Boko Haram has tapped into this dissatisfaction, promoting the idea that an Islamic state would eliminate the inconsistencies”.
“You punish somebody for stealing a goat or less-but a governor steals billions of naira, and gets off scoff free” says jean Herskovits, an expert on Nigerian politics.
Injustice and poverty, as well as the belief that the west is a currupting influence in governance, are root causes of both the desire to implement sharia and Boko Haram’s pursuit of an Islamic state, say experts.
Corruption is so pervasive in Nigeria that it has turned public service for many into a kind of criminal enterprise Graft has field political violence, denying millions of Nigerians access to even the most basic health and education services, and reinforced police abuses and other wide spread patterns of human rights violation.
The Nigeria police force is responsible for hundreds of extra-judicial killings and disappearances each year across the country that largely go uninvestigated and unpunished”. Human rights advocates notes that the public executions of Boko Haram followers by security forces, including the ones documented by this video (al-jazeera), have yet to produce a conviction. However, the government began in July 2011 to try five police officers connected to Yusuf’s killing and in August 2011 began the court martial of a military commander responsible for troops that killed forty-two sect members during the July 2009 uprising.
THE NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people and nearly 350 ethnic groups speaking 250 languages. The country is about 50 percent Muslim, 40 percent Christian and 10 percent indigenous sects. The country has long grappled with how to govern a diverse nation in which religion is one of the most important features of identity. Some experts argue that the ongoing struggle between Christians and Muslims over political power is a significant factor in the country in the country’s ongoing unrest. This sectarian violence, particularly in the central part of the country where the North and South collude, has killed more than 14, 000 people since 1999.
Others note that Boko Haram has killed more Muslims than Christians. “In a country with a history of polarization between the majority-Muslim North and majority – Christian south, Boko Haram’s message is a polarizing one at the national level and within the Muslim community,” experts also notes that though the northern unrest has been portrayed in a context of extreme religiosity, religious extremism is evident through out Nigeria including among Christians.
Despite a per capita income of more than $2,700 and annual GDP growth of 7 percent, Nigeria has one of the world’s poorest populations. An estimated 70 percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Economic disparities between the North and the rest of the country are particularly stark. In the North, 72 percent in the Niger-Delta.
“An analysis of public investment in infrastructure and human capital in the North east would explain why the region is not only home to flawed elections and economic hopelessness but the Boko Haram insurgency as well,” “In deed most of the apparent ethnic and religious crises in the north, and the youth violence and criminality in the south, can be linked to increasing economic inequality.”
Another crucial factor in economic inequality is oil. The formal politics of northern Nigeria is overwhelmingly dominated by Muslim elites, who have, like their counterparts across the country, benefited from oil wealth at the expense of regional development” He said in an interview with CFR. Or that the central purpose of the Nigerian state is to divide up the country’s oil wealth among elites, making Nigeria’s politics a “zero sum game”. In the oil-producing Delta, for example, groups such as MEND (BBC) (movement for the emancipation of the Niger-Delta)- which has attacked oil infrastructure- are largely an outgrowth of the feeling that the south should get more revenue than it already does.
Although these elites still have access to oil wealth, northern Nigerians fear their political influence in the country is waning. “The Nigerian voices heard most loudly around the world and in Nigeria itself, are Christian and secular, reinforcing the sense among Nigeria’s Muslims that they are invisible”,
The dispute over 2011 election results, which led to over eight hundred dead, also has played a role in Boko Haram’s escalating violence. Experts say many northern Nigerians view the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, as illegitimate, arguing that he ignored an informal power-rotation agreement that should have kept the Muslims as president this round. (Muslim president Umar Musa Yar’dua died in 2010, two years into his four-year term). Voting irregularities during the election as well as effort to change presidential term limits further alienated the north from Jonathan. Some Jonathan supporters argue Boko Harams attacks are an attempt, possibly funded by northern elites, to make the country ungovernable.
TERROR TIES AND POLICY PRESCRIPTIONS
Experts say the prison-break, use of propaganda, and the bombing of police headquarters in June 2011 indicated an increasing level of sophistication and organization, which could point to outside help. In August 2011, U.S officials claimed the group has ties to al-Qaada in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in Northwest-Africa and Al-shabab in Somalia, another militant Islamic group.
Security officials in Nigeria and internationally are concerned that the group has splintered into one that is focused on local grievances and another that is seeking contacts with outside terror groups (WST). “what is most worrying at present is, at least in my view, a clearly stated intent by Boko Haram and by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to coordinate and synchronize (AP) their efforts, said General carter Ham, head of U.S military operations in Africa, noting that such a relationship would be ”the most dangerous thing to happen” to Africans and to U.S interest in the region. A 2011 state department report observes the Nigeria’s national police force has limited capacity to conduct anti-terror operations.
Other experts, such as Lubeck and CFR’s Campbell, questions the extent of the sect’s regional terror ties and say it is unclear which attacks are actually the work of Boko Haram. There is concern that some of the acts may be the work of criminals looking to capitalize on the Mayhem (some of the targets supposedly attacked by Boko Haram have been banks, for instance or perpetrated by other groups hostile to the state. They also argue the group has a legitimate grievance against the country’s security against that international intervention could distract from policy actions needed to address the underlying issues.
Before the U.N Bombing in August 2011, the Nigerian government started to look at solutions similar to its quelling of unrest in the Niger Delta, including negotiation and amnesty. MEND lenders were “bought off” by the government and accepted a ceasefire in 2010. But experts say such a solution is unlikely for a group like book Haram. “The grievances Boko Haram expresses are more diverse, less material, and are explicitly articulated as religious politics”.
Analist Christ Ngwodo argues, kind of federal intervention may be needed, especially in education and health care, and greater pressure may need to be exerted on Northern elites to develop the region. CFR’s Campbell argues that president Jonathan needs gestures, such as naming prominent northern Muslims, to his cabinet, to address northern disaffection.
He and other experts also are particularly concerned about the improving economic opportunity in the region, including greater foreign investments, improving infrastructure, and expanding access to western style education. “The problem in Nigeria is, the government must create the conditions and the incentives, both political and economic, for the people with wealth to invest locally to generate employment”. Britain and Israel have already offered anti-terror assistance, and the U.S military recently discussed sharing intelligence and potentially training security forces (leadership). Human rights and diplomatic officials note that Nigeria’s heavy-handed military approach is compounding their security problem. Compbell warns against too much U.S involvement on the anti-terror front. “If United States becomes associated with Abuja’s oppression, then we and the international community becomes “fair game”, he says, noting that the U.N bombing indicates that it is possible this has already happened.
2.3 THE WAYS OF SOLVING BOKO HARAM MENACE
The government has had varying success in its attempts to tackle the group. It has been able to limit the attacks by the sect to Northern Nigeria. This however seems due to the sect not yet having the south in its sights than to the competency of Nigerian security forces. It has been able to arrest key leaders of the group and engage international support to crush the sect.
Since the 9/11 attacks the global community of this era has had to wage continual warfare against terrorist’s world wide.
The national Orientation Agency (NOA) yesterday said constructive dialogue will help find practical solutions to the spate of bombings carried out by the Boko Haram sect Director General of Agency Mike Omeri represented by Mr. John Tagwai made the remarks during a press conference on the first national conference on terrorism labeled “preventing terrorism in Nigeria; a collective responsibility in Abuja”.
The conference which was put together in conjunction with the State Security Service (SSS) and Home security, a non-governmental organization will hold between May 28 and 30.
The D.G said the current security threats including attacks by the Boko Haram sect will be addressed through unselfish dialogue.
Dialogue remains the only viable means of solving difference. All conflicts in history have always been conflict on history always been finally resolved, not at the battle field but on dialogue table. Let us therefore embrace dialogue to bring to an end the current security challenges facing the nation.
He said the forthcoming conference will create awareness among Nigerians about terrorist activities through national re-orientation.
Chairman, conference local organization committee, retired Brigadier General Shoyemi Sofoluwe said the objective of the up-coming conference is to “focus the minds of decision and policy makers in the country on how best to create policies that will help control the scourge of terrorism, it will also drum up support for the establishment of a national centre of terrorism”.
Nasir el-Rufai, the former minister, Federal Capital Territory, doubts the federal government’s ability to curb Boko Haram menace, saying its fight against the Islamic fundamentalists has been unorganized and fruitless”.
EL-Rujia stated this while delivering a lecture, the challenge of internal security and implications, for National Development Organization by the Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association on Saturday in Ile-Ife. He regarded the wave of violence in parts of the country, blaming the political class for not empowering the youths.
He said, “it is now obvious that the more money the government throws at (solving) Boko Haram (menace), the more Boko Haram attacks”.
Attributing the sects insurgency to social and economic injustice, el-Rujia said provision of employment, education, hospitals and roads would help stop violence in the country.
He said, “The political class has distanced itself from the masses. There is mounting unemployment, rising poverty and social inequality”
The former minister insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan lacked what it takes to solve the Boko Haram crises.
According to him, Nigerians lack faith in the Jonathan administration, they believes it has lied to them. “A good government must not tell lies”. The federal government has no such standard; it tells lies”.
He also condemned the federal governments recent attack on major general Mohammadu Buhari (retd), who said the 2015 general election would be bloody if the PDP rigs.
El- Rufai said, “General Buhari made a conditional statement. If they are planning a good election why are they worried? The PDP must not rig the 2015 election. If the 2015 election is rigged, there will be unintended consequences”.
Advocating strong regional units, el-Rufai said each region should have its police and strong economic base.
He backed the Lagos state government in it’s ongoing face-off with doctors in the state hospitals. He said “it is criminal and unethical for doctors to go strike. It’s only in Nigeria that doctors go on strike. I brought them (doctors) to their kneels and they came to beg. They will beg Fashola next week“.
In a bit to tackle the Boko Haram menace we shall hinge our points on the solutions outlined as follows:
- CHANGE IN IDEOLOGY
- Kill Motivation: the United States recently advice the Nigerian government to improve access to economic opportunities for citizens living in Northern Nigeria if it hopes to put an end to Boko Haram crises. This is as candid as any advice can get. The high level of poverty and illiteracy in the North especially in the North-East is the reason why a lot of the sectarian violence seen in Nigeria has started there (al-majiris in Northern Nigeria).
When the vast majority of people have no future to hope for, when their lives are marked by dehumanizing poverty and they have been raised up in the worst hardships, then it becomes easy to recruit foot soldiers from them in the guise of waging religious warfare.
Southerners may counter that they also are poor, so why then have they not resorted to terrorism? Most people who say this have not seen the form of poverty that exists in the North.
Nowhere in the South do you see children fighting over left-over in restaurants. Nowhere in the South do you see children who live all their live wake up to a life of roaming in search of their next meal. This is the face of poverty in the north.
This is why the region is so wracked by violence. this is why a large majority of its youths abuse drugs. It is why Boko Haram started there rather than some where in Bayelsa.
The government needs to kill motivation of the local populace to support and join Boko Haram sect.
This it can do by rolling out mass education projects all over the North in order to address the mass number of almajiri children. The government will need to accelerate modernization of agriculture and agro-processing in the North in order to create employment and spread income-earning opportunities to Northern citizens.
The government working with religious and traditional leaders must seek to find ways to limit the birth rate in the region which given wide spread poverty is too high to be
Sustainable. At the heart of this approach is the need to empower and protect women in the region. With better education and the right laws that protect girls and women, they will have much better control of reproductive rights.
i Unsettle the Command Structure of the sect:
The government must continually harass the group on every side and keep them on the run.
It must target the leaders of the group and make it difficult for them to co-ordinate with one another. It must maintain a strangle-hold on the organization and prevent it from having unfettered access to easy funding. It must increase exponentially the costs to the group of organizing attacks.
The army should kill suspects only on self-defense. Current headlines that states that security forces kill varying number of suspects are disheartening. Such killings turn the local populace against the government and prevent the security force from having access to intelligence that can serve to forestall future attacks.
The government should co-ordinate with the ECOWAS and the international communities to dislodge AQIM from the Sahara and exterminate the Al-Shabab in Somalia. Current regional and international efforts in this regard are commendable. This will isolate the Boko Haram sect and limit its access to training, arms and funding.
Local politicians who have been shown to be linked to the Boko Haram in the past should be investigated and where appropriate prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others16. Clandestine operations should be embarked upon to do away with religious and political leaders who support the sect and who if arrested and tried publicly may lead to misinterpretation by the populace and possible sectarian strife.
i Citizen participation
They government cannot be every where. The government must therefore empower its people and enable them to be able to protect themselves (Nigeria vigilante). Locals should form vigilante group who will provide surveillance and protection for their respective communities 24/7. Already most of night time security in Nigeria is provided by local vigilante groups. This security should be extended to the day-time hours.
Such an approach is essential given the high level of corruption and job apathy amongst the Nigerian police force.
These vigilantes are to co-ordinate with the formal security outfits so as to ensure prompt intervention and interception by better armed security forces in periods of attacks by the sect.
Such an approach will severely limit the sect’s ability to plant bombs and launch surprise attacks-which are its modus operandi.
ii Punish Erring Security Officers:
All security officers’ involved in extra judicial killings especially of the sect’s leaders and subsequently of friends and relatives of the sect members must be punished according to the dictates of the law. There must be no cover up.
Social justice must be given to victims of the high- handedness of state security.
While fully pursuing the military option the government must at the same time keep the dialogue option open. It must seek actively a means to end the conflict through dialogues. However if the sect continues to be battered by the states security forces they will be motivated to batter the states security force, they will not be motive to negotiate. This is why a vigorous military campaign must continue in order to force the sect to the negotiating table. Violence against the sect must stop once the group renounces all violent tactics.
- Improve Border Controls:
All tight seal must be instituted across all borders crossing within Niger, chad and Cameroon in the North. This will limit the sect’s access to training, funds, men and arms from AQIM and collaborators in the aforementioned countries this will isolate the sect and make it difficult for it to operate.
- Improve Governance:
The Boko Haram sect while being part of the global scourge of terrorism is also a direct result of failure of governance and the breakdown of social values in Nigeria. The use of thugs and private militia led to the militarization of the Boko Haram. Bad governance in spite of availability of windfall funds from high
Cruds oil price has entrenched poverty and helped provide cannon fodders in terms of man power and public bitterness to the sect who have so far made good use of these to further their goals.
The government must improve the access of the people to social justice and must bring to book all past leader that has looted their people.
Victims of sectarian violence and attacks by the sect must be compensated promptly and fairly. Anything short of this is to promote bitterness that will lead to further reprisals in the future.
It must empower its people through the electoral process to choose their leaders without fear of coercion or violence.
With social justice and good governance, the government can fizzle out huge sympathy enjoyed by the sect from vast numbers of the local population.
(Osama Binladin brought terrorism to the front burner of 21st century consciousness).
Terrorism is an idea and ideas are difficult to exterminate. It has scourged mankind for a long time and will continue to do so. It is very unlikely that the Boko Haram group can be defeated militarily. It is therefore necessary that the Nigerian government and its people seek ways to limit the effectiveness of the sect attacks, modify day to day living to cope with this threat and find means to drive the sect underground.
A large country like Nigeria which is also rich in oil must have problems, given the huge importance of oil to the modern economy and need for other countries to trade what they have for it. It should not be beyond belief that foreigners may be deliberately encouraging discord in Nigeria in order to exchange arms and ammunition for the nation’s mineral wealth.
Also given Nigeria’s large population it must have a fair distribution of good and bad people and as it urbanizes and partakes in the fruits of globalization, it must as a matter of fact have to deal with developmental challenges as the Boko Haram.
The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency must seek to quickly resolve the Boko Haram menace, before foreign involvement especially from which Africa and the Middle East which are currently embroiled in internal crises, expand it’s reach and potential for destruction.