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Boko Haram means terror

THERE is no let-off to the mindless and  incessant attacks on innocent citizens by Boko Haram, a faceless group of blood-thirsty sadists marauding as new day Jihadists.

Distressing images of gory deaths, lost limbs, arms and eyes as well as wanton destruction of properties mostly churches in the North-Eastern part of the country, notably in Maiduguri, the Bornu State capital, is what Nigerians are being forced to endure. The sect has made incursions into Bauchi, Kaduna and Niger states. They are getting more daring by the day.

Last month’s attack on Force Headquarters, Abuja underline their potency and leaves no one in doubt that they are able to strike at any target in the country and it appears our security forces are hamstrung to deal with their menace.

Unsubstantiated claims that members of this notorious sect are enlisted among our security operatives, if true, must instil fear and sheer terror in us all. No one knows where or when the next bomb will go off. Effectively, Nigerians are being held hostage in their own country by their own people although foreign involvement in this terror campaign against Nigerians cannot be ruled out.

In the run-up to the last elections, large caches of arms capable of mass destruction believed to have been imported from Iran were seized at the ports. Did our security forces bother to establish if that was part of an orchestrated plan to what is presently being played out? Were those behind it identified and brought to book? This is Nigeria’s own war on terror.

Terrorism breeds fear, mass terror and insecurity which compel their targets to capitulate and succumb to unreasonable demands. Nigerians are watching with bated breath to see if the Federal Government will cower to terror or take a stand against an unholy blackmail.

Bombs and guns not bows and arrows, are the key weapons being used by Boko Haram to wage its war of terror on Nigerians. Bomb as a terror weapon entered the lexicon of Nigerians when it was first used, peace time, to brutally terminate the life of a defenceless Nigerian patriot and frontline journalist, Dele Giwa on October 19, 1986 during the regime of maverick military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida.

Dele Giwa’s gruesome murder via a parcel bomb was the defining moment that heralded the use of bomb as a terror weapon rather than the struggles of NADECO against the despotic regime of maximum ruler, Sani Abacha or the Niger Delta restiveness as erroneously posited by the impeached former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa. He had claimed bombing started with NADECO and MEND.

In the confessions made by the Boko Haram bandits arrested with their leader Mohammed Yusuf in 2009, most of them cannot read or write, they cannot even read the Holy Quran which they purportedly want our secular country to adopt!

It is obvious these bands of itinerant dregs have some collaborators with bomb-making skills who are able to package bombs, possibly as sponsors who understand terrorism as a modern political tactic. It is inconceivable that illiterates could gather bomb-making materials, assemble them as bombs and use it to maximum effect. Using them as couriers who deliver these deadly weapons, all their sponsors would have had to do is to indoctrinate the mumus, what a fool believes, he sees. Karl Marx once said that “religion is the opium of the people”.

The economic reality on ground is, to say the least, harsh. There is massive unemployment and poverty literally walks on four legs. Power remains an intractable problem, there is infrastructural decay and the cost of living is simply prohibitive.

Those in employment earn pittance compared to the ruling elites. While the NLC is struggling to secure N18,000 as the minimum wage for Nigerian workers, our lawmakers are pushing for the maximum increase in their salaries and allowances which already put salaries of lawmakers in the developed world in the shade! A fairer and more equitable distribution of our country’s wealth among our people is one sure way to prune the staggering gap between the elites and the common man. It is a panacea for peace, development and harmony.

But, it is dishonest to adduce these as the reasons for the nefarious activities of Boko Haram bandits as advanced by their apologists. Based on empirical study or cognisance fact, Boko Haram’s terror bears no semblance, direct or implied to either the Tunisian Intifada or the Egyptian Intifada. Both were intensive campaign of civil disobedience for meaningful change.

They were mainly non-violent, the violence recorded were by the security forces against demonstrators from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds. Consequently, the geriatric regimes of Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak were toppled by people’s collective action.

Whereas Boko Haram’s stated goal is to impose Sharia on everybody, Muslims, Christians, indigenous African faith believers and atheists in Nigeria, from the semi-arid Bornu to Lagos and from the Sokoto Caliphate to Eket! Boko Haram literally means “Western education is sin”. Their ridiculous slogans are “Education is prohibited”, “Western education is banned”.

Judging by their atrocities, Boko Haram means terror. Its members and sponsors are a mob of scoundrels. Eye-witness accounts claimed to have spotted some of them wearing jeans and T-shirts while bringing terror to bear on innocent people!

They are oblivious that these clothing are indices of Western pop-culture. Some of their field officers were also seen wearing jackets from kitchen-boys suits, the type that doesn’t fit anybody. As an avowed group that is against Western culture, one would have expected them to wear kaftans! It was also beyond them that guns and bombs were inventions from the Western world.

Mr. AKIN OJO,  a  journalist, wrote from London.


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