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BOKO HARAM : Keeping the lid on pandora’s box

By Abdul kabir Nasir Al Asfar
Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology was given a box; a box that contained the world’s evil, when she opened it, evil escaped into the world and the only item left in the box was HOPE.

This is definitely not a treatise on mythology, but it completely summarises what the Nigeria Security forces did sometimes in July, when they successfully put down the insurrection against the Nigerian state (albeit with sorrow, tears and blood) by the Boko Haram militants.

The leader of the group, Muhammad Yusuf, was glaringly extra-judicially murdered (as were many others) by men of the Nigerian police (if footage by Al-Jazeera is anything to go by). And that was actually the opening of Pandora’s box as this had led to faceless, criminal bandits taking up arms against the Nigerian state.

Since then, hundreds of innocents have lost their lives in an asymmetric war of serious proportion, some at the hands of police officers or military men like the young youth corper (an Easterner) who was shot dead even after allegedly showing his I.D card that he was a serving corper, while most have died at the hands of this pseudo-Islamic sect whose warped logic and seriously askew understanding of Islam make them a threat to all-whether Muslim or Christian. Nigeria as an entity has had myriad of problems; bad leadership, corruption, lack of security and the list goes on, and courageously, Nigerians have weathered them all. This present crisis is one we don’t want or need.

I recently had a discussion with an old friend (an old comrade from our days in the student movement) who sought my opinion on the Boko Haram problem, after some explanations, he told me point blank “I am afraid……..even of beggars”. This summarises the feelings of a lot of Nigerians who would become uncomfortable on seeing a Muslim especially one with a beard or a Muslim sister with her jilbab (outer covering worn by Muslim women) for fear that he or she might be a member of this dreaded sect.

What’s really amazing is that Muslims themselves are seriously afraid of the antics of this misguided sect and, of course, the responses that follows by members of the Nigerian Security Apparatus. As I put my pen to paper, I have gathered that the S.S.S. has picked up people for yet undefined reasons in connection to the Boko Haram lunacy, for some of them their crime was going to study in Yemen. Some are already weeks in detention with no apparent effort to bring them to a judicial process.

This is not the way to end this lunacy. Secret arrests, torture, extra judicial killings, fire and brimstone doesn’t end this type of problem. Simple law enforcement does; common-sensical investigations of the finances, equipments used for these attacks will do, intelligence gathering will also do. But would the police or the S.S.S listen? Blood thirsty sects like the Boko Haram are a danger in any society, they tend to infuriate the state security apparatus into unintelligible acts of retaliations which would fuel the circle of violence by further radicalizing mainstream Muslims.

Would the police or S.S.S listen?

The way forward is to:

(a) Identify the pattern of attacks: these people strike where they find security lacking.

(b) Track their sources of finance: can ordinary criminals buy and use SUV’s in attacks?

(c) Gather intelligence by liasing with mainstream Muslim groups across the nation to study the ideology of this group and kill it effectively by discrediting it’s ideology as heretic, abhorrent and antithetical to the Islam preached by the holy prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and practised by the pious predecessors.

(d) Law enforcement and open trial of those arrested for these criminal activities (on both sides) would be the coup-de-grace.

Even if the S.S.S and the police aren’t listening, let us pray and hope.

Oh, even as I said earlier, hope was the only thing left in Pandora’s box.


Femi Gbajabiamila had the privilege to have a national honour but has turned it down. The man, a leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives for ACN, should have had the (OFR) Officer of the Federal Republic but he has rejected his nomination. He saw the list has many “rotten eggs” on it every other year which has “reduced what otherwise was a well intended and noble idea to a national joke”.

Two years ago, he authored and sponsored a Bill in the House of Representatives. He then sought to reform the process by which the honours were awarded. The rejection of the honour is a kind of protest. The lawmaker wrote: “National honours anywhere in the world are reserved exclusively for those who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field of endeavour and that such dinstinction have stood them apart and head and shoulders above their peers contributing to the political, economic or social development of the country”.

This is not all-comers as in Nigeria.

Mr 122/3

Richard Akinjide (SAN) was 80 years we are told. It sounds so ancient. He has been around for such a long time. What is clear is that he never played in the mainstream of Western politics. He was federal Minister of Education and also Minister of Justice and Attorney-General. And he profited by it. He was famous for his 122/3 theory and he is talking about all flawed elections particularly the presidential-from Shagari, to Obasanjo to Yar’adua and now Jonathan.


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