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Need for a total war on terror

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GOING by indications, it would seem that the Federal Government has finally risen to its patriotic obligation to root out the people funnelling illicit funds to the various terror networks undermining the security of Nigerians.

This is the 12th year since Boko Haram spun out of control in Borno State after its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was extrajudicially killed in Police custody. Since then, a ragtag band of Islamist agitators has morphed into a monster occupying the top two spots in the Global Terrorism Index in recent years.

To worsen matters, Boko Haram splinter groups have brought the defeated Islamic State groups in Syria and Iraq to North East Nigeria, thwarting all efforts being made to end our war against terror. In fact, more terror groups, particularly the so-called bandits and armed herders have seized many states in the North West, North Central, South East, South-South and South West.

They have been raiding communities, killing, kidnapping for ransom (especially students), raping women, forcibly occupying people’s lands and forests and making infuriating claims of ethnic “ownership” of Nigeria.

Their activities in the Southern parts of the country have raised enough tension to warrant the formation of self-defence mechanisms by some regional and ethnic interests due to perceived condonation of their activities by the Federal Government.

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The reported crackdown, coming about five months after some Nigerians were jailed in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, raises a number of questions. Why is it coming at this juncture of the Muhammadu Buhari dispensation? What have our myriads of security agencies which are mandated to proactively prevent terror and fish out those already active in its financing, been doing all this while?

Have they come to shut the barn doors after the horses have escaped? The most important issue is that the federal administration has tended to be whimsical in its projection of what it classifies as a terror group.

It sees Boko Haram, the North West bandits and the Indigenous People of Biafra (even when it had not floated its self-defensive Eastern Security Network, ESN) as terrorists, but portrays the much more dangerous armed herdsmen attacks as a mere “crisis” between herders and farmers.

Are we also going to see the supporters and financiers of the armed herdsmen fished out and brought to book while the armed illegal occupants of our forests are flushed out? It is only a holistic crackdown on all forms of terror financing that will be meaningful.

Going after Boko Haram and bandits’ financiers alone while allowing armed herdsmen to continue marauding the Middle Belt and the South amounts to a mere shadowboxing and a waste of valuable national time and resources. The broom must sweep clean.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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