The latest crisis in Nigeria within the last two weeks or  so has no doubt been the Boko haram uprising in a  number of states in the north. It started almost  immediately after the MEND Atlas cove attack and  subsequent declaration of a 60 day ceasefire in their  armed struggle.

The timing of this latest uprising in the north, the type  of people involved and the unusual rapid response of  the Federal Government (FG) should be suspicious to  the discerning.

The FG of Baba 'go slow' Umaru Yar'adua has responded  quickly and forcefully and all indications are that the  uprising is over - at least for now. Also suspicious are  the extra judicial killings in police custody, of two  leaders of the insurrection; Muhammad Yusuf as well as  Buji  Foi. It is obvious to even a retarded child that they  were both silenced to prevent them from revealing  sensitive information such as who their sponsors are,  how extensive are their branch networks etc.

The same FG has done nothing for example about the  radical sharia, complete with an illegal hisbah force in  the northern state of Kano. In Kano, the hisbah force is  even more powerful than the constitutional Nigerian  police force, yet the FG which chants the rule of law as a  mantra, has not raised a finger against this act of  treason. The same FG has been relatively slow to react against other forms of  uprising in Jos for example.

So why this speed of response in the Boko haram issue  especially at this time?

The first thing that becomes clear is that the Boko  haram guys are expendable. They are like cannon fodder in a much bigger play; sacrificial pawns in a larger  chess game. Their cause is also easy to dismiss. It  lacks  for example the long term domination and creeping boa  constrictor effect  of radical sharia rule on non muslims  in a so called secular Country as obtains in Kano state;  for make no mistake, the ultimate intent of the muslim  north has always been to establish the same type  of sharia as in Kano NATIONWIDE. The Boko haram boys  let this much slip when they said they want sharia not  only in the north but in THE WHOLE COUNTRY!.  The much more long term and better organised Kano islamic domination and emasculation of fellow  Nigerians of  different religious persuasions  has  therefore been conveniently overlooked by our Federal  Government of the North, while the  crude, less efficient  and expendable Boko haram boys have been crushed  with military force.

The second and far more deadly reason is to create a  precedent. This sacrificial precedent will be particularly   useful for our FG in setting up a  'final  solution'  to the MEND Niger delta problem. It is important of   course to stress that while the MEND struggle is a  legitimate one, the Boko haram one is not so even by  the wildest stretch of the imagination. The long term  degradation of the Niger delta through oil spillage and  gas flaring and the suffering  of the  people of the  region which produces the bulk of national revenue  surely qualifies as a crime against humanity which  should be resisted. The Boko haram uprising of  fundamentalist  islamic hegemony cannot in any way be  compared to the legitimate struggle of MEND for equity  within the Nigerian polity.  The MEND struggle is not a  short term matter that can be solved by shallow  placebos such as amnesty, or a 10 billion Naira  emergency appropriation to be spent on anyone who  claims to be a 'militant', or a meaningless Ministry of  the Niger delta which is headquartered in Abuja and  other inanities. The MEND struggle is a symptom of a  much deeper disease that has plagued the Nigerian  geographical expression for decades. A holistic solution  is required and a serious and sincere Government would  by now be urgently addressing and correcting the  glaring anomalies in the system. I am referring to  anomalies such as the signing of a Trans sahara gas  pipeline deal to send gas from the Niger delta  and up thousands of kilometres through NORTHERN Nigeria  and as far as up to Algeria and Europe, at a time when  there is not yet enough gas to power our gas thermal  electricity plants at home and when the Niger delta  source itself is in flames and the people alienated from  the nation. Or the sacking of several top southerners  from the NNPC and their replacement with mostly  northerners. Or the publishing and sincere implementation  of the Ledum Mittee led committee white paper on  solutions to the Niger delta problem. Or inviting all  stakeholders including Niger delta groups as well as Oil  Industry professionals to have an input into a real  people driven Petroleum Industry Bill as opposed to a  Northern dominated  executive bill. Or correcting such  glaring ethnic bias whereby the Petroleum Trust  Development  Fund (PTDF) as well as the Education  Trust Fund (ETF) - both funded directly or indirectly by  oil revenue from the Niger delta -  are, and have been  mostly headed exclusively by Northerners. Or a return  to the true fiscal Federalism of the Nigerian founding  fathers where each region kept a reasonable part of the revenue  generated therein thus creating a situation where the  true virtues of initiative, healthy rivalry, hard work and  self  determination moved each region forward to the  realisation of their potential. And several others too  many to mention.....

Only a genuine and sincere addressing of these  fundamental issues - as opposed to reactive and symbolic  bribes designed to maintain a parasitic status quo - will  bring lasting peace and progress to the Niger delta and  to Nigeria.

The 60 day MEND ceasefire will end soon enough and  it is conceivable that under certain conditions, MEND  may take up arms again. The Umaru Yar'adua FG has  cunningly used the Boko haram affair to create a  precedent for military force by executive fiat. It is  noteworthy to read these words of President Yar'adua  about the Boko haram  martial crackdown ; "I want to  assure that this administration will not tolerate any  arms insurrection ANYWHERE and in ANY part of the  country. ANYWHERE ANY group of people begin to  launch an insurrection and destruction against their  fellow Nigerians they will be dealt with squarely and  promptly."  Strong preparatory words!

The Northern dominated FG is now in a position to   claim that having  used the military to crush the Boko  haram boys in the north, the same  military force  should also be used to crush militants in the Niger  delta. The door is now open for extra judicial executions  of the likes of Jomo Gbomo, Asari Dokubo, Tom Polo and  co., to 'balance the equation' of the extra judicial  murders of  Muhammad Yusuf and Buji Foi , much in the  same way as  Moshood Abiola was murdered to 'balance  the equation' of the death of  Sani Abacha. 

It is also a  crude attempt to retroactively launder  executive genocides such as those against ordinary  civilians at  Gbaramatu,  while preparing a ready made  template for such martial action in other  potentially  hot spots such as Jos or maybe even Lagos in view of  the Local Government issue.

This piece is basically a call to put the discerning on  alert and on inquiry. It is more difficult for oppressors  to effect their sinister plans when those plans have  been found out and exposed well in advance. As Fela  sang, "any time they want to hit you, na from back". It  is not so easy to hit a man from the back if he has been  alerted .

Umaru Musa Yar'adua and co  take note. If this is your plan, we see you!. We are watching and we are ready!!.

You may also like

Read Next