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!!.