Nigerians at home and around the world were horrified, shocked, and infuriated by the recent suicide car bomb blasts at the Police headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital last week that claimed about eight lives, wounded several people, and destroyed about eighty vehicles. Bomb blasts in Nigeria are not new.
It began with the letter-bomb that killed one of Nigeria’s finest journalist and Editor-in-chief of Newswatch magazine, Mr. Dele Giwa in the late 80’s. Since then, there has been many. However, the suicide-bomb explosion at the nation’s Police headquarters is a new phenomenon borrowed from Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. The suicide bomb assault at the Police headquarters in Abuja is not just a new tactics by the militant Muslim sect known as Boko Haram, but a national disgrace on the security forces and agencies in the country.
It is also interesting to note that the attack came two days after IGP, Hafiz Ringim boasted about crushing the radical sect. Two days into the empty boast, the IGP was running for his dear life. What a shame that the suicide terrorist acts occurred right in his nose at the nation’s police headquarters. To add insult to injury, the group is calling Police Chief Hafiz Ringim to apologize and resign, bragging that they have better intelligence and weapons than the police. This is interesting and unfortunate situation for a nation that has just conducted and celebrated one of the freest and finest democratic elections since its history – thus renewing the hope that most Nigerians have waited for half a century. But with this new militancy of suicide bomb attacks by Boko Haram, Nigeria has truly become a nation of hope and hopelessness.
Who are the Book Harams? Who are the groups and people behind Boko Haram? What does Boko Haram really want? What can Jonathan’s government do to fight this war on terror?
Who are the Boko Harams?
To understand this sect, one must study the radical Muslim sect, what they think, and what is important to them, what moves them and what motivates them. Understanding the fundamental Islamic theology and culture is paramount important here. In a nutshell, Boko Haram is a radical Islamic sect, who sees America as “Great Satan and Israel as “Little Satan and Western education as “Evil.” Boko Haram is an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, etc – a conglomeration of radical Muslim adherents determined to kill infidels and enthrone the “Rule of Allah.” The Boko Haram is headquartered in Borno State, and has strongholds in several Northern States. The Muslim Brotherhood is headquartered in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, and Taliban in Afghanistan.
Boko Haram currently has operations in several states around the North. The militant sect is a part of global terrorist organization determined to annihilate Israel, destroy America and enthrone Islam as worldwide faith. It was rumored that the suicide bomb blast in Abuja may have been sponsored by Yemen group and suicide bomber probably came from Somalia, another hot spot of al-Qaeda and its operatives. The former leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, who was taken out last May by the U.S. Navy Seals, used to live in Somalia.
Who are the groups behind Boko Haram?
The people behind Nigeria’s Boko Haram are the following - Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Hezbollah. Together these militant groups operate in nearly fifty nations around the world. The Northern States of Nigeria have became a hot spot for Al-Qaeda operatives since after the September 11, 2001, when CNN showed pictures of almajaris jubilating in the Northern Nigeria praising Allah is Great for the dastardly twin towers bombing in NY that claimed three thousand lives. Some radical Islamic scholars see the U.S. as an imperialist that is policing the world. They detest the U.S. global power, influence, freedom, leadership in the world and her way of life. They preach and brainwash the young and poor almajaris into believing that the United States is an evil empire – the Great Satan and any attack on her guarantees them seven angels in heaven. It is no wonder that the young Mutallab, a silver-spoon fed and Ivy League educated Nigerian kid wanted to end his life early in order to be married to these illusory beautiful angels in heaven.
Also, I must not exonerate some Northern political cabals, who perceive that they are loosing control of the Nigerian pie and feel that this is the way to create confusion, chaos, and crisis and then blame the government for its inability to govern. Basically discredit and destabilize the current government making it ungovernable. Boko Haram is like the ongoing “intifada” against the Jewish State and their dream and desire is to over-throw Judaism, Christianity and impose the “Rule of Allah.” Unfortunately, most of the educated Nigerians especially from the South-west, Southeast and South-south are so myopic in their thinking that they do not see the religious struggle but blame poverty and illiteracy. In short, the whole discussion about forging unity of Nigeria is only made by the Southerners. The Northerners only make that case when they are at the helm of affairs. There is no doubt that Nigeria’s diversity is her strength and her diverse gifts and talents – if properly managed have enormous opportunity to position Nigeria to be a great nation. All of us want to live in peace, but unfortunately, ethnicity, tribalism, corruption, demonic leadership, religious intolerance and religious ignorance are some of the nation’s dilemma.
What does Boko Haram sect really want?
As you know last May, the United States Navy Seals took out the leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Even , though the United States president, Mr. Barack Obama, in several speeches has said that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, which is true, but since September 1, 2001, the U.S. to this very day are definitely at war with Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, Taliban in Afghanistan and Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen.
However, it is important that we differentiate between the good practicing Muslims from these radical and irresponsible followers of a diatribe Islamic faith. There are about 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide with a few violent, while the vast majority is not. This diatribe have a very literal interpretation of Qur’an and believe in Islamic theology that is inconsistent with Western values – capitalism, market economy, freedom of idea, thought, pluralism, liberalism, democracy, etc. They are inherently violent and practice repressive ideology and theology whose goal is to subjugate or destroy every other political, economic and moral system to the “Rule of Allah” on worldwide scale. They believe that killing infidels - Jews and Christians will usher in the second coming of the 12th Imam and the entire world will bend to its knee of Islam – a copycat prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The sect also believes that the countdown to the annihilation of the empires of power and wealth of the U.S. and the West has started. The method is to escalate the process by more terrorist attacks and suicide bomb blasts. The good Muslims are the victims of this dangerous sect. While it is true that there are Muslims who adhere and promote tolerance, love and peace, Boko Haram sect and its sponsors are very violent with imperialist ideology and terrorist tendencies.
Since September 11, 2001, I have lived through Islamic terror attacks and pictures of Muslims rampaging around the world. I also understand Islam’s animating role in the terror and subversion designed to extend Islamic law (Sharia) to a point where an Islamic government, or caliphate, rules the world. To pursue their aspiration and goal, the rich Middle-east Muslim billionaires and States are sponsoring Islamic scholars and Imams to establish Mosques around the world – Africa, Europe, America and off course Asia. They are assimilating creed with moderate Islam and gradually transforming the countries in which they reside. Some data and facts collected form Middle East Quarterly shows that these Mosques teach and distribute Islamic literature that advocates violence – writings said to be worded by his founder, Prophet Mohammed.
Recently, in the U.S. some Muslims went to court seeking for the introduction of Sharia laws in the one of the cities in America. I can only imagine what would happen if Sharia law is invoked in a highly respected Constitutional democracy and Christian country like the U.S. and what can ensue if the U.S. courts cave in to such demeaning and discriminatory set of laws that will be inconsistent with civil laws of the land but also discriminates against women. The Sharia law discriminates against women and treats them like slaves. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to go to school and drive cars among other enslavement regulations. Can you imagine that being the case in the U.S. England, or even in Nigeria?
How can Jonathan’s government fight this war on terror? - A clarion call for courageous leadership
I agree with President Jonathan that this is a global war – “War on Terror” as former president, George W Bush called it. Nevertheless, it is also an act of cowardice on the part of the Federal Government to be considering amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect – trying to extend an olive branch to members of a dangerous and militant sect to persuade them to lay down their arms and embrace peace. Boko Haram is not the same as Niger Delta struggle or even the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra and the Oodua Peoples Congress. MASSOB, CPC and other non-violent groups are fighting against marginalization, environmental degradation, economic justice, etc. The Boko Haram is a militant sect determined to end Western way of life and enthrone Islamic Rule of Allah and it seems to me that the various leader groups in Nigeria do not have the courage to say it and deal with the truth.
The pressure on President Jonathan and his administration is enormous. President Jonathan must buckle up. He must toughen up on security and reshuffle the police and other security agencies if needed to crush this murderous sect. To be president and leader of a nation is not a joke. It is a serious job with tough and decisive decisions to make. The President must not seek to please everyone – unless he wants to fail. He must be strong enough to step on some toes. I was disappointed to watch the president smiling and showing the world his beautiful set of white teeth while touring the Abuja Police headquarters recently after the suicide bomb blasts. That is not the best expression of anger and furor over such shameful act of cowardice and impunity. President Jonathan needs to brush up on presidential etiquette. I expected him to grind his teeth and issue a stern warning that enough is enough and that his administration will no longer tolerate this foolishness, while promising Nigerians at home and overseas as well as foreigners that his administration will get to the bottom of this recent murderous attacks and destruction.
Nigerians must brace up for this new phenomenon - suicide bombings unless this government and successive governments muster the courage to dismantle and defeat this murderous sect. The Federal government must as a matter of urgency partner with the U.S., CIA, FBI and Israel Mossad for intelligence sharing and sophisticated techniques with modern technological weapons to detect and take out Boko Haram operatives around the nation. The Nation’s emergency and security agencies must be trained and have the preparedness to evacuate and save lives during these kinds of attacks. It has been the tactics and strategy of radical Islamic fundamentalists to use force and terror to dominate and rule the world. We must brace up for it. I am not all too afraid to say that since the beginning of this century, the world has been fighting what I perceive as “World War 111.” Some pundits may refute and argue against it. But we are fighting a “Global War on Terror.”
Nigeria – being almost a 50/50 and according to some survey 60/40 Christian-Muslim nation is not an exception to this radical idea and determination to impose the “Rule of Allah” and usher in the coming of the Twelfth Imam. There are already some forms of Sharia laws in all the Northern States of the federation. The FCT and few States in the Southwest may be targets. The CBN governor, a passionate Islamic scholar, is already pushing for the establishment of Islamic banks in Nigeria. What else do we expect? The conspiracy is ongoing and the United States prophecy may just be around the corner. We must stand in the gap for the nation. We must pray for President Jonathan and his administration to take bold steps and strategies to counter these terrorist attacks and conspiracies – otherwise, suicide bombing and terrorism will add to the nation’s moral dilemma and we might as well convene quickly to resolve our forced unity amicably like the Sudanese before it is too late. I agree with the Senate President, David Mark, who said, “The spate of bomb blasts if not stopped may destroy Nigeria.”
May God keep and bless Nigeria and Nigerians! Amen.
Dr. C. K. Ekeke is a theologian, author, consultant and leadership scholar