Whether the insurgent leader in Nigeria is dead, alive or in purgatory, this unacceptable level of violence against the people of Nigeria, the shocking vigilance to create instability in the North Eastern part of the country, the persecution, oppression, threats to people, the crimes, cannot be accepted under any circumstance whatsoever.
This good for nothing, barbaric, ignorant, repulsive, misguided, abhorrent assassins, who could almost be described as being under some fallacy that they have been cast as the antagonists in the most violent of the Quentin Tarantino movies must realize that the atrocities they continue to commit cannot be forgiven, forgotten and can certainly not go unanswered.
It is best we get clear at this point; any talk of amnesty in this particular instance should not ever be mentioned every again. Kidnapping girls from schools, beheading people, massacring families, planting bombs in public places where Nigerians, who are already suffering, gather by vagabonds no better than ignorant and illiterate area boys has got to stop.
Are you kidding me? Every single day, all we hear is news of bombings, kidnappings, towns being taken over, people being beheaded. Are we living in the times of political and ideological mass killings by the Khmer Rouge communist rulers in Cambodia where an estimated 3,000,000 were slaughtered? Or maybe the situation during World War I when an estimated 65,000,000 people were killed would be more appropriate to describe what is happening in Nigeria presently, given the unsteady situation with the Ebola virus and Spanish flu epidemic that raged during World War I. In recent times, Nigerians have used the term ‘enough is enough’ but one must say, at no other time has the usage of that term been more appropriate than now because these murders, this madness, this evil… is ENOUGH!
As for that recent illicit declaration of a Caliphate, despite the denunciation, shock and horror of every Muslim nation, Muslim cleric, Muslim organization and Muslim person that understands the message of peace and peaceful coexistence that Islam preaches, it is unacceptable. These pieces of dung and buffoons really do think they are carrying out a global script don’t they? Probably watching the activities of ISIS, this group really do think they are part of some synchronized global movement to claim religious authority over Muslims and Non-Muslims and aspire to bring Muslim-inhabited regions under their direct political control; compelling people under the penalty of death, torture and mutilation, wickedly beheading foreign journalists, stealing peoples children to declare a false Islamic creed and to live under their own warped, incorrect, draconian interpretation of Sharia law.
Up until this point, in Nigeria, from the beginning of this macabre dance, it seemed as if the government had somewhat undermined itself when it came to confronting the insurgents. We saw this best when the issue of amnesty came up. That offer of amnesty, by the government, at that time may have been the weakest point for the authorities in this conflict. By virtue of the fact that, at no time had the insurgents shown any interest in amnesty or dialogue, the offer by government could have been interpreted as an act of desperation, confusion and fear. To many, the offer of amnesty was characterized as a blunder, which exposed a weakness on the part of a government that was almost groveling for dialogue with an unwilling party.
To a sadistic, egotistical psychopath such as that dead or undead insurgent leader, he would have seen this as a victory and certain confirmation to continue in his misgiven bloodletting quest. The fact of the matter was that, despite its best intention, the government tried to negotiate to end the conflict, which in itself was proper. However, the mistake government made was, it made those efforts from a position of weakness. And not only did the insurgents reject the olive branch extended by government, they laughed in the face of it. This, no doubt, would have only boosted the confidence and arrogance of the insurgents and given non-insurgent members within those communities the impression that government was the weaker party out of the two. The fallout of this would have been less resistance by ordinary members in each of the communities the insurgents would infiltrate. And with less resistance, the insurgents would be able to cover more ground and indoctrinate more members. Perhaps, had the government plummeted havoc from the air, ground and all around the insurgent hideouts, their forests and exerted more pressure on them before making the offer for amnesty, the response from the insurgents may have been different.
Alas, it is encouraging to see that the Nigerian Army has finally stepped up to ensure that this group faces a crushing response. That act of declaring a Caliphate in itself was tantamount to treason and a declaration of war. Such a declaration in a sovereign nation is a treasonable act of secession. In the provisions of the United Nations Charter, international law has always held the right to self-determination at a high standing because its recognition is vital for the effective guarantee and observance of individual human rights and for the promotion and strengthening of those rights. However, the right to self-determination as a group right applies to the people of a State wholly and not severally. So as long as majority of the population are opposed to “political autonomy” or such a declaration of a Caliphate, those who made the declaration have essentially committed an act of treason.
At this stage, every single Nigerian should have a clear understanding that when it comes to this present insurgency we are currently dealing with, there is no political, tribal, ethnic or religious divide or side; there are only Nigerians who want to live in peace and those who want to carry out horrendous, despicable acts against other Nigerians. Now, let us all be clear on that; there are only two sides here- There are the insurgents; including suicide bombers, arms traffickers equipping the insurgency, insurgent sponsors, conspiracy theorists who intentionally and wickedly mislead the public in order to fuel the insurgency, fifth columnists hiding under the guise of and committing crimes in the name of the insurgents, those who are carrying out heinous acts against innocent people on one side and then there are Nigerians; including the army, the ruling party, the opposition, the media, the bring back our girls and all human rights campaigners, unions, civilians and every other peace loving Nigerian on the other side. That is just it; two single sides! And every single Nigerian is on one side or the other… you take your pick!
I have never been down with capital punishment; it is not a concept I will ever advocate for. And to watch the elimination of people, no matter how bad those people, has never been something I have had the heart or stomach for. But in this situation, one has come to terms with the fact that one must adopt a different way of thinking because we are not living in a time of peace but one of war!
Someone once said, “DENIAL is not just a river in Egypt…” And you best believe General Theophilous Danjuma (retired) hit the nail smack on the head when he recently stated that Northern Nigeria is facing a civil War. He warned that, the activities of the insurgents; kidnappings and other social vices in the north were drifting the region swiftly into a civil war and anarchy. And that is the bottom line; that presently Nigeria is embroiled in a war. And if there was anybody out there under the belief that a state of war is not what we are seeing and facing now, then they had better start calling themselves ‘Cleopatra,’ because that would really make them… the ‘Queen-of-DENIAL!’
If we continue to deny the reality of what is happening in the North East, semi-turn a blind eye whenever there is a gap in violence and if we don’t do everything in our power to crush this insurgency in the shortest possible time, once and for all, then there is no telling how far or how deep this madness is going to consume even those of us not near the hot spots.
Whatever support the government and the army needs to end this anarchy and lawlessness, Nigerians must be ready to give it to them, no matter our personal feelings towards the government, political affiliations or any ethnic and religious prejudices we may harbor- remember--two sides! No clusters of leaders from different regions should continue to throw daggers at each other or apportion blame to each other at this present time. If we want to continue playing nasty games with each other like unruly, unsupervised kids in a muddy play ground or do the ‘jedi-mind-trick’ all in the aspiration of victory for the 2015 election, by all means we can do that, but just not now! Let us put all that on hold, all our differences aside and come together to find a solution to this particular challenge. When this war is over; when these terrible, pieces of low-life, mindless kidnappers, marauders and murdering scum, no better than the dirt at the bottom of the first shoe that President Jonathan wore as a child, have been completely eliminated, then those who choose to, can go back to engaging in their petty political, regional and ethnic shenanigans.
One can’t deny the fact that, whatever or whoever is behind these insurgents, instead of confronting the issue for the threat it was and persecuting the criminals irrespective of their identity, most Nigerians were embroiled in creating conspiracy theories and playing the elaborate blame-game. Some dwelled in the notion that Boko Haram is a born-to-rule Northern agenda, formed in order to make Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency insufferable and stop his bid in 2015. Others maintained that Boko Haram is indeed a South-South or Presidency’s agenda, formed in order to exterminate Northerners and further cripple the North. The sect and its leader have increasingly thrived in this ambience of blame games and conspiracy theories best shown by making incredibly aggravating, taunting and euphoric statements via YouTube videos.
Overheating the polity further, the two major political parties also joined in the theatrics, accusing one another of facilitating the growth, and sponsors of the dastard sect for their selfish agenda. As these tomfooleries went on, the insurgency had a window to grow and fester until it grew out of hand, grew into the hydra-headed monster they are today.
There is no doubt, the greatest concern at this very time has got to be the safety of thousands of civilians trapped within the trenches of the insurgents, amongst which are our Chibok girls. There is no shame in our government going back to the initial offer by the insurgents of exchanging our girls for their captured comrades, if that offer is still on the table. Unlike the time when government made the offer of amnesty, this time, the offer of negotiations and exchange of our girls for their captured members came from the insurgents. That was a clear example of the insurgents speaking from a position of weakness and the government having the upper hand. (One cannot understand why that option of bringing our girls back was not taken immediately). And from the looks of the recent advance of our military, it looks like the government might just have an upper hand presently. It would be unlikely that anybody would classify President Jonathan as a coward who caved into terrorism if he negotiated to bring our girls back home in an exchange with the insurgents. All any of us really want is to see our girls back home safely, together with all other innocent kidnapped people that Nigerians and campaigners continue to omit.
If the negotiation option is no longer on the table, then, I’m sorry, but the ‘kahunas’ have to be brought in! The government says that it has located our girls. If that is the case, our authorities need to have a serious discussion with more developed countries and ask for assistance with the most superior and technological advanced weaponry, military tactics, aerial surveillance and bombardment crafts. Sleeping gas, drones, anything and everything that will infiltrate the core of the sect in the location where our girls and other kidnapped victims are should not be off the table. The most sophisticated apparel used by the US Navy seals and the Marines when they went after Osama Bin Laden should be explored in launching a rescue operation of as many kidnapped victims as possible.
Maybe, in a further step, announcements should be made in the affected areas giving all persons not affiliated with the sect a time frame to clear out from their residences, go to allocated posts set up by the government to be screened and relocated, after which the military boots will move in with precision, supported by air strikes with all the arsenal and artillery at their disposal in order to bring this farce of the insurgents opportunistic false Islamic agenda to an end overwhelming and unmerciful! Come to think of it, as I’m writing this, I’m just realizing that it probably is a lot easier said than done, but as days have turned to weeks, to months and now to years with Nigerians being slaughtered, kidnapped, bombed and massacred, the situation is growing more desperate and the options are becoming fewer.
This insurgency has got to be the biggest pain in the arm for, not only the government, but every peace loving person in this country. Most especially for the Muslims who feel so misrepresented, violated and angered that a crazy group of…(I cant even bring myself to say the words), are yelping as if they are representing and speaking for all of us, if that’s who they really are.
The rise of the insurgency was not preordained. The events that have led them to be so threatening and so destructive had everything to do with the governments initial lack of effectiveness and persistence in quelling their threat. The group, whose initial leader was Mohammed Yusuf did not just appear out of thin air. It was a series of very unfortunate events that saw a small group of impoverished and persecuted fundamentalists grow into a global threat that has turned a huge section of the North East into a militant stronghold, in which the government has had little to no effective control, even under a state of emergency.
Initially when it became evident that a threat was emerging from the sermons of a popular, energetic, generous, endearing, soft spoken young man named Mohammed Yusuf, Sheikh Ja'afar Mahmud Adam of Kano, another popular Imam who had trained and taught Mohammed Yusuf, gave clear warnings of the threat he perceived. Sheikh Ja'afar made statements after statements; did sermon after sermon warning people and the government of the storm that was brewing from the direction of Mohammed Yusuf and his small but growing group and he pleaded for action to be taken in order to intercept the threat before it got out of hand. (His warnings and sermons and Mohammed Yusuf’s earlier sermons and threatening language can be accessed and heard all over the internet and on YouTube). Publicly, people heard Sheikh Ja'afar’s warnings, government heard them, but not only was he ignored, he was dismissed. However, one would have thought when Sheikh Ja’afar was murdered at his Kano Mosque in April 2007, allegedly by followers of Mohammed Yusuf, the authorities could have taken a greater interest in the validity of his warnings and claims.
For the most part, it appeared as if the authorities didn’t pay much attention to Sheikh Ja’afar’s warning. But between the time he died in 2007 and 2009, something significant must have transpired. Murky dots, yet to be filled and relayed to the public, were created. It seemed that local politics somehow may have gotten involved and before one could blink an eye, Mohammed Yusuf and a former Borno State commissioner, Alhaji Buji Foi were extra-judicially executed in 2009. An operation that could have been handled carefully since Sheikh Ja’afar’s warnings and a flint that could have been extinguished calmly became a catastrophic muddle of very counter productive measures adopted by the authorities where the group were executed, persecuted and violated in the most pathetic and heart wrenching manner. Their women were captured, their men were beaten and killed, their Mosques were demolished and they were treated in the most brutal way. Although the threat that Sheikh Ja’afar had spoken of had to be addressed, at that time the group hadn’t committed the crimes that warranted the manner in which they were treated.
Capturing Mohammed Yusuf, listening to the valid grievances his group had about their treatment by the state government, reasoning with him, settling a peaceful agreement with him and then carefully monitoring the activities of the group in light of Sheikh Ja’afar’s warnings would have been one thing. But capturing Mohammed Yusuf, interrogating him, at a time he had not really committed a crime against the state and then extra judicially murdering him, his aides, associates and brutally hounding anyone associated with him, while letting the erratic crazy ones within his sect to get away was another thing altogether. There is no doubt that the authorities manner of handling the situation in the latter way as opposed to the former was the petrol that ignited this great explosion. It was the validation of the warnings Mohammed Yusuf had made to his group in some of his more threatening sermons and it was a justification for the group to begin their Jihad and holy war.
The way in which the small, modest group was violated, murdered and persecuted back then, before all this mayhem began, contributed a great deal in them gaining sympathy within a very impoverished community, and that sympathy morphed into more recruits. Even though the sect is known for terrorizing communities, reports suggest that it wasn’t always that way. The bolder the sect became in taking over communities, they began appealing and convincing the people in those communities of their doctrine, not necessarily terrorizing them. That way, they subtly and effectively indoctrinated members, especially the less privileged, enticing them with better living conditions and glory. This was happening at a time when the army’s role, according to Amnesty International, appeared to be a menacing one. Back then several news reports on Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN and other international networks, showed reports of how some miscreants in the army maltreated the ordinary citizens in those areas. Maybe the combination of this, other dynamics and the need of vengeance for the way the group were initially unjustly persecuted, together with the leadership of a complete lunatic and sociopath who had lost all sense of proportion in the absence of Mohammed Yusuf, were undoubtedly the reasons why the group were able to established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
And by the time the group became the dreaded and feared menacing militancy that they eventually became, the residents of every new community they infiltrated would naturally be afraid to resist. With no help or relief coming from the army, the longer the insurgents occupied a community, hoisting their flag, taking over the schools, hospitals and all forms of life in the community, the more likely the insurgents would be able to interact, co-habit, blend in and recruit more members from within that community.
To be fair, when the insurgency started getting out of hand, the army did what they could to try and quell the insurgency by destroying some of their hideouts and weapons caches. But often, the army seemed to fall short of complete victory and the actual human network, which was the real threat, was never completely disabled. But the real catch that, perhaps, would really explain how the group became so large and strong could be that, every time the army launched an attack on the group and gained ground, the group would retreat and the army would relax the pressure exerted on the insurgents. These lax periods would very likely have given the insurgents an opportunity to regroup and the result would be the resurgence of surprise attacks by the insurgents on the army who, once overwhelmed, would themselves retreat. There is just no escaping it, the growth of this group has got everything to do with the failure of the authorities to launch a military offensive in the areas affected initially, penetrate, exert and maintain pressure, crack down on the network and free the area from the control of the insurgent militants in one fell swoop.
Up until now, the army has done an abysmal job by letting a small group of ignorant, insignificant douchebags grow into the Goliath that we see overtake town after town in the North East. While I am not a conspiracy theorist and don’t lend myself to what some see as valid claims of master plans to eliminate and cripple the north by the Jonathan government and the people of the South-South or theories of the Northern oligarchy carefully orchestrating insurgent attacks to make the President Jonathan’s tenure ungovernable, because to me they sound more like the next chapter in the Harry Potter series, even I have queries as to the incessant, random attacks, arms smuggling, insurgent sponsorship and so on. I mean, why do we still not know who is sponsoring these people? How difficult can it be to find a chain of transaction, even if the transactions were done manually? And if, most of the equipment the insurgents have acquired over time has been what they have confiscated and stolen from the army, then there may be a need for the government to admit that.
Then there are those inter-net released clips! “Oh my Giddy Aunt.., those darn, annoyingly crazy, idiotic rants posted on YouTube where the insurgent leader stands in front of a mainly yellow-Lego-looking tank, with a few robotic minions dressed as Darth Vader next to him yapping and flapping like a junkie in the most extreme stage of withdrawal.” By the very science of the inter-net, every clip posted by these insurgents automatically leaves a digital footprint. Why don’t we know who is posting these clips and why has there not been surveillance on the inter-net cell of the group who would obviously have a chain of contact with the person taking the original footage? And if there has been surveillance and identification of the inter-net cell of the group, why are they still able to post videos; why have they not been caught? I am no inter-net buff myself, but I am sure, even with my little knowledge of the world-wide-web, one could come up with at least a link to those posting the clips given a well-programmed MacBook Pro, 2 packets of Pringles and five cups of decaffeinated coffee.
I do not envy anyone in the position of authority at this very present time ‘genuinely’ trying to end this conflict, but my sympathy and support as a Nigerian citizen goes to them 100% in as far as this insurgency issue goes. Whether it is true that the insurgent leader is dead or not, with the recent declaration of a Caliphate, the government still has many major challenges to face.
My biggest fear now is, with unconfirmed reports and pictures that the insurgent leader has been killed and the surrender of some of their members, the authorities cannot take for granted that this war has been won and relax the way it did in 2009 when Mohammed Yusuf was killed. For years we have been privy to images of hundreds of these insurgents, so while some may have been apprehended we must keep in mind that there are probably a couple more hundred out there, who must be very angered by this present defeat. And from the past images of some of the insurgents, it would be safe to say that a lot of them appeared to be young men. Therefore, as crazy and irrational as their leader whom we have seen in the past couple of years appears, by virtue of his advanced age, the likelihood is that he maybe a lot more level headed than the other insurgents that may still be out there. And one thing each and every one of us can be sure of is that those young men must now be pretty ticked off.
So, while some of us may celebrate this present victory, I implore the authorities to treat this war as if it has only just began and forge forth with all its might until every single one of the people who pose a threat or who could begin to raise a subsequent group is apprehended; until Sambisa Forest is no longer a terrorist hideout but a cleared mass of land ready for future development. And Nigerians must give the army the full backing and support they need to offset this heavy yet necessary burden.
After victory is hopefully achieved, government must come up with a long promised national security plan that goes far and beyond crushing this particular group of insurgents, so that nothing like this can rise again.
Every hand must be on deck to tackle this menace of insurgency and their declaration of a Caliphate, otherwise, this blasted nuisance group of thugs that were once just a group of persecuted and impoverished young men taught by an exuberant yet extremist Caliph named Mohammed Yusuf, can engulf us all in a cataclysmic war.
A Caliph is supposed to be an Islamic ruler who is considered a politico-religious leader of an Islamic community or territorial jurisdiction ruled in accordance with Islamic law. From the proscription of peaceful coexistence most Muslims know to be recognized by Islam, we unequivocally reject the declaration of a Caliphate by the dead or alive insurgent leader or anyone else possibly in line ready to take his place. Because unlike a real Caliph, who would abide by rules of peace and coexistence, from the rants and actions of these murderous raving lunatics, their leader wouldn’t be interested in a real Caliphate, he would just be a Caliph-of HATE!
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