Boko Haram: Myths, Mystery And The Fallacies

Houses bombarded by Boko Haram militants last week
By Tukur Mamu

•    The N70M monthly Operation Flush Expenditure
•    The Military Brutality against Citizens
•    PDP’s Politics behind State of Emergency

If there is any doubt that Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, is in a dire security problem, the events of Tuesday June 7, 2011 have obliterated such doubts. Those who lamely reasoned that with time, the Boko Haram debacle in Borno State will wane must have also been forced to eat their words by the same events. The day was replete with daring multiple bombs and gun attacks that shock everybody and sent the message that unless very concrete measures are taken to nip it in the buds, the security challenges occasioned by the endless attacks would make Borno ungovernable and possibly turn it into a lawless society.

Three bombs went off at three locations within the city of Maiduguri in the afternoon and soon after sporadic gun fire said to have originated from members of the armed wing of the Suffiyya movement were heard putting Maiduguri in terrible security breach resulting in people running from and to all directions with some racing to pick their kids from schools while others rushed towards their homes to safeguard their families.

The deafening explosions rattled the city and while security agents battled to contain it, it resulted in pitched gun battles across the city. Contrary to official report that always under declare the rate of damages and number of casualties, dozens of people as confirmed by our reporters died as a result of the quagmire. Gradually, Maiduguri is becoming just like Somalia where outlaw groups have taken over and where no government exists. So far, the impact and presence of government can only be felt on the streets of the capital city where armed soldiers that have failed to contain the killings and terror, are accused of terrorising innocent residents in the name of illusive search of the sect members and sometimes with even cases of alleged extortion from citizens whose economy has partially been destroyed by the persistent uprising and curfew. At the beginning, a count of the number of people killed was known but the frequency at which the killings take place has become so astronomical that no count is kept anymore. The Boko Haram sect, who engaged security forces in a fire fight in 2009 following some earlier skirmishes on the streets of Maiduguri, were successfully routed but the extra judicial killings that took place of the leader of the group, Mohammed Yusuf and dozens of other followers instead of following due process of law by arraigning them before a competent court of law, were condemned by the United States, the European Union, Amnesty International and other national and international Human Rights groups. Pundits said the inability of the federal government to successfully prosecute Police Officers that acted with reckless impunity by killing late Yusuf and many others couple with the resolved of the former governor, Ali Modu Sheriff’s refusal to dialoque with the sect members and see the possibility of repeated calls to compensate the families of those that were successfully captured but summarily killed, was the single factor that resulted to the current Boko Haram debacle.

As a result and precisely a year later, the group resurrected and began an armed struggle of guerrilla nature, coming out discreetly from their hideouts, picking their targets patiently and executing them. Soldiers, policemen, community leaders, politicians and others whom they perceived to have one way or the other aided their “persecutions” have all been targeted and many were killed. This way, a number of people got killed around the state and as at the time of writing this piece, more people have been written to by the sect members promising them death as a result of which most have left the state altogether. Among those that unceremoniously left Maiduguri as a result of deterioration of security in the state and the rampant killings include the family of the former governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, his father, Galadima Modu Sheriff and many ANPP politicians in the state.

Although both the federal and Borno State government have in the past been ignoring the reality by chasing shadows adopting maximum use of force in fighting highly sophisticated radical Ismamic militants whose operational base is not yet known to the securities; sect members that always act like ghost in reaching out to their target victims. Governor Kashim Shettim on assumption took a more wiser approach of reaching out to the leaders of the Boko Haram but his initial effort is already being truncated and frustrated by what insiders said was advices from sycophants which makes the governor to commit the first divertionary blunder that most of the series of bomb blast and gunfires in Maidiguri is being organised by political opponents of his party and government. By implication, the PDP in Borno categorically said he is referring to them on issue they (PDP) said was caused by Shettima’s predecessor’s (SAS) autocracy and ineptitude.

The history of Boko Haram sect is one that is knitted around government’s inability to take measures to ensure justice and fairness. Right from the beginning, Muhammed Yusuf was said to have been encouraged and bankrolled by ex Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, who wanted to use the group’s numerical advantage for political reasons. The late Buji Foi, Ali Sheriff’s Commissioner of Religious Affairs and erstwhile Treasurer of the Boko Haram sect, was said to have been planted by Ali Sheriff. Foi was also extra judicially executed by the police even though he too, like Yusuf was caught alive. The issue of extra judicial killings could be traced to allegations that the speed with which they were carried out suggested haste by some people in the corridors of power to hide something. The commission of inquiry set up by the federal government to investigate the uprising was said to have returned a guilty verdict on former Governor Ali Sheriff and the then Commissioner of police but government has been unable to either release the white paper on it or even to make the content public while some sources said the outcome of the inquiry was manipulated by the former governor whose family were also among the casualties of the recent Boko Haram killings.

Present Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, on whose shoulders some hope of resolution of the crisis rests, has so far proved to be as at sea as anybody. He has made so much noise about initiating talks with the sect members in order to dissuade them from their armed struggle.
In a number of press interviews, Kashim Shettima has sounded like a man in a genuine pursuit of peace with Boko Haram by suggesting amnesty for them and other measures to rein them in. But many said the governor is making too much noise and taking the whole issue to the press by untimely revealing what suppose to be a secret contact between him and the Boko Haram sect.

To begin with, the Borno State government has not been able to establish contact with them and apart from playing to the gallery, the government does not seem to be making any headway in reaching out to the group. In fact, the Boko Haram group has on several occasions rejected the kind of peace moves of Kashim Shettima and has instead promised more mayhem. In any case the issue of amnesty is beyond the powers of the state Governor. The offences for which the Boko Haram are alleged to have committed or are committing are within the purview of the federal authorities.

It has the same implication with the Niger Delta criminally minded armed militancy in which several people have been killed. Even before the emergence of the late Umaru Yar’Adua regime, several others have resorted to tough armed response to the Niger Delta crisis deploying soldiers who bombed and occupied the creeks in hot pursuit of the criminals. At the end, Yar’Adua came up with the so-called amnesty programme which costs the nation billions of dollars. This year alone, the Jonathan administration has announced it will spend a total of N100 billion to prosecute part of the amnesty deal. The expenditure of billions by the FG is happening at a time of more threat by the so called militants of the Niger Delta against the interest of the federal government. Considering the escalation of destruction and killings in Borno many concern citizens are asking why is the federal government dithering on applying the same approach to the Boko Haram issue? Why is the Borno State government asking for more troops instead of applying pressure on Jonathan to be more proactive, sensitive and amenable to peace overtures to the sect? When the family of the 70-year old Baba Fugu, father in-law to the late Muhammed Yusuf, went to court to challenge the old man’s murder by the police, the court granted damages worth One Hundred Million Naira that has not been enforced till today. Baba Fugu reported himself to the Police Commissioner when he was told that he was wanted, but the man was killed even when he was not known to have any relationship with the Boko Haram other than the fact that Yusuf was married to his daughter. Those are the series of silent issues the authorities always delibertately avoid to discuss and to find solution to and instead spending millions on security that has woefully failed to make impact. Insiders lament that a lot of officials are benefitting from the security vote hence the lacklustre attitude in addressing key fundamental issues that may result to reconciliation and lasting peace.

Each month, the Borno State government reportedly coughs out a total of Seventy Million Naira for the upkeep of the soldiers and policemen deployed to the state, but yet rather than nip the problem in the bud, the security outfit known as Operation Flush has become so highhanded and callous that they have turned their guns and anger on the hapless citizens of the state. The people of Borno State are today more scared of the soldiers and policemen than the Boko Haram. Dozens of innocent people have been rounded up and detained for upward of a year now on the pretext of involvement with the Boko Haram with no concrete proof or evidence. Every day, young men, some of them with proof of being students are being arrested, tortured and detained in police cells and army locations under very dehumanising conditions with no iota of proof of their culpability. Some of those detained have been moved to other states and the Federal Capital without anybody establishing their guilt. Idris Malam, a retired policeman told reporters in Maiduguri that the security approach adopted by the top security chiefs is not only faulty but ungodly. ‘’The moment a shooting takes place in any neighbourhood, the Operation Flush operatives will rush to the scene and round up young men and claim that they have arrested the culprits. How can any gunman who committed an act hang around the scene of the crime to be arrested just like that?”As a result many young men that were used as scapegoats for the failure of the security agents to apprehend the real perpetrators of the killings were radicalise.

Another problem with the soldiers and the mobile policemen is that they have been allegedly extorting money mindlessly from the people. They tend to be unmindful of the reasons they are deployed and they have turned their presence into a money making venture. From the Baga road Motor Park up to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim interjection to the University of Maiduguri road and the Dikwa road, several check points have been mounted to harass and extort money from motorists particularly from commercial vehicles plying goods and animals. The alleged extortion is done openly and shamelessly. Police and military brutality too has been on the increase as many people have been humiliated and maimed in the state. Houses have been raided where cash and valuables have been reportedly stolen by the security operatives while several unwholesome conducts against the soldiers including alleged rape of married women and young girls have been reported in people’s houses. Sheik Aminu Abubakar, a scholar in Maiduguri, asked how the police expect the same people they brutalize to offer information to them. ‘’There is no way the police could make any progress as they lack basic human relations values. You cannot expect people who lack respect for you to come forward with information for you, it is not possible. Many of our relatives have fallen victims of their brutality and acts of impunity. Sadly, the government is not doing anything about it.’’

An ex labour leader in Borno State who spoke on condition of anonymity also accused the Borno State governor of bad faith and alleged that the fact that the Governor is publicly pointing accusing fingers at the direction of opposition politicians says a lot about the governor’s seeming lack of direction. ‘’How can he be accusing opposition politicians who contested for offices in the last elections for the killings when we all know that these killings started long before the just concluded elections?’’ Another resident of Maiduguri Alhaji Modu Kachalla also claimed that Kashim Shettima is not likely to achieve any success in making peace with Boko Haram because he does not appear to be sincere in dealing with the problem.
But while Governor Kashim believes he is committed to dialoque with the Boko Haram sect, there is so much envy about the possibility of succeeding in tackling the uprising by some members of the opposition PDP in the state. Obviously, they don’t want him to take the credit of containing the killings. It is now clear that a certain faction of the PDP in the state is working secretly for the imposition of state of emergency in the state. The opposition according to sources believe that under state of emergency, it will be easy for them to get favourable judgement from the Election Petition Tribunal in the state. Notwithstanding Shettima’s premature utterances and his claim of political undertone on the Boko Haram crises, what has so far become glaringly undoubtable is the young governor’s determination to contain the security crises in the state and above all to provide grassroots oriented leadership. Already and at the time of increased tension, Governor Shettima had visited the popular Monday Market, reduced their tenency rate by half and paid for six months to all shop owners in the market. He has also make commitment to increase students scholarship allowance from a migger N3000 to a minimum of N25,000. He has also within two weeks of his swearing in as governor approved the immediate employment of 1000 Doctors and Nurses in the state to provide emergency and immediate services to the decaying and neglected health sector in the state.

With all permutations made, it is increasingly becoming necessary for very radical measures to be taken by both the state and federal government to stop the carnage. While some politicians are becoming convinced that only the declaration of a state of emergency can deal with the problem, this writer believes that considering the failure of both the army and police to put the situation under control over the years, the multi million naira security expenditure and the nature of the Boko Haram operations coupled with the idea, ideology and what the sect said they what to achieve, no state of emergency under any military ‘power’ can contain the crises. Pundits averred that the best option if it will not be politicise the manner it began, is the proposal suggested by Governor Shettima with the backing of the Federal Government. It is also an issue that requires less noise and to avoid engaging the media at least in this stage. The general view of the people of Borno is that the incumbent governor despite the initial shortcomings is not only capable of succeeding in containing the Boko Haram debacle but is honestly committed to finding a peaceful way to settlement rather than concentrating on the use of force that has woefully failed over the years. Whether last week meeting with VP Namadi Sambo, Governor Shettima and the security chiefs at the office of the VP will make any impact remains to be seen.

If Shettima eventually succeed in bringing order, peace and reconcile with the Boko Haram sect even as many people expresses skepticism of the likelihood of achieving that in view of recent controversies the governor’s claims generated coupled with the antecedents of some of his close leutenants, the governor will write his name in gold in the history of Borno and would have succeeded where his boss, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff glaringly failed. Certainly, and before the dream of the people of Borno is hopefully achieve, Governor Shettima will continue to face tough challenges particularly from the activities of the Boko Haram and from the opposition PDP. His ability or otherwise to succeed remains to be seen.

Tukur Mamu is the Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of DESERT HERALD newspaper. He is also an award recipient of the United States Congresssional Recognation for Excellence. He can be reach on


72 comment(s)
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The Dawn didn't return to his/her own room, his path went straight into Tang's room, inside coach all at, is discussing the related subject on the military tactics meeting in evening.See the Dawn come in, everyone is just title to see one eye, and then continues favour their went to.No one cares.

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As a citizen of Nigeria who wish 4a better Nigeria, you don't have to say such disriputable word of accusing ISLAM and MUSLIMS. U shows that u r d true animal. Bcos an animal is d one who blief that GOD has a son or GOD dies to wash human sins. This is verry stupid. May ALLAH make u understand. Amin.

Mamu comment on Boko haram

Its of worthy note dt we have very intelligent people all over the federation. We have people dt are highly skilled in different aspect of human endevour unfortunately when it came to the issue of Nigeria many of us despite their volume and volumes of certificates would autimatically became sentimental in their judgement. Otherwise what benefit can one get from insulting one another,some may God forgive them even insulted prophet, thank God i have never seen where a muslim insulted

Bokoharam as comented by mamu.

Mamu you realy did a good research o the problem facing borno, i and the good people of nigeria will continue to pray for the peace to return in maiduguri once again. May GOD give the gorvernor shettima wisdom to succeed. Kabir is writing from M/fashi.

You are blindhearted

my friend, I wonder if u have a faith or religion or is it d hatred u have 4 d most peaceful religion in d world (ISLAM) that made u blind to be saying all this. Have u asked why d so called book haram are perpetuating all this act? Have u ever made any castigation of such when Niger Delta militant were carrying such an act? Have all Muslims admited that all the act is GODLY and ISLAMICALLY ? If your answer is no, then why condemning the generallity of Muslim and Islam ? You need to seek for our forgiveness as you had already offended us. May all Muslim forgive you, amen.


Go ahead English is not your morther tong is linguapranca we understand wat you mean and wat you want to said but you know there is illitrate who dont understand

Boko harm

You are not a Muslim and you don't know what Islam is all about and don't say animals because its only animal can say what you said, without searching the fact or getting the knowledge.


my brother just be reality in your dealings are u believing in what u said is it not you that is myopic just do your research well and know what Islam is all about.

boko naRam

If u have lived in the north u will know that islam is not a peaceful religion. No pastor can come to d front of d alter and ask his members to kill his perceived enemies, but it is in d mosques that all evil plans ​and devilish orders are given. Let's call a spade a spade; moslems are wicked, islam is the hub of terrorism. They are all animals. Adekunle, Mr Myopic
, London

Best solution to all our problems is ..........

Boko Haram-jihadists are rich,damn rich, money is not their problem.Gulf Oil countries fund their equippments while sharia states in Nigeria provide food and logistics.Nigerian-jihadists are very strongly motivated by Koran,to kill Infidels and fake Muslims. Islam promises Heaven with many virgins to them,- and this makes their struggle unstopable even with UNO-dialogue, rehabilitation, training and employment. Approaching Boko Haram with "carrot and stick" is rediculous and it is to us-Christians, like you are giving money to your enemy to buy guns and ammunitions to kill you.Best solution to Boko Haram,MEND,MOSOP, MASSOP and OPC is a Sovereign National Conference, to discuss conditions of "One Nigeria" to suit every tribe and tongue and religion. Those who do not want are free to go their separate ways in peace. In fact, SNC could offer Boko Haram a chance to establist Islamic state as it wants it, so that there will be peace and progress everywhere. Umu Oke, Germany.

A political problem that needs a democratic solution..........

At first, Mohammadu Marwa and Maitatsine, lived in Kano, raised a private army to protect Islam from Western Culture and from Igbo Culture.For these reasons, Jihadists are hired from Cameroun Muslims. A famous Nigerian Islamic scholar and jurist, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, came on board, advocated Islamic State for Nigeria saying:" a Muslim must be tried as a Muslim, according to sharia laws". All clerics, emirs, youths, students and army-muslims supported Gumi. Gumi's contribution to Sharia inspired northern students to forming a militant movement(Izala) at ABU-Zaria, BUK-Kano, in 1980,- to actualize Islamic state based on sharia laws, to purify Islam and to enable Muslims practice Islam without let or hindrance.These are what Boko Haram, BOHA, is all about.It is a political problem that needs a democratic solution via a SNC. Umu Oke,-Germany


Mallam Tukur wrote a great piece,with delicious insights.boko haram is now a collective problem.period.the stark misery in the north is as much an indictment of northern leaders as it is of southern leaders.the grand scale corruption that is the remote cause of these kinds of developments is a southern and northern phenomenon.despite the fact that MEND and her cousin-groups may have claimed to be fighting justifiably,no one can claim that they did not get involved in dastardly criminalism.people should also learn to sotp the blame game.we have wonderful muslims and wonderful christians in wise the reverse.its a pity we seem to have another govt that lacks the iron-will to initiate fundamental changes in nigeria.E pluribus unum,Nigeria.

we need to act fast

the thing is we want dr J needs to utilize dis opporunity for us let us exercise our democracy and seperate from these animalistic moslems.let us differ so that all these evil of they practice wont touch us.let us them stay on their own practice their dirty religion and kill themselfs just like afghan and paki,act fast and rescue us, unless oneday youll meet them in ur room.we want a better, safe nigeria.we only do things for other countries to see and care less the people in need we are not bettes namibia. Tanzania.togo rwanda burundi and others we think were better off as long we continue like this.Im weeping for my country.we believe in Jesus christ in heaven not an evil minded monster mohammed

@Umu Oke,we know you have

@Umu Oke,we know you have good knowledge of history but with due respect its not in line with the topic been discussed and moreover the Pope's offense was been silent.The world expected him stand up and speak against it just the way Nigerians expected Gen Buhari to speak up during the post election violence.

Exceptional extra'judicial killing

The US, EU, AI, and such international human right agency were crying foul on the killing of d leader of Boko Haram and some of her faithfuls as extra'judicial, how about many innocent citizens that were brutally cold'blooded by this devil incarnate sect. It is true that extra'judicial killing is not within the ambit of the democratic law, BUT we should always bear in mind that the lives and safety of the general public is more important than that of heinous few. The kingdom suffereth violence and only by violent that the rightous taketh it by force.


Umu, little wonder ur name sounds like mumu. Why not digest d real matter and then hit d nail on d 4head. If Jesus appeared in ur time stuffs like u wil persecute him again.


The federal government should investigate the complexity involved in the bailing of Muhammad yusuf the leader of boko haram, from a police detention, by Mr Jerry Gana as far back as 2003 when he was a in OBJ's government.

@ Umu Oke

@Umu Oke
The most violent establishment on the face of the earth is the Church ( a word derived from the Greek goddess name Circe). In the past, churches not mosques have been behind some of the most violent brutality Man has ever seen. Recent example is our discovery that Hitler was aided and legitimized by Pope Pius XII.

Carelessness and curruption

The cause of all these problems can be summerised in two words; curruption,carelessness. Had the the federal government created basic amenities on time in the niger delta when they knew and know that it is the chief booster of the economy, the niger delta militancy should not have surfaced. It was simple for Yar'adua to create amnesty and waste millions of dollers when the problem would have been solved many years ago. (Carelessness ) The boko haram sect leader was killed immediately he was caught without been tried in the court so as to make sure its sponsors who are top government officials were not exposed. (curruption). Until our leaders admit that the country is currupt and they themselves are careless and currupt, we all will continue to sink deep in the Sheol of bad governance.

Boko Haram and the need for Justice

As a concerned Nigerian, I wish to commend Tukur Mamu for the opinion shared. To those of us outside Borno state, we are made to have negative views about the sect. By your analysis, it is clear that the government created them, tried to destroy them but unfortunately backfired. The incumbent governor should engage the sect in a dialogue on the need to embrace peace. The extra judicial killings is a guilty verdict on the part of the former government of of the state. The sect and their families should be adequately compensated. Finanlly, we all need to know that Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of Justice. God bless Nigeria.

u r too naive,as ingnorant as

u r too naive,as ingnorant as the boko haram idiots. are you not aware that asari dakubo was a muslim and many other members of the mend. pls learn to think right

Book haram and MEND terrorists

These terror groups know GEJ is weak just like his predecessor. OBJ picked Yar Adua so as to manipulate him and wanted a weak VP to match. Regardless these terror outfits must be repelled with view to exterminating them. They are vermin, and government should stop negotiating and paying extortion bribes like with MEND. Just wipe them out, no negotiation. Next we will have terrorists in WAWA on the western border with no ideology, other than to get rich quick. Is that not what MEND Nd Boko Haram are doing? Extortion!!!

Haba, why the unmatched comparison?

The Niger Delta militants never said they were representing any religious body. Have they ever attacked a mosque or make pronouncements to that regard? Lets not deliberately dull our reasoning just to twist things. And if you need some education, there are Moslems and animist among the Niger Delta militants


Because they do not fight for religious purposes like making the Ten Commandment the law of the land or making Nigeria a christian nation.

True talk

I sincerely support ur view. U are the only one that has made a sensible comment in this forum.

Boko Haram

Although Canada has democracy it is veiled and should not be copied as an example of democracy. We are given a display of a few candidates that are preselected for us and there are usually corrupt pro-American candidates that we do not want. Then we are "allowed" to vote for any one of the 3-5 politicians. There is not enough Transparency in what they do and we have no say in the decisions. Only 39% of the votes went to Stephen Harper but it was considered a majority and his foreign policies are pro-American & pro big business. Most Canadians are appalled at what has happened to Canadian values. See wiki-leaks on our country.

Boko Haram: Myths, Mysteries and Fallacies

Mallam Tukur well done! What a detailed and forensic overview of what is truly happening. Nobody has ever captured the story as it is, the way you did. We are in trouble in Nigeria. Gradually the country is degenerating into chaos courtesy of injustice from usurpers of power, who claim positions of leadership without any legitimate mandate freely consented to by citizens. That is why these so-called leaders and the instruments of coersion (the Police, Army etc) in their hands do as they like - causing confusion in the name of governance. Nigeria will only see peace the day Nigerians are allowed to freely elect their leaders , who know their problems and, are in turn accountable to them.

boko haram and the IG of police

haba IG, didnt you read management crises and dialogue, you made a serious mistake, you are aware of what is happening in maiduguri yet you managed to numbered the days of Boko haram,what peace cannot achieve a pieces can never achieve you see what your wrong approach cost you should learn how to wordsmith.

Kudos (Dr) Yayale Ahmed, Former SGF

I`ll like to use this avenue to bid Happy Stay home to a Great son of the Soil, a northerner whose contributions are too numerous to mention in the course of progress of this Great country of ours. You are of-course a good example worthy of emulation.

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