I belong to the school of thought that claims thus: “ We all came to religion in our individual ways and we each needed to respect the religious practices of others, seeing as it was up to every human being to find his or her own way to heaven”. This logic can also be extended to our tribal/ethnic origins and geographic locations.
It is a sociological thing that should crave the understanding of every human being on earth. It is what has brought order to the world and why a Black man is sitting pretty over there as the President of the United States of America.
Furthermore, a society that does not open its doors to other cultures is bound to be stagnant in the race for development. The more exposed a society is to education, the clearer an understanding of this reasoning.
That is why the Boko Haram sect, in its present form, content and execution, will never thrive in the Southern section of the country. It is not only in the North that you experience abject poverty, it abounds everywhere along the coasts of the South. In fact, the oil producing area of this country is a paradox in the study of wealth and poverty.
Recently, the papers reported of a notorious kidnapping kingpin named Kelvin, trying to become a modern day Robin Hood to his people in the South. In one week, he was fished out by the security agencies from where he was hiding. Why is it not possible to get Shekau and the key Boko Haram leaders in the North?
With the understanding of the above, it is clear that the Boko Haram war would have been needless if the elites and leadership of the North had fed the largely illiterate masses with correct information. A lot of towns and villages in the South survive, not because of government presence but through community, co-operative and town development unions. It is very clear that, with our political structure- the way it is now- over-bloated centre, impoverished states and local governments, corrupt leaders and politicians, nothing much is expected from government.
Due to the illiteracy in the North, a myth has been created out of the Boko Haram sect. They are far gone into delirium of being unaware of the fact that the destructions being created have impacted deeply into our existence. Whose duty is it to pass this knowledge to the largely illiterate people of Borno and neighboring states? I ask so because, a few years ago, a state governor from Borno was quoted in the newspapers as saying that he was happy his people do not read newspapers, when he was being fired by the Southern press for keeping 70 jeeps in his fleet. Ironically, this state is the headquarters of the Boko Haram sect today.
Let us not beat about the bush, the principal cause of the Boko Haram insurgency today is the woeful failure of the Northern educated and political elites to give the people the right leadership and training; instead they use the people for their own selfish and political aggrandizement. The creature has now grown into a Frankenstein monster that does not separate the shepherd from the sheep, all is game to it. They are killing Christians, Muslims, students, women, children; and -wait for it- , people who cannot find solution to the simple problem in their domain, now want to rule the whole country as president. I say simple because, if the issue had been handled very professionally from the beginning, we would not have gotten to this stage.
There is an unwritten rule in the field of criminology that no law enforcement officer must be killed by the criminals, no matter the level of provocation. Whenever such a thing happens anywhere in the world, the authorities ensure that the culprit is quickly identified, apprehended and summarily dealt with. This rule has been torn to shreds in Nigeria. Policemen and military officers are slaughtered like cows in their numbers. Barracks- supposed garrison- have been sacked. Not one decisive action from our Police and Military authorities to discourage a re-occurrence.
War is a serious matter, it involves lives. Failure that leads to loss of lives to both the uniformed and civilians should not be treated with levity. How did Boko Haram men over run our military posts/barracks, taking with them spoils of war like ammunition and vehicles? Were our sentry guards sleeping?
Definitely, there is a gap in our planning and execution of this Boko Haram war. We have too many saboteurs amongst the rank and file. If that is the case, is our army not a professional one? Do they not have procedures for dealing with saboteurs? Everyone along the line that has been involved in failed operations, including commanders, must be sanctioned, unless there are genuine causes for pardon in exceptional cases. A drastic situation requires a drastic remedy.
Still on saboteur issues, the army and police authorities should post men who are familiar with the terrain to contain the insurgents. By this I mean, people from BornoState in the Armed Forces should be sent to the area to contain their own people and if they fail, they should be held accountable.
With the level of destruction, it is clear that majority of the Boko Haram fighters are not Nigerians. No sensible person will help bring destruction to his homeland to the extent the Boko Haram have gone in the North. The authorities must begin to look at the international connection to this. Nomads from Mali, Somalia, Niger and so on, are the foot soldiers for Boko Haram. There is also a total disconnect between our intelligence officers and the people. Without information, no war can be won. It is very important that the forces on ground carry the people along. The way the insurgents are carrying on- killing the civilian JTF supporting the army- there will soon be loss of confidence on the people’s part.
Every successful strike by the Boko Haram is a direct indictment on all our intelligence agencies; we have many of them. Present day war is based on intelligence. It does not matter the caliber of your arsenal, you must be able to infiltrate the rank of the opponent and checkmate their next move. Intelligence! Intelligence!! Intelligence!!! This is the key.
It is time for all to wake up, as the security of the nation is the responsibility of all, no exception.