Boko Haram and government terrorists
Sir: The latest news is as extremely sad as many previous ones. The news, as recent as Wednesday, August 23, 2017 is captioned “Many feared dead as Boko Haram terrorists ambush Nigerian troops.” But why “Boko Haram terrorists”? What about government terrorists? The latter question is extremely crucial in so far as Nigeria’s government, past and present, has failed to justify the governmental attack on Boko Haram (BH) in the first instance in 2009. Who did BH attack before being attacked? Does Nigeria’s law forbid religious freedom and freedom of association which the Boko Haram community represented?
The current President, Muhammadu Buhari should explain why Boko Haram must be pursued at high costs in human lives and economic resources, and why there must be no dialogue with Boko Haram but war, carnage, genocide, and economic destruction of Nigeria, 2009 till date. When Buhari was coming to power in 2015, he boasted that he would annihilate Boko Haram in six weeks. He is now in his third year in office. His predecessor, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, boasted in December 2011 that he would finish Boko Haram in six months. He ended up with carnage, genocide, and economic destruction of Nigeria. Buhari has less than two years more.
By 2018, general election activities will rend the air. What would he record as his achievement? He sold dollars at official price to Christian and Muslim pilgrimage-makers. He is using his education minister, Adamu Adamu, to promote Islamic and Christian education schemes to the neglect of African Religious Knowledge (ARK), perpetuating Christianization and Islamization of Nigeria, against the constitution that prohibits “state religion”.
Nnamdi Kanu is quoted as objecting to associating his struggle with that of Boko Haram. Many Nigerians are myopic about social justice. They are as self-centered as many Christian and Islamic clerics. The Igbo saw nothing wrong with Nigeria and saw no need for rotational presidency or restructure when Jonathan adopted the name Azikiwe and bribed the Igbo with juicy positions. Trouble started only when Jonathan lost out in 2015. So, love of Nigeria is scarce in many Nigerians; their loyalties are to their ethnic group, their Christian and Islamic religious denominations, and self-aggrandizement. If Boko Haram has adopted terrorism, is it not because Nigeria’s rulers are up in arms against it, and want nothing but its eradication for nothing other than politico-economic and religious imperialisms? Why was Boko Haram not violent throughout the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo? He calmed the Sharia agitators tactically and sustained peace throughout his tenure. Then came “might is right rulers”, 2007 till date. Even in the southwest, politicization of Islam and demolition of people’s houses and shops have become the order of the day.
Prof Oyeniran Abioje, teaches at the University of Ilorin.