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Killing Boko Haram with prayers

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[FILES] The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Buratai Photo:NAN

The ecstasy that greeted Nigeria’s independence fifty nine years ago could be seen by the amount of peace and unity that existed among the people then. Senior citizens and not too old people can still vividly remember and tell stories of oneness and the reality of events and developments across regions. Regrettably, the jubilation of freedom from the colonial masters had hardly ebbed when politicians started to sow seeds of discord among the people along ethnic and religious backgrounds. To worsen matters, today’s politicians do not only put ethnic and religious sentiments on high motion, they have also increased the tempo of the game of politics by allowing certain indigenous people to ride above the law. Of course do or die politics has encouraged notorious gangs to thrive in the name of political thugs, which politicians armed with sophisticated weapons to rig elections for them. However, no sooner the elections are over, these political thugs with their arms and poverty around them, indulge in nefarious activities like kidnapping, armed robbery among other vices. The Boko Haram menace berthed through these circumstances and today the insurgent group has become so deadly and daring that it still controls numerous local government areas in the North East.

Over the years, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government efforts to bring about law and order or rather defeat the insurgent group through the barrel of the gun seem very challenging at the moment. The unimaginable strength and dexterity that abound with the terrorist group has compelled the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai to request Nigerians assistance to go spiritual on behalf of the Nigerian Army for them to defeat Boko Haram. Hitherto, the Minster of Information and culture, Lai Mohammed has consistently maintained and informed Nigerians that the insurgent group has been technically degraded. Yet, insurgents keep springing surprise attacks killing our gallant soldiers. In contemplating the ugly image insecurity projects the country before the comity of nations and the difficulty to imagine how the reputation of the Nigerian Army could sink any lower in its prolonged fight against insurgency without clear indication of victory. The Army Chief, Buratai in his wisdom believes that spiritual intervention is not just urgently needed but the best approach to defeat Boko Haram and other extremist groups threatening the peace and security of the country. He maintained that, “Religious bodies and organisations in particular, who interface regularly with the grassroots, should be in the forefront of the spiritual battle and fashion out ways of stepping up their roles”.

It would be most patriotic and honourable for religious bodies to embrace the fight of faith and prayers for peace in Nigeria. If the association of clergymen and women could be patriotic enough to honour this national call, it will go a long way to make Nigeria mean to Nigerians what America means to Americans. No doubt, the fight against insurgency all these years seems to measure less than expected success. Many soldiers are bored not because they lack the will to fight or the zeal to defend their fatherland but because of what many political analysts regard as the lack of inadequate ammunition and technology to take down the insurgents among other setback. Currently, the fight against terrorism seems so fierce a game like that of cat and mouse as soldiers are reportedly abandoning their ultimate task to defend the nation and run for dear life. Well, there is no qualms about that as patriotism still abounds after all, he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. So says the legend and king of reggae music, Robert Nesta Bob Marley in one of his songs.

The ugly scene of insecurity and political rivalry in Nigeria today has seen many political analysts expressed a feeling that Nigeria’s democracy is staring into the abyss. This is because politics has helped to shape government policies on the wrong direction, thereby, making the public’s attitude tend towards believing the phrase that life is nasty, short and brutish. Therefore, everyone is for himself/herself and God for us all. Beyond the sycophancy been played by chieftains of the ruling party, President Buhari has joined the conversation that his government has recorded tremendous success in the fight against insurgency. But the reality of what Nigerians are confronted with on a daily basis is the nightmare of insecurity across the country. Unfortunately, the nation’s capital, Abuja has become an epiccentre of kidnapping and lawlessness in recent time. The situation seems worse perhaps because Nigeria is a collective score of ethnic nationalities and a mixture of languages, culture, tradition and religion.

Therefore, most people see crisis in other ethnic region as their own problem not Nigeria’s problem. It is important we see ourselves irrespective of tribe and religion as one this is because according to Martin Luther King Jr, “If we are to have peace on earth… our loyalty must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation and this means we must develop a world perspective”. It is therefore not too late for Nigeria’s politicians to eschew cheap political relevance through ethnic politics and embrace global principles of democracy.

The most depressing thing about the insurgency fight is not the show of strength the insurgents are displaying before trained Nigerian military force. But the level of trust in the society is quite frustrating. Perhaps that is the reason behind Buratai’s request for subsidy for the Nigerian Army in the form of prayers. Considering the fact that military force is not easy to come by especially as it has become a heavy burden on the government. Of course, the insurgency fight is a project that is so expensive for the Buhari’s government to manage in this age of paucity of fund. There is nothing wrong in persuading religious organisations to come together and use prayers in the name of God Almighty to defeat the insurgents. After all, in the Bible days, David without the armour, spear or sword defeated Goliath in the name of God with a string and stone, Samson overpowered the Philistines with the power of God and prayers, Mesark, Shedrack and Abedinigo overwhelmed king Nebukardneza’s fire because they prayed and worshiped God, while Peter and John at the beautiful gate neither have silver nor gold but in Jesus Name, they healed a lamed man among many other Bible tales that indicates the efficacy and prayers as key. However, Buratai should be informed that these days prayer is a big deal as many among the clergy are not for charity. Therefore, prayer is a serious business. And many men of God are in the business even without the support of the God of men…


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