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Boko Haram Vs Nigerian Government: A Tale of Two Wrongs

16 November 2009

By Mohammed Adamu

The famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle once wrote, “Poverty is the mother of all revolutions, when and where there is hunger and the poor greatly exceeds in number, trouble sets in and the state soon comes to an end”.

The sudden upsurge in sectarian violence that besieged some states in northern Nigerian a few months ago had undoubtly served as a warning and indication of the extent people can go in expressing their anger and dissatisfaction at authourities for their failures , neglect and insencerity to the public they are supposed to be serving.

The bloody clashes did also opened new forum for debates as to the causes, motives and modus operandi of both the Boko Haram members and the way government handled the crisis through its agencies of law enforcement. To most people that had written or reported about the violence in Bauchi, Maiduguri, Potiskum, Wudil and the rest, it was essencially a religious violence, Islamic Fundamentalism, Terrorism, or Radicalism.

But a careful look into the anatomy of the whole crisis, one could easily conclude trhat it was more of an ideological conflict than what most people had termed it to be, especially as there is no place or time in Islam where ‘Western Education’ as a form of knowledge is prohibited.

Though the Hausa word for ‘BOKO’ can literally be translated as Western Education, as a terminolgy ‘BOKO’ can also be used when refering to western values, civillisation,morals,ethics,principles, philosophies etc etc. Be that as it may, the mere hatred for a particular culture or value is never an accepted excuse for causing trouble or any form of insecurity to a nation or people.

But let’s not waste time on what ‘BOKO’ is and not, rather let’s look at it as any other insurgency or agitation currently threatening our national peace and common existence from the edge of the desert in the far North down to the atlantic coast in the south, be it BOKO HARAM, NIGER DELTA MILITANCY, MASSOB, OPC or BAKASSI BOYS. According to one African nationalist and freedom fighter of blesseth memory, “When the people in power enjoy a privilleged economic position, they cease to share in the problems they are responsible for solving”.

The affluences and influences our leaders derive from their unchallenged corrupt practices and the government’s neglect of public welfare has forced the masses into a life of despondency in a nation that is rated sixth in oil wealth in the world.

As a result all the conflicts in Nigeria today, in whatever form or name they may go by have their root causes and motivations in the socio-economic inequalities and official corruption that have since become the trademark of governance ,especially from the last Thirty years.This a country where only very few individuals ( those in positions of power and authourity and their families) enjoy and benefit from the abundant wealth God has bestowed on the country, while the great masses languish in abject poverty.

A country where sucessive governments have continued to systematically impose hunger, poverty and illiteracy on their citizens, where even the basic necesseties of life, ( Food, Shelter and Clothing) are already far from the reach of the ordinary man, while the words justice and Fairness only exist on paper. In Nigeria the people only casts votes while the corrupt political and military elites decides who becomes what, making governments after governments that are totally insensitive to the yearnings and plights of the citizens keep subtituiting themselves through coups and rigged elections.

All these unfortunate, shameful and ugly processes have turned Nigeria into a country where poverty, hunger and disease have become matters of inheritance been passed from genertion to generation, a good enough reason for the people to look at governments and any symbol of its authourity with disdain.

Turning to the issue of BOKO HARAM disturbances and the manner government handled the crisis, one would like to know why the Yar’adua government rolled out armoured tank, motars and bombs just to quell an internal security clash involving a mere rag-tag bands of youths weilding matchetes, clubs and cataphults not aginst their peaceful compatriots but the govrnment they blame for all their social and economic woes?.

At least even to the armateur military strategist or a student of conflict studies, the manner with which the Boko Haram members were killed in hundreds and arrested in even larger numbers indicates their lack of preparedness for a violent confrontation, instead it only clearly comfirmed the reports that they were actually provoked by the security agencies.

It would be interesting to know why the Yar’adua government abandoned its much drummed-up adherance to’ rule of law’ and ‘careful approach to issues’ on the Boko Haram while maintaining a persuasive approach and solution with the Niger Delta militants who for years have continued to engage the federal government in combat showdown using highly sophisticated weapons with clear foreign backings to claim what they have been denied of their rightful share in the country’s oil wealth.Of course, they did attack the Police and the military and even complement it with the kidnappings of high profile individuals,but yet no bombs have ever pounded homes in Port Hacourt, Warri or Yenegoa.

As if that was not enough, in its desparation to cover-up vital truths about the BOBO HARAM crisis, the government went ahead to summarily execute the leader of the sect Mohammed Yusif without arraigning him before a court of law. This alone is an indication of its fears at what might be uncovered in the process, especially about the involvementnt of highly placed personalities.

Even as an alleged murderer, war criminal and thief, When the United state arrested Saddam Hussein, they made him go through trials according to his country’s law before been punished, and even if the US should lay hands on Osama bin Laden today, they will definitely take through trials with the right to speak out and put up defence.

By murdering Mohammed Yusif, the government of Nigeria now has the monopoly in deciding who is a member of BOKO HARAM and who is not. Another tool for political witch hunt.

Mohammed Adamu, Farawa Quarters, Maiduguri Road, Kano Tel: 08034394875 Mohammedadamu57@yahoo.com



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