There is difference between terrorism and insurgency –Tony Uranta


Uranta, an activist tells National Mirror, that what we have in Nigeria is terrorism and not insurgency, among other national salient issues. Excerpts:

What is your reaction to the continuous terrorists' bombardment of the country?

I am very happy that you have used the word 'terrorists' rather than the word 'insurgents,' because as it is being very wrongly used even by army officers, retired generals is worrisome. You can understand from their expressions that they don't understand the difference between insurgency, war and terrorism.

An insurgent is a man who takes up arms to prove a point within a state, staying within a state, through his being discontent. You could now say that the Niger Delta situation could aptly be termed an insurgency. Members of Boko Haram sect are not insurgents. They are terrorists, who are part of a global terrorism circle that is being controlled as well by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL.

You will notice that Boko Haram, just as Al-Shabab, Al- Qaeda in the Maghreb, all fly the same flag. They all talk about the Islamic caliphate. An insurgency is not foreign controlled. But far beyond that, an insurgency does not try to obtain land. Boko Haram, ISIL, Al-Shabab's intention right now, is to take over space, territories, and declare those territories, non-border Islamic Caliphates. Shekaus (we've had Shekau one, two, three, maybe there is the fourth now), have at different times asked why we (Nigerians) are asking for the return of the Chibok girls. They said they have sold them to slavery because Allah allows them to be sold into slavery. This is to emphasise the fact that there is a totally new global phenomenon at play. And nowhere else in the world is that phenomenon called insurgency.

What we have is not insurgency. It is simply a mass murderous invasion of our space, by local and foreign terrorists, with intent on capturing territories, intent on massacring and depleting population that they believe is not in any way related to their belief.

The Sultan of Sokoto, very correctly said in his last statement, that the war must now be intensified. I wish he had said that a year or two ago, when more Christians were been killed. He said that because more Muslims are been killed now. This is not a war between Islam and the rest of the world or the rest of Nigeria. It is a war between certain radical fundamentalist that have Islam as their basis, and other parts of Nigeria.

Having established that there is no insurgency ongoing in Nigeria. I will like that fact to be drummed into people's ears, hearts and brains. If you think your enemy is an insurgent, then your military is already incapacitated. That will make you believe that what President Goodluck Jonathan said in the beginning, when he too was misled into thinking that what we have was an insurgency, that we cannot go and start killing our brothers.

For me, no member of Boko Haram is my brother. Nobody that will put a baby down and stamp on the baby's head can be my brother. Nobody that will slaughter babies and children can be my brother. So, I will not love that person or people as I love myself. I will resist the person because the person is a devil and is from the devil. That is the way each of us must see Boko Haram. There is no insurgency in Nigeria rather there is mass murderous terrorism.

But how come the terrorists are still making inroads despite government's commitment to stop the mess?

First of all, let's go into the issue of bombings. There is nowhere in the world where borders are as porous especially as ours are, that you can control the influx of strangers. Some may be law abiding, but most will have criminal intents, because you need to have an attitude of law breaking before you start going into another country illegally. How are you going to control these people?

Secondly, how are you going to discriminate or perceive that this woman in Hijab is not carrying a bomb?

You cannot approach a woman in Hijab nor stop her. And people should not make the mistake to think that these women are voluntarily suicide bombers. Most of the bombings that have taken place, I can tell you, may have been carried out by drugged women. They don't hold the detonators. The detonators are held by Godknows whoever their controllers are, who have threatened, coerced and brainwashed them into having it strapped on them, then forced to go to the designated place, and the moment they get there they now detonate remotely. This explains why the young girl who got to the door of the school and hesitated standing there weeping, did not move into the Assembly, but her controller, most probably, had estimated that by that time, she is already in the middle of the crowd, so he detonated the bomb.

So, it was only that young man who went to ask her “mai ne ne” (what is wrong), that was killed with her. Bombings, especially suicide bombing is not a Nigerian characteristic. But, whether Nigerian or foreign, even in the most advanced clime, it is so difficult for you to control war of unconventional means.

Can we say there is a conspiracy?
I am beginning to think and as friendly as I am to US, I am beginning to suspect them. US have a very notorious record of arming two sides of a conflict. Nicaragua is very fresh in our mind. In fact, US armed Vietnam to some extent against its own self. I have record about this, and I will love the US Ambassador or anybody to sit down with me on TV, and I will bring out the record and let them dispute it. I will not be surprised if it is not part of a grand conspiracy to help destabilise or make sure Nigeria fails. Don't forget that their prediction is around the corner – 2015, they said we will fail.

US love to be seen as intelligent. They do not have the facts about our break up and we won't break up. But they will do all they can to see us break up, including saying to us, we will not arm you. If I am the Nigerian President, I will send the US Ambassador out of Nigeria. For them to have the temerity to say to us that for human rights abuses, they will not arm the Nigerian military, which is facing a horde of not just human rights abusers, a horde of killers, beasts that are massacring hundreds of thousands of people in the villages, and US is turning blind eye.

Nigerians have helped worsen the security situation because we have forgotten the fact that the most portent thing a military has in its arsenal is discipline. But the Nigerian media, orchestrated perhaps by myopic, uninformed civil society, who are maybe influenced by shortsighted opposition politicians, are sitting down, merely applauding every move of Boko Haram. When Boko Haram captures a place like say, Biu or Konduga, they will laugh and say the military has no capacity. For me that was a wrong approach because with such attitude, you embolden Boko Haram unknowingly.

Most Nigerians are worried that the Nigerian military haven't got the capacity to stop Boko Haram. Do you think otherwise?

If we sit down here and every day we are telling the private soldier that their generals are stealing money, are we encouraging them or demoralising them? And when they are court martialled for indiscipline, lawyers are kicking and saying no, you are abusing their civil rights, so under this situation are you encouraging the next set of soldiers to imbibe discipline? The moment you get into the military, you are supposed to have a switch that switches off what you call reason and switches on what you call obey the command.

Boko Haram is operating in a new season, a season of social media where they have all forms of communication systems and communicating unimpeded. The military does not appear to have superior capacity in the areas of communication. One of the things we need to do is to make sure that the morale of the military is high and not to mock them. We owe it as a duty to support the military.

The National Conference report, which you were part of, seems to be kept in a cooler for now, what are some of your random thoughts about the situation?

When a few patriotic Nigerians and I decided to revive the dream of the yearnings for a National Conference, the first thing we wanted was to bring all parts of Nigeria together, to get all of us talking.

The conference itself succeeded a great deal because from the Southern point of view, the only thing that we did not have written down as resolution was regionalism, but if you ask me, it was also achieved through the back door by saying that every state can write its constitution.

However, the biggest opposition to the conference has always been the National Assembly which also created the danger of what we should do with the result of the conference.

Sadly, they also threw it back to the President and said they want him to decide on certain things.

Culled from National Mirror
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