ANXIETY OVER BOKO HARAM RESURGENCE
Borno Governor Modu Sheriff
If the report of the probe instituted by the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in respect of the religious crises in some parts of the North, had been made public, perhaps thealleged threat from the deputy leader of the Boko Haram, Mallam Abubakar Shekau, may not have caused any panic in the country.
Former National Security Adviser (NSA), to the late President, General Sarki Muktar (rtd), coordinated the probe. But up till the time he was shoved aside early this year, nothing was either heard of Boko Haram or the presidential probe. However, recently there were fillers from Maiduguri, the Borno State, that the group may be regrouping as a way of remembering the massacre of its late leader and to probably seek vengeance.
No one can say with certainty whether the planned resurgence threat was real or imagined. Daily Sun can authoritatively reveal that there is more to the threat than meets the eye.
Daily Sun, had sometimes last year, shortly after the oncident, reported exclusively that there was the urgent need by the Nigerian Government, especially the governors of the 19 northern states, to brace up for the challenges ahead, owing to the fact that the gospel of the Boko Haram group had spread beyond what the government could imagine.
It used a lecture delivered by a Zaria-based Islamic scholar, Sheik Muhammad Auwal Al-Baniy, titled 'Karen Bana, Magani Zomo Bana' (Only the modern dog can tame the modern rabbit), as the basis for its story.
He noted that the killing of late Yusuf, allegedly by the police was like killing a snake, without cutting off the head, insisting that such a snake would turn out to be deadlier than the one alive. Interestingly, his warning then, also came on the heels of a controversy surrounding the whereabouts of late Yusuf's deputy, Shekau, whom Daily Sun can authoritatively reveal is even deadlier than the late leader of the group. It is this Shekau that is today being linked to the alleged fresh threat coming from the group.
Shekau was the real brain behind the timing of the launch of the insurrection in some parts of the North. Sources said before the Bauchi and Maiduguri onslaughts last year, Yusuf had while addressing his congregation urged them to tarry a while over the proposed jihad it wanted to lunch, since Muslims were approaching the month of Shaban, which is seen as one of the sacred months in the Islamic calendar. Owing to this, late Yusuf had said it would be unwise to wage a war, but it was Shekau who insisted that the war must go on, as troops had been mobilized in readiness for the battle.
In fact, Daily Sun has it on a good authority that Yusuf was only blessed with oratory powers. The militancy aspect of the group was being manned by Shekau, who was said to be more militant than the late leader. If therefore, Shekau is said to be alive, issuing threats, then, it certainly shows cause for concern.
Already, a purported 25-minute video clip, allegedly shot on April 19, 2010, by yet to be identified journalist, indicated that Shekau was answering questions from the journalist, allegedly from a certain hideout in Maiduguri.
In the said clip, Shekau was seen wearing a headdress, brandishing an AK-47 gun. Those who know him, especially around Maiduguri, insisted he was indeed the one.
But sources told Daily Sun that a critical examination of the said video clip, indicated that it was indeed a computer manipulated work. For instance, one of the sources said, while showing Shekau, in the purported clip, most of background scenes were those of Afghanistan war: 'If there is any security report concerning that, then those who got hold of it should be thoroughly scrutinized, they may have been the brains behind it just to extort money from the man.
'You remember the Yobe saga, where the governor even went on air, to say through an army intelligence report, he had uncovered plans to eliminate him and some people in government. It is unfortunate that nobody followed-up that issue. But let's not go into details, the point I am making is that the Yobe issue, as it were was a dummy. I suspect strongly that this video clip is another dummy.
'Two, we are approaching election year. It may just be a ploy by some politicians to gain one or two advantages over the other. I agree with you, there are still some believers of Boko Haram, but I do not believe in this fresh threat, especially the video clip you talked about. Go and take another look at it.' One thing is however sure, the last, it appears has not been heard of the insurrection from the militant Islamic group, called Boko Haram. Perhaps, unless the government heeds the call made by Al-Baniy, government may just continue to scratch the surface.
Al-Baniy, in that lecture, had submitted among other things that 'government must stop rigging and stealing of ballot boxes during elections. These are the types of things people like Yusuf use against the government. Since the youths can see all these things happening, they will be forced to believe the likes of Yusuf. As such, there is no way you can tell the youths that what Yusuf is saying is not true, when there are clear evidences of injustice in the land.
'Federal, states and councils are the ones providing the platform for the gospel of people like Yusuf to gain ground because of their attitudes to governance and leadership, which are at variance with best practices the world over. Our youths are jobless, and our politicians are just waiting for 2011, to use them again by just giving them stipends. This kind of attitude must stop. 'For all those that were killed during the crisis, may Allah forgive them their sins, and those who are still alive among them, may Allah bring them back to the right path. Amin.
'And to the Federal Government and Borno State government, efforts should be made to investigate the soldiers, SSS and the police in Borno very well, because some of them actually worked for Yusuf. The politicians too should not be left out, because there are some who are his followers.
'Also, the telecoms company with presence in Maiduguri must make effort to audit their staff very well because those you may be paying say N70, 000, Yusuf offered them close to N120, 000, as such you may think they are working for you, but in reality, they are working for Yusuf. I say this because the switch-off of some networks experienced in Maiduguri during the crisis can only be done with the connivance of an insider.'