BOKO HARAM: WE DON'T NEED THE MILITARY IN MAIDUGURI -SENATOR NDUME
A Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Mohammed Ali-Ndume has justified the call by certain leaders of Borno State that military action would not solve the security crisis engineered by the Islamic sect known as Boko Haram Boko Haram has been a torn in the flesh of the county security apparatus through detonation of bombs and sustained shooting and maiming of policemen and ordinary citizens , which forced the federal government to deploy troops to the streets of Maiduguri.
The deployment of troops had been condemned by the Borno leaders, who were demanding that the troops be withdrawn. Senator Ndume was among a group of leaders from Borno state who met President Goodluck Jonathan recently as part of search for peace in Borno.
He told Daily Sun in an exclusive chat after the meeting that the leaders made it known to the president that the involvement of the military in the sectarian crisis had done more harm than good.
The president, he said was told the history of Boko Haram, the thinking of Borno Leaders and the short and long terms solutions to the restoration of peace to the Kanuri land.
Origin of Boko Haram
According to Senator Ndume, the former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives who defected to the Peoples' Democratic Party [PDP] to realise his Senatorial ambition, Boko Haram did not start in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, but somewhere in Yobe state about eight years ago.
'But within a twinkling of an eye, the messages of the sect preached by their leader became acceptable to hundreds of jobless youths and it spread to adjoining states like Borno, Bauchi, Kaduna, Katsina and Gombe.
If you recall, the Boko Haram leader was the late Mohammed Yusuf, who was executed by the police after his arrest by the military in 2009.
Boko Haram were just like any other Islamic sects preaching Islamic messages and calling for full implementation of Sharia, which some State governments imposed on their people. There was no fight at the beginning, because we have similar groups in the Christendom that are preaching different messages for who cares to listen or who embraced it. I can say that the growth and ways of preaching by adherents of Boko Haram which later borders on security and attempt to crush it with force created the present scenario that is threatening the security of the entire nation.
This is I why the former Governor of Borno state for eight years, Ali Modu Sherif cannot exonerate himself from the crisis. Yes, he may not have created the sect, but it happened during his tenure and the ways he managed it made him part of the problems. He may not have created Boko Haram, but he created the Boko Haram crisis.
That is why we told the President frankly that for a genuine solution to the Boko Haram menace, Ali Modu Sherif cannot be part of the solution and that he cannot exonerate himself because it was the management by his government that turned the sect to what it had become today.
Look at the modus operandi of the sect before the throwing of bombs became their trade mark. First, they issued their demands, they warned the public, they identified their 'enemies' before attack, but things got out of control after the killing of their leaders and the sect which had spread all over to other states started to attack government establishments.
We don't need the soldiers
As leaders of Borno people, we feel that the deployment of troops to Maiduguri and other parts of the state is not the best solution. The reality on ground is that yes, the military are combing the state looking for members of Boko Haram, tell me, how will the soldiers identify who is a member of Boko Haram? The truth is that not all young boys and girls on the streets of Maiduguri are members of the sect, the members of the sect don't write it on their foreheads, so how do you identify them?.
We feel that deploying troops was an over kill, because we know what soldiers are trained for. Again, members of the sect are mixing freely with other people, there is no way the soldiers can identify who is Boko Haram and who is not, that is why you can only see the victims and not the actors.
We tried to let the President see the other side of the coins to the Boko Haram crisis, because as the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, he had access to all security reports, but we felt that he should see what the reports will never report because of extraneous factors, and I want to say that Mr. President was receptive and showed genuine commitment to restoration of peace in Borno state and other troubled spots in the country.
With what we presented to him as the leader and representatives of the people, he should be able to compare the reports from the security chiefs and the peoples' representatives. We told him that the first thing to do is to withdraw the troops as the Commander-in Chief, we told him that since times immemorial, the use of force had never answered problems of insurgency. We mentioned to him, the experiences of countries separatists had threatened peace and cohesion and how it was at a conference that peace was achieved. We cited cases of ETA in Spain, the IRA in Britain, the Taliban in Afghanistan and so on.
It was a consensus among Borno Leaders who visited the president that the rate at which security concerns in the North East axis is degenerating calls for dialogue with the Islamic sect, instead of the use of force to achieve peace.
The situation is fast degenerating with the presence of the military, and it was in our opinion that what will bring about peace is to engage the Boko Haram sect in dialogue and reaching out to them will not be a problem because they are in contact touch with the media, we watched on the NTA channel telephone interview with the spokesman of the sect, which means that they can be reached through GSM service providers.