Direct Talk and Psychological Accessibility to the Boko Haram Group Is worth the Trial in Nigeria


It is now obvious that the nation is now fully plagued by terrorism, which is so widespread and monumental that it is hard to unravel.  At a time when the Nigerian air is filled with the festivities of Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, which in a supposed

 way should involve the slaughter sheep and cattle, and not the near-sacrifice of a son, as in Abraham's case, but the reverse is the case.Human slaughter is in our face on a daily basis in Nigeria due to the Boko Haram wrath.

Violence in Nigeria, a country of more than 150 million with an almost equal split between the Christian south and the Muslim north is affecting public safety and national security.

Nothing appears to be stopping the inflammable and untamable torment, fear and worry across the country.  There appears to be a legitimate state of distress nationally, and the  cause of the state of distress is growing day-by-day. All efforts by the security works and forces  have had very little effect on  the havoc and trauma caused by the  Nigeria's Terror forces. As a nation there is a great psychological expression of denial that all is almost well but this state of denial is notoriously and loudly laughable.

The current terror group appeared to be a bunch of violent players engaged in do or die shocking acts. They are prepared to go to any length to drive in fear across the nation through targeted violence against public and private entities. In 2009 hundreds of people were killed when Maiduguri police stations were stormed in December 2010 and the city of  Jos was bombed , killing 80; in May 2011, bombing of many states occurred after the President's inauguration; in June of 2011 the Police Headquarter got bombed in Abuja followed by the August 2011 bombing of the UN Headquarter in Abuja.

In the last few days churches, mosques, banks and police state headquarter, Military base among others, continue be targeted in the country.

The emotional burdens of living in fear due to the Boko Haram group dangers continue. In terms of causation of the group's acts, economic insufficiency could not be the central problem as the nation for the first time in the country's history, is generally addressing its economic and social infrastructure inadequacies, and the economy is becoming more open to new investors and the government making efforts to enhance dire infrastructure such as power, transportation and energy.

Nonetheless, the issue of unemployment and wages remain a severe problem. On a positive side, food supply has remained strong, and the government is working hard on  creating new jobs. The very recent Damaturu bloodbath in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria informs a reasonable mind that the national and shocking assault certainly does not appear as a problem that's about to go away. The Boko Haram forces appear to be evolving and gaining strength minute by minute in spite of every security tactics used to this day, including all help and aids from 'Oyibo' or American security and intelligence forces and other Euro-oriented technical assistance.

The Boko Haram group who are apparently, non-Euro-Americans or non-Whites but African brothers of dark-skinned, youthful and Nigerian background seem to be ridiculing and essentially laugh quietly at the  Nigerian security forces as evidenced by the Sect's almost  flawless and tough stand so far.

We can call them what we like-gang of roaming youths, or gang of young men but one thing is clear they are certainly young adults mostly males of aggressive impulses.

The African spirit and style of communalism, instructiveness, cooperativeness, non-individualism, cultural unity, multi-ethnic mix, as well as extreme sensitivity remain part of their collective and personal Beings. But they are using these characteristics negatively. If the current  running battles between them and the Nigerian security forces is to make sense, understanding these stated cultural psychologies become very vital. It is time to move beyond the surface thinking that the Boko Haram sect are determined to disrupt peace and stability in the country because they want to implement  Shariah law and they have dislike for Westen(White/Euro-American) Education(philosophical values and styles).

These gang of youths are not leadership-minded and positioned for such influences even if they appear to harbor features of marked disregard for Euro-American legal, educational, social, dressing,  and ethical styles. These youths no doubt could be playing into the hands of those who could be in the circle of what could be called the Angry Politician including those of Northern Nigerian background who are quick to rationalize their defeat on being duped or hoodwinked by another political competitor.

With the common knowledge that we have of the African world view it is imperative that the Nigerian  President and his security advice-givers not exclude  approaches like the humanistic - spiritualistic - communal relations related talk.

African human traditions in the sense of safeguarding national security ought to include direct talk, open communication, and other forms of communal , heart-to-heart and conversational exchange. Certainly the current waves of terrorist attacks in the nation which is causing senseless deaths and hundreds of injured requires swift physical and aggressive reactions from the government. Still, we should bring in the psychology of interdependence and communalism as a way to help find out why these irritated youths and troubled adults of the Boko Haram mind-set lack respect for human life and dignity.

Certainly, they should be brought to justice for their barbaric and heinous acts, but there are those among them or preparing to be conditioned into the sect that could gain from necessary psychological and cultural education. Since the Government of Nigeria is in part a reflection of African humanistic - spiritualistic -cultural backgrounds, some of its security measures must include psychological, traditional and ethnic strategies in an attempt to deal with national security issues like the Boko Haram trouble, agony and mayhem.

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, is the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association (NPA) , and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Nasarawa State University, Keffi,  Nasarawa.