ANALYSING JONATHAN'S RENEWED ANTI-TERROR WAR
There is no doubt that the armed Islamic Terrorists known as Boko Haram have struck devastating terror in different parts of Nigeria leading to the killings of several Nigerians put at 12,000 by the Nigerian President Good luck Jonathan. They have succeeded in destroying the economic base of Northern Nigeria since no wise investor will invest in an environment whereby terrorists are totally in control.
Since the year 2009 that these terrorists started wrecking bloody havocs on Nigerians and several state institutions including the nation's security agencies and even international agencies like the office of the United Nations in Abuja which came under intense bombing campaign, the current federal administration has come under increasing criticism for failing to apply maximum force to decisively crush these insurgents before they gained notoriety. A lot of critics say the government at the center failed to struck the terrorists literarily when the 'iron' was still hot.
Opposition politicians like prominent Northerners in the persons of General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military Head of state of Nigeria, erstwhile Federal Capital Territory minister Mallam Nassir elRuffai, former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna state Professor Ango Abdullahi and several others were known to have opposed the Federal Government's initial decision to wage unrelenting fight against the insurgents.
At a point, General Muhammadu Buhari of the opposition All Progressives Congress [APC]and the then national Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] and one time Governor of old Gongola state [now Adamawa state] Alhaji Bamanga Tukur wrongly categorized the armed Boko Haram insurgents as 'freedom fighters' even as General Buhari faulted the decision of the Government to go after these mass murderers.
These Northern Politicians with significant national presence and influences, said the insurgents in the North East should have been rated the same way as the Niger Delta militants which waged armed struggle against some crude oil facilities in the oil rich Niger Delta before the then Federal Government of the late Umaru Musa Yar'adua secured a peace agreement that resulted in the implementation of a comprehensive amnesty programme for the repentant former armed militants in the Niger Delta.
The groundswell of opposition from these few vocal critics of government who claimed to be speaking the mind of the Northern political bloc succeeded to a greater damaging extent to slow down the Federal Government's response to the attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Even some elements in the Northern part of Nigeria came up with the destructive interpretation of the military confrontation of the Islamic armed Insurgents by claiming that the military were selectively killing Moslems. This dangerous religious politics made it possible for even the Federal Government through the ministry of foreign affairs to oppose the earlier decision by the states department of the United States of America to classify Boko Haram as a global terrorism group.
Secondly, the Nigerian Government is yet to set up the financial action task Force as an independent body to trace the financial leakages from which funds are supplied to Boko Haram insurgents. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] under the current dispensation has failed in a very spectacular fashion to pin down the funders of Boko Haram. It will be difficult to defeat terrorism if the financiers are not sufficiently known, exposed and prosecuted as public enemies.
Again, the prosecution of the suspected terrorists is slow making it imperative for genuine lovers of Nigeria to call for the transfer of these terrorism masterminds before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands to face charges of crimes against humanity and genocide.
The Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke [SAN] has done a lot to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice but the peculiar Nigerian condition associated with undue delay in the judiciary has significantly ensured that victims of terrorism would have to wait endlessly before those who perpetrated the atrocious criminal acts of terrorism are sanctioned in accordance with the extant anti-terrorism laws.
Persons with parochial and pedestrian sentiments have seriously undermined the anti-terrorism war of the current government and because the current President has no military background he is criticized for being unduly slow in taking bold military decision to crush the insurgents and also eliminate all the saboteurs within the military establishment who are leaking operational information to the insurgents.
Sadly, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did little or nothing to bring these persons who inflamed regional and religious passion and sentiments which in effect provides the fuel for the armed Islamic fundamentalists to increase their sinister and satanic armed attacks against innocent civilians while they worshipped in Churches and even Mosques. These criticisms against the Federal Government's unclear anti-terrorism war became unprecedented when the current President during one of his foreign visits to a Southern African nation defended his government's less -than- impressive all -out military action against these mass murderers and stated that the members of the dreaded armed terrorists group are 'our brothers'.
But exactly a month ago, when these dangerous insurgents invaded the Girls Secondary school's dormitory in Chibok Local Government area council of Borno state and forcefully took away over two hundred young teenage girls into sexual slavery the World rose in unison to demand serious action on the part of the Nigerian Government to crush Boko Haram.
Different advocacy groups from around the World started the campaign around the issue of demanding the rescue of the kidnapped school girls to an extent that even World leaders like Barack Obama, his wife Michele Obama, British Premier David Cameron and top global entertainers and United Nations officials also joined the chorus.
It is in the heat of the ongoing global wide campaign to rescue the kidnapped girls of Chibok that the French President Mr. Francois Hollande convoked a regional anti-terrorism summit in at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France to deliberate on ways and means of confronting the deadly terrorism which is spreading around the West African nations of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. recall that France has a binding defence pact with Cameroon and the United States African military Command has a base in Niger Republic.
World powers also agreed to send technical assistance and high technologically made equipment to try to release the kidnapped school girls. This singular satanic action of Boko Haram in kidnapping the girls has jolted President Jonathan and compelled him to reintroduce an anti-terrorism war which he has informed his audience will be decisive. The World waits to see how effective and efficient these range of measures will be to wipe out the threats posed by Boko Haram against Nigeria and Nigerians.
Smarting from the international meeting in France, President Jonathan seemed to have kick started another phase of war against these insurgents and for the first time the Nigerian President gave the official figures of casualties slaughtered so far by Boko Haram.
President Goodluck Jonathan told journalists in Paris, France on May 16th 2014 that the Boko Haram sect has so far killed over 12,000 innocent Nigerians, maimed over 8,000 and displaced many others.
Speaking in Paris, France at the Regional Summit on Security in Nigeria; the Nigerian leader said the country had since 2009 contended with many attacks and killings.
He said the attacks had now developed into a full-scale war targeting the stability and integrity of Nigeria.
His words; "Boko Haram has launched a vicious guerrilla-style campaign against the government and the people of Nigeria. It has attacked schools, slaughtered students in their dormitories, destroyed villages, communities and government infrastructure and has wreaked havoc on the economic and social life of our people".
Speaking in more specific terms, the President stated that; "This unconventional war has so far claimed over 12,000 lives, with more than 8, 000 persons injured or maimed, not to mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians".
In his considered view, his government had developed intelligence which, according to him, indicates clearly that global terrorist networks are deeply involved in the recent activities of Boko Haram "which has now turned into an integral part of the Al Qaeda network as the West African Branch.
He said; "More tellingly, the group runs an international network of training and incubation centres in such places as Gao and Kidal areas of Mali, the Diffa, Maradi and Maina Soro areas of Niger Republic, Maroua and Garoua areas of Republic of Cameroun, the Zango and Ridina quarters in Ndjamena, Chad, the Ranky-Kotsy area of Sudan, and also some cells in the Central African Republic".
It is expected that now that Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic have been made by their colonial master- France to sign on to the anti-terror war against Boko Haram that they would genuinely tackle this scourge for what it represents- the greatest threats against civilization and democracy. The armed Islamic Insurgents represents anything that is evil and these mass murderers have no clear developmental agenda since they have embarked on the campaign of terrorism and genocide. Nigeria must take action to protect her international borders and stop the current widespread flow of arms and weapons.
The Nigerian Courts must stop the widespread corrupt practices that make judges and lawyers to compromise anti-terror trials as has happened in the case involving some Lebanese armed smugglers who were recently freed surreptitiously by an Abuja Court. If you as a judge collect bribe to set a terrorist free, what is the guarantee that in his next bomb attack will not eliminate your parents and children? Let me repeat with the Nigerian First Lady that in whatever we do as Nigerians we must bear the burden of knowledge that there is a creator God who would subject all our actions to scrutiny on the last day.
+Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria; blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com; www.huriwa.org.