OPINION: PRESIDENT BUHARI MUST MOVE AGAINST INSURGENTS

The recent killings by the Boko Haram elements must be visited with resentment, organization, intelligence, strategy, professionalism and determined approach by President Muhammadu Buhari and the security chiefs, if they mean resolving this menace once and for all. This Boko Haram insurgency must be taken seriously by Mr. President because the killings are increasing by the day and, these elements are widening their reach. Thousands of Nigerians have been killed by these sect, Muslims, Christians, men, women, young and old, there is no sense in searching where the killing has recorded its highest casualty, is it among the Christian or Islamic community? For Allah’s sake, they are Nigerians, humans created by the same Allah. What Nigerians want is the solution to these killings that is about putting Nigeria and Nigerians apart.

As the year 2019 drew to an end, Boko Haram under the banner of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), heightened its barbaric acts.

On December 12, ISWAP executed a police officer and 14 civilians in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
December 13, 2019, ISWAP again executed 4 of the 6 workers it abducted in July 2019. One of the abducted workers had already been executed last September.
On December 14, as many as 19 Fulani cattle herders were killed by Boko Haram near Ngala, close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
On December 22, near Maiduguri, 6 persons were killed while 5 were abducted by Boko Haramists.

In December 24, when it was obvious that Christians would be in Church for Christmas Eve or Crossover Night as some would call it, Boko Haram elements visited Chibok, a Christian community, killed about 7 people and abducted a teenage girl.

On December 26, a day after Christmas, Boko Haram released a 56-seconds video recordings of the execution of 11 Christians. The timing of release of the video was ostensibly to dampen the morale of Christians at the Christmas celebrations. Perpetrators of this heinous crime claimed it was to avenge the death of their leader. The year 2020, began with the abduction of Pastor Lawan Andimi on 02 January. The man was eventually murdered by his abductors. Pastor Andimi was the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

On January 7, 2020, 20 soldiers were reportedly killed, and about a thousand people displaced in Borno. Meanwhile, Nigerians witnessed how the Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum witnessed extortion on the highway by soldiers mounting a checkpoint in Borno. Nigerians are yet to be told what happened to those soldiers. Few days ago, in February, 2020, soldiers, Nigerian soldiers locked a gate against travelers who were mowed down and some others kidnapped.

On the night of January 8, 2020, gunmen wearing military combat uniform invaded a Seminary owned by the Catholic Church in Kaduna at about 10.30 pm and abducted four seminarians, namely, Pius Kanwai, Peter Umenkor, Stephen Amos, and Michael Nnadi. One of the seminarians was brutally wounded and another, Michael Nnadi, killed alongside a young mother of two.

On January 9, a student, Daciya Dalep, an indigene of Plateau State returning back to school at the University of Maiduguri was abducted and later executed by Boko Haram child soldier undergoing training.

Some days ago, the Sultan of Sokoto cried against the killings and called on the government to move fast at arresting the situation. These boys are not killing for religion, they are not killing for tribe, for truly, no God sent them to kill. These boys are simply criminals and they must be treated as such. Several leaders have shown concern, worry and proffered solution to this lingering crisis at our hands. They have called on Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari to rejig his security chiefs, re-strategize, search for assistance wherever it is to resolve this issue as his primary responsibility to the people is to secure their lives and properties. This continued propaganda by the Presidency spokespersons and military that Boko Haram has been technically defeated is a hogwash. How can Boko Haram be technically defeated and there are several attacks, killings, abductions happening daily?

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Mr. President must move swiftly for this was the promise he made to Nigerians, to completely erase insurgency and return Nigeria back to a secured country. Till date, it has become extremely difficult for Nigerians to move round the country safely. Citizens are kidnapped, ransom paid, some maimed, women raped, several killed, no sensitive government will fold its arms and do nothing serious to stop this. It has grave implications if we allow these killings to continue unabated. For years now, the Boko Haram group has shown the capacity to over run Nigeria in a matter of time and, it is then desirable for the government of the day to look for the solution without minding where it is gotten from.

Again, the argument by the government always that this group has been defeated and territories recovered from them is far from the truth. These men are very much on ground and running things. Innocent Nigerians are killed daily by this group. The Boko Haram sect are organized group of terrorists, they are heavily equipped with weapons, combat and intelligence strategies, well enumerated, and no doubt there could be some sponsors backing them up. The truth remains that our security agencies are not doing enough to arrest this ugly situation, it is worrisome that till date this sect have not been infiltrated by our security agents while, the Boko Haram group have infiltrated into the Police, SSS, Military and Presidency. You are then forced to ask, where is our Military Intelligence, National Intelligence Agency and Department of State Security Services in all of these? If the Maitasine sect of the 1980s that was as deadly as this Boko Haram group were speedily decimated by the combined efforts of the military and mobile police, why is it difficult for our forces to deal with this Boko Haram militants?

It is evidently clear that our security chiefs are not telling Mr. President the whole truth about this war, there are things they are hiding, facts that will bring this fight to an end. As at the last check, trillions of naira have been invested into this war with no headway. The military chiefs must buckle up, for the reason why they are where they are is to fight enemies of the state. There are persons in the past and presence that could have been used to get to where these characters are and engage them with the carrot approach but somehow it was bungled. The door could still be opened. For us to solve this problem that is gradually growing to a monster, all hands must be on deck. Whether any person likes it or not, if this sect multiplies in number, with more sophisticated weapons, it is doubtful if there would be anything to salvage in Nigeria.
We must guard against an easy approach to setting Nigeria ablaze because there is now a very affordable and willing tool to use in Boko Haram. Mr. President can and should meet with the former Presidents, security intelligent experts, and discuss a way out of this crisis before we are all consumed.

There is no doubt that, our past leaders, mainly the military chiefs would come in handy in dealing with this crisis. They have great wealth of experience and international contacts that could be very relevant in tackling this problem. President Buhari can rub minds with them, tap from their wealth of experience and professionalism. It is also important here for the intelligence units of the security agencies to, by now be working in unison to be able to break into the camps of these unrepentant Islamic militants. Certainly, to me that is where to start from, if they have not.

This evil and wicked act have taken lives of innocent Nigerians for no just cause, we have so far, according to various reports lost scores of thousands of citizens. The figure is enormous, enough for the government to go all out for these bandits. The figure is extremely high for the citizenry to lose confidence on its government. Businesses have had to shut down in most parts of Borno and Yobe states, people relocated to other parts of the country for safety of their lives. Some parents too have relocated their children’s education to other states. This evil must be tackled to allow development thrive in these places and indeed Nigeria. This is not an issue to politicize at all rather; it calls for our leaders to work assiduously at taming these insurgents with immediate effect and alacrity.

Nigeria is now regarded as a terrorist nation and included in the list of countries to be avoided by tourists and business men. Nigeria now witnesses poor economic growth and development as a result of this worsening security problem. Money that ought to be channeled into infrastructures, job creation, economy, and other development areas are now invested in tackling the unending war.

*** Written by Uzodinma Nwaogbe / 07084381845