October 2, 2022
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Nigerian elite and evolution of insurgency – The Nation Newspaper

  • November 20, 2021
  • 7 min read
Nigerian elite and evolution of insurgency – The Nation Newspaper

Nigeria news – Nigeria's breaking news website
Paying attention to the nuances in the everyday reports of the security situation in the country for over a decade now, a paroxysmal contrast is deducible pre and post 2015 General elections. Prior to 2015 general elections, the nation had to contend with regular attacks from the Boko Haram terrorists. Six years of President Muhammadu Buhari. citizens had to contend with unpalatable lexicons like bandits, unknown gunmen, ungoverned spaces, kidnappers, ISWAP among several others.
Although the Boko Haram became daring during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, its existence predates that period. The group operated purely as a religious group which forbade western way of life in totality and it remained so for about four decades until 2004 when the group which had, by then, grown in to a behemoth was consulted by politicians with assurances of funding and special privileges before and after elections. The group delivered victories to their patrons but the politicians but soon reneged on their promises. This enraged the group and they eventually became violent forcing reactions from the governments which led to arrests and rearrests of its leader Muhammad Yusuf until his mysterious death in the hands of the Nigerian in Police in 2009.
The death of Yusuf ushered in a more ruthless leader known as Abubakar Shekau. However, the targets and tactics of attacks of the sect changed with the re-election of Jonathan in May 2011. President Jonathan’s inauguration was rocked with bomb blasts and then suicide bombers attacked both the Nigerian Police Headquarters and the United Nations compound in Abuja on June 16, 2011 and August 26, 2011 respectively. These were the first record of suicide bombings in Nigeria and the entire African continent.
Recurrent attacks in the North-eastern Nigeria forced the government to declare a state of emergency in the embattled states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. In March 2013, having endured a barrage of criticisms for abandoning the much terrorised zone, President Jonathan visited Yobe and Borno states where he was received by the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF led by Mallam Adamu Ciroma. Prior to 2011 General elections, the group had rejected Jonathan’s candidacy and one of her members was even said to have threatened Jonathan’s presidency with anarchy should he emerge as president on the PDP platform.
The members of the group demanded amnesty for Boko Haram members and withdrawal the JTF with the accusations of extrajudicial killings and Human Rights violations by the Nigerian security agencies. President Jonathan and his supporters shared the impression that the northern elites were parts of the conspiracy. When the Jonathan administration approached the United States for weapons to prosecute the war against Boko Haram, he was denied by the Department of Defence of the United States under the Leahy law which prohibits the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defence from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity. The denial of weapon to the Jonathan administration frustrated the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.
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By the way, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has sued the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the same grounds that this violated the same Leahy Law. This is against the background of the sale of A-29 Super Tucano military aircraft to the Buhari administration despite allegations of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations by the Nigerian security agencies.
However, where economic marginalisation and agitations for a Nigerian president of eastern descent is said to inspire the separatist agitation in the Southeast, attacks on institutions like the prisons and police stations are increasingly frequent; so also sit-at-home orders which cripples businesses of the allegedly marginalised people – the same people they claim to be fighting for.
It should interest the eastern elites giving support to these agitators that the North that was once alleged to lend tacit support to Boko Haram against the Jonathan administration is now the most terrorised region in the country. It remains so even after the emergence of a president from the region with thousands killed and millions displaced.
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Had the Jonathan administration obtained the weapons needed as at then, who knows whether the north would have been stabilised. Yet, an undeniable fact is that the armed forces made the most of the interregnum before 2015 General elections during which it incapacitated Boko Haram for the election to hold in the affected zone of the country after the administration secured weapons through other means.
In April, People’s Gazette released old audio clips of Nigeria’s current Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Mallam Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) in which he sympathised with Al-Qaeda and Taliban. The minister accepted his mistakes and apologised to Nigerians saying “I was young when I made some of the comments. I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later”.
However, terrorism twirls around fanatical ideologies. Mainstream journalists did a great job identifying the fons et origo of the Mephistophelean Boko Haram sect. It is undeniable that the behemoth stemmed from ignorant and misguided proselytism allowed to flourish unchallenged.
The predominance of radical Islamic groups in Northern Nigeria no doubt provokes certain logical questions. What are the religious elite of the Northern Nigeria teaching the young ones? The even more challenging question is how many more influential clerics are out there ‘preaching’ and ignorantly radicalising the youths? What calculated approach and workable methodologies have the government put in place to stop them?
Mudslinging in the Nigerian political space have not only swayed the citizenry from issues-based politics but also broadened ethnic irreconcilability. For sustenance of political prominence, politicians cannot resist the temptations of appeal to ethnic, linguistic and religious sentiments, hence language of the most seditious and exciting types are in constant use during and after elections.
Various jeremiads with terse premonitions of Nigeria’s inevitable breakup are as old as the independent Nigeria itself. This fate is unavoidable if the Nigerian elites continue to toe the line of destruction. Two decades of uninterrupted democracy has since unleashed elites’ base nature on the entire nation. Elections became desperate struggles to gain access to state wealth which inevitably led politicians to patronise and enrich extremist groups, train and arm thugs who later become armed robbers and mass kidnappers when abandoned by politicians after elections. It is very important to state that without political patronage, Boko Haram would have remained purely a misguided religious group as it had been for decades.
There are no truer words to cap it all other than those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which says “man must evolve for all human conflicts a method which rejects aggression, revenge and retaliation. The foundation of such method is love”
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