Musings On Boko Haram And Their Sponsors: Its Time To Stop Them Or They Stop Nigeria! By Ola’ Idowu

I have always thought of penning down something
about different issues concerning my dear country
Nigeria in the last one year or more, but each time I
got on it, the issues just kept on multiplying and you
never know where to start from. The recent
abduction of over 300 young school girls and the
multiple bombings in Nyanya, Abuja by the deadly
sect Jamaatu Allus sunna lil daawati wal Jihad
fondly called Boko Haram has finally brought me
down to writing and I won’t stop now till I get my
messages across.
There is no doubting it that Nigeria is in a state of
war and no matter how much President Goodluck
Jonathan had tried pretending everything is fine,
the chicken has come home  to roost. The #
BringBackOurGirls social media campaign has
finally forced him and his litany of advisers to their
senses and now they have to do something about
this deadly virus called Boko Haram. There is no
going away anytime soon of this menace and its
either we stop Boko Haram somewhat or they stop
Nigeria, its as simple as that!!
For too long we allowed this problem to brew and
get to the stage we’ve gotten to where it seems
obvious the unity of Nigeria is at stake. First, was
the barbaric way the sect was routed in 2009, when
late President Umaru Yar’adua ordered a massive
security clampdown on them and their leaders. The
late Mohammed Yusuf Abubakar (Boko Haram
founder and then leader) was caught by security
forces and murdered without recourse to a trial,
hundreds of his sect followers were killed either in a
shootout or extrajudicially. Their places of worship
and homes were destroyed. Their wives and
daughters raped, killed or incarcerated and the
worse part of it disabled and vulnerable adults were
arrested, accused of being Boko Haram members
and summarily executed by the police and we all
went to sleep believing the problem had been
solved. There was to be very little activity on the
part of Boko Haram after that massive and mostly
illegal routing by the Nigerian state, chiefly because
the late Yar’adua (a muslim president) was still in
power and it suited the present sponsors of the sect
whom I would henceforth in this article refer to as
the Hausa/Fulani cabal.
With the disputed People Democratic Party’s (PDP)
primaries over the choice of Goodluck Jonathan as
presidential candidate and his subsequent election
as president in 2011 following the untimely death of
Yar’adua, it was time for the Hausa/Fulani cabal to
resurrect Boko Haram for their political gains and
make good their promise of making Nigeria
ungovernable for Jonathan. The sect then found
willing sponsors in them and as they grew bolder in
their attacks as they aligned themselves with Al­
Qaeda and became one of its franchises, as well as
with state sponsors of terror like Sudan and Iran ­
who already had dormant Hezbollah trained terror
cells in Kano via the Shiite led group of Ibrahim el­
ZakZaky. Its no wonder the Israeli government has
concluded with some degree of certainty that
Nigeria has become a hotbed for Iranian/Hezbollah
terrorist activities.
Dawit Giorgis, a visiting fellow at the
Washingtonbased think tank Foundation  for
Defense of Democracies in an article for CNN
traced the emergence of Iran’s version of Hezbollah
to some northern members of Nigeria’s Muslim
Student Society who travelled to Iran in the 1980’s
in the wake of the  1979  Iranian revolution where
they were trained to repeat the revolution in Nigeria.
These students formed  the Islamic  Movement  in
Nigeria  (IMN) which flourished with cash, training
and support from Iran. The IMN has gone on to
provide Hezbollahstyle military training to hundreds
of Hausa/Fulani youths  throughout northern
Nigeria  and the result is  what we are
witnessing today.
. The leader of the
student group then was Ibrahim Zakzaky, a
firebrand Sunni muslim turned Shia religious
extremist who initially was influenced by the
works of Sayyd Qutb, the intellectual force behind
Eygpt’s Muslim Brotherhood and whose ideas form
the basis of alQaeda’s ideology today. Giorgis also
noted in his article that Zakzaky has over the years
worked hard to ensure that his members are
recruited in the Nigerian army, police force and the
state security establishments like the Nigerian
Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department for
State Security (DSS or SSS as we popularly call
The major fear was if Boko Haram links up with
Hezbollah and Iran, with the powerful tool they had
in place in Nigeria waiting for mobilisation, how
much damage they would go on to cause.
Unfortunately, it’s quite clear they already have
through their Hausa/Fulani cabal sponsors and also
they have linked up with  alQaeda  too.  Proof can
be found in how according to the BBC, they have
become better resourced, well drilled and planned in
their attacks and their level of motivation to do
battle with the Nigerian state. (http:// ). While
Boko Haram follows the Salafist Sunni tradition of
Islam as attested to by its leader Abubakar Shekau
in his recent video and receives support from al­
Qaeda in the Northern Maghreb (AQIM), Hezbollah,
Iran as well as Zakzaky are Shiite, Iran despite its
differences with alQaeda has always demonstrated
its willingness to work with alQaeda on occasions,
in order to attack the West. The Iranian motives are
clear and according
to a former Iranian diplomat Adel Assadinia who
defected to the West, in working with such groups
as IMN led by Zakzaky and in teaming up with al­
Qaeda franchises like Boko Haram, Iran’s
objectives are to establish a local power base to
exert influence over the national government and to
act against Western interests particularly in the oil
industry. With Nigeria being Africa’s largest
producer of crude oil  and having the second largest
proven oil reserves in Africa second only to Libya,
its easy to understand why Iran needs a power base
in the country. While oil production takes place on
the coast, and away from Boko Haram’s centre of
power, as long as Iran can destabilise Nigeria
enough through them and Zakzaky’s men with the
active connivance of the greedy and imbecilic
Hausa/Fulani cabal, they could disrupt the oil
industry. Add to Iran’s control of the Strait of
Hormuz (where a third of global oil ships passes
through), its present influence over militias in Libya
and alliances with nations along the Red Sea like
Egypt until the recent overthrow of the Morsi led
Muslim Brotherhood government, then it becomes
clear the formidable power Iran has to disrupt world
energy supply and force the West to negotiate with
it on its evil nuclear ambitions.
The US states department in its recent report on
global terrorism continue to list Iran and Sudan as
state sponsors of terror despite   recent
warming   of   relations between   United States
and Iran (
organization/225043.pdf ). Sudan on its part has
long been a shield for the offshoot of alQaeda and
harboured terrorist camps led by Osama bin Laden
all through the 1990s. In a recent interview with
Punch newspaper and widely reported on
Saharareporters former Nigerian diplomat
Ambassador Bola Dada who served for many
years in Sudan disclosed how lots  of
northerners including top politicians, diplomats,
army officers and youths came into Sudan and got
trained personally  by  Osama Bin Laden in his
terrorist camps back then. One of such official he
mentioned was former Governor Sani Yerima (a
man known to have married a 12 year old girl and
fought for the age of marriage in the Nigerian
constitution not to be raised to 18 years old but left
at pubic age for any intending girl who wants to
marry). There is no difference between such a man
and a certain  Abubakar Shekau who abducts 1518
year old girls and promises to marry them off into
slavery, the obviously share the same views on
teenage marriage. It does not matter if one is a
senator and the other a known terrorist during the
day, they could both marry their views at night when
no one is watching. Another well known figure who
has traversed through Sudan is Sanusi Lamido who
obtained a degree in Sharia and Islamic studies
from the country and lived there for some years in
the 1990s during the period Bin Laden ran his terror
camps. He was at a time referred to by the US
christmas day shoe bomber Farouk Mutallab as
his mentor and he himself would refer to Farouk’s
dad Umaru Mutallab as his own mentor following
the period when he was incarcerated under late Sani
Abacha for his growing militant and Islamic views
during the periods he shuttled between Nigeria and
Sudan. It was Mutallab who rehabilitated Lamido
and brought him into the Nigerian banking sector
though he had done some previous banking jobs
abroad in the late 80s.
Adamu Ciroma, a long time northern politician is
also another name who has one or two links with
Sudan and was part of the faceless Kaduna Mafia in
the 1970s 1990s. The origins of the Kaduna Mafia
can be traced to the demise of the first republic
during the Kaduna NzeogwuEmmanuel Ifeajuna led
military wipeout of northern leaders. The coup
prodded a group of Northern Nigerian intellectuals,
civil servants, remnant politicians, business tycoons
and military officers residing and doing business in
and around Kaduna to start the group to rally
opposition against the government of General Aguiyi
Ironsi especially when they perceived he was not
doing enough to bring the killers of their leaders to
justice. The mafia group consisted aristocrats, civil
servants and young military officers who were
mainly Muslims, most of them educated at the
famous Barewa College in Zaria and were known for
their commitment to the traditional values and socio­
political interests of Northern Nigeria. Hence when
such a man makes a threat like he did in 2010
together with a certain Lawal Kaita, a close
associate of Abubakar Atiku, that Nigeria would be
made ungovernable for Jonathan should he run for
President in 2011 we ought     to have
long     taken it serious and properly
investigated them. ( http://­
ungovernableforpresidentjonathan/ ).  The first to
have made such threat was so called Kaduna based
civil rights activist Shehu Sani who in 2010 despite
admitting the unconstitutionality of rotational
presidency went on to threaten Jonathan not to
contemplate contesting the 2011 presidential
elections as any attempt for him to do so amounts
to an incitement and recipe  for political
instability. Atiku  himself warned Jonathan that
those who make peaceful change impossible make
violent change inevitable. When a Lamido Sanusi as
CBN Governor insists on creating a Sharia banking
system without proper public consultation, when he
dresses in full Kano Emirate regalia to office despite
being a public servant, you know such a man has
not lost his Sudanese form (as per Sharia studies)
and his Northern Nigeria sociopolitical beliefs
despite any pretences to the contrary.
These are the men (all mentioned above) that
should be spoken too by the US government
counterterrorism officials when they come to
Nigeria, and be placed under thorough surveillance
to understand the Boko Haram menace, their
religious/political agenda and where they get their
finances and instructions from. A proper
investigation of these mentioned men and so many
others hidden in the corridors of power and
influence in Northern Nigeria would produce
evidence as to how the terror of Boko Haram has
become such a malaise that is threatening to bring
Nigeria apart. These are the men aggrieved that the
presidency did not come back to the north in 2011
and see no other way to have a northern president
except through the North/South PDP rotation
arrangement Nigerians did not put in place. To be
clear the religious/political Boko Haram are not the
only ‘type’ of Boko Haram. There is also the ‘Boko
Haram’ sponsored by the Nigerian state. Yes, the
Nigerian state!. Remember the fuel subsidy protest
across the  country in 2012 when Tahir square in
Kano was going to be the real epicentre of the
protests. Muslims and Christians showed unity in
their all night protest vigils at the square like it
was  done in Egypt  and at a stage Christians
provided  security  for  their  Muslim counterparts
when they took breaks to pray in the evenings. It
was a massive show of unity and solidarity until a
few days later when gunmen on motorbikes killed
over 50 worshippers in a church in Kano and it
was  blamed on Boko  Haram. The gunmen
according to reports from survivors and eye­
witnesses used semiautomatic rifles (Israeli made
Uzi semiautomatic baby rifles) instead of the usual
AK47s used by the Boko Haram terrorists which put
an end to the protests and the show of unity
amongst the Muslims and Christians in Kano. The
Israeli and Czech made automatic rifles they used
are the type issued to secret agents who guard the
president and top government officials and not the
type you find commonly on the market to be
purchased for use by Boko Haram.
This goes to show that the presidency in some
ways have hidden under the cloak of Boko Haram
to carry out some heinous crimes against its own
people. Add to that some southerners who have
been caught in the past trying to bomb pentecostal
churches in the north without any of them
prosecuted and you know Boko Haram menace has
been used by politicians within the PDP for their
own devious means. Also, armed bandits from
Niger and Chad who long before Boko Haram have
always crossed the porous boundaries between
Nigeria and those two countries to commit crimes,
have also used the mayhem surrounding Boko
Haram to raid banks and rustle cattle in Katsina and
other northern states across the country, but the
main danger to Nigeria’s survival remains the
religious/political Boko Haram headed by alQaeda/
Hezbollah linked Abubakar Shekau and promoted as
well as protected by the Hausa/Fulani cabal. It goes
without saying that Nigeria at this rate is tethering
on to its end.
Its time we stop this Boko Haram madness
somewhat or it stops Nigeria!. The Nigerian
government needs as a matter of urgency to
prosecute the policemen who murdered Mohammed
Yusuf (former Boko Haram leader) captured but not
tried before been killed (prosecution was brought
against four policemen some years back who
allegedly committed such heinous crime but
stopped after some days). Their destroyed places of
worship needs to be rebuilt and their wives and
children in detention released. The police and
military men who killed defenceless disabled and
vulnerable young men accused of being Boko
Haram militants in 2009 need to be prosecuted and
sent to jail. The videos of these extra judicial
killings are  available on Youtube and the families
of the murdered disabled young men should be
compensated. Two wrongs they say can never
make a right. We can’t be complaining of Boko
Haram and giving Shekau the necessary tools to
recruit more youths into his fold. All he needs to
convert new recruits is not only to tell them about
their despondent future in a country called Nigeria,
but to also show them the youtube videos of the
extrajudicial killings of disabled and vulnerable
young men who were  laid face down and
executed by the police and military in  2009. If
we want  to do any psychological operations (psy­
ops) to win the hearts of young men in the north we
need to start by giving those families justice and by
releasing women and children accused of being
families of Boko Haram militants. While doing that,
the Nigerian government and the United States
counterterrorism team can then go after Shekau
and his gang wherever they are hiding in the forests
of Sambissa or the snaky caves of Gwoza hills in
Borno state as well as their sponsors.
For those who still think the Nigerian Army can do it
on their own, they are either uninformed or just
playing up to stupid hubris (or false pride as Wole
Soyinka aptly put it). The Nigerian Army has only
been good at one thing for years now propaganda!.
They were heavily defeated by the NigerDelta
militants during the Obasanjo era despite the
massive force deployed against them and the
willingness of the northerners within the army to
fight against them. Lots of soldiers from barracks in
Borno state where deployed to the creeks of the
NigerDelta to fight MEND (its the usual style of the
Nigerian army to deploy soldiers from an area/
ethnicity who have no affinity to an area of
insurrection in the country
with the thinking that they would see no qualms in
killing their fellow Nigerians) and they lost their lives
in droves as the militants were fierce in battle, knew
the terrain and had moles within the military and
intelligence bodies. When they were losing men and
hardware, lots of southerners in the army, including
mobile policemen were  forcefully ordered  to  Jaji,
Kaduna  for  quick two weeks paratrooper and sharp­
shooting training and sent to the NigerDelta but they
still met their waterloo. Eventually, the soldiers and
commanders made deals with the militants and
even when they knew the camps of militants like
Tompolo (who stayed in a place called Camp 5)
they never attacked it and when under pressure to
act they gave him information hours before they
arrive at the camp so he could escape and put up
no resistance against them. The JTF (Joint Task
Force) then kept giving false estimates of militants
killed and underreported their losses and with no
one there to verify, the truth could not be
ascertained. What was true was that the country’s
oil production was going down and it took the
combination of the arrest of Asari Dokubo, the
subsequent arrest of Henry Okah (alias Jomo
Gbomo) through the help of the United States after
his interview in 2007 with CNN’s Jeff Koinange on
the creeks of the Nigerdelta, as well as the amnesty
programme by late president Yar’adua to stop the
oildecline and disruption to the global energy
Fast forward to 2014 and the story is still the same.
This time the northerners in the army on the
instruction of the Hausa/Fulani cabal are not fully
committed to the fight against Boko Haram. The
Middlebelt       and some Southern officers hurriedly
trained in a counterterrorism operations for two
weeks last year, are being fiercely routed by Boko
Haram who know the terrain better, well armed,
tactically drilled and are aided by moles in the army
command, the NIA and DSS who give them
information. Last week in the attack on Gamboru
village in Borno state, villagers recounted that the
military men guarding the village got ‘fake’
intelligence report about militants operating in
another town and one hour after they relocated
away Boko Haram descended on Gamboru village
and killed 330 people. This proves the amount of
insider support these extremists get from within the
military and intelligence service and how the men
fighting them are made helpless. Add to that the
fact that they are illequipped and not well armed (a
fact attested to by president Jonathan in his
presidential media chat where he stated that the
Nigerian military is 10 years behind in terms of
military hardware, training and modernisation), and
the soldiers are not being rotated say after every
six months leaving them open to fatigue from
offensive and defensive actions, Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD), then you know its only silly
for anyone to question the need for foreign help and
intervention. The Nigerian army fighting Boko
Haram just like they did with MEND have made
deals with them and would not attack them in their
camps in Sambissa forest reserve and Gwoza hills
in Borno state or in forest reserves in Yobe state.
Its time to stop Boko Haram and their sponsors
before they stop Nigeria. The abducted Chibok girls
(about 246 or more still missing) may all not be
found in one place as they may have been moved
around within the North. I do not believe all those
rubbish about them being moved to Chad and
Cameroon as that makes it hard for Boko Haram or
their sponsors to have any influence over them if
moved abroad, especially with US spy drones flying
from Niamey, Niger and watching the borders of
Chad and Cameroon. There are many sugarcane
farms in Bacita, Niger state owned by some of the
Boko Haram sponsors where these girls can be
hidden and seriously speaking lots of densely
covered farms and forests in Borno and Yobe which
US spy satellites cannot track and the girls can be
hidden. So called ‘civil rights’ activist Shehu Sani
mentioned recently that his knowledge of Boko
Haram (where does he get such knowledge from)
means that they may want to exchange the girls for
their own detained wives and children and not
necessarily sell them. If Shekau wants a swap of
their wives and children in detention for the
abducted girls then it should be granted anything
else no chance. The families of the abducted Chibok
girls may have to just prepare their minds not to see
their girls for a bit longer until Shekau is captured or
destroyed. Its time the US government send not just
spy planes over Nigeria but drop some hellfire
missiles over him and his marauding demons.
Hekimullah Mehsud, the late Taliban leader in
Pakistan evaded US drone strikes for many years
due to his often secretive nature and nondescript
background whenever he did any video. When in
2013 he decided to come out of hiding and did a
video with enough background information and
even did one showing his softer side as he and his
militants dived into streams swimming and were
openly happy, he was tracked a few months later
and killed by US drones in November 2013.
Abubakar Shekau’s latest 57 minutes video rant
with enough background information showing him
in a forest and an armoured carrier behind him,
(which is quite incredible not even Bin Laden had an
armoured carrier) is more than enough information
to track down his terrorist group and destroy them
with hellfire missiles and keep them on the run
making it hard for them to plan attacks. Shekau
may escape and be holed up in one of the guest
houses of his sponsors (like Osama was holed up in
his house in Pakistan while everyone thought he
was in a cave) but if his sponsors are put under real
surveillance he would be captured or killed with
drone missiles while planning any further attacks.
The Jonathan led government can sign an
agreement with the US government for the use of
lethal drone strikes for a period of three months
renewable every three months after a review of its
effectiveness or stopped if ineffective and causing
civilian damage. If the aggrieved sponsors of Boko
Haram particularly the Hausa/Fulani  cabal and
the faceless Kaduna mafia  believe the  only way
to  get back to the presidency is by fomenting
trouble a la OPC and MEND did in recent past then
this one is one trouble too many. OPC and MEND
called for secession, I’ve never heard Boko Haram
or their sponsors directly call for one all they are
talking about is having Jonathan convert to Islam
(effectively calling for a muslim or northern
president). Senator Jubril Aminu warned many
years back that the greed and selfishness of the
Hausa/Fulani ethnic tribe would ruin Nigeria. He
was aptly right and for any of the Hausa/Fulani
cabal who think they can frustrate Jonathan out of
power using Boko Haram they have miscalculated.
Surely Jonathan would run for president in 2015 and
would win against any northern candidate not
because Nigerians love him as he is actually the
most clueless, clownish and childish president the
country has ever had but because southerners who
are being forced to accept a reign of terror would
vote for him in protest against the north, add to it
couple of votes from the middle belt and a bit of
rigging, then we wait to see the next line of action of
the greedy and selfish Hausa/Fulani cabal.
I leave the cabal with words of General
Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) who in 2011 could not
hide his feelings toward President Jonathan’s
presidential ambition as he said: “There may be no
Nigeria. I draw parallel with Somalia so many
times. I am scared about that. Somalia, they are
one ethnic group, one religion, Islam, but for 18
years, Somalia became so selfish, so corrupt, so
undisciplined and they have wrecked the country”.
The last part of his statement to me should read the
“Hausa/Fulani cabal became so selfish, so greedy,
so undisciplined and they have wrecked Nigeria”. Its
time to stop Boko Haram and its sponsors
somewhat or there would be no Nigeria!!

Ola’ Idowu a Management Consultant, Researcher,
Political enthusiast and Humanist writes in from the

UK. email: or


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