Political Analysis: 2015 Elections And The Politics Of Boko Haram Sponsors BY UGOCHUKWU ONYEOCHA

A few years ago, many Nigerians would have sworn with the
very last drop of their blood that acts of terror were indeed
un-Nigerian. The gory sight of senseless killings as being
painted in other continents around the globe often did make us
wonder how an individual or a group of persons will participate
in such horrible acts.
While many Nigerians watched and cursed, they hoped secretly
that these barbaric act would not become a part of the
country with the “happiest people on earth” but alas, time
again proved them wrong as terrorism not only encroached into
our consciousness, it soon became a part of Nigeria.
The pains of terrorism have suddenly become a part of the
daily lives of many Nigerians. The gruesome killings of many
Nigerians in the northern part of the country estimated to be
close to a million since 2010 has left many wondering how these
Boko Haram insurgents have continued to carry out these acts
of terror with impunity. The killings, destruction of properties
and villages and abduction has continued to defy any human
logic.
Even the declaration of a state of emergency in the North
East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa has done little or
nothing in creating the respite needed in these areas as the
terrorists have continued to carry out attacks after attacks
to the point of taking control of villages and towns within the
affected states.
But while terrorism is condemned globally, sponsors of
terrorism have gotten little attention in comparison to the
issues of terrorism with many forgetting that funds are
necessary for terrorist acts to be successfully implemented.
Nigerians in recent times have hoped and prayed earnestly for
a day when the “real” sponsors of the dreaded Islamic
terrorist sect, Boko Haram would be revealed. So when Dr.
Stephen Davis, an Australian employed by the Presidency to
negotiate with members of the Boko Haram sect over a possible
ceasefire named some prominent individuals and politicians
including a former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali-Modu
Sheriff, former Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Azubuike
Ihejirika among others as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect,
many Nigerians hoped for an immediate prosecution of the
accused but recent events have shown that such expectations
might not see the light of day.
Ordinarily, allegations of terrorism are matters of national
security. However, recent political happenings reveal that these
allegations have become political weapons in the hands of the
Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress in
the battle for elective positions in the 2015 general elections.
One would recollect how the two leading parties engaged each
other in a war of words when over 75 Nigerians were
slaughtered on April 14, 2014 in the now famous Nyanya park
bombings in Abuja.
While the alleged sponsors have verbally declared their
innocence, the ruling PDP and the APC have continued to point
accusing fingers at each other with the real issue of terrorist
sponsorship being swept under the carpet. One at this stage
wonders why no arrests have been made or statements
collected apart from press releases.
While the former army chief has debunked the allegations
linking him to Boko Haram, he has turned to point accusing
fingers at a chieftain of the opposition APC, Malam El-rufai
as the sponsor of the sect. However, one wonders why these
allegations were not made when he was in power and arrests
made if he indeed was telling the truth. Why wait for Mr Davis
to fire the first shot.
For Senator Sheriff, extricating himself from the web of
accusations might not be an easy task as it had been severally
in times past that the former governor was a sponsor to the
terrorist group. It would also be recalled that a serving
lawmaker in the National Assembly, Senator Ndume of Borno
State has also been accused of being a sponsor of the sect but
apart from a number of adjourned court cases, nothing has
been heard from the case.
Also implicated among others are the Central Bank of Nigeria
and even the United States of America who Davis accused of
not sharing necessary information with the Nigerian military
forces.
Davis, who was in Nigeria for four months to negotiate the
release of the abducted school girls from Chibok, Borno State,
with Boko Haram commanders, questioned the value of the
United States’ involvement in the war against insurgency.
“Americans claim they are doing aerial reconnaissance. Why
are they not passing the information to the Nigerian military?
With this information, the Nigerian military could intercept the
Boko Haram convoy before it reaches its target,” he said.
Davis, while recounting the days and weeks he spent talking
with commanders of the sect over the release of the Chibok
girls, revealed that the terrorists usually move in a convoy of
20 to 60 vehicles at night, before they expanded and started
launching large-scale attacks in the daylight.
Painting a graphic picture of how the terrorists carry out their
attacks, he revealed that the sect usually ambush Nigerian
soldiers as a result of the hostile environment in the North-
East, and described the incident of last six months as
worrisome. He said most roads in the rural north of Borno are
very narrow.
“The militants normally strike at night, so they lay in wait
where the military has to slow down to a crawl due to the poor
road condition. Sometimes they dig the potholes deeper to
entrap a convoy. On getting wind of the ongoing attacks, the
Nigerian military would dispatch soldiers in a convoy of
vehicles.
Unfortunately, and unknown to the soldiers, the insurgents
may have enlarged a big hole on the road. So in a convoy of say
20 vehicles, the first vehicle draws to a halt as it encounters
the ditch. By the time the soldiers realise what is happening
and try to make a U-turn, they are ambushed by the
insurgents as the convoy struggles to turn around on the
narrow pot-holed road,” he said.
The negotiator, however, noted that military action alone is
unlikely to end the insurgency currently bedeviling the
country.
It would be recalled that after Boko Haram kidnapped over 200
female students from Government Girls Secondary School, in
April 2014, the U.S.A. promised to help Nigerian government
fight insurgency. It gave some of its military personnel to
training Nigerian soldiers, as well as shared some aerial
reconnaissance data and equipment, but did not send any
ground troops.
Other international communities like the United Kingdom, Israel
and China also offered to help, but, despite the promises from
these international powers, the menace of the dreaded
terrorist group is yet to be fully curtailed.
Most worrisome is this whole scenario is the fact that this ugly
trend is centered on the 2015 general elections. More cases of
terrorism have been recorded as the countdown to the general
elections has begun in earnest.
Prominent Nigerians have called on the nation’s security forces
to arrest and interrogate the alleged sponsors to get to the
root of the matter. Reacting to Davis’ allegations, human
rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, urged security agencies to
investigate all the people accused of sponsoring terrorists. He
noted that before the revelation of Davis, the Jonathan
administration had set up the Ambassador Usman Galtimari
Panel to investigate the genesis of the insurgency in the North
East region. He said it recommended that the Federal
Government should direct the security agencies to beam their
light on some politicians who sponsored, funded and used the
militia groups that later metamorphosed into Boko Haram and
bring them to justice.
He said, “The security forces should, without any further delay
carry out the directives of the Federal Government by
investigating and prosecuting all the indicted sponsors of the
Boko Haram sect. If the directives are not carried out
forthwith I shall apply to the Federal High Court for a Writ of
MANDAMUS to compel the security agencies to discharge their
duties in the public interest.”
On his own part, a security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, said that it
was unfortunate that the issue of Boko Haram was being used
to foster partisan politics and score cheap political points when
political parties irrespective of ideology, should be cooperating
to put insurgency to an end.
Ekhomu, who is Nigeria’s first chartered security professional,
berated the Australian hostage negotiator for making
unsubstantiated claims. He said Davis should not be taken
seriously as he was only grasping at straws having failed to
negotiate the release of the schoolgirls.
He said, “In Nigerian politics, a lot of people make crazy
statements but nothing happens and no one is punished for it.
That is why you see that right now, the PDP and the APC are
exchanging allegations of Boko Haram instead of them to come
together to fight a common foe. How can they be making
reckless statements about Boko Haram without substantiating?
Probably after spending sometime in Nigeria, Davis also felt he
could make reckless statements and get away with it since no
one ever holds anybody accountable.”
Nigerians deserve to know the sponsors of Boko Haram and
these sponsors should be brought to justice. The politicking of
this issue is regrettable and must be stopped as the lives of
Nigerians continue to remain in danger as long as the truth is
buried

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