Borno, Boko Haram and politics By Jamil Abubakar

It may surprise many Nigerians who still hear sporadic nerve-breaking sounds of bomb explosions by Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in parts of Borno state. This shock in Nigerians is reinforced by the insistence of the Nigerian military of defeating terrorism.

Borno used to be the hub of terrorism in Nigeria and even the incident of the abduction of over 270 Chibok school girls by BHTs also occurred in Borno state. Yobe and Adamawa states were also caught up by the fire of terrorism in the Northeast. But Borno is now the lone state where traces of insurgency are still found.

There was a threatening severity of insurgency in the Northeast and other parts of Nigeria before President Buhari appointed a rugged soldier, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai as Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and leader of the counter-insurgency war. Nigerian soldiers threw in their hearts and soul into the counter-insurgency battle and eventually defeated Boko Haram. Nigerian troop’s defeat of terrorism came in stages.

What led to the final defeat of terrorists in Nigeria first manifested as the repression of their ability to strike recklessly as Nigerian troops squeezed and forced many insurgents to recede; it followed the decimation of terrorists and the final onslaught that marked the defeat of terrorism in Nigeria was the demystification of Sambisa forest, the former BHTs impenetrable and safest haven.

Gen. Buratai’s launch of Operation Crackdown in the Northeast is the last phase of the military’s combat engagement with terrorists. It was contrived purely as clearance operations to flush out remnants’ of Boko Haram insurgents from Nigeria’s border communities where the few survivors hibernated.

Thereafter came peace; Nigerians started enjoying enduring peace from terrorism. But while euphoria of this peace resonates in every part of Nigeria, Borno state or precisely, Maiduguri, the state capital has abruptly ended it. This is the fresh anxiety on the minds of most Nigerians.

The question often asked is why Borno has refused to be completely silenced or severed from the lethal explosions of bombs? The University of Maiduiguri appears to be most hit by this overtly political version of Boko Haram insurgency. Sometimes, a vigilant security nabs terrorists before explosion of the bombs, but sometimes, the agents of evil escape undetected to unleash mayhem on hapless victims.

Overtime, it is often preached that effective security in any clime is everybody’s business. It requires the engagement of both formal and informal agents to break the enigmatic intricacies of insecurity.

Before the ascension of President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigeria’s Presidency Boko Haram insurgency was a force potent enough to decree Nigeria out of existence. Bombs freely exploded everywhere.

Nigerians resident in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) lived under the permanent phobia of terrorists’ attacks, much as in Lagos state or any other big city in Nigeria. Insurgency bombs exploded beyond the Northeast. Terrorists wreaked havoc in Kogi, Niger, Kano Kaduna and everywhere, with foiled attempts in Lagos and other states in the Southwest.

The phenomenon of Boko Haram Terrorism has been extinguished in any other place in Nigeria. But it has resurged in Borno state and its environs again.

This intermittent bomb explosions in Borno state have abstinently refused to abate. It is more baffling when one realizes that suicide bombings are still thriving in the state despite the heavy presence of soldiers or the extreme militarization of Borno, like the recent establishment of the first Nigerian Army University in Biu local government of the state.

Nigerians are aware that the concept of Boko Haram terrorism has different categories. The original Boko Haram insurgents were the religious pundits. And it later expanded tentacles to sprout the business and political off -springs. But the Nigerian army has been able to defeat all the disparate components of terrorism in Nigeria.

While patriotic Nigerians elsewhere actively backed the final purge of insurgents from communities by assisting security agents with information to apprehend remnants of fleeing of terrorists in Lagos, Abuja and other places, it was a contrary experience in Borno state. The people rather sought protection for terrorists, who disguised and mingled with them. Scores have been arrested in Borno for housing fleeing terrorists in the state. It readily confirms the unpreparedness of some bad elements in the state to dump sponsorship of insurgency.

These are obviously the remnants’ of terrorists politicians in the state are exploiting to farther their political ambitions. And this is a fertile time hence the shadows of 2019 partisan politicking are visibly hovering in the air.

But the political wing, obviously sponsored by wealthy politicians has recouped and re-energized, which is currently committing the atrocities on the people. The intention is to scare IDP returnees, keep the villages forlorn and create the impression that terrorism has not been defeated after all.

And within the political wing of Boko Haram terrorism, it has developed a suspected sub-sect of terrorists, who belong to the clan of terrorists’ agents and sympathizers’ feeding fat on the crisis and hate to hear anybody pronounce it as ended. These are agents heavily sponsored by foreign enemies of Nigeria to portray the country as a failed state, even though the Nigerian military has humbled insurgents out of relevance.

The current bombers shattering the peace of parts of Borno state have no identifiable character with the terrorists Nigeria has subdued. They have many targets of gains on their minds and also, angles for a direct federal government negotiation with them. So, they keep cracking the nut with the sporadic suicide bomb explosions.

However, the booming suicide bombs business is just to scare the people and to sustain the tempo for the political wing of BHTs who front for dubious politicians as permutations’ for 2019 elections are gathering momentum. That’s why the bombs will keep detonating from time to time.

An English idiom says, “Heaven help those who help themselves.” Borno people must clearly demarcate the line between peace and terror. The continued sustenance of terrorism just because there is a leader who would be blackmailed and blamed for “forsaking” the security of the citizenry is not sensible enough. The concealed interest of Borno people in terrorism explains why these suicide bombs have kept detonating and the impediment in completely defeating the remnants of Boko Haram in the State.

Boko Haram cannot be eclipsed in Nigeria, including Borno, by the military and suddenly, it resurfaces again. It means there is something that is being veiled somewhere and the world needs to know the truth. But this is charge on security agents to intensify efforts in investigating the arrowheads behind these heinous crimes against humanity to fish out perpetrators’ for appropriate sanctions. They must be coercively compelled to lay down their arms now or pay dearly for their sins in the nearest future.

By Jamil Abubakar

Abubakar writes from GRA, Gombe.

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