I wanted to write on the above topic last week. Between then and now, more incidents of suicide bombings in Borno State have occurred. And how many more are underway? This sickening tactic of the Boko Haram gang is giving the troubling feeling that while our gallant soldiers have fought so hard to overwhelm the insurgents, the enemies won’t stop until all young girls and nursing mothers under their captivity have been used as cannon fodders.
It’s all too glaring Abubakar Shekau is on the run away from deserved death. It’s even doubtful if he is still within the Nigerian territory. The latest statement from the evil man penultimate Thursday, was taunting the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya and dismissing recent claims of attacks by Cameroonian on his fighters. It’s obvious Shekau is taking advantage of the vastness of the theatre of operation and may be hiding around the borders of Nigeria and Cameroon. One day, his cup will be full.
I also watched a recent video of the group in which three persons were brutally shot dead in a village gathering, for allegedly collaborating with soldiers. It was so awful seeing fellow men killed in such manner.
After the Nigerian military’s last December capture of Camp Zairo in Sambisa Forest from where they launched deadly attacks on Nigeria since 2009, the terrorists have stepped up the use of young girls, sometimes as young as seven as suicide bombers.
The group is so desperate now that even nursing mothers with babies strapped to their backs are used to avoid detection, with the instruction to go blow themselves to pieces anywhere a crowd of people gathers. They are brainwashed that once the button that triggers the explosive device is pressed, they would wake up in Paradise.
I was really touched by the story of Amina, the 18-year-old girl who was given N200 along with another girl, Zainab to go and kill themselves early last month.
Amina was abducted in Madagali, Adamawa by insurgents after her parents and brother were killed two years ago. She was taken to Sambisa Forest and married off to a Boko Haram commander. And then the time came to offer her as sacrifice. She told newsmen her story after the failed suicide mission:
“They gave us N200 each, which they said we should use to buy food for ourselves.
“It took us three days to come to Maiduguri on a motorcycle. We were directed by the sect members to detonate our explosives anywhere we saw any form of gathering.
“They said if we press the button, the bomb would explode and we will automatically go to heaven.
“I was scared, so, I told them that I could not detonate any explosive. So, they said if Zainab detonated her own, it would serve the purpose.
“On our way to Maiduguri, we encountered the military and they were shooting. I was very scared and the people that brought us ran away.
“I am from Imam Shekau’s faction of Boko Haram, even though I have never seen Shekau. But I hear about him in Gobarawa,” Amina said.
She said that her father, mother and younger brother, Umar, were all killed when they tried to escape from the Boko Haram enclave.
There are many like Amina who have been killed, believing their instructors that detonating explosive devices strapped to their bodies would take them to Paradise.
And to think that the victims of these psychopathic elements are fellow Nigerians. God have mercy!
Yes, we have defeated Boko Haram to a large extent. They are no longer taking territories, appointing rulers and hoisting flags in our communities. Boko Haram cannot strike in the nation’s capital city, Abuja, let alone Aso Rock where Shekau had threatened to sack our president.
They no longer rule our cities. Emirs are not sacked from their thrones and sent into exile any more. We salute the military for the great strides, the patriotic performance. Many of our soldiers sacrificed their lives to make the country have the relative peace we now enjoy. God bless their souls and comfort their families.
Kudos also to the officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) for tracking down and arresting the terrorists fleeing the North-east to other parts of the country.
It is easy to think that with the victories already achieved and the fact that the attacks on soft targets do not affect us directly, we should merely keep watch from a distance as the killings continue. Until Boko Haram is totally routed and all our communities and people completely safe, we must perish such thought. Certainly, this war cannot be won with guns and bullets alone.
Government must take measures to defeat the Boko Haram Islamic ideology. The ideology of the sect was spread at the beginning with the leader, Mohammed Yusuf giving lectures circulated in audio tapes to condemn Western education and ideals. He also offered an Islamic state where his followers, largely uneducated and poverty-stricken people, would live prosperous life. He established cooperative units and the followers began to contribute money for development. The Boko Haram leader then proceeded to appoint leaders in communities as his Movement grew.
Only last week, the military accused the Magumeri community in Borno of collaborating with the Boko Haram. Although the community had denied the allegation, but it was not the first time residents of communities in the North-east were accused of siding with the insurgents. Imagine that some Nigerians still subscribe to the Boko Haram ideology! For me shooting guns and reclaiming territories alone will not defeat the evil ideology. Government must do much more. For instance, respected clerics can be commissioned to give lectures against suicide bombings in local languages in audio tapes for mass circulation.
There should also be audio and video documentaries of repentant Boko Haram members exposing the sect’s atrocities and urging others still in the fold to quit.
Government should produce audio and video drama sketches debunking the claim that once a suicide bomber dies, he or she goes to heaven. These should also be circulated using all the media forms.
The Federal Government intends to reconstruct the war-ravaged North-east. It is understood that the rehabilitation would largely focus on infrastructure.
The best rehabilitation, however, must be about the people. Poverty is one of the major factors that influenced the Boko Haram ideology. The people lost faith in government and when Yusuf came on, they found in him a saviour.
Government must offer the people something better than Boko haram did. Only those who are tired of life and have no hope of a better future kill themselves.
Government must rebuild trust in the people, give them good education and make the environment conducive for them to thrive and the evil ideology would die.
I also expect to see a programme that will make students in the affected region school in other parts of the country, right form kindergarten through primary, secondary to university. These students will return to change the thinking and orientation of their communities.
Northern state governors recently organized special prayers for God to restore our president, Muhammadu Buhari to good health. Not a bad intervention. But I’m waiting to see the day the same governments will organize similar special prayers for divine intervention to stop unwarranted deaths of innocent children and mothers in the name of meaningless and senseless jihad.
Re: ‘Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo: I did my best’
Abdulfatah, almighty Allah will eternally bless you on your closing remark on “Adeyinka Adebayo: I did my best”. I pray the blood suckers will become born again
Abdulfatah, just keep closer to God and you will be blessed by Him for doing so.
Your prediction to the reporter, that your last interview with General Adebayo might be his last, was a spiritual prompting. And only few humans are so endowed. I was privileged to have read General Adebayo’s interview in Sun of 15th. January 2017 pages 28 and 29. The saying, “I DID MY BEST” was so consistent, as a closing remark in his answers to most of the questions he was asked, that I could feel his mind going through his achievements in all areas he had contributions to make in his life time. When he was Military Governor of Western Region, though we were young workers then, he was really accommodating in governance. That I figure was why he remained relevant as a leader until his last day on earth.
What a great loss to Nigeria! May his soul rest perfectly in the bosom of the Almighty God, Amen.