For many years Nigerians have suffered calamity in the hands of the dreaded Islamic terror group Boko Haram. Lives, both civilians and security agents have been lost. This is not to mention property and animals. On a daily basis, tens of widows and orphans are made by the activities of Boko Haram. The group has as its target, not Nigerians but also foreigners living in the country. It began to get prominent attention of the international community after the bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja killing some Nigerians and foreign UN staff. Before then Boko Haram was seen as a Nigerian wahala to be solved by Nigeria.
Boko Haram which when translated means Western Education Is A Sin has no clear cut mission that is understood by either the public or the government? On e can really pin point what they are actually fighting or who they are really against. Sponsored by the former governor of its host state, Borno, Ali modu Sherrif to gain political stronghold at the onset during his tenure as governor, the group went wild when its leader was murdered in custody by the Police in questionable circumstance even after he had surrendered without firing at the Police.
They started attacking Police stations, killing men of the force and burning down their stations. When it seemed the killings were becoming senseless and drawing condemnation, he former governor publicly dissociated himself from the group and later alleged they were after his life. Then, they entered a phase of attacking Christendom worship centers killing worshippers, day in day out. When it seemed they were no enough worshippers to kill any more, assassination of Northern politicians. The earlier attacks had been perceived to be targeted at mostly Southerners with silence from Northerners who were always quick to compare the group to Niger Delta militants.
Impressed by its success of terror in Nigeria, Boko Haram got boosted with support from Al qaeda. Northern State governments, members of the National Assembly and other arms of governments made compulsory donations in millions to the group or face their wrath. The group became a tool to settle scores among politicians and even students. When some students from the South in Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State defeated their Northern counterparts in a students’ election, Boko Haram were invited and over 40 Southern students had their throats slit and a few went down by the bullets.
Not done, the group exposed itself as a sickening blood thirsty set of humans by extending its attacks on mosque, Islamic clerics and children. The assassination attempt on the late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero marked the beginning of the series of murder on respected and prominent traditional rulers in the North. At this point it was clear that the group was against both the state and the citizens irrespective of religion or tribe.
A diabolic dimension was added to their campaign when they began invading schools in Yobe State and slaughtering female students like animals and burning some alive. Some teachers also lost their lives. The group after each killing of school children would post a comment online blaming the girls for going to school. The climax of the attack occurred in April 2014 when the group stormed a school in Chibok Borno State and abducted over 200 school girls sitting for the West African School Certificate Examination. The FG had asked all schools in the hinterlands to be shut down but according to the principal of the school, the state government had assured of adequate security for the girls. All these are stories now. For over a hundred days now, the abducted girls are yet to regain their freedom.
There has been mixed reports on the Chibok girls. Boko Haram showed footage on the internet which shows the girls reciting the Koran. Majority of the girls are Christians and the group claims they have been converted. It was not fun watching the girls on hijab. Some claim the girls have been married off the group members which if true means a case of sustained rape and dehumanization is ongoing in a camp that claims to be doing the will of Allah.
The Chibok girls saga placed Nigeria on the international spotlight, with the #BringBackourgirls campaign attract virtually everyone in the international community. First ladies like Michel Obama ensured it got the needed attention not just at the white House but world over. Notable celebrities, school children and the ordinary man on the streets world over have joined for a call for Boko Haram to release this innocent girls whose innocence have been violated already. Inside Nigeria, daily protest gave the government sleepless nights that at a point efforts were made to stop them.
The UN passed a resolution grouping Boko Haram on same page with Al qaeda and the US government placing an attractive bounty on the heady of its leader who know one really knows is still alive as the Nigerian Military claimed it had killed him in one of its offensive on the group. The Cameroun government who had been accused of harbouring the terrorists and refusing to corporate with Nigeria on the fight against the group had no choice but to join other regional governments in a joint initiate to combat terrorism and rescue the girls and for that it is paying the price as the group has started giving the country a little taste of what their neighbour Nigeria has had to swallow in recent times.
Hope seemed to had been the way of the rescue of the girls when the Americans, Chinese, French and British deployed both human and tracking devices to trace the girls and rescue them. About two months after, the only information on ground is that the girls have been located in the dreaded vast Sambisa forest as suspected but it would be too dangerous to forcefully rescue them without the Islamist killing them. So safety of the girls is of paramount here as the Nigerian and foreign governments want us to believe. Its hard to comment on this as it is a sensitive security matter.
To prove that they are superior despite the arrival of experts and surveillance (satellite) around the Sambisa forest, Boko Haram stepped up its attack in and around Borno. Chibok village have been constantly raided and it seemed there is an intention to wipe them out from the map. Some are already calling the killings in Borno and parts of the North as Genocide. Already, about 11 parents of the abducted girls have said to have died with the period.
As a condition for releasing the girls BH is asking that its members in police custody be used as prisoner exchange. Majority of Nigerians so far are saying no to that. But that might be the option at the end of the day if the safety of the girls is of serious concern. The Americans just did same for the release of just a single soldier held in captivity by terrorists who might be blood relations with these Boko guys.
The Nigerian security agencies have not been complete failures in its war against BH. It has recorded massive successes in the arrest, detention and prosecution of high ranking members of the sects along with their pawns. Useful information and leads have been provided by the arrested that has led to other arrest including info on local sponsors. All the arrest in the past had been males and it seemed it was time to up the game to have easy access to targets and divert the attention of security agents who had succeeded in fueling some attacks. Now enter the new phase of female suicide Bombers.
Many Nigerians were shocked by the news earlier in the week about a bomb attack by a female suicide bomber in a trade fair complex in Kano and before we would say Jack Robinson another near a tertiary institution and before we could swallow it, up to three more days after and just yesterday one blew herself along with 5 persons checking their names on the admission board of the Kano State Polytechnic. And sadly they are reported to be teenagers. Although shocking, this should surprise us more as the security agents a few weeks ago announced the arrest of three female members of the Boko Haram woman wing. That was the first time the public would be aware of a female wing within the sects. They were said to be spies for the group and one was responsible for making payments for jobs carried out by their members and the others involved in recruiting girls and woman especially orphans and widows.
It seemed its female cover has been blown and the group has desperately begun to unleash its female dragons on unsuspecting members of the public. Could this be the reason why they don’t want girls to go to school? So that the girls would not be busy with something much productive to make it easy for recruitment? Na wa oh!
Boko Haram has certainly entered a new and more dangerous phase in its campaign against the state. It is a phase I doubt the government and its security agencies anticipated and likely unprepared for. These are indeed dark and scary times. Even the President has made it public that the attacks and killings of BH is worse than the civil war of 1967 – 69. There is no longer a doubt that what is going on in the North is a civil war between Nigeria and Boko Haram. The most frightening strategy of the war is not the guerilla style of the group but that the group is faceless and the government doesn’t really know who and what it is fighting against. No one can really say for sure if its ultimate aim is to Islamize the country and even if it is, it only means one thing, a break up. The group has recruits in almost every facet of the society; all security agencies, politicians, public and civil service, vigilantes, the rich, the poor, beggars, traders, children, adults and maybe animals.
With female suicide bombers now on the loose, it should be clearer that the group could be having a grand plan and someday unleash the mother-of-all-attacks. No one knows what to expect. These guys are sadists and would also turn against their sponsors when they would have achieved their aim?
As long as the end draws ever nearer for the devil and his demons, they will continue to use their human agents to unleash pains and sorrows on the human race (1 john 5:19). They don’t want to go down just like that but our solace comes from God’s word the Bible, which gives us comfort and hope that soon all these things will be a thing of the past. To all those who have been bereaved, orphaned, traumatized, abused, depressed or even maimed by Boko Haram, God who is a God of all comfort will soothe your pains and wipe away your tears. How happy you will be to see all your dead loved one again in a clean paradise here on earth. By then Satan, his demons and his followers would be history, no longer will we walk or sleep in fear. All human kind would by then be united in worship of God. (Revelation 21:3,4; Isaiah 25:18; Psalms 37: 9-11; Acts 25:14; john 5:28,29).
But before then maintain a positive attitude towards life, when tragedy strikes, learn to move on positively thereafter. Easier said than done, I know but we must move on. To help you move on, be there for others like yourself. By encouraging and assisting those to cope and move on, you too will move on and may the Almighty God be with you.