In the Northeast of Nigeria, over 20,000 lives has been lost, over 2.3 million people displaced, children orphaned, women widowed and many more unidentified number maimed, while properties worth millions are destroyed and human trust derailed totally till then. This is bitter one, with a state that was known to be so peaceful until politic mix with religion, when things fall apart.
When Mixing the two is dangerous
That is when we mix religion with politics. It will always birth violence of war and nothing less. Anyhow, I will prefer to be more specific in making my presentation. That it was in the build up for 2003 election year that the group was brought into politics. The group on it own saw their coming into politics as Clear Avenue to actualize their mission of taking over Government from Borno State to the Nation. From the group’s preaching perspective, that was window for them to launch into politics, and this political presumption made many vulnerable youths who never joined the group to believe the group sovereignty and join them.
To beat your imagination, the aspirant/politician the group supported won the election and was sworn in as Borno State Governor for 2003-2007 tenure. The politicians before now had armed this group to teeth as foot soldiers to fight opposition before and during the election. Unfortunately after the election, the politicians never disarmed the group! However, to straighten the agreement that was entered, the group was rewarded with a commissioner-ship slot in the Government House. But the group wanted full scale implementation of the agreement and not just political appointment. The group then started asking for more from the Governor: to translate the agreement they entered into prior 2003 into reality. But that so sad the agreement became unattainable.
In attempt to weaken the group, Government instead of dialogue, set up a special joint police force and military anti- robbery squad called “Operation Flush” to flush out the groups they armed before election. Then, Operation Flush started arbitrary arrest and detention of the group and other civilian in attempt to weaken the group, knowing fully well the extent they had armed the group. It is on record that from 2007 the group had several confrontation and misunderstanding with Government although violent was not recorded.
But in 2009 the group got tired and revolted by announcing refusal to recognize the State Government authority. They then declare their “state of authority” and castigated the Government as being insensitive, greedy and corrupt. That, Government only used the poor politically to achieve their selfish goals and dump them to deeper poverty because of their vulnerability. The group viewed the action of Government as a renege to the agreement. They term the renege as“THE EDUCATED RICH, using THE UNEDUCATED POOR” for selfish reasons. That, the poor uneducated ones must resist and say - "NO" to the educated rich antics in all ramification. That was how the name of the group came into fruition by the media as BOKO HARAM.
BOKO is a Hausa language and means “Western Education”.
Haram is Arabic language and means “No”.
So, Boko Haram simply means – No to western education. What that mean is that, it is western education that has makes the elites to enslave the poor uneducated and should be resisted and claim such as no fit.
The Explosion Started
On Thursday 11 June 2009, a detachment of Operation Flush near the Custom market in Maiduguri intercepted this group; who were in funeral procession of its member and were asked why they rode on motorcycles without wearing crash helmet. The group saw the challenge as disregard for their mournful situation and in no time engaged in hot argument with the operation Flush. In the midst of hot argument, an armed member of the Operation Flush opened fire on 17 members of the group and injured many more, whom were admitted at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. After that incident, there was no reaction from Government on the bloody shoot out and the group regarded it as affront and deliberate to exterminate them.
On Sunday 26th July 2009 at about 10pm, the group retaliated by disabling all GSM networks in Maiduguri and struck different police stations and residents of police officers killing in revenge. In counter, Federal Government immediately stepped in and mobilized military force into Maiduguri then launched back on the group members whose houses were brought down and burnt. The approach was an eye for eye, which has gotten all blind.
As at date, it is rather unfortunate how the whole episode has played and is playing out between the group and Government, and how we couldn't manage the conflict till it became crisis and now a monster. The world did not really know of the group till when the group kidnapped 276 schools girls at Chibok. Then the internationally media like CNN, Aljeezera etc beamed their light for news headlines.
But the group had existed for years. To my mind is baffling, how this group has gone to become the world deadliest terror group by global terrorism index 2015. Leaving one to wondered why?
Why is this happening in Nigeria this long so long. How we are using hardware technique of militarization to solve all our problems. How the technique is always giving us steady and sustainable problem to handle. And why we wouldn't learn about software technique is solving social issues.
Let pray for Nigeria so peace will prevail. Peace to Nigeria.
It is somehow strange that most times like in the face of insurgency in Nigeria, the media gives more attention to atrocities than why the atrocities. This article has come to put light into why we have some of the problems we are having so as to know the best way of resolving them. Hopefully this article would help.