Peace! (Photo credit: aldrin_muya)

Barely two months after visiting violence ridden Borno State and refusing to grant amnesty to “ghosts”, President Goodluck Jonathan after pressure and due consultations, innaugurated a committee on security and peace in the region. This was seen as a positive step in the right direction by some analysts and an  improbable solution by others civil rights advocacy groups.

Nigerians were recently however  awoken to news of the death of close to 185 people in what Military authorities have refered  to as a fallout of attacks from terrorists who attacked a joint patrol team using rocket propelled grenades in the ensuing gun battle.

According to the Gen. Austin Edokpaye, Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force,  “A patrol team of the task force was attacked by suspected terrorists on Friday evening killing one soldier and injuring two others. The incident led to sustained exchange of fire between the team and the terrorists.’’  Furthermore according to The Army spokesman however refutes the claim of such high casualy figures and The Presidency has immidiately ordered a full scale investigation, after briefing from the Military high command. The National Emergency Management Authority and Federal Health agenciees have also been deployed too assist the State Goovernment.

Operative words and figures to be taken from this incident are;

185 deaths

62 Vehicles burnt

486 Motorcycles burnt

2000 Houses destroyed

=N=5m cash donation in relief materials

It is interesting to note that a community that is located some 196km away from the State capital can be visited with such destruction. 2000 homes and 486 vehicles is an enormous amount of capital, property and livelihood even in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos State. The loss will certainly be unbearable for the community . This brings to note the amount of money immidiately set aside for relief materials. =N=5m, or $35k, for 2000 displaced families and businesses. Somehow, the maths doesnt seem right but it goes to show Nigerian`s the enormity of the situation on ground as it may well be too much for a State to single handedly manage.

One wonders if Comrade Shehu Sani is not spot on in his assessment of Boko Haram and amnesty issues going with the spate of violence including murders of WAEC students and teachers amongst other heinous crimes, even after the prospect of the said amnesty is being considered and fine tuned. Perhaps Boko Haram has not been properly contacted and will not recognise the committee as presently constitutedor. But then again, maybe Governor Yuguda is right about the sect having criminal and ploitical factions that will not yield to amnesty overtures, regardless.

Posted on April 24, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. SHOW ME YOUR FRIENDS….the consequences of befriending terrorists.

    Not only are the antiques of the so-called Boko Haram insurgents aimed at destabilizing the government of Goodluck Jonathan, it is also a clear threat to the unifying fabric of the nation.

    Any Nigerian who says he or she is not bothered by the sect’s terrorist activities must in the least have lead and not blood running through their veins. I watched with horror as several television stations over the past two days broadcast and re-broadcast horrific scenes of the carnage that played out in the now deserted town of Baga some 160 kilometers from Maiduguri the Borno State capital.

    As usual, the blame game is being played out with much of it by less discerning minds being directed at the security agencies. While various versions of the incident have made the rounds in the past days, very few Nigerians have taken the time to objectively analyze certain crucial aspects.

    For one, what were the insurgents doing in the town and for how long had they been there before the advance of the security forces? We are made to understand that the inhabitants of the town were more than willing to accommodate the insurgents and even took sides with the deadly group in the course of the bloody battle, which claimed the lives of men, women and children. Eventually, the insurgents resulted in using their erstwhile hosts as human shields in their bid to check and possibly escape the onslaught of the security forces.

    Now as the smoke clears to reveal a town now a ghost of it old self, the people of Baga are forced to lick their wounds, mourn their dead and possibly commence the rigorous process of rebuilding their devastated town. I wonder if they have learned the most critical lesson in all of this because if they haven’t, I dare say we may just be witnessing a new trend in the entire book Haram saga.

    If indeed there is a lesson to be learned, then is simple and forthright… he who harbors evil, dies by the most evil of means. Despite agitations by well meaning Nigerians over the years, it baffles me that people could sit back and watch as armed strangers hideout in their towns without as much as attempting to notify the authorities. What makes the situation worse is that the people of Baga knew for certain that they had Boko Haram members in their midst and willingly accommodated them.

    At the end of the day, they ended up suffering more casualties than both the Boko Haram and the security forces combined.

    I would advise the Borno State Governor to wipe his tears and instead direct his energy towards a most aggressive form of re-orientation for the people of the state. Such re-orientation must leave them in no doubt that no group or individual is above the law just as no group or individual can withstand the resources of government. They must understand that country comes first and that support for any attempt aimed at usurping the sovereignty of our nation is treasonable and punishable if need be…by death.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, President Jonathan made it clear to the Northeastern leadership during his visit to the Yobe and Borno states that unless they (the latter) can guarantee the safety of lives in the region, there could be no meaningful development there. The President charged those in attendance at the meeting that only they could effectively tackle the issue of insecurity in the region. Unfortunately it seems they failed to read between the lines or perhaps they chose to ignore Mr. President’s words of caution.

    Whatever be the case, it is evident that violence has come home (to the northeast) to roost hopefully for the last time as I hope hard lessons would have been learnt that it doesn’t pay to befriend terrorists. I sincerely hope all the towns and possibly individuals who sympathize with the undefined cause of the Boko Haram sect take a cue from what has happened in Baga.

    As I conclude this piece, I would like to take on Prof. Ango-Abdullahi, spokes person of the Northern Elders Forum. His credentials certainly belie his inner person. A few days ago the dailies were awash with what I see as inciting statements credited to him. He was quoted as having sounded a counter warning to MEND, threatening a hot reprisal from the north should the latter make real its threat to bomb mosques and other Islamic concerns in the northern region.

    I was rather disappointed at his response to the MEND threat. Where was Prof. Abddullahi when Christians were being killed in their hundreds in the same north that he now proudly defends? What words of encouragement and solace did he offer to victims? Rather than talk for the sake of talking, I think the good Prof should have been more diplomatic and objective in his statements. It is unguarded comments like his that give terrorists faulty platforms to act on.

    2015 is still some distance away. Our leaders should stop playing politics with the issue of insecurity and decisively uproot the threat so we can all move ahead.

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