Boko Haram : The Blackmailed North, By Abdulateef Usman

map of NigeriaI have since categorized the insurgency in the north into two phases. The known era and the mysterious era. The unrest of late 2009 that signalled the arrival of the deadly sect was indeed an open battle with a clearly known groups. Its leader, their mosques, bases, homes and family backgrounds well known. This fact made security agents saddled with quenching the attack to think that all they needed to do was to crush the sect members, and life will return back to normal.
The late president Yar’adua gave the order and within days, the sect have been overpowered. This climaxed by the cold murder of the leader of the sect, Muhammad Yusuf. And that is the end of the known era.

Then enters the mysterious era. A keen observer will know that the periods after the 2011 presidential elections was indeed a mysterious era in the history of Boko Haram insurgency. Some attacks are too arranged and well planned to be carried out by the sect. Most times, the attackers have all the time in this world as they operate unhindered. This throw one into a wild imagination as well as confusion because no one can actually differentiate between the real,imaginary and the political Boko Haram.In recent times, it is not uncommon to hear reports of militants attacking in an area surrounded by military checkpoints, barracks and patrols.

In Buni Yadi for instance, soldiers were withdrawn from the area some moments before the arrival of the insurgents. Cases of suspicious and mysterious passage of Boko Haram fighters through the forces to their target without hindrance abound. Two incidents of last week have kept me thinking, critically, that there is more than meets the eye in this whole insurgency in that part of the North. The reported failure of a critical military hardware when Boko Haram fighters attacked Giwa Barracks and the revelation in the senate that helicopters do drop arms and material supports for “militants” in their camps.

Joining these pieces together, it leaves every critical thinker with one conclusion: the insurgency in the North might have political undertone planned to blackmail the North. Now, an average southerner believes that Boko Haram is the making of the North and its leaders.That the North is fighting Jonathan, a minority because of their born-to-rule mentality. This assertion is gaining ground on the social media, especially among the youths.

The ruling party has also used the banner of terrorism to slam a state of emergency on three opposition states with INEC threatning not to conduct elections there in 2015. Also, it was at the height of tension generated by the activities of the insurgents that the president proposed his controversial National Conference. Northern leaders who would have been vocal against it have been boxed to a corner. And the game of blackmail continues.

The argument among critical analysts is that even if Boko Haram exists in reality, it got to a stage where it has being hijacked by powerful elements to hide under its cover and pursue dangerous 2015 political ambition. The North should rise and find a way out of this monumental political blackmail by some power-centred men and rise to put its house in order.

(Comrade Abdulateef Usman A, writes from Lagos via [email protected])

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