By Bukar Raheem
Much of the initial mysteries which beclouded Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) operations in Nigeria have been cleared. It is now in the open how the deadly terror group acquires arms and ammunitions, how it recruits, its funding, its agents and links to other international Jihadi terror sects around the world.
BHTs permeation of all segments of the Nigerian society, including the armed forces and para-military organizations is public knowledge. Intelligence experts also know of their presence in the Police and their unassuming agents in the communities they most often tend to torment. Its tricks of disguised striking of targets, the manufacture of their explosive devices, in some parts of the country and the extent of estrangement afflicting their residues at the moment is equally known.
The Nigerian state has made tremendous gains in taming BHTs in the country. That it has been defeated is no fresh news. And that no Nigerian territory is under their control is a story long foretold. But what has remained intriguing is the recalcitrance of agents and sponsors of these terrorists who have mixed and blended, so perfectly with a sane society desist from inducing fright campaigns.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Tukur Buratai is a man of few words. He believes more in action than flippancy. This much can be gleaned from his handling of the Nigerian army and the prosecution of the anti-terrorism war in the country.
But days back, Buratai made a striking statement that was more like invoking the conscience of Nigerians and the veiled agents and sponsors of BHTs. It was a plea to reason and loyalty to one’s country.
Buratai had lamented; “We need to work together and synergize together, fighting insurgency in Nigeria is a situation whereby, they have melted into the society and we have some elements within the society still supporting them clandestinely.”
The Army Chief vented his spleen in an interview during a two- day seminar on Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, with the theme; “Assessing the Threat of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria.”
Nothing can be further from the truth. It is glaring that some Nigerians have appetite for bad news and it appears they go to bed every night, hoping to delightedly wake to confront the ugly side of the world. It is pertinent to presume that the remnants of BHTs occasionally tormenting Nigerians would long have been flushed, if all Nigerians were patriotic to understand that acting as agents of this cruel terror sect offends all certified standards of morality.
The feeling of the continued sponsorship of BHTs within was reinforced pungently with the November 4, 2016 carefully planned attacks on the Military Command Center of ”Operation Lafiya Dole” in Mallam Fatori, Borno state. The incident led to the death of five gallant soldiers of the Nigerian Army, notable among them was Lt. Col. Muhammed Abu-Ali.
Some media reports pointed to leakage of information and strongly alluded to the possibility that the terrorists’ co-ordinated attacks must have been informed by information at their disposal on the military command center on troops movement.
The timing of insurgents’ attacks and the boldness in confronting the soldiers lent credence to the suspicion that an insider must have informed them about the withdrawal of an officer and 49 combatants by Army authorities or reduction in the number of troops in Mallam Fatori.
But beyond such posturing, one is infinitely amazed at the manner some Nigerians celebrate BHTs atrocious outings on the people in the traditional media and cyber space. They use superlative lexicons to qualify the terrorists, inflate or exaggerate their strikes on targets, sometimes, outrightly invent their incidents of terrorists’ attacks, just to create the psychological torment that BHTs are very present and potent in the country, much like yesterday.
Ironically though, the same characters display an overt reluctance in singing songs of defeat of the BHTs by Nigerian soldiers. When terrorists’ hideouts are punctured or raided by the military, it is not worthy of their attention; when soldiers foil any bomb blast attempt, they look the other way; when terrorists captured territories are reclaimed by soldiers, it infuriates rather than gladden their hearts and when release of hundreds of Boko Haram abductees is effected by soldiers, they plot fresh schemes to publicize fake fresh incidents of abduction by the terrorists.
When they deviate a little from this path, these same elements blatantly politicize the anti-terrorism war, castigating President Muhammedu Buhari for failure to fulfill his APC campaign to crush the insurgency within a time frame. Or they take a swipe at the Nigerian Military, accusing them of feigning control over BHTs, while it smoulders.
This is the wonderful world of Nigerians. That’s how they feel about their own country, preferring it never extricate itself from the chains of terrorists. Americans tasted the bitter pill of terrorism before Nigerians, with the terrorists attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon House. America itself is yet to absolutely free itself from terrorists yoke, as recent explosions bear testimony. But hardly do you read an acerbic comment from any American which bear any imprint, denoting support for the terrorists.
But wishes can never be horses; if they were horses, beggars too would ride. When Gen. Buratai emerged on the scene of terror war as COAS and bent on ending insurgency as directed by President Buhari, most Nigerians doubted him. He was not given a chance to prove himself. But today, he has proven that Nigerian soldiers under his leadership can do more than crush terrorists.
Let these veiled agents bow to the power of conscience by openly appreciating Buratai and Nigerian soldiers for this rare feat of gallantry. Had his predecessors done an inch of what he has accomplished in the terror war, Nigeria would have buried BHTs long before the arrival of Buhari.
So, one unalterable fact is that these terrorists who have caused sleepless nights to Nigerians have been defeated by the military and no amount of ill-feelings by its agents or sponsors can resuscitate them. It is a blighting era in the history of Nigeria long consummated by Nigerian Army.
The only noble and patriotic option now is for the majority of Nigerians who believe in this cause to work collectively to wade off the orchestrated psychological warfare, which BHTs their sponsors/agents tend to promote, through the instrumentality of the media.
And if the defeat of BHTs is the only signpost President Buhari has flaunted before Nigerians as his footprint in governance in the last one year, Nigerians have every reason to eulogize God Almighty and celebrate him and Buratai. President Buhari is to Nigerians, what out-going President Barack Obama is to Americans for pinning down global initiator and father of modern terrorism, Osama Bin Laden.
Raheem, a public affairs analyst writes from Kaduna State.