By Erasmus Ikhide
DECEMBER 1, 2012 the leadership of Jama’atul Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, also called Boko Haram named the former Head of State and presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), among six prominent northerners, to mediate between the group and the Federal Government.
The spokesman of the group, Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, who doubles as the Second-in-Command (Amir) to their leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau intoned at the time that other people who could mediate with the government if its conditions were met, include Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, former Yobe State governor, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari and Hajia Aisha Wakil and her husband, Alkali Wakil.
Abdulazeez insisted that for the group to ceasefire completely, the government must not only apprehend, but prosecute Senator Modu Sheriff according to the laws of the land as well as compensate members of the group and rebuild their places of worship destroyed during 2009 uprising, which led to the alleged murder of their leader, Mohammed Yusuf. The terrorist group further asserted that for the group to observe ceasefire, the Federal Government must heed its demand by arresting and prosecuting the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
General Buhari’s pretentious reaction at the time was “I was yet to be formally contacted on the development”. Alhaji Buba Galadima, now estranged former associate of Buhari echoed Gen. Buhari’s statement thus: “His first reaction is that he has not heard about this news and nobody has contacted him”. The reaction was a face-saving tactics to distance himself from the militia terrorist group, even though he earlier called upon President Goodluck Jonathan to grant them amnesty swiftly; a group he relentlessly and openly sympathised with for slaughtering fellow innocent Nigerians.
What has changed? In case you forget, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has since joined General Buhari’s ruling political party, the All ProgressivesCongress (APC). It’s the party’s standard rule to forgive politicians their evil deeds, however heinous, once they become members of the party. Wait a moment, are you surprised General Buhari and his APC gang are extending amnesty to the terrorist organisation? What are you expecting when we elected terrorists embracing president and the alleged sponsors and sympathizers of Boko Haram into power?
Not too long ago, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode alleged that General Buhari created Boko Haram to burnish his political ambition, and as such can’t proffer realistic solutions to tame the terrorists menace.That is a weighty allegation, you said!. Before then, there have been insinuations from many quarters that General Buhari is a Boko Haram sympathizer alongside his cultic followers who visited terror on Nigerians each time he loss election before he finally won his first presidential election after making several attempts in 2015. But are there similarities between the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Buhari’s former political party that fused into the APC and the Hezbollah terrorist group that transformed into a political party in the troubled Yemen in the Middle East? The answer is yours to provide.
The government’s proposed National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of ‘Repentant Insurgents’ in a country that proposes to get its funding from the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund makes mockery of President Buhari’s anti-terrorism campaign; at the same time validates allegation that the president is out of touch with reality and has been emboldening the jihadist militias to carry on their philistinic agenda to exterminate the ‘infidels’ and get rewarded.
As we speak the controversial bill, which is officially known as ‘A Bill for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria and for Other Connected Purposes’, has passed the first reading in the Senate a few days ago. The bill posits other sources of funding the agency apart from UBEÇ/TETFund to include donations, grants, annual subventions from the government and counterpart funding from the six North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe.
A few days after the bill presentation, which was sponsored by Senator representing Yobe East, Ibrahim Geidam, passed the first reading, Geidam, in an interview with journalists, defended the bill. “Many Boko Haram terrorists were willing to lay down their arms but were afraid of the consequences of their action”. Nigerians and the global community expect Senator Geidam and the parliament to be more concerned about the the release of school girls abducted from Chibok in 2014 by the insurgents. By the way, do you grant amnesty to terrorists groups before they drop their arms.
To be candid, several questions bothering on insecurity have been running riots in the minds of many political observers. Could it be that the Senate is bereft of the most basic legislative intuition to set up similar agency concurrently for the rehabilitation of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDSPs) in several camps in Northern Nigeria. By this singular act the government has not only subjected the nation to the whims and caprices of the terrorists by nurturing a society with a sense of victimhood, but woefully abdicated its received monopoly of violence to protect those whose sovereignty have been appropriated by state.
The other question is how honestly and earnestly is General Buhari’s administration committed to tackling security challenges plaguing the country? Is there any security architecture plans that his government is following to bring an end to the insurgency menance? Every reasonable Nigerian who have been following General Buhari’s records knows that he had a different worldview of what the country would be like as a fulani fundamentalist and irredentist bigot. All he has been advocating since he left power as a military Head of State is fulanisation of country.
From the very beginning of the present Fourth Republic all indication has always point to the fact that General Buhari places his Fulani ethnic conclave, regardless of their atrocious madness, invasion of peoples’ farm settlements, over and above Nigeria unity. In the early days of this Fourth Republic, Buhari stood in for Fulani terrorists under the aegies Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) who killed and raped farmers and destroyed their crops in Oyo State with a warning to then Governor Lam Adesina to accommodate the butchers in his state in his own interests! Ever since, Buhari conscripted Alhaji Nasir el-Rufai the Kaduna State Governor) to be part of the fulanisation project where criminals and terrorists are celebrated and rewarded for furnishing unremitting terror on innocent citizens.
One expects that the killings in Kaduna State and elsewhere across the country to have abated after Governor El-Rufai told us that he went to the people who came to sack a town to stop killing them and that ‘we now have a Fulani man in place” after paying them compensation in millions. Only this week, nearly 100 persons were slaughtered in Kaduna State. At the funeral service of the massacred villagers, the governor merely apologised for his inability to protect Kaduna citizens, instead of resigning his position in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution. The governor’s earlier romanticization with monstrosities and patronizing position in support of terrorism is not particularly different from General Buhari’s statement late last year that Nigerians should find a way to cooperate with “your fellow man”, Fulani terrorists. This is also in tandem with General Buhari’s media Adviser’s dubious request, Mr. Femi Adesina that Nigerians should either release their ancestral lands for cattle colony or have their blood spilled!
A few disturbing realities have been steering us gangly in the face since the abominable piece of legislation materialized in the “hollow” chambers of the national assembly. Are you surprised that General Buhari is sold to granting a so-called amnesty to the terrorists who he earlier told the whole world are foreigners from Libya and other African countries? What purpose do you think the visa-on-arrival policy of his government is seeking to achieve, even with the allegation that foreigners are responsible for insecurity in the country?
Nigerians should not be deceived that the whole purpose of visa-on-arrival is solely meant for Fulani in and around African to swamp over Nigeria. The whole gamble of visa-on-arrival policy has been designated as the sole reason American Government banned Nigerians from coming into the US since General Buhari thrown open northern boarders or has refused to close over 1,500 illegal boarders in the north through which terrorists found themselves into the Nigeria where they obtain Visas to travel to Middle East terrorism-prone countries to be trained.
Come to think of it, how many African migrants are ready to come to a troubled and vanquished country such as Nigeria with collapsed security architecture, where Boko Haram, ISWAP, Fulani terrorists and bandits kill people in their hundreds on a daily basis? How can Boko Haram terrorists that is killing Nigerians by the seconds, which never asked for negotiation or amnesty and has bluntly refused to lay down their arms be beneficiaries of state funded education overseas when those they have displaced, maimed, raped and killed can’t access justice or those abandoned in numerous IDPs camps in northern Nigeria resettled?
Nigerians have come to the fate-resigning conclusion that the ailing and tired Nigeria state and its fast evaporating criminal unity will hit the rock unless this senseless bill dies. Besides, Nigerians are only waiting for Nigeria to decouple, either peacefully or by force of arm. After all, Nigeria is at war with itself.
Erasmus is a journalist, social crusader, author and security expert.