Nigeria’s Lingering State of Insecurity: Is Boko Haram Islamic Terrorist or Separatist Group?


Nigeria and her government are experts in development of thesis in all imaginable areas of human endeavors. It is therefore not surprising when vision 2020 was developed and showcased to the nation and the international community as a road map to Nigeria’s economic emergence. There is no doubt; the vision encapsulated in the document succinctly depicts the right strategy for transformation of our struggling economy juxtaposing it to the almost comatose socio political institutions in the country.

While many hailed this document and the initiatives contained there-in, many were skeptical and cautious of its successful implementation based on the antecedent of our records of non performance. It is noteworthy that, one of the strategic initiatives contained in the plan was the maintenance of conducive environment where security of lives and properties are guaranteed so that foreign and domestic investors will feel comfortable to bring their hard earned money to invest in our economy. It also stipulates putting all instrumentality of states and its apparatus at play to develop and make enthronement of democratic culture a permanent feature of the country political life. To this end, nurturing her fledgling democracy to maturity was clearly given a high priority.

Moreover, there is no doubt in my mind, and that of any objective observer of political developments in Nigeria, that it has continued to struggle to actualize the stated goals, most especially the two basic factors succinctly highlighted in the document that the success of her giant stride is predicated. While Nigeria had strived to tackle the political problems with minimal success, it has woefully failed to sustain or maintain an atmosphere of relative peace and security of lives and properties as eloquently identified and promised to provide for successful attainment of the socio-economic goals. The challenges in this area are not only peculiar to this administration, the successive administrations also failed woefully in addressing this important issue.  One dangerous dimension to Nigeria’s security challenges is the emergence of a well organized and well financed terrorist group from the northern part of the county. The tactics of terrorism employed by this group are new to the socio-political landscape of Nigeria and it continues to pose a present and imminent danger to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

The fact that this group sophistication relative to the locale of its origin dumbfounded the security agencies in the country lends credence to the inadequate security systems and its operation in the country. To state that Boko- Haram group reveals the inadequacy of our security apparatus in terms of its responsiveness to unfolding security dangers to the corporate existence of Nigeria and her teeming population is an apt truism and not an understatement. It is instructive at this juncture  that, when this group first surfaced on our socio-political space, the intelligence agencies and the fat cats in charge failed to perform due diligence in the classification of the threats it poses to the polity. They quickly went with the flow that they are religious extremists.

Had thorough analysis been done as at that stage, it would have revealed the true intent of this group. With their classification as an Islamic terrorist group came with the  unleashing of pin point acts of terrorism done with accuracy and precision never seen or imagined by our comatose security agencies. Despite all these successful campaigns by the group, the intelligence gathering operations still continued to fail woefully by collecting the wrong data on this group. The fact that the group continue to carry out surgical and precise hit of important locations without deterrence or the security agencies stopping or thwarting some of their operations succinctly show the Security agencies have” gone fishing”.

Furthermore, it was revealed some time ago, that the security agencies came up with a program named Behavior modification. The essence of this program is to place captured or arrested terrorists in the care of Prominent Emirs in the town they hailed from. It is their belief that, these centers of influence will be able to re-orient them to eschew all acts of terrorism and become responsible citizens. Alas, most of these people are found back on the street doing the same thing. Shouldn’t that result inform these people that they need a new strategy?

My personal opinion is that the president is not well served by the country’s security agencies. He needs to change his security adviser immediately and revamp the security staff at the presidency. I do not even think he is well abreast of happenings within the security circles. I believe the president is being lied to daily by the security people that surround him. By all standards, Nigerians are not daft and stupid. These agencies are staffed by supposedly highly intelligent and seasoned intelligence and security operatives that are exposed to state of the art training in fighting terrorism. It is my understanding that many of them are well versed in the art of intelligence gathering, security strategy, insurgency and anti-insurgency tactics. I’m not convinced that these professional intelligence operatives have not realized they have misclassified this group. It is truism that Boko Haram is a terrorist organization, but the subclass is misleading. This group should not be viewed as Islamic terrorist as that is a diversionary tactics. Their true identity is Separatist Terrorist group. These people are desirous of forming a nation of their own where Islamic doctrines are the bedrock of its socio-economic and political institutions. They are, in essence, telling the rest of the country that they are done with the current arrangement.

I also submit that the intelligence services organization in the country is oblivious of this fact, and that this group is well organized and financed by prominent northern functionaries. But the group activities are well covered under the gamut of religion so that the true identity and intent of the brains behind this dastardly group is well hidden. It is disturbing to note that the underlying factors that have consistently militated against our resolve to attain a true nationhood is still rife and alive, even after  fifty-one years of independence from Great Britain. The six geo-political sections of the country still have distrust and doubts about their true position within the country. No wonder these trusts, fears and doubt issues easily manifest themselves in the rush to kill and maim one another with the slightest provocations.

Moreover, what follows is the wanton destruction of lives and properties of one another. Worthy of note is the unleashing of mayhem on the Nigerian of southern extractions domiciled in the north by the northerners. The northern Christians do not fare better as they are daily harassed, killed and maimed with their properties destroyed under the guise of religion. It is an incontrovertible fact that Nigeria is a marriage of incompatibles. Let’s give credence and praise to omnipotent God for the existence of the country till now from 1914 when the gunpowder was being manufactured through what the British christened the amalgamation of Southern and Northern Nigeria that led to the formation of modern state of Nigeria. In an era of uncertainties, people tend to look toward the government for answers or solutions to their corporate problems and challenges. It is not surprising that Nigerians are scoring this administration low in all score cards. The fact that the government is confused is obvious. On the other hand, what are the citizens up to in the performance of their civic duties to get the government out of its state of stupor? It is one thing for the citizens to criticize the government for not doing enough on the state of insecurity in the country; but have the citizens done everything within their power to collaborate with government in finding lasting solutions to this problem?

Let us not sweep under the carpet the half measured responses of the southerners over the activities of Boko Haram sect in the north. The tendency of non charlance is rife amongst the southerners because the carnage is far beyond their enclave. Do you have to be non committal until the violence draws near your abode? It is time the south raised its voice vociferously to condemn and denounce this group and its acts in strong terms. It must use its intellectual capacity to fight it to a standstill if you still believe in one Nigeria. On the other hand, the passiveness of the northern establishment in this instance smacks of hypocrisy, devilish and ludicrous. It is a silence to perfidy and orchestration of debacle of what their forbears attained with their sweat and blood. To be silent when your enclave is on fire is confounding and begs for rational explanation.

The few that have spoken out only paid lip service to the daunting problems caused by decades of classist policies that have pauperized the northern citizens. You could see the lack of aggressiveness and unity of purpose often displayed by the establishment when articulating an advantageous prism or when their interests are threatened. These often displayed characteristics are missing this time around. The question is what is the northern establishment’s agenda? Is the establishment’s agenda being carried out in tandem with its strategy for 2015? If any of these questions are relevant, must it be done or achieved this way?

The government as currently constituted is incapable of solving these problems because it did not create them. The people that created the problems must be identified and ensure all instrumentality of state are used to effect a change of attitude. However, the truth of the matter is that the damage is already done. Nigerians are no longer secure and safe everywhere in the country with the exception of their state of origins. We have begun the transition to our individual tents, and the center can no longer hold. The defectiveness in our nation’s foundation has been finally exposed. We are not truly one as we have been taught to believe. We are indeed a conglomeration of two hundred and fifty homogenous nations with different identities and a history but held together under the guise of one nation, and unity in diversity.

The fact is that the statement “unity in Diversity” is a ruse. Its meaning in practical terms has not been subjected to semantic scrutiny for its authenticity in relation to individual group feelings as to its appropriateness to how they fare within the country. The truth is unity is a scarce commodity in the history of our nation. The truism of the Unity and diversity are quite obvious in the sense that unity is usually bargain for, or attained by a compromise through back door arrangements by the cabals from the geo-political regions who sold their birthrights on the platter of greed, avarice and self centeredness for political power at the expense of the wishes and aspirations of their peoples.

As an Optimist, I think project Nigeria can still be salvaged from the looming debacles if men and women of courage can come together to convene a sovereign national conference where all groups can come together to negotiate terms of membership of Nigeria nation. We can accomplish this without firing a shot. The question is Will the cabals that have hijacked Nigeria allow it to happen?

Adewale A. Dosunmu, FLMI, AIRC

Allentown, PA



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