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Boko Haram and Vision 20/2020

Members-of-the-boko-haram-sect-360x225

 

The rate at which Boko Haram insurgents have expanded their dragnet from the North-East to the North-Central including the Federal Capital Territory and the ease with which they penetrate various flashpoints, social structures and institutions almost unnoticed by the Nigerian security agencies, have remained a great concern not only to the government and people of this country but also to the international community.

A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria while talking to the BBC African programme correspondent on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 dismissed a widespread insinuation that prominent Northern political bigwigs may be sponsoring the insurgency. His response was predicated on the fact that there had not been any proof of involvement of politicians in the North. Among other points, he averred that what the Jonathan administration should do now was to win the hearts and minds of the people in that geo-political zone. He also disagreed with the allegation that Boko Haram was targeting Christians and non-northerners since its violence has so far been unleashed on public places like markets, religious worship centres including churches and mosques, international institutions like the United Nations building in Abuja.

But how can any analyst exonerate the accusation of subtly fighting the cause of the Muslim faith to enable them Islamise the largest economy in Africa if Boko Haram means “Western education is evil and anti-Islam?” Or, how can any objective analysis of the Boko Haram sect dismiss any religious undercurrent when the members have always made references to the Quran?

However, sociologists of religion are aware of the social sources of division and factionalisation whether in the church or in the mosque.

Prominent Muslim leaders in the North, including the head of the Muslim community who is the  Sokoto monarch, have dissociated the Muslims from the activities of the sect, saying that Islam abhors bloodletting and torture. Also after the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, women organisations and human rights activists have accused the Federal Government and the Armed Forces of complicity in the Boko Haram quagmire. But the Armed Forces claim that it is unprofessional to wage an all-out war especially in tracing the young girls who are believed to have been hidden in the Sambisa Forest in order to prevent more casualties than the Boko Haram would have caused.

Fear has gripped Nigerians that if Boko Haram spreads to the Middle Belt as it seems already bound, it will eventually extend to the South. This situation may affect the 2015 election which is about a year ahead, an election which is crucial to Nigeria’s quest for the attainment of the objectives of Vision 20/2020 which is about five years ahead. The people are asking: What is the guarantee that the Boko Haram menace which started in the year 2009 with increasing magnitude every passing year will be abated in the next five years. Our democratic process remains the cornerstone for achieving Vision 20/2020.

Already, the economy of the three states where a state of emergency had been declared is already collapsing while the sorry state of educational, agricultural and health development is being aggravated.

Unemployment has increased and even as Nigeria has overtaken South Africa in  the Gross Domestic Product, Nigeria’s per capital income remains a far cry from that of South African and Ghana. What is more, crude oil and gas had been discovered in many African countries exposing Nigeria to a more competitive market. Lastly, the Federal Government must find urgent solution to the Boko Haram insurgence, but without applying a conventional military tactics.

The type of solution canvassed here is a robust and ad hoc think-tank to be set up by the President and to include representatives of the Senate and House of Representatives committees on security, the armed forces, paramilitary agencies, and renowned social pathologists from the ivory tower. A stitch in time saves nine.

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