There is no justification when citizens begin to take up arms against their nation and their fellow citizens in any form. But this is our story in northeast Nigeria’s Borno State, also known as “Home of Peace”, where peace is hard to find these days.
In northeast Nigeria, more than 20,000 lives have been lost, more than 2.3 million people displaced, children orphaned, women widowed and many more maimed unidentified, while property worth millions is destroyed and human trust derailed. completely until then. This one is bitter, with a state that was known to be so peaceful until politics got mixed up with religion, when things fell apart.
There was a group of young people who came together to fight for a cause for the establishment of a new religious order with the aim of ending corruption in Nigeria. This group was founded in the state of Borno with its capital in Maiduguri; a cosmopolitan city. What has become of this group is amazing as a date.
Boko Haram is a youth group founded by Mohammed Yusuf, popularly known as “the youth leader” in some circles. Mohammed was a cleric who preached and attracted poor, uneducated and unemployed youth in poor communities in northeastern Nigeria. His preaching style was aimed at reaching the most underserved groups and vulnerable youth in the communities, which enabled the penetration of his message from the grassroots and attracted an easy traffic flow of followers. His message was how to change society by using religion as a tool to take leadership of Nigeria. This was and still is the impetus behind the group. This message was new and exciting, and it stimulated hope in the minds of vulnerable young people who until now had vainly yearned for an identity and class in society. That message of hope is the engine for the incorporation of new young people to the group to date.
“Yan Yusufiyya” was his name when the group was formed and not Boko Haram. Boko Haram is a name given to the group by the media. The group existed for a long time and was peaceful. Although popular at the base, popularity became a threat to politicians in Borno state. Meanwhile, other politicians saw the group’s popularity as an opportunity to launch their political ambition, so they began aligning themselves with the group in an attempt to mobilize grassroots support for political power. But that was just a monster of incubating security issues.
When mixing the two is dangerous-
That’s when we mix religion with politics. It will always be the birth violence of war and nothing less. However, I will prefer to be more specific when making my presentation. That it was in preparation for the 2003 election year that the group entered politics. The group alone saw its entry into politics as Clear Avenue to actualize its mission of taking over the Borno state government to the nation. From the perspective of the group’s preaching, that was a window for them to jump into politics, and this political presumption caused many vulnerable young people who never joined the group to believe in the group’s sovereignty and join them.
The group struck a deal with politicians who were interested in leveraging their platform to reach out to grassroots members. The crux of the deal was; if the group supports any politician, and perhaps the politician wins the Borno State Government House election, then the state will be governed religiously according to the groups’ principles and beliefs.
To defeat their imagination, the candidate/politician the group supported won the elections and was sworn in as governor of Borno state for the period 2003-2007. Politicians had previously armed this group to the teeth as foot soldiers to fight the opposition before and during the elections. Unfortunately, after the elections, the politicians never disarmed the group! However, to straighten out the deal that was struck, the group was rewarded with a commissioner’s position at Government House. But the group wanted a full-scale implementation of the deal and not just a political appointment. Then, the group began to ask the Governor for more: to make the agreement they signed before 2003 a reality. But how sad the agreement became unattainable.
In preparation for the 2007 election year, the interest of the incumbent government was to contest the elections again, and the group was recruited again with renewed terms of agreement for full implementation of the first agreement should they be extended to the second. finished. After the elections, the Government won the elections for a second term that spanned from 2007 to 2011. And in between this term, was that when the group became crazy and violent? A once peaceful group finally transformed into a terrorist group, why? Because the Government is aware of the impossibility of actually translating the terms of the agreement that they re-entered with the group for the second time. The group was disappointed.
In an attempt to weaken the group, the government, instead of dialogue, set up a joint special police force and military anti-robbery squad called “Operation Flush” to drive out the groups they armed before the elections. Operation Flush then initiated arbitrary arrests and detentions of the group and other civilians in an attempt to weaken the group, knowing full well the extent to which they had armed the group. It is known that since 2007 the group had several confrontations and misunderstandings with the Government, although no violent acts were recorded.
But in 2009 the group got tired and rebelled by announcing the refusal to recognize the authority of the State Government. They then declare their “authoritative status” and criticize the government for being insensitive, greedy, and corrupt. That the government only used the poor politically to achieve its selfish goals and throw them into deeper poverty due to their vulnerability. The group saw the government’s action as a breach of the agreement. They call the renegade as “THE EDUCATED RICH, using THE UNEDUCATED POOR” for selfish reasons. That, the poor uneducated must resist and say – “NO” to the educated rich antics in all ramification. That was how the media came up with the name of the group as BOKO HARAM.
BOKO is a Hausa language and means “Western Education”.
Haram is Arabic language and means “No”.
So Boko Haram simply means: No to Western education. What that means is that it is Western education that has caused elites to enslave the uneducated poor and should be resisted and claimed to not fit.
The explosion started
On Thursday June 11, 2009, an Operation Flush detachment near the Custom Market in Maiduguri intercepted this group; who were in the funeral procession of their member and were asked why they were riding motorcycles without wearing a protective helmet. The group saw the challenge as a disregard for their plight and before long became involved in a heated argument with Operation Flush. Amid a heated discussion, an armed member of Operation Flush opened fire on 17 members of the group, injuring many more, who were admitted to Maiduguri University Teaching Hospital. After that incident, there was no government reaction on the bloody shooting and the group considered it an affront and deliberate to exterminate them.
A few days later, the group’s founder (now deceased – Mohammed Abubakar – killed by police) issued a statement stating that the Borno state government’s action did not condemn or sympathize with the shooting, and had not established fact finding panel. the shooting is a clear indication that the shooting was orchestrated with the goal of eliminating his supporters. And he boldly promised retaliation as justice. He called on his followers to dust off their weapons in preparation for self-defense and eventual Jihad to shoot 17 followers.
On Sunday, July 26, 2009, around 10:00 p.m., the group retaliated by disabling all GSM networks in Maiduguri and beat up different police stations and residents of police officers and killed them in revenge. In return, the federal government immediately intervened and mobilized military force in Maiduguri and then attacked the members of the group whose houses were demolished and burned. The approach has been an eye for an eye, to which everything has become blind.
Beginning in 2010, the group began using motorcycles to assassinate police officers at guard post checkpoints. Then, they also started killing soldiers. Government workers, politicians, and community members later joined. The reason is that they are the ones who supposedly signal the members of the group to security to arrest and kill them.
To date, it is quite unfortunate how the whole episode between the group and the Government has and is developing, and how we were unable to manage the conflict until it became a crisis and now a monster. The world didn’t really know about the group until the group kidnapped 276 girls from school in Chibok. Then the international media like CNN, Aljeezera, etc. they shed their light for news headlines.
But the group had been around for years. In my opinion, it is baffling how this group has become the deadliest terrorist group in the world according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index. Leaving one wondering why.
Why is this happening in Nigeria for so long? How we are using hardware weaponization techniques to solve all our problems. How technique always gives us a constant and sustainable problem to deal with. And why we wouldn’t learn about software technique is to solve social problems.
Pray for Nigeria that peace may prevail. Peace to Nigeria, peace in Africa, Peace throughout the world.