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Published On: Tue, Sep 16th, 2014

This one North self and insurgency in Nigeria (II)

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Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Inset- houses burnt by the insurgentsBy Ben Adam Shemang

Where I come from, is in Bondon district, Kaura Local Government of Kaduna state definitely from the north. Three districts are there namely, Bondon, Matauk and Biniki. There are no roads, no pipe born water, no electricity, one clinic build during military government. Many people still fetch water from streams. This is a replica of many villages in the north. As if that was not enough, about four months ago, armed men entered there and slaughtered 120 while the victms are asleep in their villages. One north did nothing. No arrest. Hundred suffered same fate in Sango Local Government of Kaduna state. Northern elders went to bed. In Birnin Gwari, very many people were killed there. Zamfara state also witnessed gruesome murders where religious leaders and worshippers were killed. Sokoto herdsmen and farmers have been killed not once.   In Zaria, suck killings took place. In Nasarawa state, communal and religious clashes are common. Taraba state still remains a hot spot of killings. In Benue state, many people are still dagger drawn there. Plateau state is another place of bloodletting. Is this one north? The 2011 post election violence mostly took place in northern states.

If this belief in one north is there, let us first face this problem head on. The mechanisms are there. The north has the Minister of Defence, in person of General Aliyu Gusau. The north has the National Security Adviser, Col Dasuki Sambo. The north has the chief of Defence staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh, the north similarly has the Chief of Naval staff, Admiral Usman Jibril From Kogi state. This same north has produced the Inspector General of the Police. It therefore follows that the security of Nigeria is in the hands of the north, not Onyeabor Azubuike Ihijirika. It is for these respectable northern to ensure that the presidency supplies the military hardware needed for the military campaign in north east of Nigeria. It should be devoid of politics. Nigerians should join hands to fight for a common course and a common enemy.

If a proper census were to be conducted, I bet  that there is no tribe in Nigeria that has not suffered one loss or the other from attacks orchestrated by Boko Haram. The same goes for all arms of the military and paramilitary. Every religion – sect or denomination- all have also suffered and are suffering losses even as you read this piece. There are also huge losses of property and fear is all over the place, especially in the north. To sit down now blaming one man is not the solution where were are told over 10,000 have been killed by the sect, and still counting.

Very recent, I interviewed the Governors of Katsina states and Sokoto, Ibrahim Shehu Shema and Aliyu Magatadarda Wamako respectively. They told me how they are deliberately and consciously tackling the almajiri syndrome through free schools and feeding them. They also have youths and craft centres where different skills are taught to the youth who would have been idle and working tools of mischief makers.   They also spoke of justice and fairness to everyone. They have abolished school fees in their states whether the person is from that state or not.

To governor Wamakko, Nigerians must stop providing unrealistic solutions to Boko Haram crisis via seminars.  He proffered a solution to the question on how to end Boko Haram in Nigeria. Read his advice: “the federal government must for obvious reasons, be a good listener to the citizenry which unfortunately, it is not. Because when the issue of Boko Haram started about 4/5 years ago, most of us as leaders at different fora, governors’ forum, and others, advised. We called for dialogue we called for multi faceted approach to this issue. Unfortunately that time, government failed to appreciate and understand what we were saying, what were offering and what we were advising until such a time that the worst has happened that government extended a hand of friendship to come, talk political talks. This problem shouldn’t have reached this level if government sincerely, honestly had dealt with the issue the right way when it all began because even the strongest powers in the world have never won conflict just by show of force or use of arms. Look at America a dialogue must be the way out.

When late President Yar’adua muted the idea of amnesty to the people in Niger delta, people laughed and said he was crazy but it worked. Russia went to Afghanistan for how many years? They were defeated they left. America went they were defeated they left. So this is a typical example of how you cannot fight your enemy. You are fighting somebody who can see you and you cannot see him. I think it is a difficult task because Boko Haram knows where the people they want are we in government do not know where the enemy is. So for how long will we continue to fight? The best thing you can do is to take any step to stop the unnecessary loss of lives, offer unconditional pardon and offer to dialogue, a sincere, genuine one not political offer of pardon.

We have our respected traditional rulers, imams, bishops and others can play different roles to bring this to an end but unfortunately because they are not involved at the right time they are not given the right assignment to do up to now we are still battling with this issue of insecurity in this country. Equally, the way we perceive it makes it difficult to tackle. When Nigeria had Odua People’s Congress (OPC) menace in the south west, it was Nigeria’s problem because everyone was at risk. When we had problems of reprisal attacks in the Niger delta, kidnapping, it was a Nigerian problem.

But today, Boko Haram is seen as a northern issue or problem. Is the North not part of Nigeria? If any part of the body is sick the entire body must be concerned. So even the way the federal government is handling the insurgency is part of the problem. It should not be a northern matter. It is Nigeria’s problem. General Yakubu Gowon fought for one Nigeria. Why should it be different today?  Because of selfish political interest, some people want to hold this country back”. Governor Wamakko submitted.

So back to my primary school days PE exercise, is the North a “fire on the mountain…run, run away”? They answer is no. Collectively, the battle must be fought and won.



Ben Adam Shemang via

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