June 3, 2014
By Michael Egbejumi-David
As Boko Haram sadly pervades our lives, all manners of views and theories abound. And that is how it should be. We have to allow for all shades of opinion as we try to make sense of the calamity that has been forced upon our country. But I think that in all of this, the goals of the terrorists must not escape our minds. One of the chief objectives of terrorist organizations is to spread panic and disharmony amongst people. It is left for the rest of us to remain alert and to be so astute that we do not play into the hands of the terror traders.
One of the theories I find difficult to understand is the idea that the federal government is actually orchestrating all the mayhem in parts of the country; that the government is killing its citizens, slaughtering villagers and children in large numbers for some incoherent political gains. As hard as I have looked at this school of thought, I just don’t see its merit. It seems illogical, garbed in too much sentimentalism, and the reward to the federal government is all in the negatives. It is not like this is an illegal military dictatorship that is going after dissenting political voices or individuals. This is mass killing of completely innocent people. Although, the government has got to stop obsessing about re-election and enemies at the gate so some people don’t keep questioning its motives – real or imagined.
However, there is no doubt in my mind now that there is sabotage and skulduggery from within the ranks of the security forces. There has to be; otherwise, I don’t see how Boko Haram could remain so successful for so long. They always seem to be at least two steps ahead of the government and always seem to find their way past curfewed and locked-down areas leisurely – driving in long convoys, singing off key and probably smoking Cuban cigars.
Another thing I am struggling with as regards the ongoing insurgency crisis is the prominence being given to video releases by the military wing leader of Boko Haram, Shekau, or whatever his name is. I am not sure what benefits accrue to the general public from regular broadcast of these videos. Yes, those videos are important to the security forces and I’m sure that they are doing the needful by them. However, I don’t see any benefit of showing us, the general public, the odious, hallucinatory face of this criminal. Apart from his mug spoiling my dinner, I don’t think any other purpose is served at all.
What regular showing of those videos does is garner for the perverts cheap publicity and I think that should be denied them. As it is with the fat boy in North Korea, that publicity and ‘notice me’ is their life blood and I think that should be cut off. Do that and hopefully this urchin will slink back into the dross from where he emerged. By the way, how are these videos hosted? Which domain holds them online? Someone is obviously editing these nauseating messages. So much for hatred of Western education and technology, eh?
Of course the Security agencies should have complete access to the videos and other forms of messages from the terrorists. I think the security agencies should then liaise with the public at large or with particular persons (i.e., the parents of the missing school girls) only as relevant. The media could work in close collaboration with the security forces in this regard. I know there might be the temptation to argue that such videos being made public perhaps serves the purpose of getting messages across. But we know that there are other more ‘insider’ channels of getting such messages to government as has been done several times in the past.
Furthermore, in some quarters – especially within the military – it is believed that the original Shekau has been killed, dispatched to a celibate Hades a long while ago. It could be possible therefore that we are now looking at a Shekau, mark 2. The original Shekau is thought to be older and more genteel than his present day drugged-out, inarticulate reincarnation.
Really, I’d rather not see any more Boko Haram video and publicity stunts. One of their more recent ones talked about swapping a number of kidnapped girls for captured Boko killers. That just ruined my dinner even more. It was all I could do to stop myself from hauling my small stout at the television screen. But I didn’t; the price of Guinness has gone up.
Imagine that: Boko Haram wants to swap innocent, non-combatant school girls for their brethrens in various lock-downs nationwide. My instinct of course is that the government shouldn’t even give this any serious consideration. I mean, it will just open the floodgates to all manners of perversion and unimaginable levels of criminality in the country, wouldn’t it? But…would this remain my position if I were a parent of one of the abducted girls?
First published on SaharaReporters