NIGERIA: The President’s Dereliction of the North’s Destruction

(Correct me if am wrong)

By Sulaiman Badamasi (Mahir)

It’s really appalling the way the insurgency issue in some parts of northern Nigeria is being grappled with by the government. All levelheaded Nigerians and the international community do earnestly not appreciate the way things are moving, the government looks more of neglect than serious!

yaradua amnastyFlashing back to Late Umaru Musa Yaradua’s time, when the boko haram group began its arm campaign in 2009; the menace started and was curbed with within only five days. Leading to the capture and bereavement of the group’s first head and founder, Muhammad Yusuf. By the time, all their hideouts were traced, strongholds shattered, groupings dispersed, sponsors apprehended.

Another memory to splash back on is the saga of the Niger Delta armed terrorist group, when they were pardoned and given amnesty through peace-talks and “SINCERE” dialogue. Afterwards, all the conditions agreed on were fulfilled with instantaneous effects leading to the harmonious co-existence between the terrorists and other parts of the country.

The success story out of the above case studies depicts the level of seriousness and sincere commitment of the then administration.

In July, this year, when the country has recorded first its Ebola case which was transported all the way from Liberia, by Patrick Sawyer, whom Mr. President described as “Stupid!” The country was able to fight the outbreak within just three months (from July to October 2014). To my opinion if the country could be able to fight a hazardous disease like Ebola, why not the insurgency? Does that not convey that if the insecurity would also be given the same attention it would have been ended by now?

Contrary to what is happening recently, when the army complains of lack of enough resources needed to fight the insurgents, the government seemed to be prioritising its political interests than the state of vulnerability where some parts of the country stumble in, the insurgency keeps gaining strength and the sarcastic amnesty and peace talk movie act is yet to actualise.

On 18th September 2014, the Catholic Church, through ‘Thisday live’ gave a list of 25 towns in three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. The towns include: Damboa, Buni Yadi, Madagali, Gwoza, Gujba, Gulak, Bama, Gulani, Shuwa, Marte, Kukawa, Minchika, Dikwa, Bularafa, Bazza, Gamboru Ngala, and Buni Gari.

Others are Banki, Bara, Pulka, Bumsa, Ashgashiya, Taltaba, Limankara, Njibilwa and recently, Gombi amongst others. Only few (probably less than five of them were recaptured).

All committees that were set with the intent to solve the issue have ended up either complaining of not having their reports used by the government or not being heard about after some few days of lunching them.

The northeast seems to be taken as if it were part of a neighbouring country, not really a part of Nigeria or even lesser in the administration’s heart. When a disaster befalls a neighbouring country or other part of the world, our president sends tributes or condolence messages immediately and offers aids, intervention or assistance, but the leadership’s gesture towards the northeast’s calamity remains funny.

gej gwozaI can recall when the president referred the northeast to as a ‘fringe’ in an interview posted by WebTV Nigeria on YouTube in which he said “If the security people have not been working hard, I don’t think we would have been moving freely in Abuja. So they have been able to push it to almost at the fringes”

Did he call the northeast a ‘fringe’? Do you know what the word ‘fringe’ means?

The oxford advanced learners dictionary has defined it as “groups of people, events and activities that are not part of the main group or activity”

So, according to the president, if that is what he really means, we do not belong to the main part of Nigeria? Is that why our problem has not been given sufficient attention?

No wonder, we have not been seeing the president visiting us to pay condolences or tributes despite all the series of bombing, loosing of scores of lives, massive destruction of properties, non-stopping fear and sorrow in this five years of insurgency. We wail because he visits other places where unfortunate things of similar kind occur.

Is that why some reports are alleging that the vibrant Nigerian soldiers operating in the region are not being provided with sufficient weapons, and that they are experiencing cuts in their payments? If it is true, is that not an act of demotivation and demoralization towards our army personnel?

Is that why the president had to ask the emir of Gwoza about where the town is before he could remember it? Sahara Reporters as well as many other national dailies have broken the news on 1st October 2014 about a very strange question which shows that the president was totally uninformed, not briefed on or does not even care about what was going on in the town whose control was usurped by Boko Haram. After the unfortunate incidence, the Emir of Gwoza whose father was killed by the members of Boko Haram had managed to sneak to Abuja for the safety of his life. But when he met with Mr. president, shockingly enough, the president was reported to have asked “Where is Gwoza sef?” To me, this question is an indication that the president has not put Gwoza on his mind, was not worried about what happened and does not give a damn! That is why he could not even tell the location of the town.

It seems the government, although not dormantly watching does not give a damn. That is why we are appealing to the whole world to come to our aid!

Janjaweed Connection: President Jonathan embraces Borno ex governor implicated as Boko Haram sponsor
Janjaweed Connection: President Jonathan embraces Borno ex governor implicated as Boko Haram sponsor

After the deadly bombing of Nyanya in April 2014 that swallowed the lives of more than 88 Nigerians and left more than 200 fatally injured, the president went to Kano just a day after to welcome the state’s former governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he celebrated, cheered and even danced as his wife’s favourite musician, Sani Musa Danja sang at the gathering. Is that not a sign that the man do not really mourn the deaths of the innocent those Nigerians?

When Mubi, the biggest town in Adamawa sate was taken over by boko haram on 30th 0ctober, a day after, the president called an emergency. Guess with who/for what? With PDP leadership, governors and NASS members to ensure how the party will retain the speaker, Tambuwal’s seat after his defection to the opposition, APC. After some few hours (less than 48 hours of his defection), his security details were withdrawn, and nothing tangible came out for Mubi despite the displacement of its people, killings of the youth that remain in the town and forcefully making their teenage girls sex slaves.

Another instance was recently on 10th November, 2014, when a suicide bomber disguised in a school uniform set off explosives at Government Science and Technical College Potiskum’s assembly ground, killing more than 70 teenagers and living several staff and students injured. This happens just a day before the president declared re-election bid on 11th of that month. Apart from not seemingly forgetting about the regrettable lost and doing away with the feeling, he went ahead and declared his intention and never visited the place for the purposed of condoling to the helpless community. Rather, he declared and enjoyed the music that was played at the place as if it were something worth celebrating that happened in the northeastern town of Potiskum. This is the kind of leadership that we are having now!

On 12th November, a female suicide bomber exploded herself in Federal College of Education Kontagora, living a number of people wounded; the president was busy unveiling the new N100 note.

There is a popular Hausa proverb which says: “Only if the wall is broken, a lizard can pass through it” – This was what came to my mind when some leaders, amongst which there are political, religious and monarchs began to encourage the masses to stand up and take self protection measures, since the government has failed to protect them. This idea had first started in mid-2013, when a group of vigilantes armed with sticks, arrows, swords and in few occasion with dame-guns stood up to front-face boko haram. The group was though widely criticized by some people who think it would only lead to addition of more danger by engaging some perceived novices in the battle, it has been becoming more popular and encouraged in many parts of the north. This conveys an unequivocal failure of this administration to protect the lives of its citizens.

On 1st December 2014, I listened to an interview with former president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida on BBC Hausa service and heard him discrediting the claim that boko haram is more stronger than the Nigerian army, saying (to the journalist) that “it is you who do not know (how strong the Nigerian army is) that said that”. When asked, if encouraging the masses to defend selves is a good idea, he said yes but to be led by an carried out in an organised/controlled manner.

(Correct me if am wrong)

By Sulaiman Badamasi (Mahir)

[email protected]

[email protected]