Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Boko Haram’s 3-day ultimatum

It is instructive that Boko Haram, the Islamic fundamentalist group, has finally declared war on Christians living in the northern part of Nigeria with yesterday’s ultimatum giving them and Southerners living in the north three days to quit the region.
Reacting to the declaration of emergency rule in parts of the north where their activities has been very catastrophic in the last months, Abdul Qaqa, a self-acclaimed spokesman of the group, said "…we are also giving a three-day ultimatum to the southerners living in the northern part of Nigeria to move away." 
Nigerian Police chief, Hafiz Ringim
"We wish to call on our fellow Muslims to come back to the north because we have evidence that they would be attacked.” Apparently in the thinking of this group, the sizeable number of Christians of northern origin do not simply exist.  Every Christian is a southerner and every Muslim is a northerner. This, obviously, is unfortunate.
The new approach of Boko Haram is a tacit call for the dismemberment of the entity called Nigeria. Besides, it strikes a resemblance to the Nazi-style isolation strategy used against the Jews in the Hitler-era Germany.  During this time, Jews in Europe were subjected to progressively harsh persecution that ultimately led to the murder of six million Jews (1.5 million of these being children) and the destruction of 5,000 Jewish communities.
These deaths represented two-thirds of European Jewry and one-third of world Jewry. The Jews who died were not casualties of the fighting that ravaged Europe during World War II. Rather, they were the victims of Hitler's deliberate and systematic attempt to annihilate the entire Jewish population of Europe, a plan Hitler called the “Final Solution” (Endlosung).
Obviously, when you kill people who’ve done nothing to you, you naturally expect reprisal. Since it’s not coming, Boko Haram keeps doing more harm to call it forth. But there are questions: do we go so far with them; do we allow genocide, religious/ethnic cleansing? Do we fold our arms until it happens?
Like I stated in my last posting, one of the most crucial challenge confronting the government of Nigeria today is to fish out the elements behind the Boko Haram.  If the bomb throwers and suicide bombers as is widely held are a bunch of unemployed youths, then some financiers must be providing the financial and logistic support that enables them to operate.  Our military intelligence must fish these sponsors out and treat them as sponsors of terrorism.
The Nigerian Police authorities have as usual dismissed the Boko Haram threat as baseless and an act designed just to create panic.   The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Yemi Ajayi, while describing the threat as “empty and calculated efforts to create fears into the people”, noted that “the Federal Government has done enough to protect the lives and properties of the people in this part of the country regardless of their tribe and religion.”
Governor Obi of Anambra (right) receiving the corpse of Agnes
Past experiences have made Nigerians cynical when they hear such statements from state agents, particularly the police.  During the last crisis in Bauchi, corps members who run into police stations to seek refuge were butchered by the hoodlums.  Agnes Ezennadozie, a pregnant corps member, who was one of those to run into a police station, was killed by the mobs with her unborn baby.
“She called me and said ‘Honey, it’s like a riot is taking place’,” recalled her husband, barely holding back tears. “I asked her how safe she was and she said they were at a police station. Later, she called to say the hoodlums were surrounding the station and I told her to run from there. As we were talking, I heard a scream and then nothing,” he added. (http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5698255-146/story.csp)
As one conflict expert noted in an article on Boko Haram, those calling for government dialogue with the group, “don’t understand the techniques of timing in the management of conflicts.  You dialogue only when the ears are open.”
Suffice to conclude with the thoughts of this expert:  “Hope now is on what the Joint military Task Force (JTF) would do. If they succeed, Nigeria will manage on; if they fail, there’ll be no restraint to the killing of Christians in the north powered by frightened northern elite.”

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