By: Anas Yunus Muhammad
Since it made its debut some couple of years ago, not many Nigerians know about the existence of Boko Haram until some series of violent attacks were carried out either by its members or some other people in its name. By the way who are these so called Boko Haramists? Boko Haram is a complex term to define. It actually means in literal term “Western education is un-Islamic”. The term is broad, but based on the activities of the people hiding under it, we can categorise them into three groups. These groups are the Boko Haram Islamists group, the Boko Haram of desperate politicians in order to perpetuate their political control over some people and the Boko Haram being funded and controlled by Christians ostensibly with the motive of using it to tarnish the name of Islam.
Members of Boko Haram do not accept the name given to their sect, the name they gave their group is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lida’awati wal Jihad which, loosely translated to Hausa language means “movement for the propagation of Sunnah and Jihad”. Late Muhammad Yusuf initiated the movement in Maiduguri the capital city of north-eastern Borno state in 2002 and was its leader until July 2009. The group started its agitation as a non-violent sect, but attracted violent response that escalated in 2009 after a heavy crackdown and brutal killing of their leader and many members by the military deployed by the administration of Umaru ‘Yar’Adua, himself a Muslim. Following the killing of their leader and members, the movement went underground but emerged a year later with a renewed gorilla-like style of attacks and bombardment.
Boko Haram’s ideology is that of non-interest in western education while its political goal is said to geared toward creating an Islamic State in specifically northern geo-political zone of Nigerian state because they see the country as being run by none believers even if the country had a Muslim president. Moreover, Boko Haram has now transmogrified into a catch-all devil term for any violent deed in Northern Nigeria in particular and the entire nation, if robbers robbed chanting “ALLAHU AKBAR” before or while carrying out their operation they are called Boko Haramists, which spreads identifiable ideology of Boko Haram as violence against all Nigerians. If people are not careful newspapers would have them all hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the oppressors.
The second segment of Boko Haramists are desperate politicians who perpetrate the campaign of violence and credit it to Boko Haram, the group has come to be seen as increasingly having a political undercurrent.
Politics in Nigeria has been rightly described as a do or die affair as many lives were lost in all states of the federation as political parties clash with one another, but who really arms these thugs that unleash terror on many innocent souls? Of course politicians arm them to subdue their opponents and turned northern Nigeria into a war zone with their violent campaign under the shadow of Boko Haram.
Among the reasons for the increase in political thuggery in Northern Nigeria is the quest for political power, the ambitions of some of the politicians made them go to any length just to attain such power even if it meant claiming lives of those who may pose hindrance to their aspirations. In Nigeria, political assassinations had been the major outcome of political violence, some politicians had now centered on adaptation of assassinations as a means of setting their political agenda.
In Maiduguri, the 2011 governorship candidate on the platform of All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) Alhaji Modu Fannami Gubio along with six persons including the brother of the then state governor, Senator Ali Modu Shariff were killed said to have been carried out by Boko Haram. The backbone or the preset of this thuggery is the high rate of unemployed youths who have little opportunity for legitimate or socio-economic advancement. ECOMOG is a militia group in Borno State which was founded some years back, while Kalare is also a group with similar activity in Gombe, Kalare boys as well as Ecomog has proven as easy prey for politicians who offer them meager amount of money, drugs, alcohol and weapons in exchange for engaging in act of intimidation and assault.
Its now obvious to every thinking Nigerian that the second segment of Boko Haram is government design outfit to
- 1. Cause confusion in the country
2. Blackmail Islam and Muslims
3. Win the cheap sympathy of gullible Nigerians.
The last segment of the classified Boko Haramists are Christians who hide under the name of Boko Haram to carry out bombings. Some months back, precisely on 28 December 2011, a middle aged man named Emmanuel King in Yanagua the capital city of Bayelsa dressing in Kaftan and turban was arrested in his attempt to bomb the Redeemed Christian Church of God. On 12 September 2011 a lady identified as Lydia Johnson was arrested in her attempt to bomb Saint Johns Catholic Church in Bauchi State. Not long after that, three Chrstians Igbo men were raided by State Security Service SSS threatening people via text messages to explode some prominent politicians and Western embassies in the name of Boko Haram, this revealed that the previous fallacious messages of the ultimatum to northern Christians to vacate the region is untruth, such directives can never be from Boko Haram because in the northeastern part of Nigeria, States like Borno, Yobe, and Gombe almost 20 to 30 percent of the indigenous population are Christians, how is it for a group located in such States asked their indigenous member to relocate to somewhere else?Madam Ruth of Kaltingo local government of Gombe State was also captured in attempt to bomb a Church. On 26 February 2012, security agents arrested about eight Christians in Miya Barkate, a village in Bauchi State in their attempt to blast the COCIN Church, a Christian bomber was lynched by some angry youths while escaping after blasting the COCIN Church of Jos on 26 February 2012, along the line, Samson Mangai of Plateau State was also arrested while trying to explode a Church.
Minutes after every tragedy, several Boko Haramists always claim responsibility, assuming that, Emmanuel King, Lydia Johnson, Madam Ruth, Samson Mangai and the rest had succeeded in their devilish act they would have been dubbed as Boko Haram, it has come to light that many unsuccessful bombardments are not masterminded by the extremist Islamic Boko Haram but reverse is the case.
In conclusion, the resentment fostered among Nigerian youths is were Boko Haram movement begins, however, this is not simply cultural sentiment but also product of political desperation, religious frame, sabotage as well as conspiracy. Boko Harams are not representatives of Islam and has been condemned by Muslims, they are disgrace to Islam, Muslims are known for seeking western and Islamic knowledge because no knowledge is wasted. All Nigerians must be disciplined and have respect for constituted authorities. Nigerians must continue to work in unity and cohesion and avoid any act that could bring about division in the nation States. May Allah continue to expose all the brains behind the devilish and inhuman activities, Ameen.
Anas Yunus Muhammad writes from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
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