For the past year and more, the Joint Task Force (JTF) have come under intense criticism over its style and approach of managing the Boko Haram insurgency. Several horrific tails of murder, mass executions, arson and gross human rights violations attributed to JTF have been told in graphic details in this period. The Federal Government has responded with a loud silence despite repeated appeals by concerned citizens.
Last Thursday, the Borno State Elders Forum once again lamented the activities of the dreaded JTF. In a statement titled “A Passionate Appeal for Restraint” signed by Shettima Ali Monguno described the actions of JTF as Genocide. Parts of the statement read:
“The killings run into hundreds, and it seems the people are facing genocide,”
“…Nobody seems to care even as the fasting Muslims were killed, maimed, robbed, or displaced. It is indeed pathetic and unfortunate that such a situation will be allowed to happen to innocent Muslims. The blood of the innocent flows and they are on their own.”
“…The plight of the thousands of the victims of this crisis is horrendous. Thousands were displaced and thousands others are fleeing their homes, even in this Holy month of Ramadan.”
It is apparent that JTF only strategy of combating the Boko Haram insurgency is to collectively punish the Muslim population of the affected areas. To avert the wrath of JTF, the Elders’ Forum is left with the only option of continuously pleading with Boko Haram to think about consequences of their action on their people.
“They (Boko Haram) need to reflect on the consequences of their actions on the larger society. They need to take pity in the plight of their own people in their own land.”
Just in case you do not understand the absurdity of this situation, let me put it in plain language, the elders are pleading with the “outlaws” to cease their attack on the Government so that the Government should in turn stop killing innocent Muslims. Our clueless leadership have failed to realise that Government and all its institutions exist only to serve the needs of the people.
While responding to the allegations of Genocide, spokesperson for JTF arrogantly responded:
“….there has never been a recorded or an established case of genocide against the JTF in Maiduguri”
Technically, the man is not denying the allegations of genocide; he is just saying you can’t proof it. Meanwhile, eye witnesses accounts indicates that JTF is secretly burying the bodies of Muslims believed to have been killed by them. A resident of Maiduguri told Daily Trust
“Last week, I personally saw a tipper loaded with dead bodies heading towards Baga road…it was very early in the morning but I don’t know their destination,”
Daily Trust also reported that mortuaries in Maiduguri is littered with unclaimed decomposing corpses, deposited by security agencies without explanation. A quick survey around Maiduguri and other northern cities that have suffered from the activities of Boko Haram will show that JTF is far more feared than Boko Haram that have killed over two thousand Muslims. It is difficult to understand why those who are expected to protect, now act like criminals and paid assassins.
At the last National Conference of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Professor Isaac Olawole Albert of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan while presenting a paper on: “Religion, Terrorism and National Security: Untying the Unholy Knot” disclosed to the horror of participants instances where JTF laid siege to neighbourhoods and shot at persons exiting them and how they had set on fire an entire community with people being burnt to death right inside their homes.
He said if a building is found to be harbouring a suspect, the building is destroyed immediately even when a landlord could unknowingly house a suspect. The Professor also condemned the JTF tactics of summarily executing persons suspected of being Boko Haram, and the custom of subjecting those arrested to indefinite detention without trial.
On June 25, 2011 Sahara Reporters Published an article titled “Boko Haram: Between Citizens And Security Personnel“. The author gave explicit accounts of JTF unchecked activities. He wrote:
“…..It is also the practice of the JTF that whenever an incident of suspected Boko Haram killing occurs, they will round up the people in the area and arrest them usually at dusk. Those desperate for their freedom have to pay exorbitant fees-up to 150,000 naira before they go home to sleep that night. Those unable to do so are either beaten senseless or remanded indefinitely as suspected ‘killers’ even though no evidence of guns or ammunition are found in their residences. These residents suffer doubly in that while they are captive they might also be victims of an earlier killing of their relatives from suspected Boko Haram members or the stray or careless bullets of the security forces who chase their quarry as if they are in a war front and not a city full of civilians.
“Acts of hooliganism that border on insanity are also the badge of the security forces. For example without any seeming emergency they would drive their jeeps through a traffic congestion- ironically caused by their colleagues at roadblocks-beating people up and scratching vehicles with their jack-knifes and even bashing vehicles broadsides resulting in serious denting of sleek civilian vehicles. Sometimes they would drive deliberately against the traffic forcing motorists to give them way as they drive roughly while threateningly waving their rifles at the motorists and hurling insults them.”
“On another occasion, while JTF were checking on all passers-by, in the State Low Cost Housing Area, an unsuspecting motorist overtook a broken down truck not knowing that there was a check-point immediately in front of the vehicle and sped off, thinking perhaps that the security had their hands full with other checks.”
“Unfortunately he was chased by the security people in their faster vehicle which made him lose control and ram his vehicle into a building. Knowing they might easily shoot and kill him he dismounted from his car and sped off into the narrow streets of the area and disappeared. As a result of frustration the JTF descended on the residents of the area and forced some to frog -jump ’till they tell them where to go and find the man’. When nothing was forthcoming since the man was just another passerby who does not even live in the area, they entered many houses of the housing estate at night beating residents and smashing their furniture including television sets and refrigerators.”
Since 2011, JTF criminality have accelerated and the government is doing nothing check them. They just do not understand that they cannot kill everybody and that actions will always provoke reactions. Today, the greatest undoing and ruination of Nigeria Government and Security Officers is their failure to acknowledge that it was their highhandedness and irresponsibility that gave rise to the violent brand of Boko Haram that is plaguing the country and their imprudence is further enhanced by their inability to learn from their mistakes. Today Boko Haram is hated and rejected by Muslims, tomorrow this may not be the case if this campaign of terror continues unabated.
Thousands of Muslims are dying from the bullets of Security Officers and from the bombs of Boko Haram. Jonathan’s Government is silence, the likes of Fani Kayode are asking for more blood; accusing JTF of not being more forceful. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s headed Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) wants US drones. All this because the blood of Muslims has been classified cheap. 20 Christians are killed by criminals in Okene, the Muslim populated is put on lock-down for over a week, hundreds of Muslims are killed by security officers and nobody seems to notice. The question now is for how long will this continue?
BEWARE THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN John Dryden
Its a very dangerous endeavour to persistently test the patient of millions of people, it is unwise and reckless.
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