Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Boko Haram: What Must Nigeria Do?


Jama'atu ahlis Sunna lidda'awati wal-jihad or Boko Haram in Hausa is but haram in Arabic as its name denotes. Haram in Arabic means something illegal even dirty. I don’t know the meaning of Boko in any language that can show it as something illegal or otherwise. Again, Boko Haram can be translated as “Western education is sacrilege in Hausa.” Is it real western education sacrilege or Wild education in the name of Islam? If western education is sacrilegious as Boko Haram and the like-minded cronies think, what is an altenative education to it? Is it Arabic or Quranic one? Methinks, those saying western education is sacrilegious either do not know the meaning of education or, if they know, they have but a hidden agenda so to speak. Such assertion is not only horrible but it is horribly wrong and misleading. It is ludicrous and ridiculous. Again, why do Islamic academics allow their faith to be easily and cheaply abused by stooges such as Boko Haram with all ruckus and rumpus? Though in law silence does not plea of guilty, in a layman interpretation it means the contrary.

More on Boko Haram, by all standards including Nigerian laws, Boko Haram is illegal. Therefore, wiping it out of the surface of earth is legal. Many analysts ask: how was Nigerian government be able to vanguish groups such as The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSSOP) and Niger Delta People Salvation Front (NDPSF) but fail to eradicate terrost group Boko Haram?

Though it is against human rights to punish a person or persons without being heard or being tried by the court, when it comes to terrorist groups such Boko Haram, this prerequisite is not available. For they are not ready to follow proper channels put in place. For Boko Haram and the likes such as al Shabaab, all legal channels that are not put in place or being manned by them or likeminded, regard them as illegal entities. Therefore, such standpoint makes it difficult to consider such terrorist groups under the prerequisite of human rights where things such as natural justice, the right to be heard before being judged, presumption of innoncent and the like apply. How can you presume a person innocent while he is saying loudly and openly that he committed this and that just to fulfill the requirements of his religion? If anything, this is a challenge to human rights lawyers and the whole legal profession without forgetting even the parliaments the world over. In essence, what Boko Haram and the likes do by priding themselves that they committed atrocities like that that was committed on Christmas Eve whereby over 40 innocent people were felled, is self-inculpating. Therefore, such assertions and pleas wave the right to be heard or presumed innocent until the court of law decides otherwise or altogether.

Another precedent can be drawn from how Osama bin Laden was summarily killed by the US. Though the US has been criticized for killing bin Laden without bringing him to justice, what he used to do and say were nothing but self-inculpatory save that the US goofed by not condemning him to death before attacking his hidden posh residence in Abbotabad in Pakistan. It was simple. Charge him in absentia before the court of law and make sure you secure a death sentence then take on him and kill him legally. So, what Nigeria authorities even Kenyan can do now with regards to Boko Haram and al Shabaab respectively, is firstly, declare them legally to be terrorist groups under the law. Secondly, they must obtain the names of the ringleaders and charge them legally and officially and let the court, using already availabele pleas of committing atrocies alleged to have been committed by them as evidence to convict them. This is possible given that the jurisdiction of courts have expanded especially in dealing with atrocities and terrorism internationally. We therefore need to be nippy and steadfast; and thereafter, it will be legal, under all laws and presumpitions, to hunt down these terrorists and kill them without facing the wraths or allegations of violating human rights activists as it was in the case of bin Laden.

Another important thing to do is keep an eye on the source of income for Boko Haram. Where do they get money from? Who are their financiers? It is clear and obvious that such ragtag group cannot survive without being financed especially by foreign entities whose agenda is always what it carries out just like al Shabaab in Somalia.

Although Boko Haram, just like al Shabaab, has been priding itself to fight for Islam, this shebang shouldn't be subscribed to. The truth is: they are but copycats thanks to ignorance, dogma, brainwash and poverty.

As for Nigerian public, people should take on Boko Haram instead of waiting for the government while they are perishing unnecessarily. To do this, in areas where they suspect Boko Haram has sympathizers or agents hiding among them, they should apprehend them and hand them over to the government. Public eye, in this situation, is powerful and can have a corner in everything on the market as far as suffocating and stamping Boko Haram out is concerned. Again, Nigerians should not be fooled and be taken for the ride by Boko Haram’s razzmatazz and circus to believe that war against Boko Haram is war against Islam. It is war against terrorists who want to destabilize the country.

As for Nigerian government, it seems to sleep on the wheel. Otherwise, Boko Haram would have been history.
Source: The African Executive Magazine Jan. 11, 2012.

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