The recent “carrot and stick” approach recommended by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the solution of the Boko Haram insurgency should be taken seriously by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Till date, among all our past leaders, Obasanjo has continuously shown concern, worry and proffered solution to this lingering crisis. He, human like all of us, though, has his faults which many of us have at one time or the other kicked against both while he was in or out of power.
Yet, it is often said that, messages are considered while the messenger can be ignored. Obasanjo as a former president and military chief in this country has a lot to offer in terms of experience and tactics in security matters. We cannot for very obvious reasons sideline him when he speaks on similar issues just because we differ with his political moves. We should and must take him seriously because of our interest in building and achieving peace and unity in this country.
It does not fetch us any advancement to trade tackles, each time any leader bares his mind on this menace and, probably a way out of it. We can for the merit it would do us as a nation, marry the suggestions brought forth.
For years now, the Boko Haram group has shown the capacity to over-run Nigeria in a matter of time and, it is then desirable for the government of the day to look for the solution without minding where it is got. Again, the argument by the government that members of this Islamist group are faceless is far from the truth; with this argument it is simply providing for the security agencies, excuses to look the other way while, innocent Nigerians are killed daily by this group. The Boko Haram sect is an organised group of terrorists, the memebers meet, discuss, acquire weapons, in fact, no doubt, they must have sponsors. The truth remains that our security agencies are not doing enough to arrest this ugly situation, it is, in fact, worrisome that till date, this sect has not been infiltrated by our security agents while its members have infiltrated into the Police, SSS, Military and Presidency, as Jonathan himself admitted some time ago.
Our security men are not telling Mr. President the whole truth about this menace; they should buckle up, for the reason they were engaged is to fight enemies of the state. Obasanjo, according to media reports, spoke with the lawyer of this group; would a faceless group have a lawyer? Why are the security agencies not seeking out this lawyer to open dialogue with the group? Why is it difficult for the security chiefs to meet with their former ‘oga’, with the available information at his disposal? For us to solve this problem that is gradually growing to a monster status, all hands must be on deck. Whether any person likes it or not, if any madman decides to light the match in any highly inflammable environment, it is doubtful if there would be anything to salvage. Therefore, any crazy man wanting to set Nigeria ablaze now has a very affordable and willing tool to use in Boko Haram. Mr. President should meet with the former President and indeed, all other past leaders, to discuss a way out of this crisis before we are all consumed.
There is no doubt that, our past leaders, mainly the military chiefs would come in handy in dealing with this crisis. They have great wealth of experience that could be very relevant in tackling this problem. President Jonathan could rub minds with them, to tap from their experience and professionalism. It is also important for the President to rejig his security chiefs, perhaps to make them aware of their duty. All the intelligence units of the security agencies ought to, by now, be working in unison to be able to break into the camps of these unrepentant Islamic militants. Certainly, to me, that is where to start from, if they have not.
A human rights activist, Shehu Sani, once reportedly offered to link the government with a contact person who could be a veritable source of peaceful negotiation with members of this sect. This is another door for consideration in achieving peace. We would have expected the security chiefs to invite Sani for discussions as one of the options to finding a lasting solution to this evil that manifested in our country a few years back, an evil and wicked act that has taken lives of innocent Nigerians for no just cause.
We have so far, according to a report last year by the Human Rights Watch, an international rights organisation, lost about 2,800 people. This number is enormous, enough for the government to feel extremely concerned and for the citizenry to lose confidence on its government. Businesses have shut down in mostly Borno, Yobe, Kano, Kaduna states; people have had to relocate to neighbouring states and Abuja which afford more serene environment, to continue their lives and businesses. Some parents too have relocated their children’s schools to other states for the safety of their lives. This evil must be tackled to allow development thrive in these places and indeed Nigeria.
This is not an issue to politicise at all, rather, it calls for our leaders to work assiduously at taming these insurgents with immediate effect. Nigeria is now regarded as a terrorist nation and included in the list of countries to be avoided by tourists and businessmen. Nigeria now witnesses poor economic growth and development as a result of this worsening security problem.
Our past leaders must invest their wealth of experience in resolving this crisis. It is not Jonathan the Boko Haram elements are fighting but, Nigeria, which may spell doom for all if left unchecked.