For many in Nigeria, living abroad is synonymous with wealth and affluence. But just like the coin, there is always the other side of dwelling abroad. Hardly do people talk of the other side. That other side is indeed what paints the real picture. The side most talked about is more of the facade.
If the president wants to have video evidence of all Boko Haram captives he can receive it today, that’s if he hasn’t already. If the president wants the captors of innocent Nigerian citizens and school girls to put them on the phone with their parents, he can have it done, except if he doesn’t want to. He has the might as the president, so why is he saying he has no clue about the state of the girls?
Have you ever been asked in a foreign land ‘why are Nigerians so loud on their mobile phones?’ Have you ever wondered yourself or, have you been embarrassed when fellow Nigerians talk on the pinnacle of their voices in the train, bus, shopping malls or at any other public places while away, overseas? But, wait, is it only Nigerians that love to swagger and yell, whenever they use their mobile phones, or is this an unfair generalization?
The Nigerian state has embarked on dozens of programs since 2009 with the aim of figuring out and resolving the Boko Haram conflict. Each step in this direction, usually stirs a flurry of activities. Little if any effort is ever committed to seeking insight into the components of the problem. Not surprisingly, all of the programs are quickly abandoned. Not because these initiatives lacked the potentials to offer meaningful outcomes. No, only that the processes usually do not offer individual and successive leaders immediate ammunitions for cheap political points.
Boko Haram, the Islamic State affiliate that has nearly eclipsed all notions of civil normalcy in parts of Northern Nigeria as well as parts of neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger does not have barracks.
The group does not require to ferry bombs from the much hyped operational camps in the Sambisa forest before detonating same in the cities of Abuja, Yaoundé, N’djamena or anywhere else in the region. In effect, the active cells of the group are yet to be fully identified. It is also too early to contemplate Boko Haram’s impotence because they are still holding over 200 school girls captive for over one and a half years without any trace.
Recently the EU coast guard dug up from beneath the Mediterranean Sea several hundreds of bodies of young Africans drown in a desperate attempt to cross to Europe. The desperation tells another sordid story. Young Africans full of life have been short changed by a myriad of misfortunes in their native homes.
In two separate newspapers articles published in 2006 and 2009 in the New Sentinel and Sunday Trust, and credited to one of us, the manner Boko Haram’s total disregard for civil values was the point of discourse. The report in question warned that government’s disregard of this rebellious inclination of the group would amount a calculated catastrophe to society. The authorities ignored this at society’s general peril.
If you had to choose the fate of Lake Chad, which would you prefer: an oil and gas rich region or a rich eco-diversity driving prosperity through agribusiness? President-elect, Muhammad Buhari has dropped the hint that his administration would re-open oil prospecting in the Lake Chad Basin. On a face value, this sounds wise and reassuring to the political elites from the north of the country who not only treasure the allure of petro-wealth but love the idea that oil bragging right could also be theirs.
Boko Haram, as they are known, seem to have had a long disagreement within the Jihadi movements in Africa about Abubakar Shekau’s depth of knowledge. Many of the Jihadis, especially students of late Mohammed Yusuf, Shekau’s precursor, were reported to have opted out of the movement on account of his hastiness. Some of these erstwhile members of the sect are reported to be currently fighting alongside with the Islamic State (IS) in Libya, or in other turfs — in their new obsession of dying as martyrs instead of co-existing in a multicultural society.
In February 2015 the African Union authorized the mobilization of a multinational force drawn from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to tackle Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and northern Cameroon.