Boko Haram war requires a political solution

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STRIKING THE BALANCE

Dr. Abubakar M.S,Mobile: 08032385008 (SMS only)

Boko Haram war requires a political solution

Who is behind the reinvigorated Boko Haram insurgents?

 

You can quote me anywhere that I said that the Nigerian Army defeated Boko Haram insurgents in 2017, precisely in December 2017 which culminated with the capture of Camp Zairo in Sambisa forest and the return of IDPs to their communities. Not long ago in June 2018, we were all witnesses to how thousands of IDPS returned to Gundumbali and other villages and towns in northern Borno. That last return of locales to their original community was coordinated by the erstwhile Theatre Commander, Major General R.I Nicholas.

Now fast track this scenario to October 2018 and you will suddenly discover the return of a vanquished, rag tag Boko Haram terrorists’ group making use of sophisticated technology like military grade drones. How in the world was a divided, factionalized, vanquished and cash starved Boko Haram terrorists group able to bounce back with drones and reinvigorated potency? Who are those behind this reinvigorated Boko Haram group and what is their objective?

Let me start by saying that those behind Boko Haram are not ghosts and it is easy to know them even though it might be very difficult to apprehend them and to my mind this government does not  have the liver to do that. For starters we have an APC Governor who said “Heads will roll if I open my mouth to talk about Boko Haram” yet nobody invited him for questioning. Furthermore we have a new crop of war entrepreneurs in and outside Nigeria who have suddenly become extremely wealthy through this war enterprise. Multi million Naira mansions have sprung up in Maiduguri between 2011 to date than in any particular period in the life of Borno state. I recall a conversation I had with a development expert in Maiduguri where he said, “If people know the money that is inside this insurgency, they will stop chasing oil money.” Let’s be frank, a lot of people are profiteering from this enterprise that I have always addressed as “Terrorism Incorporated.”

A political solution is imperative to rescue the people from the clutches of conflict and misery wrought by the Boko Haram insurgents and their shadowy political masters who I think are now using them like a potent weapon to teach this government a lesson. A solution can only spring from negotiations. Poverty and political, social, and economic inequalities between groups predispose to conflict; policies to tackle them will reduce this risk.

Now I am suspecting two groups of people to be behind this reinvigorated Boko Haram insurgency. Recall that a private military contractor with ties to South Africa and Ukraine was contracted by the administration of President Jonathan Goodluck to fight Boko Haram in 2015 and to be honest they recorded some success and recovered some territories from the insurgents. But this PMC contract was terminated by President Muhammadu Buhari because of the issue of national security .I concur with him because the PMC’s loyalty is only to the highest bidder and doesn’t care with the virtues of patriotism and national service. Naturally these PMCs and their facilitators will not be happy with anyone who terminates a highly lucrative contract that is yielding huge amounts of money to them. It won’t be out of place to propose that these PMCs and their facilitators can go as far as sabotaging the efforts of the Nigerian military, giving the terrorists technologies and expertise to be more deadly so that we can return back to the 2013-2015 era where soldiers threw their weapons and fled to Chad and Cameroon because of fear. When you hear that soldiers and policemen are fleeing their command posts because of fear of Boko Haram and Boko Haram is making use of drones, then know that some shadow characters are trying to create excuses to compel President Buhari to bring back PMCs to fight this war. Unfortunately for them, President Buhari will never agree to that.

Therefore if you are looking for those who are behind the newly drone-armed Boko Haram, look at PMCs and politico-businessmen who are facilitating for them because of filthy lucre. That’s why I am not happy whenever I see locales been killed in their hundreds as insurgents. What about these politico-businessmen who are providing the logistics and the arms? Who is shielding them? Are they ghosts? How comes whenever the Nigerian Government wants to move money to the insurgents as ransom payment, folks will show up as negotiators but if they are asked to initiative negotiations to end this insurgency, the same people will say they don’t have access to the terrorists?

Now what is their objective? It is simply to undermine the government and compel President Buhari to sack the Service chiefs especially the Chief of Army Staff. The Chief of Army Staff and his team where able to give the insurgents a deadly blow beginning from June 2015 and they accomplished this success with half the resources given to Generals Ihejirika and Minimah reign. Simply put the present Chief of Army Staff doesn’t want to play ball and for this reason they want to see him out. Is it a coincidence that some of their foot soldiers are now asking for the records of military expenditure? Where in the world was that ever done? The military spends money to gather intelligence and other sensitive or classified items and these things ought to remain classified? Yet we hear some so called civil societies demanding to know how resources were spend in the fight against Boko Haram? What we know is that the present Army leadership is very transparent and the issues of fiscal discipline are taken very seriously. Furthermore the government has its own instruments like the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) who are continuously auditing the Army and it sister agencies.

I should like to say that the cardinal success of this government is security but some forces have ganged up together to dismantle that. The Buhari administration didn’t do well in managing the economy and its fight against corruption is to my mind counterproductive. But when it comes to the issue of security the government deserves commendation for we all know that 2015 to 2016 was peaceful but we began to experience pockets of challenges in late 2017.If the forces of evil can disrupt security, the Buhari administration will suffer a major setback and this is exactly what they are doing: kidnappings, armed banditry, insurgency, herdsmen/farmers clashes and so on.

Now what is the way out?

The government of President Buhari and the Borno State Government must reach out to those shadowy characters behind Boko Haram insurgency and negotiate with them on the table. If it means giving them amnesty they should do that. Every war ends on the table with negotiation and settlements. I don’t see the wisdom in sending the Army to fight an insurgency that the major proponents of the insurgency are treated with kid gloves. The government must make concerted efforts to reach out to notable personalities like Generals T.Y Danjuma, Olusengun Obasanjo,Abdusalam Abubakar and people like Maryam Abacha to see how these war can come to an end once and for all. Otherwise the Army will kill a thousand today and they will be replaced with two thousand tomorrow and some gullible Nigerians will conclude that the Army is not working or rather overwhelmed by the escaped of the insurgents. I agree with General Danjuma when he said that we are war with ourselves. We need to talk and find a way to accommodate everyone. The rigid approach taken by this government whereby some stakeholders who helped to bring the government into power are being sidelined for a vicious cabal dominated by vultures and hyenas who don’t want to see anybody near the President must change. The President must reach out to General Danjuma and listen to him because he can give him good advice on the way to go. I am not comfortable with any presidency that will be in confrontation or disagreement with personalities like General Danjuma or Chief Obasanjo.

Now what is their objective? It is simply to undermine the government and compel President Buhari to sack the Service chiefs especially the Chief of Army Staff. The Chief of Army Staff and his team where able to give the insurgents a deadly blow beginning from June 2015 and they accomplished this success with half the resources given to Generals Ihejirika and Minimah reign. Simply put the present Chief of Army Staff doesn’t want to play ball and for this reason they want to see him out.

A political solution is imperative to rescue the people from the clutches of conflict and misery wrought by the Boko Haram insurgents and their shadowy political masters who I think are now using them like a potent weapon to teach this government a lesson. A solution can only spring from negotiations. Poverty and political, social, and economic inequalities between groups predispose to conflict; policies to tackle them will reduce this risk.

In his book, Root Causes of Violent Conflict in Developing Countries. BMJ. 2002;324:342–345,  Stewart F. wrote  about the Four economic hypotheses to explain intra-state wars, based on factors related to group motivation, private motivation, failure of the social contract, and environmental degradation.

 Group motivation hypothesisSince intra-state wars mainly consist of fighting between groups, group motives, resentments, and ambitions provide motivation for war.Groups may be divided along cultural or religious lines, by geography, or by class. Group differences only become worth fighting for, however, if there are other important differences between groups, particularly in the distribution and exercise of political and economic power. In this situation relatively deprived groups are likely to seek (or be persuaded by their leaders to seek) redress. Where political redress is not possible they may resort to war. Resentments inspired by group differences, termed horizontal inequalities, are a major cause of war. These group differences have many dimensions—economic, political, and social. Relatively privileged groups may also be motivated to fight to protect their privileges against attack from relatively deprived groups.

Private motivation hypothesisWar confers benefits on individuals as well as costs which can motivate people to fight. Young uneducated men, in particular, may gain employment as soldiers. War also generates opportunities to loot; profiteer from shortages and from aid, trade arms, and carry out illicit production and trade in drugs, diamonds, timber, and other commodities. Where alternative opportunities are few, because of low incomes and poor employment, and the possibilities of enrichment by war are considerable, the incidence and duration of wars are likely to be greater. This “greed hypothesis” has its base in rational choice economics.

Failure of the social contractThis derives from the view that social stability is based on a hypothetical social contract between the people and the government. People accept state authority so long as the state delivers services and provides reasonable economic conditions (employment and incomes). With economic stagnation or decline, and worsening state services, the social contract breaks down, and violence results. Hence high and rising levels of poverty and a decline in state services would be expected to cause conflict.

Green war hypothesisThis points to environmental degradation as a source of poverty and cause of conflict. For example, rising population pressure and falling agricultural productivity may lead to land disputes. Growing scarcity of water may provoke conflict. This hypothesis contradicts the view that people fight to secure control over environmental riches.

The four hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. For example, the conflict in the Sudan is an example of both horizontal inequality (with people in the south being heavily deprived) and powerful private gains that perpetuate the struggle. While environmental poverty has plausibly been an important factor in the conflict in Rwanda, it does not seem to have been in the former Yugoslavia.

 One or two of the above hypothesis is (are) responsible for this insurgency that is causing much havoc in its death throes. We must find a political solution to it and this is very possible.

Am using this medium to appeal to both factions of Boko Haram to come out for negotiations and I perceive that many of their fighters are tired and worn out. That’s why they have now resorted to recruiting fighters from parts of Chad, Sudan and Libya. I am calling on civil society organizations in Borno to champion the call for surrender and negotiations to put an end to this war. May God help us.

 

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