The myth of Boko Haram by the Zanna Boma of Borno


Guest Columnist


By Zanna Hassan Boguma FCIPDM
(Zanna Boguma of Borno)
The political conspiracy and collaboration started creeping into the crisis. Politicians saw in the crisis an opportunity to perpetuate themselves in power on the blood and suffering of the already traumatized and terrified people of Borno and the Northeast. Boko Haram was used as the only means of siphoning billions of Naira in the name of fighting the insurgency and in purchasing of arms.
As someone in the theatre of war, I am one among the many witnesses to the horrors and terrifying moments in Borno and the Northeast were we daily experience killings, burnings and destruction of sources of livelihood by the most dreaded and mission less Boko Haram. No human conception will explain the reason for this senselessness. 
At first, it started as a wild fire wearing the garb of religion. Religion based on fundamentalism preached by an overzealous young man whose knowledge of Islam was based on the basics of Wahabbi creed of the Ibn Taymiyyah sect fueled by the ideologies espoused by Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab al-najdi of Saudi Arabia who with the active connivance of Amir Abdul Azeez the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish a puritanical Islam based on their thoughts of purifying the decadence in the spirituality of Islam and it’s teachings based on the traditions (sunnah) of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) and the four rightly guided caliphs.

The CJTF,a very potent tool weapon in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists is underfunded.There is an urgent need for the government to increase their salary so as to motivate them.

The young leader of the insurgency, Muhammad Yusuf after whose name the movement was first named as Yusufiyya misled his followers into believing in his teachings and thus plunged them into early deaths and by so doing created one of the most deadliest terror group to be known as Boko Haram.
However, the then late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua directed the military to quell the insurgency and bring it to an end. Maiduguri the capital of my state of Borno was held to a,ransom for four to five days of violence by the insurgents. Destroying police stations and killing policemen and other security operatives including government officials became their norm while carting away arms and munitions they can lay hands on.
The military heeded to the presidential directives and within 48 hours have brought to an end the insurgency. They arrested Muhammad Yusuf and handed him over to the police, and demolished his headquarters (Markaz) in the outskirts of Maiduguri in the railways area sending many of his followers into disarray.
One very important information to note on the insurgency is the fact that many of his followers were not only confined to unemployed youths of Borno, but came from far and near. From Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Bauchi, Gombe, Kwara, Adamawa and Yobe states. Cells from Cameroon, Chad and Niger also formed part of his followers who actively participated in the November uprising.
Many of those killed by the security forces were people who don’t know the map of Maiduguri while those who were citizens of Borno found their way into hiding. Yusuf himself was arrested while in hiding. 
The convincing and oratorical prowess of Yusuf drew to him many followers who were sentimentally angered by the system decay. His preaching were thought to have given his listeners and followers hope of emancipation from the bondage of poverty and want which attracted students from western type educational institutions, Islamic schools, market men and traders, motorcycle vendors and all sorts of people.
After going into hiding for a year, the insurgents relaunch their insurgency with hoisting of their flags at old Maiduguri and Mairi. This resurgence resulted in targeted assassinations of Islamic clerics who speak against them and their ways, traditional leaders for reporting them to security and any perceived enemy of their creed. Thus Maiduguri and other towns were thrown into panicking.
The successor of Yusuf, Shekau called on all his followers to not spare anybody thought to be an enemy. He directed them to kill all those whom he considered as infidels and announced the establishment of a caliphate within Nigeria.


While our people were being killed by the day by Boko Haram, the military joint task force sent to protect us by the Jonathan administration which succeeded Yar’adua added more pain to the growing insecurity. Instead of protecting the innocent Borno citizens, we were stereotyped and accused as harbors of Boko Haram, hoarders of vital security information and active collaborators. 
As was during the holocaust, our people were daily intimidated, harassed, maimed, abused and packed out into the open to be humiliated. All sorts inhuman punishments were meted. Many were arrested without a reason or investigation, many young innocent youths were wasted. Our women were abused, girls were raped, men were exploited, monies and properties (cars) were confiscated thus we became foreigners in our own homes under the watchful eyes of the Jonathan administration.
There was no political will to end the crisis rather, it was fueled. Our brothers from the northern states initially ridiculed, castigated and cast aspersions on us as if we are the enemy calling us all sorts of names until it spilled over to some parts of the north that they realized the enormity of our suffering.
The political conspiracy and collaboration started creeping into the crisis. Politicians saw in the crisis an opportunity to perpetuate themselves in power on the blood and suffering of the already traumatized and terrified people of Borno and the Northeast. Boko Haram was used as the only means of siphoning billions of Naira in the name of fighting the insurgency and in purchasing of arms.
Then Allah in His wisdom and with the constant prayers of our suffering people gave courage to our youth and inspire them to stand up for their safety and security. The civilian joint task force (CJTF) was born to own up their security and that of their various communities from decimation by the Boko Haram and by the high handedness of our military joint task force’s inappropriate use of force on innocent civilians. The disproportionate use of arms and lack of proper use of the rules of engagements by them has cut many young men’s lives short.
This singular and gallant actions of the youths sent Boko Haram out of the metropolis and that followed many years of peace until the unfortunate incident of the attack on Giwa Barracks which now changes the game all together. The attack which was considered unfortunate was seen by many as a high level conspiracy masterminded by the then political actors who now have entered into a marriage of convenience with the insurgents for their political gains. Then followed the kidnapping of the Chibok girls which also smack conspiracy and high level mastermind. 
Here in my opinion, one must be fair to Jonathan who was adjudged incompetent when it come to governance. Real power was said to have been hijacked from him by a cabal of military and political elites who effectively used his incompetence to orchestrate their plan of venting their vengeance and anger in dealing with perceived enemies and in making blood money out of the sufferings of the people of the Northeast. A clear example of this was when as a sitting President, he openly in a,town hall meeting with Borno leaders goofed and threatened us. Not only that, he even went as far to  threaten our Governor for telling the world the truth about inadequate fighting equipment of the military in confronting the insurgents.
The systematic occupation of communities by Boko Haram, the occupation of the Sambisa forest and the accumulation of arms and munitions in the forest including the huge sums of foreign currencies owned by them are all a pointer to a high level connection. A mind boggling incident of the attack on Michika and Madagali home to the then Chief of Army Staff Badeh is a manifest evidence to drive the story home.
The destruction and massacre in Bama, Baga, Gamboru Ngala, Damasak, kala Balge and Gwoza are not experienced in the annals of internal strife of any nation. The case of Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are incomparable to the inhuman acts of barbarism committed by the insurgents yet the government then treated it with a kids glove.
It was on this situation that the wind of change blew and President Muhammadu Buhari was elected into power with the promise of ending all security challenges bedeviling parts of the country. The political will that was absent was given, the military were strategized with new heads to bring to an end these crisis. Local governments that were hitherto under occupation were liberated, the insurgents were greatly degraded and life returns to some communities. Daily attacks on Maiduguri was reduced and Borno and other states in the Northeast bounced back to life again.
This was in short the story of human suffering under war and the scenarios in the theatre of war in the Northeast until Buhari came to correct it 
In Zamfara and the states of the Northwest, the crisis is a bit different from that of Northeast. Though many have said it was a spill over of the insurgency, but from the various videos released by the kidnappers, the gory stories of victims and reports by security agencies indicate more of kidnapping than insurgency.
From what we heard of the ongoing security challenges there, the issue is of a people who felt marginalized and impoverished. In one incident of kidnapping, the kidnappers openly told the world that they have lost their livestock and farms and the best way to remain is to engage in an armed kidnapping for ransom.
Other factors mainly overheating the discussions was that the crisis in the Northwest too has a high level conspiracy. As was variously addressed on the pulpit and on discourses, there is a thriving mining of gold and other minerals by highly placed individuals and they sponsor insecurity in the region to divert attention. Whichever way, even that of Borno was believed to have been because of petroleum and the resources in the Lake Chad region. There was also the French connection to the problem.
Whatever the case, the federal government must act proactively in dealing with the situation. The destruction of lives and properties in whatever name is abhorring and unacceptable. Though the President’s directive has already started yielding results, there is a need to increase actions so as to finally deal with it permanently.
Though it is not my prerogative to say this, but I think our impatience and haste has made us to forget about our common sense of reasoning. Many have spoken bad of the good intentions of this administration in the maintenance of peace and security. We have seen how the military has responded to the presidential directives when the tide was high. The security of lives and properties is of paramount importance to any development and the President’s responsibility is to protect the citizens by ensuring their safety.
Let us pray to the Almighty to give us a lasting peace and security. Let us also pray for our leaders to have the wisdom and ability to discharge their responsibilities. Smear campaigns, vilification and casting aspersions will not help.
As someone from Borno, we are better experienced of what it is to live in constant fear of the unexpected. The insurgency has traumatized us to the extent that we could not go to the mosques for prayers for about a year. In Bama and Baba alone over 700 innocent lives were massacred, in Ngala over 300 lives were lost in a day, in Damasak over 800 people were killed or drowned in a day. In the metropolis alone daily 20 to 30 people were killed on daily basis for about seven months before they were driven out of the city. 
Finally, the crisis in the North is  a long way and it’s end will be near if we encourage our local intelligence. The military and other security agencies should be supported and with the political will of the present administration, we are optimistic that the outcome of the presidential directives will continue to yield positive results.
I pray Allah to protect us against all calamities known and unknown. May He also in His power of destruction destroy all those having hands in this wanton destruction of lives and properties grant us victory over common enemies wherever they are.
Ala n3lefa andero cho! Napt3 n3lefaye’e andero cho!! K3ladowa boskuz3!!!
(Allah Ya Mu lafiya! Ya bamu zaman lafiya!! Ya kuma halaka makiya!!!)


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