IN NIGERIA, BOKO HARAM IS NOT THE PROBLEM?

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
In Nigeria, Boko Haram Is Not the Problem
By JEAN HERSKOVITS
NEW YORK TIMES
January 02, 2012

GOVERNMENTS and newspapers around the world attributed the horrific Christmas Day bombings of churches in Nigeria to “Boko Haram” – a shadowy group that is routinely described as an extremist Islamist organization based in the northeast corner of Nigeria. Indeed, since the May inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the Niger Delta in the country’s south, Boko Haram has been blamed for virtually every outbreak of violence in Nigeria.
But the news media and American policy makers are chasing an elusive and ill-defined threat; there is no proof that a well-organized, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram even exists today. Evidence suggests instead that, while the original core of the group remains active, criminal gangs have adopted the name Boko Haram to claim responsibility for attacks when it suits them.

The United States must not be drawn into a Nigerian “war on terror” – rhetorical or real – that would make us appear biased toward a Christian president. Getting involved in an escalating sectarian conflict that threatens the country’s unity could turn Nigerian Muslims against America without addressing any of the underlying problems that are fueling instability and sectarian strife in Nigeria.

Since August, when Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Africa Command, warned that Boko Haram had links to Al Qaeda affiliates, the perceived threat has grown. Shortly after General Ham’s warning, the United Nations’ headquarters in Abuja was bombed, and simplistic explanations blaming Boko Haram for Nigeria’s mounting security crisis became routine. Someone who claims to be a spokesman for Boko Haram – with a name no one recognizes and whom no one has been able to identify or meet with – has issued threats and statements claiming responsibility for attacks. Remarkably, the Nigerian government and the international news media have simply accepted what he says.

In late November, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security issued a report with the provocative title: “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland.” The report makes no such case, but nevertheless proposes that the organization be added to America’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The State Department’s Africa bureau disagrees, but pressure from Congress and several government agencies is mounting.

Boko Haram began in 2002 as a peaceful Islamic splinter group. Then politicians began exploiting it for electoral purposes. But it was not until 2009 that Boko Haram turned to violence, especially after its leader, a young Muslim cleric named Mohammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody. Video footage of Mr. Yusuf’s interrogation soon went viral, but no one was tried and punished for the crime. Seeking revenge, Boko Haram targeted the police, the military and local politicians – all of them Muslims.

It was clear in 2009, as it is now, that the root cause of violence and anger in both the north and south of Nigeria is endemic poverty and hopelessness. Influential Nigerians from Maiduguri, where Boko Haram is centered, pleaded with Mr. Jonathan’s government in June and July not to respond to Boko Haram with force alone.

Likewise, the American ambassador, Terence P. McCulley, has emphasized, both privately and publicly, that the government must address socio-economic deprivation, which is most severe in the north. No one seems to be listening.

Instead, approximately 25 percent of Nigeria’s budget for 2012 is allocaated for security, even though the military and police routinely respond to attacks with indiscriminate force and killing. Indeed, according to many Nigerians I’ve talked to from the northeast, the army is more feared than Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, Boko Haram has evolved into a franchise that includes criminal groups claiming its identity. Revealingly, Nigeria’s State Security Services issued a statement on Nov. 30, identifying members of four “criminal syndicates” that send threatening text messages in the name of Boko Haram. Southern Nigerians – not northern Muslims – ran three of these four syndicates, including the one that led the American Embassy and other foreign missions to issue warnings that emptied Abuja’s high-end hotels.

And last week, the security services arrested a Christian southerner wearing northern Muslim garb as he set fire to a church in the Niger Delta. In Nigeria, religious terrorism is not always what it seems.

None of this excuses Boko Haram’s killing of innocents. But it does raise questions about a rush to judgment that obscures Nigeria’s complex reality. Many Nigerians already believe that the United States unconditionally supports Mr. Jonathan’s government, despite its failings. They believe this because Washington praised the April elections that international observers found credible, but that many Nigerians, especially in the north, did not.

Likewise, Washington’s financial support for Nigeria’s security forces, despite their documented human rights abuses, further inflames Muslim Nigerians in the north. Mr. Jonathan’s recent actions have not helped matters. He told Nigerians last week, “The issue of bombing is one of the burdens we must live with.” On New Year’s Eve, he declared a state of emergency in parts of four northern states, leading to increased military activity there. And on New Year’s Day, he removed a subsidy on petroleum products, more than doubling the price of fuel.

In a country where 90 percent of the population lives on $2 or less a day, anger is rising nationwide as the costs of transport and food increase dramatically.

Since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999, many politicians have used ethnic and regional differences and, most disastrously, religion for their own purposes. Northern Muslims – indeed, all Nigerians – are desperate for a government that responds to their most basic needs: personal security and hope for improvement in their lives. They are outraged over government policies and expenditures that undermine both.

The United States should not allow itself to be drawn into this quicksand by focusing on Boko Haram alone. Washington is already seen by many northern Muslims – including a large number of longtime admirers of America – as biased toward a Christian president from the south. The United States must work to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes us into their enemy. Placing Boko Haram on the foreign terrorist list would cement such views and make more Nigerians fear and distrust America.

Jean Herskovits, a professor of history at the State University of New York, Purchase, has written on Nigerian politics since 1970

http://mobile.nytimes.com/article;jsessionid=4F1B33DD3B707EC836C65E86FE6429C2.w6?a=888812&single=1&f=28&sub=Sunday

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BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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44 Responses to IN NIGERIA, BOKO HARAM IS NOT THE PROBLEM?

  1. beegeagle says:

    @Chidi. The alienation on account of corruption which you mentioned is not peculiar to NE Nigeria. The entrepreneural spirit of the Ibo was fired up by the total economic abandonment of the region after the Nigerian Civil War. The Ibos rebuilt their region and lives from SCRATCH.

    *MASSOB are hell-bent on secession while OPC want a return to the pre-1966 model of federalism. BH seek a stricter application of Sharia law. How come they are the ones carrying out acts of terror against the Nigerian state and people?

    * So Boko Haram are a Nigerian problem? Do you recall that when they struck at the UN Country HQ at Abuja, Boko Haram stated that the UN are bedfellows with the “oppressors” muslims worldwide. How does that advertise BH as a local problem? Why did Gen Carter Ham of AFRICOM single out AQIM, AS and BH as threats to the USA in Africa?

    READ:

    https://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/boko-haram-seen-linked-to-other-african-terror-groups-voa/

    Since the end of the Civil War, the South East has endured systemic marginalisation. The Niger Delta rose up on account of 50 years of economic deprivation even with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil revenues flowing from their land.

    What did the Northeast produce and not get a share of? That region is the largest in Nigeria(equal in size to the combination of Ghana and Guinea Bissau OR for global readers, Britain and Belgium) and boasts rainforests, the largest system of mountain ranges (the Mambilla Plateau alone, with its enormous HEP potential and capacity for the production of highland tea, cattle and temperate crops, is equal in size to The Gambia), lush savanna and even desert sand dunes. What are the state governments of the Northeast doing?

    We saw what a Cross River State government under Donald Duke which receives less revenue from the Federation Account than Borno or Bauchi states did to turn around the fortunes of tourism in his state. The evidence – the Obudu Mountain Resort and the Obudu Mountain Race which is today the most lucrative mountain race event on the planet. Cross River State possess only the Oban Hill range(1003m ASL), Afi Mountain (1,300m) and the Sonkwala Mountain range(1,819m).

    In the North East, you have the Mandara Mts, Gotel Mts, Alantika Mts, Shebshi Mts, Adamawa Highlands, Mambilla Mts, Kunatata Highlands, Biu Plateau, Kunatata Highlands, Tula Highlands and more. Most of these are much higher in elevation than the Obudu Mts and indeed, the ONLY three spots which exceed the 2,000m height in all of West Africa are located in NE Nigeria – Chappal Waddi, Chappal Hendu and Vogel Peak.

    What are their state governments doing about all that fantastic tourism and agricultural potential, never mind two dozen minerals beneath the soil of that geopolitical zone? Mambilla Plateau alone has the HEP potential to generate electricity for all of West Africa. What was being done about that until the FG stepped in? We dot the landscape with impotent political structures which we are so protective of yet continue to look to the FG for intervention in all spheres of life as if we do not know that Nigeria operates a federal structure? How about the enlightened agitation for true federalism which has gone on for two decades now which the minions of the ACF continue to misinform our compatriots upcountry about? Is that not the real albatross bogging down our collective quest for development everywhere around the federation? Why not look at causes instead of symptoms?

    Sometimes, we lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is not a unitary republic but a FEDERATION with three tiers of government and budgeting. On the Concurrent Legislative List, we have expenditure heads which are concurrently funded by the federal,state and local governments, e.g Agriculture,Health,Education,Works,Roads,Industry. We have the Exclusive Legislative List where the FG alone exercises authority – Defence and Security, Foreign Affairs, Central Bank, Railways, Ports and Harbours etc.

    If the funds trickling down to the states for the execution of tasks entailed in the Concurrent List are not enough, we need not forget that the dominance of the FG was a deliberate ploy scripted by the political establishment upcountry using a succession of military dictators to systematically appropriate the largest share of the Federation Account and the powers of the federating units to the FG which it controlled at the time, all with a view to ensuring that the federating units were weakened for as long as minions of the upcountry establishment controlled the levers of federal power. Is the Borno situation a backblast from that Machiavellian scheme of yore?

    That hold on power has now slipped and those who are unjustifiably scared about implications for national unity are still blocking attempts at streamlining bloated political structures, even as the federating units which are closest to the grassroots continue to show signs of impotence on account of overbearing recurrent expenditure profiles.

    One unified government for an autonomous region of NE Nigeria would enjoy enough economies of scale to pool human and financial resources together for the benefit of the region without looking to Abuja for anything. Such a regional government would maximise the hydroelectric power(HEP) potential of the Mambilla Mts and take on other major job-creating industrial, infrastructural and agricultural projects. Nobody is working towards that goal because in Nigeria, we love to “cry more than the bereaved” and the people of Borno probably now love petrodollars even more than the people in the oil-bearing Niger Delta itself.

    Under the structure which we inherited from military regimes which largely served the interest of one half of the country, even the minerals under the soils of the various states could only be exploited by the FG. That shortsighted decree was clearly enacted and sustained by ouster clauses with a view to continuing the exploitation of the oil resources in the Niger Delta without distraction. Unfortunately, Nigeria has 37 minerals other than oil available in commercial quantities yet the states cry out for financial resources. See our blog post : “SOLID MINERALS: NiIGERIA’S TWO MOST WELL ENDOWED STATES…”

    Kogi and Nasarawa states are officially northern states. Both of them, in that order, are the two most well-endowed states of the federation. Kogi has 29 solid minerals contained within its territory and each LGA has a minimum of two solid minerals. Mind blowing as that is, we continue to hear about poverty in the North. Is that not strange? So I asked, who impoverished who?

    Are you aware that Ondo State alone has 28 billion barrels of bitumen in terms of oil equivalence. That is the same tar sands which Canada are feeding fat on in their homeland which practices pristine federalism while in Nigeria, the people of Ondo State continue to cry out for money because they cannot do anything about their bitumen until the FG step in.

    Why should a man at Ngala, Kukawa, Monguno or Damasak, all of which are located over 1,000 kilometres down the road from Abuja, have his economic fortunes shaped anywhere else but inside NE Nigeria?

  2. jimmy Hollyee says:

    Does this person really know what is going on ? next thing you will know is that Christians bombed themselves! MASASTINE RIOTS was a figment of our imagination . Who is this guy? I am all for controversial opinions but this guy is way too PATERNALISTIC. Someone should explain to him THAT CHRISTAINS , MUSLIMS Nigerians ALL ARE DYING IN THIS CONFLICT!!!!
    The majority of Nigerians want GEJ to drop the hammer. All the people that have been arrested were just walking the streets the KANO Cell leader was what? selling FERTILIZERS and primers as a hobby? Those innocent guys that had their handy work prematurely explode were what ? conducting a chemical experiment. I rest my case

  3. Chidi says:

    Brilliant and pertinent analysis. Hope that US policy makers read this but I guess in an election year this is way to nuanced for them. Its what many have been saying for years, BH is a convenient fig leaf for various interests and however many people we kill it will never solve the underlying root causes of corruption and lack of development

  4. beegeagle says:

    This article which liberally regurgitates apologist cliches and reels off like a Boko Haram propaganda effort simply boggles the mind.

    Standing where I am and knowing how all of these foreign commentators apply the same one-size-fits-all approach that is to call up the “respected northern civil rights activisit in Kaduna” and sound him out on issues, this is just laughable and a very poorly disguised PR exercise which shows how simplistic Madame Professor and the Kaduna-based activist imagine the rest of us to be. Does telling us that she has been writing about Nigeria since1970 prove anything when her treatise is transparently lacking in depth?

    The “respected civil rights activist in Kaduna” is a Boko Haram apologist who holds up his contacts with the group at every twist and turn.

    I stopped reading at this point:

    Quote:
    “Seeking revenge, Boko Haram targeted the police, the military and local politicians – all of them Muslims.” End of Quote.

    Unknown to her, by accident of history rather than any deliberate design, there are many more christians in the Nigerian Army than there are muslims. Is there an exclusively christian or an exclusively muslim regiment in the Nigerian Army? How come all the soldiers who have fallen in battle are in her opinion “all muslims?”

    The truth is that from the get-go, the parts of the North which have historically provided the bulk of rank-and-file soldiers of northern extraction, have always been the ethnic minority christian areas of Northern Nigeria, chiefly the so-called Middle Belt. This stemmed both from the fact of a comparative dearth of economic opportunities in those deprived areas and because the Hausa-Fulani, Shuwa Arab and Kanuri elite have always preferred careers in commerce and administration.

    That is why, even as each state of the federation provides a similar number of recruits and officer cadets for enlistment into the Nigerian Army every year, the majority of the candidates taking up these opportunities within the northern states, in the absence of LGA quotas, have traditionally come from the markedly christian Middle Belt and even the southern districts of the Far North.

    Checklist

    southern Kaduna(so called Old Southern Zaria)
    Bauchi South – Tafawa Balewa, Toro
    Kebbi South – Zuru axis
    Gombe South – Biliri-Kaltungo-Tula Highlands axis
    Borno South – Askira, Uba, Kwajafa,Gwoza,Biu axis

    Add to that Benue(Idoma-Tiv-Igede),Plateau(Langtang-Shendam-Jos), Kogi, Nasarawa,Taraba(Takum-Wukari) and Adamawa (Numan-Mandara Mts-Hong) states and check to see how that coheres with the reality in the barracks.

    When you include the nominally 90% christian states of the Southeast and Niger Delta(11 states) plus Ondo and Ekiti states to the tally, you would understand why the Army has a CLEAR majority of christians under arms. That pattern held true as of 1959 and through the Civil War years as well.

    Was that blatantly false statement uttered with a view to balancing out the criminal slaughter of christians on Christmas Day? Was she telling us about a one-off episode of a christian who she claims was “dressed up like a muslim while attempting to burn a church” with a view to advancing the false hypothesis that the Xmas bombings were carried out by christians? So the cold-blooded claims of responsibility made by Abul Qaqa ever so often are an aside and that one-off episode is characteristic of the violence?

    So unlike the myth which Prof Jean and Malam Shehu are seeking to foist on the psyche of Nigerians, there is no empirical basis beyond irredentist drivel to suggest that the bulk of soldiers who have been killed or maimed in the war on terror have been muslims.

    So poverty is the problem – poverty which began with or was deepened by President Jonathan’s election? Unknown to the Professor, violence has always been ingrained in the inter-ethnic and inter-faith relations in Northern Nigeria.

    During the course of her 51-
    year post-independence history, leaders of northern extraction have held the mantle of leadership for a cumulative period of 33 years. Who impoverished the North? Where were Boko Haram when the Babangida regime frittered away the $12.8 billion Gulf War oil windfall in 1990-91? Where were they when the Abacha regime looted $3 billion? Why did they not throw tantrums when the Shagari regime got mired in the £6 billion rice importation scandal masterminded by the cassock-wearing fugitive Alhaji who narrowly missed being brought back to Nigeria in a crate? By the law of averages, has the North or the South been more responsible for the impoverishment which we see in the North? Sorry Professor, the economic cassus belli of your treatise is untenable, null and void.

    How about the mindless violence which has historically been visited on christians in the North? Madame Jean needs to recognise religious zealotry and intolerance which has been conveniently ensconced in false causes for what it is.

    During my lifetime, a certain Sheikh Gumi of blessed memory told Nigerians in 1988 that it is impossible for a muslim to subject himself to the sovereignty of a christian-led regime. Gumi was the Ayatollah of the extremist Izala movement which is only a tad less radicalised than Boko Haram.

    Shortly before the 12 June 1993 elections, a certain Alhaji Saleh Michika, who at the time was the elected Governor of Adamawa State, stated categorically and in a fit of hegemonic overkill, that “no Northerner should vote for a Southerner”

    * Was it poverty or characteristically debilitating intolerance which led to the 1987 episode which was triggered off by the antics of muslim extremists who disrupted a christian religious crusade in christian-dominated Kafanchan and triggered off massive riots across NW Nigeria – Kankara,Ikara,Kaduna,Katsina,Funtua,Malumfashi,Kano and elsewhere, which were so disruptive that General Babangida described the orgies of rioting as “the civilian equivalent of an attempted coup d’etat”

    * Was it poverty or intolerance which led to the savage 1991 Kano riots triggered off by hostility to the idea of a religious crusade organised by Reinhard Bonnke?

    *Was it poverty or intolerance which led to the decapitation of Gideon Akaluka in 1994 by a Kano street mob?

    * Was it poverty or a convenient gang-up against an unlikely “christian” regime of President Obasanjo which led to the fratricidal Sharia riots of 2000 AD and the deaths of over 2,000 persons? Has the clamour and brouhaha over Sharia law, as was predicted by President Obasanjo, not now largely abated since his “christian regime” came to an end?

    * Was it poverty or intolerance which led to the mass murder of National Youth Service Corps members,christians and southerners which followed in the wake of the April 2011 polls in Yola,Bauchi,Kaduna,Kano and Maiduguri?

    * Was the Maitatsine uprising which was foisted on the nation in the 1980s during the oil boom years also rooted in poverty? How come she does not see a tradition of jihadism?

    Why is it that Kano and Borno have always received larger allocations from the Federation Account than Anambra and Abia yet the citizens of the latter pair of states are infinitely more prosperous? Do some of our compatriots in some Nigerian states rely too much on government patronage?

    Any so called ‘expert’ who claims to have been observing Nigerian affairs even before I had been born can afford to write something more balanced and in-depth.

  5. beegeagle says:

    INTERVIEW-Ex-warlord warns of S.Nigeria backlash at Boko Haram

    * Niger Delta militant says talks with
    Islamists impossible

    * Warns of a southern uprising against northern insurgency

    By Austin Ekeinde PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Jan 2 (Reuters)

    Southern Nigerians could take up arms to fight northern Boko Haram Islamists, and are holding back only out of respect for the president, a former militant leader from the oil-rich Niger Delta said on Monday. Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, a Muslim who led a rebellion in the delta until a peace deal with the government in 2004, said bomb attacks by Boko Haram could provoke retaliation by mostly Christian southerners, including those living in the delta.

    President Goodluck Jonathan has already declared a state of emergency in parts of the north which Boko Haram targeted in Christmas Day bomb attacks, including one against a church near Abuja that killed 37 people.

    The attacks, and their spread from the north into other parts of the country, have raised the prospect of sectarian and regional violence escalating in a country about evenly divided between mainly southern Christians and mainly northern Muslims. Asked if northerners could be targeted by some from the majority Christian south,he replied: “It is seconds away … Nigeria is on the precipice of a civil war.”

    “For Niger Delta people to take up arms is just a minute away. It’s just Goodluck that is holding us back,” said Asari, who is from Jonathan’s southern, mainly Christian Ijaw tribe, but who converted to Islam. “We have all reached the extreme. There is nothing anybody can do about it except we fight.”

    Asari’s former group, the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, managed to push oil prices to record highs in 2004 with its constant attacks and threats against oil production in the delta’s swampy creeks. Since then, peace deals with the region’s warlords have pacified the delta, and Boko Haram in the north has become the number one threat to Nigeria’s security.

    Full-bearded, shaven-headed, and wearing an ash-coloured Islamic robe, Asari paused to read some Facebook posts from his iPad about the Christmas Day bombs. Asari said he was sceptical that the government could negotiate with moderate members of Boko Haram via “back channels” as National Security Adviser General Owoye Andrew Azazi suggested in an interview with Reuters.

    Sitting in his large flat in the
    southeastern city of Port Harcourt, Asari said the group’s faceless nature, an issue General Azazi acknowledged, made talks impossible.

    “If you cannot identify the people who are carrying out these attacks, how can you dialogue with them, interact with them, and bring them round the table?” he said.

    In any case, such extreme violence meant the time for talks had passed, he said. “You cannot ask government to negotiate now. On what basis? The government should…rein these people in, or the people will resort to self-help,” said Asari,who stressed where his loyalties lay despite being a Muslim.

    “Anybody that wants to start any revolution in Goodluck’s time, we the Ijaw will pull down that revolution,” he said.

  6. Jonah Kalee says:

    Ms. Jean Herskovits ‘analysis’ elicits George Orwell’s quip: “Certain Ideas Are So Stupid, only an Intellectual Would Believe in Them”

  7. Henry says:

    Some of these european and american writers, seem to think they know more about nigeria than nigerians themselves. I rember how a reporter( reuters), during the election said there was an agreement between the northerners and southerners, whereby the south controls the economy and the north power. Does this even make sense i ask myself? do i agree with some aspects of her report as regards to economic problems and a lack of neglect of the region by it’s leaders, but she should have goon as far back as the era of usman dan fodio, to really get a grip of the situation on ground. How come did she know that the main casualties are muslim security forces, do we now have 2 types of security forces in nigeria i ask? If the report is true, why is a supposedly rich, 100 percent muslim nation like saudi arabia still having problems with terrorism. One would have thought ohhh, it’s saudi arabia there are all rich and comfortable, and so ordinarly islam should thrive in peace. If am to pick another hole in her report as to the support of goodluck jonathan by the u.s in the last elections and the credibility of the elections at that time. President GEJ was extremly popular at that time and even if barack obama had contested against jonathan, obama would have lost squarely.

  8. xnur44 says:

    ‘Professor’ on New York Times; it’s bound to raise some heads isn’t it? This is a typical professorial American analysis that advices modern American governments unto futile foreign wars, bleeding away their youths and wasting national resources while achieving nothing. Let ‘the Prof’ bring the meat of her argument to the table on this blog and see if her 40+ years of viewpoint will not be refined as gold. Gentlemen let’s not go on a tangent for the sake of ‘Prof’, for the World also depend on us and this blog to make balanced assessments of our national policy, its impact and directions.

  9. beegeagle says:

    My kneejerk reaction was to see if there was any slot for commenters to chip in their bits. There was none available. Otherwise, we would have posted the above riposte directly on the New York Times website. I would be too glad to have an exhaustive and eye-opening debate with the dramatis personnae in the foregoing intellectual fiasco. We are still ready to get it going as we speak. We PROMISE to clear their doubts in perpetuity. If Boko Haram are not the problem, what are they – the solution?

    Moving on, we have said before now that NO NATO or EU country should send troops into any of the conflict zones of the Sahel lest they engender a gang-up by all militia groups in the wild neighbourhood which would have an escalatory effect on the conflicts.

    What they can do is to provide training support in

    *counterinsurgency operations
    *counterterrorism
    *desert warfare

    In terms of hardware, we have always mentioned the need for defensive counterinsurgency hardware. That stand has not changed. If Pakistan which is 95% muslim are acquiring and accepting hardware from the United States, nobody in a Nigeria split down the middle between muslims and christians has any right to seek to prevent the FG from doing same.

    After all, the International Military Education and Training programmes have seen christian and muslim military officers gleefully receiving training in America and nobody raised a whimper. Neither did anybody outside the Niger Delta raise a dissenting voice when the FG acquired RBS Defender river gunboats for counterinsurgency operations and facilities protection in the Niger Delta. So there is nothing new about this.

    It is with a view to avoiding allegations of skulduggery steeped in Christian-Muslim rivalry that the Nigerian FG has been training officers and men in Israel and Pakistan concurrently – the balancing act, knowing fully well that Nigerians always have too much to say.

    Please, the Nigerian Armed Forces could do with US approval for the sale or transfer of the following Excess Defence Articles.

    * UH-1N Iroquois utility helicopters – one squadron(12)
    * MaxxPro MRAPs -200 units
    * Up-armoured Humvee gun-trucks – 500 units
    * Two units of decomm USCG WHECs
    * Two units of USCG WMEC 270s

    If they say that we should not attack, we can at least ask for defensive items as listed above.

    From France, the Nigerian Armed Forces could do with the following systems

    *Panhard VBL M11(100 units)

    *18 units of AS555 AR Fennec 2 armed twin-engined military helics (cannon and rockets – NAF use)

    *12 units of AS555 SN Fennec 2 – armed twin-engined naval helics(NN use)

    The NAF Fennecs would be used for straightforward hot-pursuit and surveillance missions in COIN operations while the NN Fennecs would each be deployed to the FOBs to assist in anti-piracy surveillance, EEZ patrols and interdiction(8 units) while the remaining units would be shipborne

  10. What we really need from the US :
    3 surplus to requirements NIGHT HAWKS with their night vision thermal imaging capabilities left in tact Based on strike cabalities I would ratethem better than than the Fennecs 300/500 series . However I DO have one misgiving about them they can be vulnerable to RPG. but they can can cross huge swaths of the SAHEL in a hurry.
    True LOGISTIC support don’t supply us today and procrastinate tommorow.
    Satellite Telecommunications/ phones/ beacons for our OUR COINS “if you ask us to do the groceries give us our list “

  11. Chidi says:

    @ jimmy- what use is a Nighthawk in Nigeria? You kind of need to know who and where your striking and also make sure you just get them and not everyone in a 5km radius. Even US/ UK army find it difficult. I’ll say it again, COIN isn’t about equipment or technology its about removing the political course, securing the population and neutralising the insurgent by limiting their freedom of action and planning. A 20,000 man police force with bolt action rifles and 8 weeks intensive training could achieve that.

    @ beeg: I stand by my view that this is a brilliant analysis. You are reading this as a Nigerian. She is writing it as an American for an American audience in particular an American POLITICAL audience. Thus its extremely simplistic.
    The conclusion is sound
    #Boko Haram is not a threat to continental USA or even extra terrrestrial US interests
    #Boko Harams roots and aims are purely Nigerian
    #The root cause of Boko Haram is disenfranchisement from the system, which is due to corruption
    #If the US designates BH as a terrorist organisation it will turn a localised insurgency into a trans national one, al Shabaab, GIS, etc are all getting squeezed, the opportunity to strike a soft target like Nigeria with the added incentive of the great Satans attentions will be like bees to honey. Those guys make BH look like choirboys
    #BH (like the fuel subsidy) is simply another front in the civil war within Nigeria’s ruling gangsters. It is not a threat to anybody outside Nigeria unless you are in Nigeria, in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the US closely identifies with with the anti BH effort all the fundamentalist fellow travellers and apologists will suddenly elevate them to freedom fighter status.
    Her analysis is simplistic but its understandable as US politicians only understand simple points but her conclusions are extremely sound

    • beegeagle says:

      @Chidi.

      QUOTE:

      ” COIN isn’t about equipment or technology its about removing the political course, securing the population and neutralising the insurgent by limiting their freedom of action and planning. A 20,000 man police force with bolt action rifles and 8 weeks intensive training could achieve that.”

      END of QUOTE

      IF it were really as easy as that, the Allies have trained over 100, 000 indigenous troops in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively and they have even larger police forces, never mind Allied troops. How come the Taliban are mutating and new groups such as the Haqqani network are proliferating? They have been in Iraq for 8 years and in Afhanistan for a decade.

      So how would the 20,000 cops do it in 8 weeks?

  12. doziex says:

    Gentlemen, Don’t let these Western liberial fools raise your blood pressure. This is the typical liberal moral equivalency argument. In this school of thought, the western, judeo-christian establishment is always at fault because Muslims in the west are in the minority. They are still apologising for colonial conquests and believe that it justifies/excuses present day violence emanating from the muslim world.
    For example, they believe palestinian suicide bombers are poor kids frustrated with poverty and isreali occupation. Rather than a well financed, thought out, assymmetric tactic used by hamas and their iranian backers to wage a proxy war against the isrealis. They attack from the mist of their impoverished kinfolk and wait to score propaganda points as the liberal western media condemns isreal for ruthlessly and collectively cracking down on the “poor”, “innocent” palestinians.
    Don’t get me wrong, their is a LEGITIMATE freedom struggle for a palestinian state embodied by the PLO. But also a well known WAR by proxy being waged against isreal. But the conflict remains unsolvable because these influencial liberal westerners CHOOSE TO SEE only the occupation angle.
    So, in nigeria, rather than doing their research, they stick to the same script. In essence saying,” my mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with FACTs”. The bad news is that they are influential and can lobby against any western military support for nigeria. The good news is that since many western govt’s have been recent victims of terrorism,they will spot this BOGUS point of view a mile away.
    Finally, to Professor Jean and fellow Boko haram apologists, Nigeria has always had secterian issues based on religion and tribes. These fault lines have being exploited by politicians, military dictators and now by a blood thirsty extremist group known as boko haram. You are invited to maidugiri if you really feel it’s a figment of our imagination.

  13. jimmy Hollyee says:

    OH my GOD! MR BEEGLE this what I love about this blog! even though I completely disagree with CHIDI’S points I have to give him respect okay here goes:
    First of this lady DOES NOT speak for America more importantly the military establishment or else we would not of had a visit from A 4 STAR general the US military ATTACHE IN LAGOS could of signed the condolence book in ABUJA.
    BH is a threat world wide there is evidence that not just Nigerians are involved, disaffected CHADIANS Nigereians and the fact with evidence that some have trained as far as SOMALIA that is also an implicit acknowledgement FROM THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF NIGER ON HIS VISIT TO NIGERIA. Even in America you have disaffected youth traveling back to Somalia and to Yemen (WE JUST GOT ONE TWO MONTHS AGO HE WAS BORN AND RAISED IN THE STATES) to wage holy jihad
    A fully equipped NIGHTHAWK as the name suggests can travel at speeds of up to 150- 200 m.p.h especially at night when these nutters are running to the border and also CAN CARRY B/W 4-6 specially trained men who can then operate with the speed that is required for such an operation and also provide aircover. We are not talkg of collateral damage we are talking insertion/ interception /eradication teams that can be highly mobile that is why in my previous blog I stated we also need special forces in the air force.
    The US ( and even “do nothing “BRITAIN) based on the tenents of 9/11 AND 7/7 has already designated BH a T.O they have just not made it public.
    DISENFRANCHISMENT can take many forms first the guise was to strike security personnel, then robbing banks , then killing innocent Christians and Muslims, now they want all Christians including northerners to leave the NORTH.
    Her analysis is not simplistic it is paternalistic it shows how truly misguided she is placing the fault lines yes the fuel subsidy is wrong I will give you that any day of the week .GEJ was elected in the NORTH and in the SOUTH He WON THE ELECTION.
    This is not a civil war this is just a case of a Government not reacting fast enough to events- and taking decisive action.
    BOKO HARAM may have its roots in NIGERIA and for that you have to go back to the 80′s again same place , same warped ideology just different time period.
    THESE GUYS BH have the same warped IDEOLOGY as AQ . Last year the Saudis just like the Nigerians were slow to react- it cost them a pretty penny by the time they stopped trying to make PEACE WITH THEIR MUSLIM BROTHERS THESE NUTTERS HAD DONE WHAT THE IRAQIS COULD NOT DO SEIZE BORDER TOWNS ALONG THE BORDER WITH YEMEN. IT TOOKS WEEKS AND COLLATERAL DAMAGE TO DISLOGE THEM. Again same warped mentality just different location.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYBODY.

  14. Chidi says:

    The situation in Iraq and Afghanistran is infinitely more complex than what is going on in Nigeria.
    In both those theates you have foreign armies of a different culture who are (or were) an occupying force.
    They entered the country on a war footing and not a COIN footing and due to political stupidity did not revert to COIN until it was way too late.
    In both those theatres there was precious little unity of comand, each nation did its own thing in its own way, even within the US the Army and Marines did things differently, some going in a war fighting mode others in a peace support mode, and I’m not talking about in different AO’s but as one unit replaces the other what was previousl a benign area would suddenly be designated a war zone with air strikes and artillery being used liberally.
    Different countries had different doctrines and tactics, the Italians essentially bribed insurgents not to attack them. The British, fought, negotiated and generally hung on, the US did whatever the commander at the time felt was good so if your Petraeus its nation building if your Odierno its war fighting.
    There was no unity of command or effort.
    In Nigeria we have an insurgency against the government. What it all boils down to is that although there is (or was) a genuine BH with some sort of ideology what we have now is essentially certain interests using BH to make the country ungovernable for their rivals. It is noted that not a single high value politician has been seriously attacked, yet these people are more anti Sharia in their behaviour than Christians. Tru ideologues like AQ hated Muslim rulers more than the west, Ghaddafi, The Saudis, Saddam were all targets. Yet in Nigeria high level Muslim politicians are not targetted, is this due to a lack of capability or motivation?
    Rather than looking at Iraq or Afghanistan which are both textbook cases of how not to run a COIN op, look at Malaya, even look at the South Africans in Namibia (and it pains me to say this!). COIN is not about hardware and technology, it is very low tech as it is a war amongst the people.

  15. beegeagle says:

    True that, Jimmy. They are soft-skinned but the tactics deployed by insurgents makes them suitable. The insurgents prefer to lay ambush, detonate roadside IEDs, conceal AK 47 rifles in flowing robes and lob grenades. It is usually when they go on the offensive to attack banks and police stations or have a head-on clash with the NA such as was the case in Damaturu that they bring out their RPGs and GPMGs.

    In the former set of cases(ambush,IEDs,grenades and AK rifles), a Fennec can do surveillance and hot-pursuit without risking too much. With the latter set of cases(RPGs and GPMGs), the whole theatre would already be ablaze and a Fennec pilot with 20mm cannons and 68mm rockets blazing away would probably be the more menacing combatant than a ground-based adversary wielding a GPMG or RPG.

    By the way gentlemen, two nights ago on NTA News, I had a good look at the preparations which were put in place for the New Year celebrations in conflict-ridden Jos.

    They have two first-generation Mi-35P attack helicopters supporting their operations there (the sort which have the lighter shade of camo – see blogpost: NIGERIAN AIR FORCE IN PICTURES). Both were seen flying overhead while Otokar Cobra APCs made ground sweeps in areas suspected of being hideouts of ethnic militiamen and BH insurgents alike.

    Such big airframes would ordinarily not have to be deployed since ground fire was not reported, IF they had a smaller and appropriately armed helicopter such as the Fennec mentioned above.

    For an outlay of about US$100m, we can get 18 units of the dedicated military variant specified above for the NAF PLUS a further 12 units for the NN.

  16. beegeagle says:

    I was talking about the locals in Afghanistan and Iraq, Chidi. iSAF have raised armies and police forces in either country well in excess of 100,000+ men in the Army and in the Police respectively. The insurgents are not getting more benign in their ways. Yesterday, they attacked in Kandahar and blasted dozens of persons to bits. It is not as easy for the homers’ defence and security forces either.

    Concerning the racist SADF incursion into Namibia, it was about defending South African homeland from as far away as possible. Namibian PLAN and South African MK guerrillas were being trained in Angola by the MPLA-Cuban alliance and as such, the South African sought to create a buffer zone in the desetified north(Ovamboland) of occupied Namibia.

    In that effort, the racists fielded mechanised battlefield units which held reserves of equipment well in excess of what would normally be issued to a battalion. You might want to look up the assets held by units such as the 32 Battalion, 61 Mechanised Battalion and the paramilitary Koevoets.

    Between 1966 and 1989, they did their very best for South Africa and it is arguable that had it not been for the weight of international outrage which the racists were ranged against, they would have ever been defeated by PLAN or the MK.

    For the avoidance of doubt, those aforementioned COIN units held a boatload of 122mm MRLs, 140mm artillery, 105mm artillery, Ratel 90mm ICVs, Saracen APC, Buffel and Casspir MRAPs and they always had generous air suppport from Puma and Alouette III helicopters. It was a lavishly-equipped COIN force

  17. Chidi says:

    @beeg: yea my point about the Boers is that they essentially used light infantry, mounted infantry and mechanised infantry although some were designated Koevets, but although their tactics were purely kinetic they utilised human resources much better than most, they co opted Bushmen as trackers as well as combining heliborne as well as foot QRF. As much as I hate them I admire their skill and tactics, they would not have been defeated conventionally.

    As per Iraq and Afghanistan I say again they are poor examples. 100′s of thousands of different forces from policue to army to militia to civil defence have been raised, trained and equipped but again there was no unity of effort, so some training was done by coalition forces, some by third nations some by civilian contractors.
    Some of the equipment was state of the art, some surplus crap. Can you imagine in a country awash with weapons, the police guarding a major prison had an AK each, with 1 mag and 50 rounds?
    So my analogy of a well trained,motivated and led force with the correct political will stands
    I have served in both theatres, this doen’t make me an expert but I can give you some examples a village was cleared, horrible op. The plan called for x number of PB’s to be set up occupied by ISAF and then a polic post to be set up. Village cleared, PB’s set up, then men had to be withdrawn for another op so PB closed, Taliban then started infiltrating through that gap (this was before IED’s became king) to launch RPG attacks. ANP never showed up. Till today that village is a war zone. It is ‘cleared’ anew every operational cycle. Ifit had been properly garrisoned the first time the Taliban would not have come back. Yet on the main highway the ANP act exactly likeMOPOL extracting money and robbing people.
    I can tell you that the technology in a single ISAF patrol base of less than platoon strength is beyond your wildest dreams, there are so many sensors, cameras, radars, biometric kits, info sharing, data sharing kits and assets on call and in situ it is unbelievable, yet an uneducated, untrained man who wouldn’t know an iPod if you shoved it up his ass, with a shovel and a sack of ANFO and a battery can still get within 100m to lay an IED undetected. So much for technology.

  18. beegeagle says:

    That is true. But there are certain basics which are FUNDAMENTAL to these operations such as, even you, enjoyed and are probably thankful to have been availed with : MRAPs, air support and personal gear – more flak jackets and NVGs. I doubt that they are looking to DHQ to get sensors and biometric kits for them.

    IF the NA have mastered, on account of provisioning, the art of operating in soft-skinned 4WDs, they would probably get better with infrastructure. I understand that the hundreds of combat engineers who returned from the USA in November are in there with jamming equipment to protect troops from wired IED blasts and they are even going off on foot to defuse IEDs strewn malevolently all over the place.

    According to the late General Khobe, in the Battle of Freetown II where snipers were blazing away from every other window, the battles were of such intensity that practically all motorised movements ceased as vehicles became sitting ducks for snipers. You were safer being on your feet. Nigerian troops had to break out on foot, acquiring every building from which they were fired upon. Imagine how much better ECOMOG troops would have performed if they had a mere 100 MRAPs crammed into Freetown at that time.

    The ability of NA troops to operate in the face of grave danger to themselves is not in doubt. They are gritty foot soldiers who gleefully get into gunfights. Flak jackets were scarcely an option for most of the ECOMOG soldiers back then, so it was all about personal bravery.

    If they get enough MRAPs and up-armoured Humvees into the NE theatre, morale would be lifted sky-high.

  19. CHIDI , MR BEEGLE
    Glad you served and are safe but you proved my point for me . The men in these operations have to be highly trained with the right equipment and know how. Futhermoree , The deputy GOV (please corresct if i am wrong) of borno state was assasinated last year. This is a group of opportunity. Nigeria could rid itself of corruption tommorow( GOD I wish) , This group would still exist it has got nothing to do with corruption it is purely about IDEOLOGY. No amount of poverty alleviation / job empowerment/ religious reorientation/ BUHARI becomes the president, will somehow dissuade these guys. This is my point

  20. doziex says:

    Interesting back and forth guys, @chidi a british soldier ? damn I better watch my mouth on this blog. (LoL).

    yeah bro, but where is the example where a poorly equiped well trained force defeated a well resourced insurgency. And pls don’t say the pre-independence kenyan mao mao revolt. They had dane guns for crying out loud.

    Both a well equiped and specialized force and a lightly equiped local militia are necessary ingredients to contain an insurgency. You need both to counter all the advantages of the insurgent.While the tracking skills, local knowledge and population protection can be provided by a lightly armed militia, a well resourced insurgency would then “go heavy” to exploit and overpower them. However, the presence of a well equiped force would crush this attempt.

    With land and air mobility, they can support the mililtia as needed. And when the insurgents counter their mobility with IEDs, MRAPs would reduce casualties while your local lightly armed force can intelligently fish out the insurgents and deny them sucour in the population.

    In a previous post, BEEG rightfully pointed out that well trained lightly armed forces like the RDF where excellent as rebels and when facing better armed conventional armies like UPDF and Congolese Army.

    But when it came time to counter other insurgents/rebels, their lack of logistics was telling. Being disciplined under fire and being able to lay good ambushes weren’t enough. They simply couldn’t outmanouver those they were chasing.

  21. doziex says:

    And also chidi, don’t sell the US short on their COIN capabilities. They can get down right nasty with the best of them, when they get their mind to it.
    I just learned that apart from the afghan army and police, The CIA has trained a shadowy special force made up of afghans,pakistanis and others. They protect the the afghan border by infiltrating into pakistan to Hunt,kill and disrupt the taliban and pakistani supported Haqqani network.
    Boy, this covert war between the CIA and the ISI is getting serious.

    • Chidi says:

      @ doziex: Afghanistan and Iraq are theatres where all your dreams or nightmares come true especially for the spec op boys, in terms of kit, missions and rules of engagement! The ISI/ US thing is just another weird complexity that kind of takes on a life of its own in situations such as this, its worthy of its own post for detailed debate and analysis. The weird thing is that the Afghan Taliban hide in Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban hide in Afghanistan! Yet they are all sustained by virtually the same networks.
      My point always is and shall be the key to winning most campaigns but particularly COIN is the human component. MRAPs/ kit are not the answer; the Russians were massacred in the first battle of Grozny because they stayed in their vehicles. There are several ways to deal with snipers either counter sniper, stay out of their killing zone or flatten the building. The NA did exactly the correct thing by getting off the street (and as per the other blogpost why aren’t we hearing about these things?)
      Nigeria had the technological and even manpower edge over Biafra yet it took 2.5 years to win, the Israelis were outnumbered and out gunned by the Arabs in the early days yet they consistently beat them due to superior training and motivation.
      As I’ve said, all the high tech kit, all the training and stuff in the world hasn’t given us victory in Afghan and I’m talking about stuff that is not even talked about. This is UK stuff that I saw at my level much less the really super duper stuff at the US ends. We are still not winning. The enemy is very low tech, their radios are hacked beyond recognition yet they are still able to lay IED’s at will and launch complex ambushes etc.
      So with all our technology we are not winning. If we had sufficient men for patrol bases and to garrison every town or hamlet and man patrols on the border as well as within the country maybe we would be winning.
      It is a fact acknowledged by everyone that if there was a responsive local force to carry out internal security as well as policing, combined with local development success will be assured but it will be a long term process.
      The obsession with kit is something that every army has and in my own opinion (and I emphasise my own opinion) it doesn’t work. Equally important is the training, conditions and motivation of the soldiers. Again using the Afghan example (which again is how not to do it) the local ANA Brigades do not rotate out every 6 months as we do but have been on ops for 4-5 years. Most are from the north and hate the southerners, imagine how that feels for morale to be stuck there, their logistics are dire, their pay goes straight to their accounts in a bank owned by one of Karzais brothers, they barely get leave. So explain their motivation?
      We can buy all the shiny kit in the world, unless we retrain and remotivate our forces, properly sustain them, ensure salaries and pensions are paid and medical facilities are up to scratch all we will have are shiny toys with no one to man them.
      Kit is great but it totally obscures the point, I’ve been in armoured vehicles that look terrifying on the outside but inside the radios don’t work, the weapon is faulty and some of the guys barely know how to operate it, and I’m talking first world armies, COIN is about the human component not technology.
      I think I’ve ranted enough!

  22. beegeagle says:

    OK, some attack helicopter clarifications gentlemen.

    * This machine belongs to the first generation of Mi-35P which were delivered in 2000 and are numbered NAF 530-535. Notice the shade of camouflage. Two of these series are active on the Jos Plateau with the Special Task Force – OP SAFE HAVEN. Any NAF gunship painted in this colour scheme is without exception a Mi-35P. There are no Mi-24V painted this way. None whatsoever.

    http://www.helicopter-database.de/open.photo.php?idphoto=5998

    * Below is another set of attack helicopters. All the gunships painted in this scheme are a mix of Mi-24V and Mi-35P gunships. They belong to a different batch of deliveries. For instance NAF 536 is a Mi-35P while NAF 537 and NAF 538 are Mi-24V (which are also known globally and interchangeably as “Mi-35″ but without any alphabetical surfix such as “P” or “M”)

    In the next photo, one of the beasts which you see is a Mi-35P while the other is a Mi-24V. Spot the difference.

    http://www.helicopter-database.de/open.photo.php?idphoto=6794

    • Chidi says:

      Those are powerful, powerful weapons systems. Imagine if we had a dedicated air mobile brigade with 2 squadrons of these beasts attached, 1 squadron as an independent unit the other broken up with flights detached as close support to each battalion?

  23. beegeagle says:

    The ISI are very nearly a rogue organisation. During the Soviet era, they trained and armed the Mujaheddin to operate inside Afghanistan. That was not so outrageous.

    But as partners in the War on Terror, they had the temerity to covertly support the Taliban (which they also created in the 1990s) and the Haqqani Network?

    What is the BIG idea? To ensure that terror begins and never ceases so that they can continue to milk the USA of billion of dollars with which to fight terrorists?

  24. Henry says:

    Wow!!!! You guys are so damn good. Always happy to contribute my little quota. The ISI are truly are rogue organisation. I think they are the largest secret service in the world. If you ask me, they knew osama bin laden was hidding in pakistan, but as you rightly said they prevented the americans from finding out so as to continue milking the americans there over 3billion usd in military aid. Nigeria needs an equivalent of the ISI to effectively check her war on terror( not like the sss is doing a bad job though) but…… Considering the successes the pakistani ISI has had both at home and abroad, we really do need there help on covert operations. What really is the input of nigerian enginners on this conflicts, if i may ask? We only see russian made weapons and helics, american and turkish APC’s, nothing nigerian.

  25. beegeagle says:

    Brilliant idea, Chidi.

    When the 82 Division was created, it had a 2 Airmobile Brigade stationed in Port Harcourt. It was the Niger Delta insurgency which saw that brigade’s redesignation as an amphibious brigade.

    Something which the Army never did was to develop a dedicated Army Aviation Unit. It was however complemented by what was then known as an Air Assault Group of the Nigerian Air Force which deployed Messerschmidt-Bolkow MBB 105 light helicopters. The value of that Air Assault Group which has since been replaced by the 97 Special Operations Group, remains to be seen.

    97 Special Operations Group have seen action across several theatres in the Niger Delta and in Cameroon’s Bakassi Peninsula though. In the Niger Delta, they carried out a precision strike in the heart of Port Harcourt(Mile 1) at a hideout used by the militia leader, Soboma George. They also carried out an attack on Ateke Tom’s major base at Okrika nad partook in major triservice assaults on militant bases at Elem Tombia in September 2008 and Camp 5 in May 2009. In between, they have destroyed several lesser militant bases and improvised fuel refineries across the Niger Delta.

    It is my considered opinion that the starting point for interoperability should be as follows

    *Nigerian Army adding an Army Aviation Unit, to complement its maritime operations(amphibious forces)

    *Nigerian Air Force develops its ground-based Special Operations Unit to complement the infantry-style Nigerian Air Force Regiment and artillery-oriented National Air Defence Corps.

    * The Nigerian Navy complements its Special Boat Service and expanding Naval Air Arm(they are constructing yet another naval air unit at Effurun) by kickstarting its Naval Infantry Regiment. The Navy also need a 1,000-man Coast Guard Command.

    My idea is that the officers and ratings be ONLY seconded to the law enforcement-oriented Coast Guard in three yearly tours of duty (i.e from the third to fifth year
    post-enlistment) while the top commanders shall be Captains and Commodores who have between three and five years left to their run-out dates. That should be the middle ground to tread so that we steer ourselves away from this controversy surrounding the proposed Maritime Security Agency.

    The NAF own 24 units of MBB 105 helicopters which were reportedly consigned to storage. As far as I know, those airframes probably did not serve for more than fifteen years before they were hit by sanctions and thereafter crated. At this time when we have an immediate need for light observation helicopters in the North East and on the Jos Plateau, can we not cannibalise six units for spares, get Elbit Systems of Israel to modernise the rest eighteen units in-country and have them configured for combat operations? I doubt that such an effort would cost more than $10 million and a three-month period to execute.

    The NAF,NN and NA would have the Eurocopter AS 550 single-engined/AS 555 twin-engined Fennec as their common platform. Granted that the NN and NAF already have the Agusta A109E and the Agusta A109LUH, the NA Aviation Unit would field only the Fennec while the NN would field the Fennec and the Agusta A109E. For her part, the NAF would field all helicopters available to the Nigerian Armed Forces – Agusta A109E/LUH, Agusta AW 139, Eurocopter Fennec and Puma/Super Puma, Mi-24V, Mi-35P and Mi-171Sh Terminator.

    • peccavi says:

      Good Ideas all round. A Naval infantry/ marine unit would eliminate the need for joint ops etc.
      To the best of my knowledge Saddam used MBB105′s as gunships as well, these are versatile platfroms it would be a shame if even a squadron couldn’t be resuscitated for close support/ recce and liaison tasking, they seem ideally suited

  26. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, the Philippines, Spain, Indonesia and Korea still field theirs and thankfully, MBB have merged into the Eurocopter Group.

    If Eurocopter are still upgrading old stocks of Puma/Super Puma for us and delivering new Super Puma airframes, there is no reason why we cannot have these little birds(twin-engined) upgraded and adapted for the task at hand.

    There are some operations which could do with these little birds as a first option. The sledgehammers that are Mi-24V and Mi-35P would only then be called up as a last resort.

    Certainly, if we had fifteen of the MBB 105s ready to pounce, we could conveniently deploy three units each to Jos, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt(97 SOG) and two units each to Damaturu, Warri and Calabar. Those would hold the line until the Fennecs arrive to complement the MBB 105s in the Little Bird role.

    • peccavi says:

      I like the detailed look at the conflict, its an intelligent write up and the conclusions broadly resemble min, the US should not get involved overtly beyond offering training, intelligence sharing and selling/ supplying equipment. Any big Uncle Sam imprint will not help our cause, so far the Arabs will simply look at it as blacks killing blacks, once the US gets involved it turns into international jhad.
      The FGN information/ meiida ops is very poor. I have books at home produced by the Eastern Nigerian government immediately prior to the war that contained detailed synopsis and briefing points concerning the Eastern governments point of view. Is it impossible for the FGN to develop a dedicated media task force and website covering efforts undertaken to counter Boko Haram? A resource and office that people can refer to so that there is a definitive voice of authority, this is the first itme I’ve seen some of BH’s threats/ messages and kind of alters my views on them a bit

      • beegeagle says:

        @Peccavi. We are on the same page on that score. IF the human rights activists mount pressure on the US government not to supply offensive weapons such as the Apache attack helicopter, ostensibly so as not to be seen as fanning the embers of conflict, they can at least supply the following systems with justification as given herefater;

        * UH-1N Iroquois utility helicopters (medevac, emergency response, search and rescue)

        * MaxxPro MRAP – troops’ protection

        * Up-armoured HMVV – troops’ protection

        * WHECs and WMEC 270s – anti-piracy patrols and FPSO protection.

        I doubt that even the most recalcitrant activists would have anything to say against these reasons.

        The temptation to put troops on the ground should be avoided at all cost. It would attract extremists from Sudan, Algeria and Mali into the theatre. The accessibility and historical mingling of peoples in these areas has already set a precedent. Somewhere online, we once posted photos of Libyan settlers around oases and sand dunes in Yusufari LGA of Yobe State, Nigeria.

        By the same token, it would not be difficult for AQIM fighters and Gaddafi loyalists or Janjaweed to converge on the Far Northeast for a jihad.

        All too often, foreign policy advisers forget that there are indigenous Shuwa Arabs who are natives of Borno and Yobe States of Nigeria. Visit Baga, Geidam, Ngala, Banki, Bama etc and see what we mean. They are a branch of the Baqqara Arabs who are present in the adjoining Diffa Prefecture of Niger, in Chad, northern Central African Republic and in the Kordofanian and Darfuri(read, Murahlin and Misseriya Arabs)states of Sudan. All of the foregoing are conflict zones which are awash with arms. By the time that they begin to slip into NE Nigeria and swell the ranks of their Shuwa Arab cousins, neither language nor physical features would readily give them away as foreigners.

        The USA only need to provide support with defensive hardware as specified above, intelligence sharing and training in counterterrorism. That would do nicely.

        Concerning the angle of media management, suffice to say that at the height of the Niger Delta conflict, we similarly realised that the FG and JTF were outpaced on the propaganda front by the insurgents. We went so far as to propose to the appropriate officials at DHQ that we develop synergies with a view to putting out technically sound, prompt and precise information about the conflict to the world. We cited the example of the partnership between Mark Press and the Biafran regime during the Civil War as template but did not get a reply from anyone.

        Historically, Nigerian FGs have lagged behind adversaries in the realm of timely and reliable information during periods of armed conflict. During the Civil War, the Voice of Biafra boomed in the Gulf of Guinea with its assortment of gifted propagandists such as Okokon Ndem and Uche Chukwumerije(who we are told was broadcasting that the Biafran Air Force was attacking Sokoto and Katsina at a time when Colonel Phillip Effiong was already at Dodan Barracks to sign the documents to indicate an unconditional surrender). Nigeria had no answer and did not seek any to counterbalance the efforts of the adversary in the game of hearts and minds.

        At the height of the insurgency in the Niger Delta, MEND and Jomo Gbomo retained the propaganda advantage, so much so that we offered to help out our country in that regard.

        We are in the middle of yet another armed conflict and Abul Qaqa who cannot even speak English is the most voluble. That should not be the case. Personally, I have listened to an interview granted by Major General Raphael Isa, Director of Army Public Relations, on one of the foreign broadcasters and found the man to be profoundly articulate – sound diction and very logical. What is lacking in the approach could be that we are still reactive rather than pre-emptive. It has to be all about influencing outcomes by sight and sound.

        We know that this blog is visited by the men at the helm on a day-to-day basis, so they might as well help to pass this message on. Nigerians want to see and hear from the military all that is going on at the conflict zones.

        Convinced that the nation needed help as far as putting out accurate information is concerned, we launched this blog which today has global defence analysts, risk analysts, policy commentators and other interested persons tuned in from the USA, Canada,Belgium,Germany,Itlay,Russia, Saudi Arabia,Malaysia,Korea,Spain,Finland,Sweden,the UK,Kenya,Sudan,The Philippines,Turkey etc visiting and consistently delivering over a thousand hits everyday – on a blog!

        They can do much better if they accord priority to the information management aspect. The General Isa that I listened to would do much better than any of the defence correspondents who we get to read their reports. The military need to realise that SOJA magazine is not available on the news stands and that they need to communicate with Nigerians. You cannot reasonably expect cooperation from people who we are not “carrying along”.

        Please, please, PLEASE let us view this matter with the seriousness which it deserves. The military need to speak out without stuttering and the General Isa that I have listened to, with all the emphasis that I can muster, is a perfect fit for the job. We only need to tinker with our approach.

  27. peccavi says:

    @ beeg: I hear you 100%, if its any consolation its the same with NATO and ISAF, they have slick operations but thier messages are generally lost, it generally takes time for conventional armies to sort themselves out and learn how to operate a media war. As you said they check this blog out so as long as we leave suggestions hopefully someone will pick it up and run with it.

    Abeg let the US keep thier Apache that thing is more high maintenance than a Lagos girl, HMMW as well is pile of crap (in my opinion) and unsuited for our roads, its too heavy, takes too much fuel, cramped and generally unversatile and has too low a wheel base.
    The Huey would be my ideal pick every single day, if we got 2 or 3 suadrons of those we’d be laughing, we could build an air assault team. The US has thousands in storage as well as parts, its relatively easy to fly and oh so adaptable. We could have gunships, Command and comms, air ambulances the lot. If thats the look of things I’d be really happy, armies such as ours need robust, versatile, adaptable aircraft. An Apache is a nightmare and as much as I love it, we musn’t forget that an entire regiment of Apaches was defeated by the Iraqi’s in 2003 and considering the Iraqi’s barely put up a fight and were using out dated kit it says quite a bit. Again the issue might have had more to do with tactics than the aircraft itself but I think for us it would be an expensive liability

  28. beegeagle says:

    Boko Haram and U.S. plans in Africa

    ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 9 (UPI)

    Oil-rich Nigeria is gripped by an escalating uprising by Islamist militants that has triggered massacres of Christians, including a Christmas Day suicide bombing blitz, which the federal government seems unable to contain. Amid deepening suspicions the Islamists are aided by al-Qaida’s North African wing, which has been extending its operations southward of late, there are fears the bloodletting could plunge Africa’s most populous state into a sectarian civil war.

    Nigeria is a major oil producer that provides 8 percent of U.S. crude imports and there are signs that Washington is growing concerned about the swelling crisis there. In October, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to take action against the main Nigerian Islamist group, Boko Haram, which until a few months ago was widely seen as a northeastern Nigerian sect primarily concerned with domestic issues.

    But as the group, whose name translates as “Western education is a sin,” has escalated its religious war from drive-by shootings and killing Christians to more sophisticated operations and suicide bombings, it has evolved into a serious threat to Nigeria’s stability.

    Formed in the 1990s, the group demanded Islamic Sharia law to be introduced into northern Nigeria,which is predominantly Muslim. But in recent years it has repeatedly clashed with Nigeria’s Christians in the central region where the two religions collide.

    Nigeria’s population of 150 million is roughly split evenly between the two faiths. But the country’s oil wealth is in the Christian-dominated south and little has reached the long-neglected north, which has fanned regional resentment.

    Boko Haram’s growing expertise in terrorist attacks, in which hundreds of people have been killed, has deepened suspicions it has developed links with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the jihadists’ North African arm.

    In November, it was disclosed that the U.S. Army has sent 100 Special Forces soldiers to Nigeria to provide counter-insurgency training for national troops engaged against Boko Haram, the country’s largest military deployment since the 1967-70 Biafra war. This opened up a new front in the U.S. administration’s shadow war in Africa, where U.S. Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency are engaged in countering jihadist groups in the north and east, particularly Somalia.

    On Nov. 30, the U.S. House of Representatives’ subcommittee on counter-terrorism and intelligence identified Boko Haram as an “emerging threat” to the United States and its interests and called for greater interaction with Nigerian security forces.

    Many counter-terrorism specialists viewed this as an exaggeration, inflating a threat that would help justify administration moves to become involved in combating insurgencies in African states, most of them dictatorial regimes, with Special Forces. Through the U.S. military’s Africa Command, established in 2007, the Americans are already training and equipping armies in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia.

    Africa Command was ostensibly set up to aid U.S. allies on the continent build up their military capabilities. But many in Africa believe its true function is ultimately to protect U.S. access to the emerging oil wealth in West and East Africa, that can be shipped directly to the United States across the Atlantic.

    This would lessen U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil from the turbulent Persian Gulf, which is vulnerable to disruption, currently because of Iranian threats to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the only gateway in and out of the gulf.

    On Oct. 14, U.S. President Barack Obama said he was sending another 100 U.S. troops to Uganda in East Africa, which recently found a major oil field in the Lake Albert basin containing an estimated 2.5 billion barrels. Uganda is strategically positioned to be an export hub for the region’s expanding oil wealth, as well as other mineral resources.

    Obama said the deployment was to help Uganda strongman Yoweri Museveni crush a long-running insurgency by the cult-like Lord’s Resistance Army led by a religious crackpot and international fugitive named Joseph Kony. But the now much-diminished LRA has never posed a threat to the United States.

    It may well be that Obama is rewarding Uganda for aiding the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government in neighboring Somalia fight the al-Shabaab Islamist group linked to al-Qaida. Uganda could be a valuable jump-off point for U.S. forces to intervene in other potential trouble spots in East and Central Africa, where China is making major economic inroads, should that be deemed necessary.

  29. beegeagle says:

    The pro-insurgent lobby is alive and kicking – a vote for Boko Haram perhaps.

    Perhaps it is time to turn to Israel, India and Turkey for a roadmap in the fight against terrorists. What we do not need is to make these lobbyist chaps feel too relevant. Sri Lanka won her war on terror. It could scarcely be put down to US assistance.

    This is why we have always said that activists, intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals have most western governments by the jugular. They have had their say. Let us have our way.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0112/Nigeria-s-Boko-Haram-attacks-are-misunderstood-as-regional-Islamist-threat

  30. beegeagle says:

    NIGERIA: ARMED AND DANGEROUS

    VANGUARD
    January 11, 2012
    By Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

    ANOTHER American is once again getting Nigerians all worked up over an opinion on the state of our nation and its future. Another American, John Campbell, last year caused quite a stir when he predicted that the 2011 elections were going to be conducted in an atmosphere ofchaos and violence owing to the loss of control of the political process by the Nigerian political elite.

    This time, a professor of history and a lady very well known in the corridors of influence over United States policy on Nigeria, Jean Herskovits, published an article in an influential US newspaper in which she said basically that Boko Haram is not the problem in Nigeria.

    In the context of deep concerns that the Boko Haram insurgency is raising a new and dangerous threat which is both largely unknownand unprecedented in its nature and dimensions,the American professor’s position naturally raised the level of discourse around the issue.

    It has also exposed some interesting positions and reactions regarding the Boko Haram phenomenon, so me of which were only being whispered a few weeks ago. The Nigerian government has condemned the article as ill-informed and misleading, which is not surprising.

    Nigerian informed opinion is, however, still confused over what to make of Professor Herskovits’ thesis, although it is safe to assume that it is targeted more at the US State Department and Defence strategists than the Nigerian government and population.

    Sadly, one view about our situation from the distant is providing more substance for debate and more heat than all the combined analyses and studies about matters that really matter to us in Nigeria.

    Formalised position

    Professor Herskovits’ main thesis is that the US government is being pushed to adopt a formalised position which will list Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation, and this will be dangerous both for the US and Nigeria.

    She warns that the adoption of a policy which classifies and treats Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation by the US government will suck the US into a war against a group which is more political than terrorist, in a country where many Muslims already believe the US government is biased in favour of a Christian President from the South.

    She draws attention to the history and mutation of Boko Haram from a small band around a religious leader who was murdered by the police, into a movement which now fights the Nigerian state.
    Significantly, she says the group’s name and tactic is now a franchise used by criminal gangs and sundry interests who ape its penchance for attacking Christian churches. The response of the Nigerian state to the scandalous levels of poverty in the catchment area of the Boko Haram insurgency, and the multiplier effect of the high-handedness of security forces on the fortunes of the group, the professor says, have not been addressed by government of Nigeria.

    Indeed, she say, 25 percent of Nigerian budget for 2012 is being allocated for security, and that many Nigerians fear the army more than they fear Boko Haram. She concludes by advising the US government not to be misled into a situation that will make it an enemy of the Nigerian people.

    You could say that Professor Herskovits says that Boko Haram is not the problem in Nigeria. The problem is the Nigerian government; and the US government should be wary of misunderstanding this, and taking the wrong steps in responding to pressures.

    The immediate reactions of Nigerians to Herskovits’ article were revealing in terms of thecurrent disposition of the elite and the leadership in a complex nation. The government and many leaders in the Christian community were shocked by a position which basically says Boko Haram is not a real problem; that it is now the cover for huge spending on security; for many criminal activities totally unrelated to its goals; and that the Nigerian government is to blame for its growth and expansion, if indeed it does exist.
    This perspective sees Herskovits’ essay as apologetic, dangerous and misleading, a virtual legitimisation of a dangerous insurgency by an American who should know better.

    Saner comments asked how anyone with a deep knowledge about Nigeria as Herskovits does could dismiss the threat of Boko Haram as the manifestation of endemic poverty and injustice when there is evidence all over the place that aninsurgency does exist around it with very clear goals and spectacular successes in their pursuit.

    The Nigerian government which obviously would want the group formally classified as terrorist because this will open up a whole range of new relationships and access to assistance by the US has been the most disappointed by Herskovits comments.

    Sinister forces

    Another popular reaction came mostly from many northerners who had suspected for a while that powerful and more sinister forces have hijacked the Boko Haram brand and are now waging their own battles.

    According to this perspective, prime suspects in this category include subversives fighting the administration of President Jonathan who are not Boko Haram; heavily armed criminals copying its tactics; trained Christians who bomb state security agents and Christians to give Muslims a bad name; and even western powers – read the US – which want to dismember Nigeria, isolate and “deal” with its large (and potentially threatening) Muslim population.

    Then there is also the lingering suspicion that much of the violence being credited to the insurgency is being sustained by the agents of the Nigerian state and security agents because the fight against Boko Haram is just too lucrativeto give up.

    Both perspectives are worrying, and only compound the problem. Those who see only an armed insurrection which can be brought down by billions and bullets, to the exclusion of all other strategies are wrong. The manner Boko Haram is understood and responded to is very important in this respect.

    If Boko Haram is understood as a terrorist organisation, its most effective antidote will be force, and not tinkering with socio-economic policies which may reduce poverty and re-integrate vast portions of the population into the democratic process.

    So far, force alone has not affected its effectiveness, and concentration on huge mobilisation of security personnel on highways and massive expenditure around technology andarms have tied up Nigeria’s almost entire security asset around Boko Haram.

    On the other hand, those who are relieved that they have found vindication in their suspicion that Boko Haram is a cover for all sorts anti-Islam activities are dangerously off the mark as well.

    Even where a case could be made for the suspicion that the original grievances of the followers of the late Yusuf Muhammad have been hijacked by all and sundry forces, it will be foolish to dismiss Boko Haram as non-existent.

    Certainly, the group has gone through some transformation; and it is quite possible that it has received support and training from organisations with a longer track record in terror. Muslims particularly who are in deep denial over the existence or goals of Boko Haram give themselves false comfort and overlook how much damage is being claimed in the name of their faith.
    The distance many Nigerian Muslims try to put between their faith and Boko Haram does not relieve them of the burden of finding a solution to a problem which affects them in its impact as much as it affects non-muslims.

    Worse, denying the existence of Boko Haram, or foisting a conspiracy theory around it does little to address the worry that either Boko Haram or someone acting in its name is targeting the break-up of the Nigeria state exploiting Muslim-Christian differences and pitting them against each other.
    Some sections of Nigerian public opinion may give greater credence to Herskovits position because it is raised by a foreigner. But we do have to ask her motives as well. Could it be as dispassionate as some would believe or is part of a wider debate around US core interests in thegulf of Guinea and Africa?

    So Jean Herskovits article really should not be seen by Nigerians as a tool towards finding solutions to a problem which is ours. The US government for which it is meant will of course give it its own interpretation. Here, it is likely to do much damage unless it is seen purely as one opinion of an American – no matter how informed – over our problem.

    The lady is wrong to say Boko Haram is not the problem. Even if, as she says, it is a symptom of a deeper problem, it is today the single biggest threat to our collective security. So it is both the symptom and the problem.

    She is right when she advises the US governmentto be wary of being sucked into an essentially Nigerian problem. But we could overate her contribution in this direction. Many Nigerians and a few foreigners have drawn attention to the unacceptable levels of poverty and political alienation which has become even more pronounced in the last one year in many parts of the north.

    The failure or refusal of the Jonathan administration to recognise the need for some decisive intervention in terms of real investmentin economic and social infrastructure in this region is feeding the problem.

    Similarly, the spectacular failure to seek for hardpolitical and security intelligence in and around the communities for the source, dimensions and roots of Boko Haram has left the administration with little choice than to send in more soldiers, mount security checkpoints and C.C.T.Vs and spend hundreds of billions on high-tech equipment with dubious value.

    These are what make Boko Haram the problem. It is a problem because every citizen in Nigeria today lives in fear of the bombs and bullets of Boko Haram insurgents or groups who hide behind their grievances and their tactics to wreck havoc on our lives.

    It is a problem because violence is threatening us even more. Government is arming itself for a war with an enemy it cannot see who lives in our midst. The enemy is arming itself to fight government and citizens alike. Criminals are arming themselves with dynamites, bombs and bullets to rob and maim and kill.

    Ordinary citizens are arming themselves just in case they have occasions to defend themselves. Communities are arming themselves against other communities. Our nation is armed and dangerous, but we aim our weapons against each other.
    This is the greatest danger Nigeria is facing sincethe end of our civil war.

    We do not need an American professor of history to tell us: Boko Haram is the problem; but then so is the Nigerian government.

  31. beegeagle says:

    Please check out the first two posts logged in by yours truly on this thread and let us know how it markedly differs in anyway from what Prof. Soyinka has said.

    NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE
    Jan 16, 2012

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/15/wole-soyinka-on-nigeria-s-anti-christian-terror-sect-boko-haram.html

    How a corrupt nation bred Boko Haram, the Islamic sect terrorizing the country’s Christians.

    Over the past year, Nigeria ’s homegrown terror group Boko Hara m has escalated its deadly attacks against Christian and government targets,with the aim of establishing a Sharia state in the country’s north.

    Nearly 30 years ago, in the largely Christian heartland of a multireligious Nigerian nation, andat that nation’s pioneer institution—the University of Ibadan—a minister of education summoned the vice chancellor and ordered him to remove a cross from a site dedicated to religious worship. Some Muslims had complained,he claimed, that the cross offended their sight when they turned east to pray.

    The don’s response was: “Mr. Minister, it would bemuch easier to remove me as vice chancellor thanto have me remove that cross.” Christians mobilized. A religious war was barely averted on campus. Today the Christian cross occupies that same spot, with the Islamic star and crescent raised only a few meters away. As I observed at a lecture several years later, there has been no earthquake beneath, no convulsions of the firmament above that space, no blight traceable to the cohabitation of that spot by Christian and Muslim symbols.

    I evoked that occurrence when the latest torch bearers of fanaticism—a group called Boko Haram—emerged. I did so to draw attention to the fact that religious zealotry is not new in the nation, nor is it limited to the “unwashed masses”who have been programmed into killing, at the slightest provocation or none, in the name of faith. Unfortunately, far too many have succumbed to the belligerent face of fanaticism, believing that any form of excess is divinely sanctioned and nationally privileged.

    Sectarian killings—numbered in the thousands—preceded Boko Haram, much organized butch-ery, sometimes announced in advance, always tacitly endorsed by silence and inaction, escalating in intensity and impunity. It was consciousness of the geographical expansion and the increasingly organized nature of the fanatic surge and its international linkages that compelled me to warn on three public occasions since 2009 that “the agencies of Boko Haram, its promulgators both in evangelical and violent forms, are everywhere.

    Even here, right here in this throbbing commercial city of Lagos, there are, in all probability, what are known as ‘sleepers’ waiting for the word to be given. If that word were given this moment, those sleepers would swarm over the walls of this college compound and inundate us.”

    Much play is given, and rightly so, to economic factors—unemployment, misgovernment, wasted resources, social marginalization, massive corruption—in the nurturing of the current seasonof violent discontent. To limit oneself to these factors alone is, however, an evasion, no less than intellectual and moral cowardice, a fear of offending the ruthless caucuses that have unleashed terror on society, a refusal to stare the irrational in the face and give it its proper name—and response.

    That minister was not one of the “unwashed masses.” He was, quite simply, the polished face of fanaticism. His prolonged career as secretary of the Universities Commission and minister of education inflicted on the nation a number of other policies of educational separatism that left a huge swath of Nigeria open to fanatic indoctrination.

    Yes, indeed, economic factors have facilitated themass production of these foot soldiers, but they have been deliberately bred, nurtured, sheltered, rendered pliant, obedient to only one line of command, ready to be unleashed at the rest of society. They were bred in madrassas and are generally known as the almajiris. From knives and machetes, bows and poisoned arrows they have graduated to AK-47s, homemade bombs, and explosive-packed vehicles. Only the mechanism of inflicting death has changed, nothing else.

    This horde has remained available to political opportunists and criminal leaders desperate to stave off the day of reckoning. Most are highly placed, highly disgruntled, and thus highly motivated individuals who, having lost out in the power stakes, resort to the manipulation of theseproducts of warped fervor. Their aim is to bring society to its knees, to create a situation of total anarchy that will either break up the nation or bring back the military, which ruled Nigeria in a succession of coups between the mid-1960s and the late ’90s.

    Again and again they have declared their blunt manifesto—not merely to Islamize thenation but to bring it under a specific kind of fundamentalist strain. Rather than act in defense of Nigeria’s Constitution, past rulers have cosseted the aggressors for short-term political gains.

    However, those who have tweaked the religious chord are discovering that they have conjured up a Frankenstein. Arrogance has given way to fear. The former governors of the northernstates of Gombe and Borno wasted no time in issuing full-page advertorials in the media, apologizing to Boko Haram when the latter issued threats against them for their alleged role in the deaths of the group’s members at the hands of security forces in 2009.

    They had precedent. It was in Nigeria, after all, that a deputy governor, later backed by his superior, pronounced a fatwa on a Nigerian citizen in 2002: “Like Salman Rushdie, [her blood]can be shed. It is binding on all Muslims, wherever they are, to consider the killing of the writer as a religious duty.”

    That was the fallout from a beauty contest in Abuja that drew the ire of some Islamic extremists. Reacting to the mayhem, a female journalist had speculated that, were the Prophet Muhammad alive, he might have selected one of the contestants for wife. For that alleged blasphemy, hundreds, guilty only of innocently pursuing a living, were massacred by hordes of fanatics, who were mostly bused into the capital for organized violence. The president went groveling before the presumably offended elite.
    It was the same governor of an impoverished state called Zamfara who unilaterally commenced the separatist agenda that turned parts of Nigeria into theocracies under a supposed secular Constitution. His whim was indulged, his political support was courted by the then-sitting president, obsessed with prolonging his tenure. The governor, now turned senator, was also caught as a serial pedophile.

    Challenged in the media, he boasted that the Quran was above the Constitution, and thus he was not subject to laws that criminalized copulation with underage children or, indeed, cross-border sex trafficking, of which he was equally accused. He was neither censured by his fellow senators nor placed on trial. His followers have taken their cuefrom his declaration,convinced that the greater the crime, the greater its deserving of immunity.

    How many of the hundreds of cases of impunity need one cite, with their corresponding gestures of appeasement? Where does one begin? Can the Nigerian police or judicial records reveal how many were prosecuted when a man called Gideon Akaluka was beheaded, his head paraded on a stake through the streets of Kano in northern Nigeria, for allegedly desecrating the Quran? It turned out no such offense had been committed.

    Nor has there been a single arrest in the secondary school where an invigilating teacher, a Mrs. Oluwasesin, was stripped naked, beaten, andthen “necklaced”—set on fire by students for allegedly “treating the Quran with disrespect.” Her real crime? She had confiscated a Quran—and, incidentally, a Bible as well—from cheating students during a paper on religious studies. How does one convey scenes where killers perform ritual recitations before or after the meticulous throat-slitting of school children, in the conviction that this carries the same potency of immunity as papal indulgences once did in the decadent era of Christianity?

    For decades, leaders of those communities remained mute or uttered pietisms. Now the foot soldiers have matured on the taste of blood. They understand the essence of power. Some have come to realize they have been programmed, used, abused, and discarded. Now they seek to exercise power and have turned on all, mentors and appeasers alike.

    Nigeria is at war. The Somalia scenario nibbles at her cohesion. When we insisted that the nation had become a prime target of al Qaeda, the reply was that Boko Haram was a homegrown phenomenon—as if this were ever the question!

    The reality is that it has, inevitably, developed ties with al Qaeda and its borderless company of religious insurgency. Only a few have sown the wind, but that wind was fanned by the breath of appeasement. Only one choice remains: to ride, or else reap, the whirlwind.

  32. beegeagle says:

    The ORIGINAL source of ALL the confusion at the White House concerning the USA’s Nigeria Policy

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