Saturday, February 22, 2020
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10 Years of Boko Haram Insurgency

The Boko Haram insurgency, which  started as a usual     conflict 10 years ago has sadly  remained    one of the longest rebellions in Nigeria’s history. The insurgency has left in its wake thousands of people dead, while farmlands and properties running into billions of US dollars have been devastated.  The conflict   started at the end of July 2009,when  Mohammed Yusuf , founder of the  armed group   was killed in police custody in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state in North- Eastern Nigeria. The group’ s leader had risen to prominence some seven years before his death, through his  preaching the virtues of an Islamic way of life and encouraging people to turn their back on Western influences. He declared western education as evil. By 2002, he had established a group he called the Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad, comprising mostly young men who were agitated by unemployment, government negligence and inequality. The group continued to grow, especially in northeastern region of the country. By 2009, security services had begun to try to curtail the notorious body’s public demonstrations. It was during one of these altercations that Yusuf was arrested and held by the police, who later announced that he had died in controversial circumstances. His successor, Abubakar Shekau, vowed to exact revenge on the Nigerian government and reprisal attacks on churches, followed later by mosques, government buildings and other public places commenced.   In the ensuing Boko Haram killings, nearly 30,000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced, according to the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker. The country had gone through crises and phases in the government’s efforts at stemming the insurgency. A state of emergency was declared in 2013 by then-President Goodluck Jonathan in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. A sad chapter in the history of the Boko Haram insurgency is the kidnap of  276  schoolgirls  from a Chibok boarding school in April 2014, while another kidnapping in February of last year saw some 110 teenage girls taken from their school in Dapchi.
There were cases of bombings later in  Jos, Abuja and in towns in the North East. The fight against Boko Haram has been beset by many drawbacks, including delays to military funding and corruption. In the face of these odds and challenges, the government has made remarkable progress with joint task forces with neighbouring countries like Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin Republic. As a result, Boko Haram is not in control of any territory today, unlike the previous era. A Civilian Joint Task Force has stepped in to complement efforts by the understaffed army, using rudimentary firearms and machetes to protect their civilian neighbours. Their contributions to this decade-long war cannot be underestimated. In spite of the great gains made against the insurgency, Boko Haram continues to evolve and analysts say the war is far from over.         At this point, we wish to enjoin the federal government to give the Nigerian military at the fore front, the required support to enable them prevail finally over these marauders. We wish to salute the effrontery and gallantry of the country’s military as well as those of neigbouring states for the remarkable progress made so far in the war against the insurgents. Sincerely however, 10 years is a long period to fight any war, even though we understand that this is not a conventional war.   We are therefore, worried over some misunderstanding between the Army and Borno state government over the appropriate strategy to take in combating the insurgency in the final phases of the operation. Any misunderstanding between the Theatre Commander, Maj.Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi  and the Borno State Governor, Babagana  Zulum in this regard should be amicably resolved to ensure the final routing of the terrorists.  

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