…A catalogue of fresh terror war against Nigeria
WITH over 500 innocent Nigerians alleged killed in fresh terror attacks, critics of the Buhari administration say he needs to wake up from his inertia to save the nation from these blood-thirsty night and day marauders. In fact, hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari will give it back to the insurgents and ethnic militia who had sent about hundred thousand Nigerians to their early graves since they declared war in the land, years back, seem to have been dashed.
Boko Haram has rather changed tactics . The killer group has since returned to its initial method of attacking soft spots, asymmetric attacks almost on daily basis. Before now they took over some parts of Northern Nigeria and declared them extension of the caliphate. Ironically, the new President had talked tough on the May 29 inauguration day, vowing to crush the insurgents, while assuring Nigerians that they (insurgents) would be defeated soon.
But the bitter truth is that Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks, gradually eroding whatever victories the Nigerian military and other regional armies had achieved before Buhari stepped in, riding on the mantra of a messiah war General who has the strategy to route them out. To show that he meant it, he ordered that the military High Command and Control Room should be relocated to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, from Abuja, a directive many Nigerians received with mixed reactions.
Buhari has also in the last one month plus, engaged in several security moves geared towards tackling the Boko Haram insurgency. But the renewed attacks by the sect members seem to have raised questions on the ability of the present government to deal with the monster.
Although it may be too early to assess the government’s failure or success in the war against insurgency, having not stayed long in office, not a few Nigerians argue that the rate at which the insurgents have carried on in the last nine weeks, or so, calls for serious concern.
The Deputy Senate President,Chief Ike Ekweremadu re-echoed similar fears when he lamented that Boko Haram insurgency has worsened since Buhari assumed office. “I am worried about the resurgence of Boko Haram activities in Nigeria. Shortly before the inauguration of the present government, the country had almost rolled back Boko Haram and its activities in every part of Nigeria- from Adamawa to Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Kaduna.
“I was hoping that when we come back in the 8th Assembly, that I will work with our colleagues from the North-East to develop a plan of action that will help to rehabilitate that part of Nigeria. I feel so concerned about the suffering of our people from the North-East of Nigeria.
“I had hoped that by now we would be tasking ourselves on how best to rebuild that part of Nigeria. Regrettably, the actions of Boko Haram seem to have resurfaced now; not only in Borno, they have carried out their activities also in Plateau, they have gone to Adamawa and Kaduna.
“I am worried that if nothing is done, the next target would be Abuja. Maybe they will start going to the South. It is important for us as those in government, whether executive or legislature, to come together to find solutions to these problems.”
Senator Ekweremadu further said the Buhari administration should, as a matter of urgency, “deal with this security challenge no matter what it would cost us.”
Also contributing to the debate, Vanguard’s Luka Binniyat wrote: “Apart from the documented 444 murdered victims, hundreds of wounded persons and thousands newly displaced, all from a surprising fresh onslaught by Boko Haram on scores of communities and towns in at least six northern states of Nigeria, the questions on the lips of Nigerians monitoring the carnage would all meet at some point.
“Was the inaugural speech of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015 in which he promised to stamp out Boko Haram shortly, just a brilliant prose with no work plan for execution?
“Was his diatribe on the terrorists and his renewed pledge to route the insurgents mere bravado; a politically-right outing to woo everyone as the messiah, while knowing deep inside him he had no such capability?
“Many of the residents who may have been inspired by the president’s speech to return to the war ravaged village of the North-East, especially in Borno State, only to narrowly escape renewed violence may be wondering if Buhari spoke in good faith. But those who still have faith in the president are wont to argue that it is too early to expect the man to wipe out a six-year-old orgy of murder in less than two months. They are likely also going to argue that those in opposition to the ruling APC are using the tragedy for political advantage. Ironically, it was the inability of the last government to cage Boko Haram that helped to swing winning votes in favour of the former, the opposition APC.
“Meanwhile, there is no running from the fact that eradicating Boko Haram within the days that Buhari has been in power would be too ambitious a project in scope and content given what the President met on ground. The most worrying factor, however, is that instead of ebbing, the deaths and destruction caused by Boko Haram seem to be galloping compared to the pre-May 29 era. This is despite the moving of the military command to Maiduguri, Borno State capital and epicentre of the violence which has so far claimed estimated 100,000 lives since the move by Boko Haram to declare Nigeria an Islamic Caliphate started in 2009.
“But, Boko Haram is not only the group causing blood and tears to flow, even though many thought the situation ought not to get worse, given the hope Buhari inspired in the suffering communities, especially in the Middle Belt, when he came on board. From Benue to Nasarawa, Plateau and Kaduna, the tales of night marauders stalking sleeping communities and killing defenceless citizens remain a daily occurrence.”
Before Buhari assumed office, the Jonathan’s administration had recovered some lost territories from the insurgents.
It would also be remembered that Buhari had during his electioneering campaign promised to tackle the Boko Haram if elected into office. But last week (like the previous weeks since the former military ruler assumed office) started on a bloody note for some people in the northern part of the country, as over 150 Muslims and Christians were wasted in the insurgents’ attacks in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna and Plateau States.
In response to the siege, President Buhari would reverse the order on withdrawal of security agents at check points. Thus, he announced heightened security around mosques and churches and said they were setting up roadblocks in and out of major cities and towns following undisclosed intelligence/information they had received lately.
FG MULLS NEGOTIATION WITH BOKO HARAM
Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has confirmed that the Federal Government “will not be averse” to talks with Boko Haram, arguing: “Most wars, however furious or vicious, often end around the negotiation table.”
He, however, said FG would call the shots and won’t negotiate from the point of weakness, at the negotiation table.
CATALOGUE OF TERROR ATTACKS SINCE BUHARI BECAME PRESIDENT
There has been over 30 terror-related attacks since the election of General Muhammadu Buhari on March 28, 2015.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, however, took cognizance of the most deadly ones officially recorded from PMB’s inauguration on Friday, May 29 to Sunday, July 12, 2015.
We added the list of casualties, without reference to unofficial death tolls.
-May 30: At least 13 people killed during an attempted night invasion of Maiduguri by the insurgents.
-May 30: About 26 people killed in a bomb attack on a mosque near Borno market.
-May 31: Four killed at Gamboru Market in Maiduguri.
-June 2: 17 people killed at Maiduguri Abattoir.
-June 3: Four people killed in attack on mechanical workshop on Baga Road, Maiduguri.
-June 4: Female suicide bomber kill two near a military checkpoint in Maiduguri.
-June 5: 40 people killed in a suicide attack on Jimeta Night Market, Adamawa State.
-June 7: Three people killed in a suicide attack on Baga/Monguno Highway.
-June 11: 37 people killed in separate attacks on six villages in Borno State.
-June 15: Twin suicide bomb attacks killed 11 persons in Potiskum, Yobe State.
-June 17: Accidental explosion killed 15 persons in Monguno.
-June 22: Eight people killed in twin suicide attacks on Baga Fish Market, Maiduguri
-June 23: 15 people killed in suicide bomb attack on Nannawaji Village, Gujba Council of Borno State.
-June 23: 20 people killed in an attack on Debiro, headquarters of Hawul Council of Borno State.
-June 27: Five people killed at General Hospital in Molai, Borno State.
-June 30: 48 people killed in Mussaram I and Mussaram II, near Monguno.
-July 1: 98 people killed in Kukawa Village.
-July 2: 11 people killed at Malari Village along Bama/Konduga Highway.
-July 3: 29 killed in Mussa Village, Askira-Uba Council of Borno State.
-July 5: 51 people killed in a bomb explosion in a church in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
-July 7: 26 people killed in a bomb blast in Zaria, Kaduna State.
-July 12: Bomb Scares worshippers at the ECWA church in Tundunwada area of Jos, Plateau state. The package that looks like bomb, found in the church’s toilet exploded, creating fears and panic of a possible Boko Haram attack.
-July 12: Boko Haram kills 11 in Yobe, takes over highway in Damaturu.
In a swift reaction to the massive criticism trailing Buhari’s handling of Boko Haram in the face of their renewed terror attack, the Presidency said Nigeria is winning the war against the violent Islamist sect.
“We are winning the war against all forms of insurgency threatening our nation,” the Presidential Spokesman told ENCOMIUM Weekly in a phone interview on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
He also said the Presidency wouldn’t join issue with critics who are merely expressing their opinion.
– UCHE OLEHI