by Yekinni Shakiru Ayinde
Worried by the increased spate of bombings which target the heart of northeastern Nigeria for destruction, the Center for Global Peace Initiative (CGPI) hereby implores the federal government to focus more on intelligence gathering which would expand its dragnet and beam its search light on the presence and activities of some ‘foreign missions’ in Nigeria especially those with records of complicity in the ongoing Boko Haram imbroglio.
Our concern is hinged on the fact that judging by the amount/tonnage of bombs detonated so far in the country, one could almost conclude that Nigeria has become a country with ubiquitous outlets for bomb-manufacturing.
How these ‘bombs’ and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are brought together and assembled should naturally raise concern as to the skills and capacity of its maker(s). Barely few days after it was reported that the Damaturu-Biu road had been cleared of land mines planted by Boko Haram insurgents, the Police intercepted a highlander jeep at a checkpoint in this same place with its passengers suspected of harbouring sinister motives.
While being taken to the Police headquarters for possible interrogation, the ‘bombs’ they had in the car was remotely detonated and eight people instantly lost their lives including some men of the Police force.
This incident sheds some light on the fact that contrary to insinuations (and even if real) that vulnerable children especially girls donning hijab are being used as suicide bombers especially when the remains of the ‘suicide-bombers’ are never identified or verified, remote detonation could have been happening all along!
A look at the sequence of bombings from the period of the postponement of the 2015 General Election showed a downward slide as the then Jonathan-led administration ‘kept’ its promised to make the place ‘safe’ for the elections. This prompted some questions among which were ‘what method/strategy became suddenly available to the military that had been all the while elusive?’
This is apart from the fact that ‘bombs’ also went off in other parts of the country especially the South-East and South-South during the election period buttressing the fact that the ‘skill and capacity referred to above lie in the hands of some men who may be highly ‘connected’.
Interestingly too, there was no mention of ‘female suicide bombers’ in those other parts of the country since part of this insidious ‘war’ was targeted at demonising Islam and denying its adherents some of their rights, like the ban on the use of hijab being provocatively pushed by some people without regard to the freedom of religious practice enshrined in our constitution.
And as if these ‘terrorists-bombers’ were always feeling the pulse of the country before making their next move, their dastardly activities which took a nosedive in the election and immediate post election periods, resumed and gathered momentum!
However one should not dismiss or forget the fact that until the recent sacking of the Service Chiefs by PMB only a few days ago, the ‘hands’ running the military and security apparatuses of the country were still those of the ‘old guards’ under former President Jonathan whose conducts in the counter-insurgency operations have not only been questionable, but have also left Nigerians in a state of near permanent hysteria!
The point being made here is that, not only do we have saboteurs of our collective security, but that some ‘foreign missions’ with interest in a Nigeria enmeshed in a long drawn war may have infiltrated our security apparatuses and are probably helping in festering the insurgency!
Now this is not a weird ‘conspiracy’ theory, but anxiety built on precedents. For instance, a certain country was involved in an illegal and back door attempt of the Jonathan administration to procure arms from South Africa without due process and specifically for no identified Nigerian security outfit, buttressing the submission of the United States that there was a flow of intelligence, arms and ammunitions from some quarters in our military to the ‘new-improved’ Boko Haram insurgents which made the latter withdrew its pledge of assistance.
The same country would have Nigeria’s arm twisted and used in truncating the hopes of the people of Palestine for a state even after its erstwhile ally –the United States- had hinted it would no longer support the bellicose attitude of that country.
The ambassador of this country in question was one of those staunch ‘foreign’ supporters of the discredited Jonathan- administration, and all these happening at a time when that country felt it could go it alone and ‘conduct’ its own affairs by itself if the Americans led by Obama would no longer provide it with the much needed diplomatic cover for its morbid agenda around the globe!
To put it more succinctly, the areas around which Nigeria experiences multiple troubles [from insurgency to communal violence, and wanton killings and destruction] happen to be the ‘heart’ of the ‘fault line’ described by experts as the ‘tenth parallel’.
The ‘tenth parallel’ is ‘a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide’ which coincides with Nigeria’s middle belt and its upper parts. Conflicts in these areas, as are in Sudan and other places bordering this ‘line’ are rife. However they are made worse by the intervention of outside interests and powers whose motive is usually a prolongation of sectarian conflicts in the hope of making material and economic gains thereof.
It would be remembered that not long ago, nationals of this tiny but powerful country settled as ‘white farmers’ along this belt in the country; could it then be a coincidence that that place has ‘transformed’ in its prosecution of violence by the employment of highly sophisticated and lethal weapons available almost at a finger tip?
The Iraqi Example
The toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq may have gone down well with a large section of the people. What however the people never bargained for was an escalation in sectarian violence meant to deepen the divisions amongst them. Bombs keep flying to and fro across communities which gave the impression that almost every Iraqi home was capable of manufacturing one.
Today the country faces a possible break up along a tripartite line of Sunni, Shia and Kurdish entities. Sudan was earlier balkanized courtesy of the insidious ‘intervention’ and support of this same tiny but ‘powerful’ country. In Nigeria we have seen some people claiming their origin to be from this country and embarking on seditious campaigns even though they cannot be said to represent the entire people of their region. All of these should set us thinking as a nation and be mindful of those we harbor or court as ‘friends’.
In conclusion, no stone should be left unturned in routing out possible accomplices in the counter insurgency campaign either local or foreign. Perhaps Nigeria can learn some things from other nation’s history.
Iran as a country, which today had its right to step up its power capability to nuclear level conceded to it, was a beehive of espionage and extra territorial activities for some big powers. But it took its first step to freedom when it sacked the ‘embassy’ of a super power which had then become in reality a ‘surveillance field’ for what went on in Iran and the entire Middle East.
Some ‘foreign missions’ have enjoyed undue privilege and meddling in our internal affairs in recent time: now is the time to prune them to what they should be – ‘diplomatic missions’ only!
Yekinni Shakiru Ayinde is the Executive Director, Center for Global Peace Initiative [CGPI]
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