Boko Haram: Poking the police in the eyes

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Odebode Olaniyi

In what analysts seeas a brazen call to the battlefield, suspected members of Nigeria’s emerging terrorist group, Boko Haram, early on Thursday attacked the Louis Edet House headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, a distance of about one minute drive to the Presidential Villa in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.

Until 2009, a militant Islamic group, Boko Haram, was relatively unknown in the country. Although it was established in 2002, it did not come into prominence until 2009, when its members engaged the police in a gun battle.

In July 2009, its founder, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, was captured and killed by the police.

Boko Haram in Hausa means Western or non-Islamic education is a sin. The group is seeking the implementation of Shariah law in the northern states of Nigeria.

Before he was killed, Yusuf, in an interview on the BBC, stated, “There are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam.

“Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain. Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism.”

Although he was averse to the Western life sytle, Yusuf was said to be educated and wealthy. According to a don, Hussain Zakaria, “He (Yusuf) is graduate educated and very proficient in English. He lives lavishly - people say he drives a Mercedes Benz. And he is very well-educated in a Western context.”

Rather curbing the group, the killing of its leader seems to have emboldened it as it has stepped up bomb attacks in the Northern part of the country including Maiduguri; Jos, Kaduna; Bauchi and Abuja.

On December, 31, 2010, it attacked Mammy Market at Army Mogadishu Baracks, Abuja 11 people died. Prior to the attack, it had claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed eight people in Jos.

Those who have been killed by the group included the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party’s governorship candidate in Borno State, Modu Fanami Gubio,and a brother of Sheu of Borno, Abba El-Kanemi.

Concerned about the incessant kilings carried out the group, the new Governor of the state, ....Kashim Shettima, said he was ready to offer its members amnestty. President Goodluck Jonathan also during his recent visit to the United States\ support the govenor, saying stick and carrot approach would be used in dealing with the militants.

The Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim, boasted that the days of Boko Haram, on Tuesday in Maiduguri boasted that the days of the sect were numbered.

The bomb blasts at the police headquarters came barely 48 hours after the IG vowed to end activities of Boko Haram

Ringim, had while receiving vehicles donated to the police by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said, “No responsible government will treat the issue of security with levity. We have expended a huge amount of money in ensuring our internal security but the fact is that all the investment cannot be compared with the pains we are experiencing as a result of loss of lives.”

But reacting to the IGP’s statement, the group on Wedbesday stated that the talks with the President had collapsed because of Ringim’s utterances. It stated, “With the unfolding scenario, we would rather remain in war than to go into dialogue.”

The bomb blasts occurred at the police headquarters in spite of the CCTV, which the police said that it had procured.


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