Chibok will never be same again. Chibok a sleepy village in the northeast part of Nigeria lost almost 300 girls to the menacing Boko Haram. The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has been causing havoc in Nigeria especially in the northern part of the country with a greater concentration on the northern east of Nigeria. Boko Haram has bombed and terrorized Churches, market place and recently it has bombed the outskirt of Abuja, the federal capital territory of Nigeria. Lives and properties have been consumed with the evil and calamitous operations by Boko Haram and innocent Nigerian citizens are the casualties.
For some time it looked like that the world and international community were keeping quiet, while Nigerian government appears to be in efficient in combating terrorism on her doorpost. The strength of Boko Haram was bulging and with impunity the forces of evil attacked innocent civilians and there was no price to be paid.
But on the fateful day, when the innocent and scholastic girls were abducted from their school dormitory and transported to unknown destination, the whole wide world rose to its feet and resoundingly said no to the abduction. The women of the world championed by Oby Ezekwesili, the former vice president of World Bank who lunched the hash tag #BringBackOurGirls on the social media and it took off like a wild fire.
“The movement to #BringBackOurGirls, which actually originated in Nigeria, has thus far demonstrated the virtues of solidarity and grassroots international cooperation, within and beyond the African diaspora. It has shed much meaningful light on how to make visibility and voice to the invisible and voiceless.
It has reminded us all of the value of naming and shaming – naming the girls to remind the world that they are human beings, and shaming terrorists, Nigeria’s incompetent government, and the structural and institutional racism and misogyny that allowed an atrocity of this magnitude to go unnoticed two weeks and unresolved for over three," as noted by Marissa Jackson
United States first lady, Mitchell Obama and human right activist, Malala Yousafzai, are all standing up and standing behind the 300 abducted Nigerians girls that were brutally taken away to unknown destination by the Islamist Boko Haram. The first lady, Mrs Obama tweeted a picture of herself holding a sign board with the written words: "Bring Back Our Girls."
"Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It's time to #BringBackOurGirls. - Mo.,” as tweeted by the first lady.
Yousafzai, the global human activist for endangered female also joined in the solidarity for the forceful stolen Nigerian girls. “Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban in her native country in 2002. The group targeted her because of our outspoken support for girls' education.”
Yousafzai extended a sisterly love to the abducted girls by calling them her sisters: "These girls are my sisters, "And I am feeling very sad." Her message for the abducted Nigerians: "Never lose hope because we are with you."
In defense of President Jonathan's Administration
Every observer, pundits including international media were vilifying President Jonathan's administration for his reluctance to act and for what they perceived and deemed as the necessary steps to be taken by the Nigerian government to combat and subdue Boko Haram. It is easier said than done, Boko Haram posses a formidable challenge that calls for a sophisticated and enhanced strategic network and initiative. The bitter truth is that Boko Haram is operating in a dysfunctional society of Nigeria divided by region, ethnicity, politics and religion. Nigeria is a complex society laden with colonial problems of yesterdays.
President Jonathan and his administration have not been folding their hands and did nothing. He has been managing this peculiarity inflicting the country but paucity of adequate strategic planning and modern technological tools made his effort less productive. Moreover, his media team lack of public relation savvy makes him look ineffective in the eye of the world. But the truth is that President Jonathan has not cease in trying to extinguish the consuming fire engulfing his country.
Now with the coalition of the willing nations - including Nigeria and four neighboring countries together with France, the United States, the United Kingdom "will coordinate “ and work with each other to combat the destabilizing Boko Haram. One thing for sure, the days of Boko Haram operating with impunity are numbered.
PARIS (AP) — A French official says Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has agreed to attend a security summit on Saturday in Paris to focus on the Boko Haram terrorist network, which abducted more than 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria last month.
France is still awaiting confirmation from leaders of the four countries bordering Nigeria: Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Representatives of Britain, the EU and the United States will also be invited.
The official spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because details on the summit have not been finalized. French President Francois Hollande proposed the meeting.
The failure to rescue more than 200 girls who remain captive has attracted international outrage. Experts from the United States, France, Britain, China, Israel and Spain are expected in Nigeria to help the authorities.
“I am going to marry out any woman who is twelve years old, and if she is younger, I will marry her out at the age of nine. You are all in danger. I am the one who captured all those girls and will sell all of them. Slavery is allowed in my religion, and I shall capture people and make them slaves. We are on our way to Abuja and we shall also visit the South. I am going to kill all the Imams and other Islamic clerics in Nigeria because they are not Muslims since they follow democracy and constitution. It is Allah that instructed us, until we soak the ground of Nigeria with Christian blood, and so-called Muslims contradicting Islam. We will kill and wonder what to do with their smelling corpses. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution’’.
It is self-evident that Mr. Shekau is not only a dangerous, barbaric, sadistic, delusional, homicidal, misogynistic, paedophilic, psycopathic and sociopathic cold-blooded murderer all rolled into one but his words adequately reflect the sheer ruthlessness, callousness and depravity that has seized the Haramite mind.
There is no doubt in my mind that he is possesed by the most cruel and vampiric demons and that he has a bloodlust that is second to none. Even Al Qaeda, with all it’s wickedness, have apparently condemned the latest atrocity committed by Boko Haram in Chibok.
Yet despite their unspeakable depravity they appear to have a few powerful friends at home who are speaking for them. Permit me to give just one example.
Instead of joining the rest of the civilised world and insisting that the terrorists must be utterly crushed, a group known as the Northern Elders have said that the Federal Government ”should pay billions as ransom to Shekau and release all detained Boko Haram members” and that there must be ”no foreign forces in Nigeria”. They have also demanded that ”force should not be used” in securing the freedom of the abducted girls.
These demands repugnant. It is the same people that did not want troops to be deployed to the area in the first place.
It is the same people that did not want a state of emergency to be declared in the north. It is the same people that have been urging the government to negotiate with Boko Haram for the last three years.
It is the same people that have consistently asked that Boko Haram should be treated with kid gloves and that they should be offered amnesty even though the islamist group have slaughtered no less than 10,000 innocent people in the last three years.
It is the same people that are suggesting that Boko Haram is actually a creation of the CIA, MOSSAD and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
It is one of these northern elders that referred to Boko Haram as ”freedom fighters” who are simply ‘’fighting for justice’’ only last year. It is another that said that members of Boko Haram ought to be treated ”in the same way as the Niger Delta militants” and that they should be rehabilitated, resettled and paid large sums of money only last year.
It is another that said that ‘’muslims should only vote for those that would protect their interests’’ and that he would see to it that ‘’sharia law is implemented and applied throughout the whole country’’ in 2001.
It is another that said that Nigeria was created by the British and granted independence by them in 1960 on the clear understanding that ”a northern muslim would always lead the country’’ in 1994. It is another that said that if the north does not have it’s way on the voting formula at the Constitutional Conference he would lead his people ”out of Nigeria and into the Camerouns’’ just over a month ago. It is another that said that they would make our country ‘’ungovernable’’ if a southerner was elected into power in 2011.
It is another that said, only a few weeks ago, that our country ‘’would burn’’ if Jonathan or any other southerner contests for the Presidential election in 2015. It is another that told us last year that ”poverty was the root cause of Boko Haram” and that the south was receiving too much money whilst the north was not receiving enough. How much more of these provocative rationalisations, threats and rhetoric can we be expected to take?
Just three weeks after the Haramites have abducted almost 300 young school girls at Chibok, burnt down their school and kept them as sex slaves, just a few days after they abducted eight more at Warabe Village, Borno state, just two weeks after two bombs went off in Nyanya, Abuja killing a total of 150 people between them and just three days after no less than 350 innocent people were slaughtered by the terrorists in Gamborou Ngala, a border town with the Camerouns, these northern elders are saying that force must not be used against them. This is unacceptable and their suggestion must be treated with the contempt that it deserves.
I do not know what it will take for the Nigerian people to accept the fact that Boko Haram is the greatest evil that our country has ever had to contend with and that there can be no dialogue with such demons. I do not know what it will take for these northern elders to accept the fact that evil is evil, that you must never negotiate with terrorists and that their ”gentle way” simply cannot work.
The truth is that until every single one of the Haramites is hunted down, brought to justice and despatched to hell there will be no peace in our country. We must also eliminate those who secretly encourage, fund and protect them.
I have always viewed those that have suggested that Boko Haram should be treated with kid gloves with the utmost suspicion. It is either that we live in a civilised secular state where the rule of law prevails, where beasts have no place and where murderous animals are treated like the savages that they are or we shall have no country at all.
All this talk about ”not using force” must stop because it is nonsensical, it is counter-productive and it presents a very real threat to our desire to continue to live as one nation. Those that abduct, rape, kill and enslave children do not deserve to live.
Those that believe that the Haramites are rational and that say that ”force should not be used against them” should proceed to the Sambisi Forest and give up them their own daughters in exchange for our missing girls. After they have done that they can be as gentle as they like with Boko Haram.
In all this President Goodluck Jonathan has much to learn and I would be the last person to endorse what I consider to be his inexplicable restraint and obvious weakness in the fight against Boko Haram. Mr. President has failed woefully to protect the lives and property of the Nigerian people and no responsible, self-respecting and rational human being, including those that consider themselves to be his officials and friends, should fail to admit this or should shy away from telling him.
We expect far better from him and if he fails to deliver on this he would not only have betrayed his mandate, violated his oath of office and let down the Nigerian people but he will play right into the hands of his sworn enemies and critics. This includes the Haramites and their secret friends and others of a more benign nature from the other side of the world like the American Senator John Mcain, who gleefully told the whole world just yesterday that ”no government exists in Nigeria”. It also includes Senator Hilary Clinton, who said only two days ago, that the Federal Government of Nigeria had ”squandered their oil wealth, allowed corruption to fester and now they are losing control of parts of their country”.
I am touched by these admonitions from our American friends but one wonders why it took the Obama adminstration up until early this year to formally recognise Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation despite repeated calls to do so earlier by many prominent Nigerians including Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of CAN. When Senator Clinton was Secretary of State for America the State Department simply refused to label Boko Haram as a terrorist group even though the islamists had butchered thousands of Nigerians by that time.
There is no doubt that the Jonathan administration has handled this matter in a wholly unacceptable and inadequate manner and I have said so more than any other in the last three years but frankly the Americans, and particularly Senator Clinton, must carry their own fair share of the blame in this matter. For President Goodluck Jonathan, the words of my brother, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, are instructive. On 9th May 2014 he wrote:
”we warned Jonathan. We called for action against Boko Haram and we screamed until our voices went hoarse. Now the people who advised him against taking strong action and called for dialogue, the very people that said it was caused by poverty, the very people that promised that traditional rulers would resolve the matter, the very people that encouraged him to vacillate and do nothing or little, are the ones mocking him. Well that is why leaders must exercise leadership. The buck stops at his table. The credit or the failure goes to him. I hope he learns!”
A word is enough for the wise.
Nigeria crisis: Boko Haram attack Maiduguri airbase
Boko Haram insurgents have attacked a military airbase in north-eastern Nigeria, destroying two helicopters, the authorities say.
Eyewitnesses say hundreds of militants attacked several areas of the city of Maiduguri, starting early on Monday.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Maiduguri. Its civilian airport was also briefly closed.
A BBC correspondent says the large-scale, co-ordinated attack is a big setback for the Nigerian military.
Thousands of people have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to install Islamic law.
In May, a state of emergency was declared in Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital, as well as two neighbouring states, while there has been a massive military deployment to the worst-affected areas.
'Crying and wailing'
Ministry of Defence spokesman Brig Gen Chris Olukolade said in a statement that two helicopters and three decommissioned military aircraft had been "incapacitated" during the attack which had been repelled.
He said some army bases had also been targeted, while 24 insurgents had been killed and two soldiers wounded.
Local residents told the AFP news agency that hundreds of heavily armed Islamist gunmen besieged the air force and army bases, razing buildings and setting shops and petrol stations ablaze.
"I saw two air force helicopters burnt," a local official told AFP.
Bomb and gun attacks were carried out in Maiduguri, an AFP reporter in the city said.
A resident said: "We heard women and children in the barracks crying and wailing. At the gate, I saw some vehicles destroyed and the checkpoint there in shreds."
There are reports of military checkpoints being attacked in different parts of the city.
Some eyewitnesses told the AP news agency they had seen bodies with their throats slit. Others said several vehicles had been driven out of the air base carrying the bodies of victims. Government and military officials said scores of people may be dead, AP reported.
A spokesman for the Nigerian civil aviation authority told the BBC that the airport had not been attacked, while Brig Gen Olukolade said flights had now resumed.
Recent Boko Haram attacks have been in more rural areas, and it had appeared as though the military operation had made Maiduguri city far safer, says the BBC Nigeria correspondent Will Ross.
Mobile phone links to the city have been cut since May, when the state of emergency was declared. Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri in 2002 and was also the scene of its first uprising, in 2009.
Considering the way Nigeria is reacting to Uncle Sam's designation of the fundamentalist Islamist sect, Boko Haram and its break-away faction, Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organisations, FTO, it's as if the intervention is one that comes with all gain and no pain. Both from official circles and the average Nigerian, the story is the same. Everyone is seeing the classification as a step in the right direction.
The Nigerian government reacting to the designation in a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ogbole Ode said it's "a welcome development, as it will strengthen cooperation between Nigeria and the United States in the fight against international terror; enhance the capacity and legal basis for concerted actions against both groups; and enable the two countries work more closely towards reducing the capability and capacity of the groups to unleash terror".
Earlier on, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke SAN, in his reaction said: “The US stance is a welcome development; we salute the US government for partnering with the federal government to root out terrorism. This step will assist this nation to deal with these renegades. It will also help in strengthening the proscription of Boko Haram by the federal government."
Our Defence HeadQuarters too couldn't resist the urge to join the fray. It spoke through its spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade thus: “It is a welcome development, we hope it will further bring the required international understanding and co-operation to deal with the terrorists. It shows a better appreciation of the security challenges that we are dealing with.”
A serving military general reacted to the issue by pontificating that the designation takes away all political colouration to the crisis. He stressed that those who support or identify with the two sects risk forfeiting their wealth and other interests outside the country and could be picked to face the wrath of the United States at anytime.
For members of the Free Readers Association of Nigeria ie. those who congregated at a popular news stand visited, majority concluded that Boko Haram has met its waterloo by the designation. Two specifically advised the federal government to spare its energy for other engagement and allow the Americans go all out on the radical Islamist sects. One expressed concerns about what the decision portends for the sovereignty of Nigeria, while another saw it as a minus to the push for dialogue in resolving the crisis wrought by the sects.
Going by these reactions, I'm tempted to believe that if Washington decides to take over the governance of our country today some of us would simply oblige without asking questions. Those at the power corridors would quickly relinquish authority after securing mouth-watering deals for themselves and then tell us 'it's a welcome development'. But, let me perish that thought and instead pray that subjecting our country to another bout of colonialism doesn't catch the fancy of Uncle Sam.
As exhilarating as their reactions are, I still refuse to utterly buy into this move by the US government. This is based on some equally palpable reasons. But before these reasons are reeled out, it'd be very appropriate to first illuminate on the new branding of Boko Haram and Ansaru. For one, the classification makes it a crime under US laws to provide material support to the groups just as members of the groups, wherever they are, will now be targets of air strikes from the US military among other decisive actions.
It gives Washington the legitimacy to clearly view the threat of Boko Haram as part of wider Islamist militancy in Sahel region that covers Niger, Somalia, Mali, Mauritania, Algeria and Libya. The FTO listing will bring many aspects of the US pursuit of Boko Haram to the open and systematise certain activities. It is believed that US had sent surveillance drones to Nigeria as early as last year, albeit not in an overt manner. But with this latest act, we should expect drones, any type of drone that is, without the US government being cryptic about it.
Indeed, any type of drone should be expected. While Washington has said it doesn't expect to deploy troops and drones, it is yet to be seen how such stance would be sustained should Boko Haram went ahead to prove its newly-bestowed international acclaim or aggressively go after US interests.
Already, the US flies unarmed drones from an airfield in Niamey, the Niger's capital which helps collect some intelligence information on the movement of militants with links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). It then means it could easily arm those drones should Boko Haram or Ansaru misbehaved.
Put in another way, the interpretation of the designation is that members of Boko Haram and Ansaru alongside their partners could be tracked down anywhere in the world by US law enforcement agents and prosecuted in the US. It also directs US law enforcement and regulatory agencies to block business and financial transactions involving the Boko Haram and Ansaru sects along with their members.
No doubt, the classification would come with extra scrutiny from US law enforcement officers in search of sponsors and financiers of the groups, not leaving out the militants from the close study. This will pose an encumbrance for travel plans, ease of transacting business and transfer of funds across countries. Oh! I forgot, this should be about elucidating the designation, why then am I already delving into the implications? It is because they are inweaved as you can't talk about one without inadvertently talking about the other. That's why it calls for surprise that we can't see the downsides to this move.
While we essay to stomach Abuja's acceptance of the intervention, it becomes too large a morsel for our throat for Abuja to tell us that the designation does not come with any consequence. Did government really say that? Yes it did! That much was said in the same statement by the spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry thus: “It also wishes to assure the public that the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru by the US government as FTOs would not lead to any negative repercussions for Nigeria and Nigerians."
Holy Moses! Our government can be preposterous sometimes. Isn't this tantamount to adjudging charcoal as snow? Or claiming that 'good morning' is very appropriate for a hot afternoon? Well, since government wants to take us for a fool, let's refer it to what one of its own told us about a year ago. Or don't you think somebody in the pedestal of a Nigerian ambassador to the US is one of government's own?
The ambassador, Ade Adefuye in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP newspaper sometime last year gave five reasons why Boko Haram shouldn't be designated a foreign terrorist organisation. He began by saying it'll mean 'that Nigeria is not able to deal with Boko Haram'. He continued that 'it will give such psychological boost to Boko Haram among other terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, which can be tempted to embrace them and support them.'
For the third reason, the diplomat said it 'would discourage investors from coming to Nigeria because nobody wants to go to an area where a terrorist organization resides.' He also said then that designating Boko Haram an FTO would betray US as illogical since they failed to declare Niger Delta groups, which also threatened their interests, an FTO. For his last reason, he opined that an FTO listing for Boko Haram would subject Nigerians travelling to the US to 'horrendous search at US entry points'.
With all these grounds, as germane as they are, proferred by the envoy, what other ground remains for a government official to stand and tell us that that act of US government wouldn't be detrimental to us? Let's hope that as they lie to us about the matter, they aren't acting on that lie. Better still, that they aren't lying to themselves as well. They'll be acting on that lie if they do nothing to mitigate the fallouts from this intervention by the US.
Our government must take care so that the case of Pakistan doesn't become our lot. We know how the US military in that country unilaterally launch military operations there in the name of fighting terror. That can worsen the crisis instead of dousing it.
There is this report by the American newspaper, New York Times which quoted Edward Snowden to have identified Nigeria’s SSS as one of the security agencies in the world that America’s NSA had been bugging. Our government haven't found it expedient to react to this. Yet it has gone ahead to welcome their intervention in taming the Boko Haram and Ansaru sects. We had better be mindful before Aso Rock itself becomes bugged (that is if it's not already).
Now, don't get me wrong. It's not as if I'm against the US wading into the matter. Why should I be when the situation seem to have defied the handle of our government? My point is that Abuja must insist that Washington doesn't cross the line. It must ensure that the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as the rights of Nigerians are upheld even as they intervene. Let's not go to sleep thinking that it has now become the headache of Uncle Sam. If we do, we'd wake having migraine instead.
The United States formally designated Nigerian militant groups Boko Haram and Ansaru as "Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Specially Designated Global Terrorists" on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement.
The groups have been responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria, including attacks on churches and mosques and a 2011 suicide bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja, the statement said.
A poster advertising for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is pasted on a wall in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno May 13, 2013. CREDIT: REUTERS/TIM COCKS
"By cutting these terrorist organizations off from U.S. financial institutions and enabling banks to freeze assets held in the United States, these designations demonstrate our strong support for Nigeria's fight against terrorism and its efforts to address security challenges in the north," Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama's top homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, said in the statement.
"We encourage Nigeria to pursue a comprehensive counterterrorism approach that uses law enforcement tools effectively, creates economic opportunity, and ensures that human rights are protected and respected," she said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland)
(Reuters) - Suspected Islamist insurgents who hid weapons inside a coffin have shot dead 13 people in an attack targeting informants in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, two witnesses said on Sunday.
Friday's attack came as Nigeria's military makes its most concerted effort yet to end a four-year insurgency by Boko Haram, a sect that has killed thousands in a campaign to create a state governed by Islamic law in Nigeria's northeast.
Fearing the northeast was turning into a de facto Islamist enclave similar to northern Mali before French military action in January, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency last month in three states.
The military claim to have driven Boko Haram fighters out of Maiduguri and from their camps near borders with Chad and Niger.
But around ten men pretending to be driving to a burial came to an area of Maiduguri late on Friday, pulled the guns from the coffin and opened fire on some houses where vigilantes who aid the military live, witnesses said.
"The Boko Haram killed 13 residents during their sporadic gunshots," said an eyewitness, Saleh Ibrahim. He said soldiers later shot dead six insurgents whose bodies were left by the road.
A spokesman for the military joint task force (JTF), Sagir Musa, declined to comment on the attack but said vigilante groups in the area of Maiduguri targeted by the gunmen had helped identify Boko Haram suspects.
"People have been assisting the JTF with information to arrest the Boko Haram, so they were not happy and they came to deal with people there," said another witness, Ali Musa.
Boko Haram and other Islamist groups like the al Qaeda-linked Ansaru have become the biggest threat to stability in Africa's second-largest economy and top oil producer.
(Reporting by Lanre Ola; writing by Joe Brock; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) National Leader, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has criticised the declaration of state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States and the subsequent military offensive against the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
Buhari, who featured on the “Guest of the Week,” a Hausa programme of the Kaduna-based Liberty Radio, yesterday said the federal government’s action was a gross injustice against the north.
According to him, unlike the special treatment the federal government gave to the Niger Delta militants, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished.
He said he was not in support of the declaration of state of emergency in the three north-eastern states because President Goodluck Jonathan had failed from the outset in addressing the security situation in the country.
Besides, Buhari added that the security challenges facing the country started in the Niger Delta region where he alleged that politicians desperate to retain their positions as governors recruited youths and armed them to enable them win elections by force.
According to Buhari, who fielded questions in Hausa language before the English version of the programme, “What is responsible for the security situation in the country was caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants.
“Every Nigerian that is familiar with what happened knows this. The Niger Delta militants started it all. What happened is that the governors of the Niger Delta region at that time wanted to win their elections, so they recruited the youths and gave them guns and bullets and used them against their opponents to win elections by force.
“After the elections were over, they asked the boys to return the guns, the boys refused to return the guns. Because of that, the allowance that was being given to the youths by the governors during that time was stopped.
“The youths resorted to kidnapping oil workers and were collecting dollars as ransom. Now a boy of 18 to 20 years was getting about $500 in a week, why will he go to school and spend 20 years to study and then come back and get employed by government to be paid N100,000 a month; that is if he is lucky to get employment?
“So kidnapping became very rampant in the south-south and the south-east. They kidnapped people and were collecting money.
“How did Boko Haram start? We know that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf, started his militancy and the police couldn’t control them and the army was invited. He was arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police.
“The appropriate thing to do, according to the law, was for the police to carry out investigations and charge him to court for prosecution, but they killed him, his in-law was killed, they went and demolished their houses.
“Because of that, his supporters resorted to what they are doing today.
“You see in the case of the Niger Delta militants, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua sent an airplane to bring them, he sat down with them and discussed with them, they were cajoled, and they were given money and granted amnesty.
“They were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north are being killed and their houses demolished. They are different issues, what brought this? It is injustice.”
Buhari also explained why he joined politics after his release from detention by former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, saying that his close associates and those who knew him very well convinced him to join partisan politics.
He said those who knew him, knew that he took on positions of responsibility without begging anyone for appointments.
“I was a military governor in a state that has been divided into six states today; I was minister of petroleum for four years and six months. I was a military head of state. But because these people know how I live my life, they were not coming to beg me for money. They were coming to ask me to comment on issues that affected the nation,” he added.
He said further that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 also shaped his attitude to politics.
“When I joined partisan politics in April 2002, in my ward in Daura, (Katsina State), they kept on coming. And then one significant thing at the global level happened, the Soviet Union collapsed.
“Out of the Soviet Union, there are now about 18 or 19 republics and that conclusively proved to me as an individual that the multi-party system is the best form of democracy, but with the big caveat that elections must be free and fair. That is how I arrived in CPC today, but first from APP to ANPP to CPC," he said.
Buhari lamented that God has blessed Nigeria with human and natural resources, but “we have failed to organise ourselves”, stressing that one of the problems bedevilling the country is bad leadership.
In an unprecedented move, the United States on Monday posted up to $23 million in rewards to help track down five leaders of militant groups accused of spreading terror in west Africa.
The highest reward of $7 million is offered for the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who last week called on Islamists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to join the bloody fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.
The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice program also targeted Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), offering its first ever bounties for wanted militants in west Africa.
Up to $5 million was posted for Al-Qaeda veteran Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist behind the devastating attack on an Algerian gas plant in January in which 37 foreigners, including three Americans, were killed.
A further $5 million was offered for top AQIM leader Yahya Abou Al-Hammam, reportedly involved in the 2010 murder of an elderly French hostage in Niger.
Malik Abou Abdelkarim, a senior fighter with AQIM, and Oumar Ould Hamaha, the spokesman for Mali’s Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), were also targeted by the rewards program, which will give up to $3 million each for information leading to their arrests.
“AQIM has been increasingly active in north and west Africa. They’re one of the pre-eminent kidnap for ransom groups in the terrorist world right now,” a senior State Department official told AFP, asking not to be named.
“They cause us a great deal of concern. Anything that we can do naturally to cut down on the capabilities of AQIM, anything that we can do to get information on these people so that we can get them in front of a court… That is our goal.”
The United States has been increasingly worried about the spread of Islamist groups in Mali and across the vast and lawless Sahel since a military coup ousted the government in Bamako.
Former colonial power France has led a military offensive since January against the militants in Mali’s northern desert, as the west African nation prepares for presidential elections on July 28.
There are fears however that the spread of militant groups risks destabilizing the entire west African region.
Belmokhtar, who was a senior commander for AQIM, broke away from the group last year to set up his own group dubbed the “Signatories in Blood.”
Branded “the Uncatchable,” Belmokhtar also personally supervised the operational plans for the twin car bombings in Niger that killed at least 20 people late last month, according to a spokesman for his group.
Monday’s rewards acknowledged the growing links between AQIM and Nigeria’s Boko Haram, which is under pressure from a military offensive.
“They’ve had a relationship for some time. They send people back and forth for training, they’ve done the provision of arms back and forth,” the State Department official said.
“The links are… not quite as solid as some of the other terrorist organizations,” he said. “Nonetheless, it’s a dangerous link and it’s something that we feel we should try and stop.”
Shekau, in a video obtained by AFP last week, claimed his forces had made significant gains against the Nigerian army while sustaining little damage since the start of the military offensive on May 15.
“Under his leadership, Boko Haram’s capability has certainly grown,” the State Department official told AFP.
He highlighted how the group set off “their first improvised explosive device in early June 2011. By August (2011) they used a car bomb against the United Nations facility,” an attack which killed 25 people.
“When we see someone like this who… is actually leading to an increase in the capability of an organization, that’s something that we would naturally try to see if we can do something to impede,” he added.
Shekau’s whereabouts could not be determined in the video, in which he is shown seated and dressed in camouflage and a turban, with an AK-47 at his side.
His comments contradict statements from the military, which has claimed major successes during the offensive, including the destruction of Boko Haram camps and dozens of arrests.
Shekau was placed on a US blacklist last year, but Boko Haram has yet to be designated a foreign terrorist organization — an absence which has raised eyebrows among regional experts.
Reuters reorted that, " Gunmen killed 18 people at a market in northern Nigeria where local hunters were selling bush meat from animals like monkeys and pigs, which strict Muslims are forbidden to eat, a local official said. Officials said they believed that the attack in the town of Damboa was carried out by members of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram. In a separate attack in Kano, gunmen on motorcycles, believed to be Boko Haram members, killed five people playing an outdoor board game, presumably for gambling, witnesses said".
Bloomberg reorted, "Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and most populous nation, is battling an insurgency by Boko Haram that has killed hundreds of people since 2009. The group, which wants to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, has carried out bomb and gun attacks in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja. Nigeria’s more than 160 million people are almost evenly split between the north and a largely Christian south."