Opinion: Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Severity of War, Marching Boot Intervention and Generational Immobility Gaps: IPOB, Stop Viewing Boko Haram Through a Prism By Dr. M. Bintube
The implications surrounding deploying military actions as a response to domestic violent groups in conflicts with constituted authority, the momentum, sharpness and severity of military soft and hard ware in their operations leading to usurpation of the gaps of conflict situation by hoodlums, bandits and gangsters at the expense of innocent souls and critical pubic infrastructure leaves much to be desired. Although, Karl Marx is of the view that society is borne out of conflict, organised through conflict and must to exist with conflict and concluded that struggle rather than peaceful growth is the engine of progress. Although, Karl Marx thesis was guided by Hegelian philosophy and Marx thesis of egaleteriansim is an utopian mentality characterised by a mirage of the highest order. Durkheim and Marx Weber amplified and further reinvigorated the need for order and stability of a complex social grouping and systems by reinforcing on the need for vertical and horizontal integration supporting mutual consensus building for peace and progressive development of mankind within the entire ecosystem. This piece is not more than a caution reminding the IPOB of internal violence and its huge sociological and demographic implications as it X rays the anatomy of complexes and intricacies of a war situation while drawing inference from north eastern Nigeria. Managing Boko Haram in the north east today has turned out to be a herculean task for the political elite, bureaucrats and technocrats, including international development partners; foreign and local NGOs who are currently struggling with the residual impact of the fallouts due to Boko Haram hydra-headed monster.
Can IPOP see this thesis and/ or assertions as source of inspiration? Nnamdi Azikiwe, the great Zik of Africa, had this to say to Africa and Africans in diaspora, “when there are two incompatible forces, they co-exist by agreeing to agree on certain issues and agreeing to disagree on other issues agreeably”. This philosophy of Nnamdi Azikwe has underscored the significance of constructive engagement for consensus building through dialogue alongside compromise for unity and sense of camaraderie among Nigerian people rather than confrontational hate speeches and attacks. I’m strongly of the belief that carving space and challenging state legitimacy may not yield desired results neither IPOB nor Boko Haram would emerge as a winners in this race but Nigeria, in the long run. Its rather sad of the proscription that IPOB’s activities have been criminalised hence designated as a terrorist organisation by the judicial apparatus in line with section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2011 as amended. IPOB wake up and manage the conflicting situation for the betterment of all in the south east. Exerting forces of equal resistance have generational immobility gaps, as its social implications can be expensive course to manage and bear.
Boko Haram and the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) differ slightly in their crusade for achieving their overarching and specific objectives in their quest to establish a nation state. Perhaps, what the two terrorist organizations have in common is that the two are ideological and have demonstrated an outright rejection of calls for peace and unity of Nigeria, characterised by their downright objectionable and palpable manifest actions challenging state legitimacy, especially IPOB in undermining the severity of military action through ‘Operation Python Dance’, which has received judicial support and legitimacy for supremacy of Nigeria as a nation state. IPOB ask Borno people about “Operation Flush” how it started and the consequences that still continue and then decide whether or not to go ahead with the “Python dance”. Say no to military action to sustain peace and try to dialogue with government in the best interest of our brothers and sisters of the southeast.
Are we also aware that crucial public institutions and structures would perish for war? Markets will close, no beds for the sick in hospitals, mobile network will shut down and borders closed. IPOB stop viewing the Boko Haram through a prism and don’t allow selfish interest of a few to cause the death of the innocent majority. Imagine buying a loaf of bread for 500 naira as was the case in the northeast at a point due to terrorist activities.
Nigeria as a nation needs peace at this time more than ever before. We can not afford to embrace conflictual situation leading to perpetual precarious states of anomie resulting in hunger, and starvation, diseases and preponderance of orphans, widows as well as mass displacement of innocent Nigerians and the down trodden masses at the grassroots who rarely feel the impact of governance and who by their immediate and present posture and constitutional dispositions are already in bad shape, underscoring William Sheldon’s somatotype description of disobedient human persons as endomophy, mesomorphy and ectomophy for no crime committed by the Nigerian masses yet making them look bad as one. The masses are pushed to be at the baggeries and verge of dead or dying, reinforcing Elizabeth Qubler Rose’s stages of dead. This is the time Nigerian masses shoud be helped by all of us at this time and not left in the hands of the government. We have to be our brother’s keeper, irrespective of zonal affiliations, religious or tribal differences and instensify sprit of altruistic social solidarity for national cohesion to save the masses, who are mpoverished and pauperized by entrenched poverty occasioned by mismanagement of public trust leading to the common man being anything but less productive, void of self esteem in the actualisation of his or her dream and proud to be a Nigerian citizen.
The questions are; Is IPOB aware of the consequences of facing a war situation? Is IPOB aware of the existential threat of evolving complexes of Boko Haram and its stages as they show resistance to national calls for peace? Is IPOB aware of the devastation of the north east emerging from the ashes of terrorism? Agitation by the BH and IPOB, among other uprisings in Nigeria with internal conflict and its objective strain and reality again, has underscored Tom Wicker’s thesis on “Atica Prison Revolts; a Time to Die”. The north had experienced monumental internal displacement of the highest order for violence due to war situation leading to generational immobility gaps of its population. Emprical data is glaring that in April 2015, the displacement tracking matrix of the IDPs in the northeast stood at one million, four hundred and ninety one, seven hundred and six thousand (1,491,706) persons, displaced from their homes in the North Eastern Region of Nigeria. Just to remind IPOB of the collateral damage that might come should they continue to challenge state legitimacy. So, IPOB stop viewing the Boko Haram through a prism.
The years 2013 and 2014 had recorded the most deadly Boko Haram terrorist massacre in the north eastern region. Since July 27th, 2009, when its founder, the late Mohammed Yusuf, conceived the idea of a ‘jihad’ (unholy war). Analysis of quantitative data revealed that, on the average, about 50 people were affected by Boko Haram terrorism periodic attacks per week in the year 2013 and at least 70 people in the year 2014 up to 80 people per day in the months of November and December of 2012, 2013, 2014 and up to early 2015 with higher casualties in Borno and Yobe States and relatively lower numbers recorded in Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe States compare to the former who had tremendously suffered than the later states.
Also, there are implications in proscribing IPOB as a terrorist organization. How does the government and criminal justice system apparatus monitor activities of a group that has gone underground and manage them to maintain peace? Labelling IPOB activities as illegal and criminalising their movement and actions creates laten dangers that might make it difficult to keep track of the group for a solution. However, IPOB should stop viewing Boko Haram through a prism.
What we should know of most terrorist organization are their agenda and masterplans. The Boko Haram’s document entitled Jihadist’s seven-stage plan for the Next 20 Years as some of the electronic materials relating to the operations of Boko Haram geomechanistic-talibanism ‘jihadists’ line of offensive attacks. As a corollary to this master plan, the counter narrative to this document would be that, the Nigeria government would still have to fight the Boko Haram saga for the next 12 years to come. So, is it necessary to have another terrorist organization? The government need to identify their financier, sources of support and funding in earnest including their sympathiser to a round table dialogue to end the situation.
Wether Boko Haram, IPOB or Fulani Herdsmen or interethnic violence they all appeared to be same as sorts of double edged swords sponsored by the international comprador bourgeoisie and fuel by domestic conspirators and aided due to illiteracy of the bulk of Nigerian population of 75million illiterates occasioned by gullibility of youth bulge and poverty of knowledge among citizens . All of these problems are rather rouse and tactics of to secure loyalty of the vulnerable and gullible youths in the country to the course especially, the Boko Haram members were given tea and date nuts refined with cocaine and heroine to cause mayhem ; they were thus brainwashed to stake their lives for Boko Haram ideological hegemony of suicide mission, massacre, serial killing and high profile assassination.
Again, Who will suffer generational loss from war should IPOB show resistance? War is antithesis to informal structures and everthing you know good which ultimately have the stance of leading to collapse of the traditional institutions, aside from eroding norms and value systems. All of these are inferences drawn from the north east where traditional rulers were butchered by the regional bandits, hoodlums and gangsters. Women, children, aged and productive aged groups were maimed, elder statesmen were kidnapped for ransom and children thrown out of schools, hence, posing generational threat and mortgaging lives. .
Do we apportion blame to those in positions of authority for these calamitous incidences killing and consuming our brothers and sisters either for BH or IPOB? The answer may surprise you as i make referrals to a world leading text put together by Dr. David Kieghe on ” Corruption Threat to the Nation State; National Ambition, Reconstructing Nigeria” and Benjamin R. Berber’ thesis Jihad versus Mc World: “How Globalisation and Terrorism are reshaping the world” may be an answer well articulated and those in positions of power in Nigeria can not help to be part of the Solution for explicit lack of capacity, tribalism and sectionalism in governance together with its administration. Our leaders have tremendous roles to play in curtailing the strain posed by the evolving complexes of dynamic global political economy that comes with huge benefits of IT and attendent unquantifiable harzards of erasing fragile zones and masses lacking in economic powers joining the bandwagon of globalisation as a process as well as an economic phenomenon. Globalisation is a programme that seems antithesis to unproductive social groupings all over the world, especially the religious faithfuls beit muslim or christan who seem to lack an economic base; think of South Sudan, Somalia, the northeast of Nigeria, Burundi, Kenya, Afghanistan, Syria, Chad and Cameroun to mention but a few who were predominantly the religion masese who are suffrering of constant dynamic conflicts. It is fundamentally necessary for IPOB to reverse its decisions and channel their grievances through legitimate democratic channels than to carve out space challenging state legitimacy and supremacy. It is ideal to struggle for a course driven by self determination for nation state but there are legitimate democratic processes to be followed. It’s not all about a Biafran state but whether or not IPOB have in place a safe guard mechanism for managing geopolitical risk of conflicting issues that might emerge in the end? Whether IPOB is aware of the mess and complexes of each of these stages of the Boko Haram; Geomechanistic-talibanism ‘jihadist’ periodic attackers and the Geoorganistic-transntional ‘jihadist’ periodic attackers in the evolution of the Boko Haram? IPOB stop viewing the Boko Haram through a prism.
The programmers of project globalisation together with the Nigerian political leaders may be part of our present day problems and of course the solutions. I’m so much disturbed and at times skeptical when people say Abubakar Shekau the leader of Boko Haram is still alive. Kudos to Richard Durwkins thesis; the Magic of Reality how to know what is really true”. When does an individual became more powerful than a nation state that he can’t be caught through IT driven facilities and bilateral and multilateral assistance through diplomacy? Who is the financier of IPOB and BH ? The phenomena that catalystl Nigeria’s internal crisis is absence of goodness of fit to the new world order and our inability to optimally utilised IT world and its opportunities for development and improving the life of a common man. Poor governance has numerous implications on communal non-intergrating gaps and globalisation as a dynamic worldwide process of capitalist economic integration and irresistible expansion of global capitalist market that is synonymous with the present day epoch.
Conversely, however, from the foregoing, the nature of the traditional landscape of Borno where the Boko Haram geo-conservative-Yusuffiya ‘jihadist’ periodic attackers emerged was in short supply of modern variables referred to as ‘modernity’ and the crucial features of ‘globalisation’ seems to be thin or completely non-existent there. May that be the course of the conflict? Bad to recall historical calander of the civil war and the monumental collosal lost due to our mistakes of being used by politicians for gimmics in order to settle their poitical scores for self aggrandisement. Who would rebuilt the hard earned infrastructures that would be destroyed for war? Who enjoys when you die? Many died in war thinking the next generation would enjoy for their sacrifice yet we suffer and fight for suspicions. Boko Haram started among few homogenous Northerners same as the Igbo sets of people as the IPOB members of today and should you continue in your agitation fir Biafra soon the platform would be taken over and sunsitutited with highly heterogeneous set of people to confuse the southeast. However, Boko Haram started in 1992, it became pronounced in 2001. The Geomechanistic-talibanism at this stage of its evolution seemed to be homogenous, membership made up of the Igbo indigenes particularly in terms of its composition.
The Boko Haram withdrew from the larger society, curved space and established camp in Yobe state and taged themselves as the Nigerian ‘Taliban. The geomechanistic-talibanism later formed the foundation of the Boko Haram phenomenon in Nigeria. Their weapons of attacks at that time were largely crude. These included bows and arrows, sticks, cutlasses, swords, den guns and AK47 rifles just as the group of IPOB members who in their composition are homogeneous Igbo youths use to block roads and major high ways carrying sticks and local weapons in their agitations and uprising as a sub-national or separatist group that operated within a specific geographical area and their emergence was spurred by government’s failure in its basic social contract of providing security to its civilian population as their fundamental rights enshrined in the 1999/constitution as amended. Society including the government cannot take away from then without an aprons to natural justice and freedom of human person.
Again, the 20/9/17 proscription of IPOB may have enormous existential threat on lives of the innocent Nigerian citizens and properties should IPOB fail to manage and/or soft pedal in their quest and crusade for a nation state based on self determination. However, the Boko Haram at the early stage of their evolution their form of attacks was an asymmetrical warfare, though at times, they used conventional arms that were similar to what was obtainable in the western world.
Therefore, it would have been much easier at at that stage for law enforcement agencies to manage, dectect, fight and defeat the geomechanistic-talibanism ‘jihadists’. But that was not achieved and thus created the suspicion that the government lacked the political will to end the crisis. Its important that, the government of Nigeria has to manage the IPOB situation than to allow it deteriorate and/or escalate beyond repair. Incidences such as terrorism, and insurgency, communal and ethinic violence caused by land disputes, activities of pastoralists (Fulani herdsmen) and matrimonial face-offs capable of dividing communities along cultural and ethnic lines as social vices were generated by deficit in governance and inability of public trustees understanding sociological peculiarities, needs and and expectations the communities in conflict prividing social services a situation that could have been avoided by successive leaderships in Nigeria.
The inability of those in the positions of authority, lack of sincerity in dealing with humanitarian crises and paucity of capacity to nip in the bud avoidable social vices dealing with compex human social problems to ensure peace and unity of Nigeria ensuring even development have been the root causes of the present embarrassment that we find ourselves in today. Resources voted for improving life that should go a long way in solving most of the humanitarian crises in Nigeria are being cornered and siphoned by public trustees. This is so glaring as colossal amounts of looted funds were recovered. Nigerians are eager to see how the recovered funds actually change their life for the better.
Gradual decay of systems culminates into communal ills and neighbourhood conflicts, child abuse, delinquency, drug and human trafficking, ritual kilings, rape, joblessness and other ills among youths capable of undermining peace, safety and security are reflections of severe injustice, inequality and manifest deprivation and marginalisation of compex human grouping such as minorities and those from the lower social status; less opportunity to become socially mobile and less money than the corrupt officials and public trustees in the country. Nominal groups in Nigeria felt marginalised that succesive goverments were handicapped as they had not done enough in giving hope to the hopeless.
Our policies lack principles and direction and are not formulated on the basis of empirism and evidence, neither are they built to be people-centered nor can its implementations be tested and measured for development indices and imperatives. Governance, policies and programmes in recent times benefit only those in positions of authority and their cronies rather than changing life of majority of Nigerians for the better these are some of the associational factors fir all of these uprising and agitations by the IPOB and the BH. IPOB, think before you go to war; think about the north and stop viewing the Boko Haram through a prism as yours may not be different. The periodic attacks carried out by the regional bandidts who usurped the garb of Boko Haram terrorists in the north has affected at least, six million (6,000,000) residents who became victims; women, children, and the aged were very much affected in the north east region as Boko Haram challenged state legitimacy.
Indiscriminate usurpation of the conflict situation by hoodlums, gangsters and the destabilisation of the erstwhile stable social system are things that IPOB should guard against. Should they continue to show resistance to state supremacy then another round of war looms in the south east. IPOB should therefore, stop viewing the Boko Haram through a prism. It would have been sound reasoning to come up with a project championed by IPOB, marshalling people-centrerd programmatic action plans that would ensure peace and improve and promote development of the south east, which by extension develops the south south and Nigeria as a whole rather than challenging state’s legitimacy. To my mind, from all indications, the proscription of IPOB as a terrorist organization is synonymous to Tom Wicker knocking on IPOB’s door with glaring early warning signals of huge national, regional and global implications that may culminate to bad situation leading to marching boots, markets falling, erasing zones and subsequently leading to submerge of fragile communities in the region of conflict should they continue in their agitation.
Drawing inference from the north the Geoorganistic-Transnational ‘jihadist’ periodic Attackers as the sixth stage in the evolution of Boko Haram attacks were highly sophisticated due to their conspiracy with parent headquarters beyond national borders, a complex network was established of swapping funds, ammunition and training of members which could be tagged ‘gangsterism with technical know-how of asymmetric warfare’. The nature of the geoorganistic-transnational attackers was such that had national, regional and international implications and the severity of the attacks recorded high casualty rates. For example, the attacks carried out between the 3rd and 7th of January, 2015 when the group razed the whole of Baga town and about 2,000 dead bodies were seen on the streets. On the 5th of January, 2015, more than 100 transnational ‘jihadist’ attackers overran several towns and captured the military base in Baga LGA of Borno State.
Also January 9, 2015, the criminal activities of the ‘jihadists’ attained an alarming rate as refugees fled Borno State following the massacre in Baga in which about 7,300 fled to neighbouring Chad while over 1,000 people were trapped on the island of Kangala in the Lake Chad. Consequently, Nigeria’s army vowed to recapture the town, while Niger and Chad withdrew their forces from the transnational joint force assigned to combat insurgency. On January 10, 2015, a member of the geoorganistic-transnational ‘jihad’ group, a female suicide bomber, blew herself and 19 others up at a market in the city of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and on 11th January, more female suicide bombers along with other victims perished in Potiskum in Yobe State.
So IPOB, stop viewing the Boko Haram through a prism. What Nigeria and Nigerians need the most at this time is an unparalleled spirit of camaraderie with the assurance of firm unity and progressive development of all the six geopolitical zones, its democratic institutions and infrastructure with sincerity of purpose. We must cultivate sprit of true brotherliness while eschewing our differences that cut across diverse political, social and tribal inclinations, devoid of rancour and ethnocentrism and to live as one Nigeria.
On 12th of January 2015 the geoorganistic Boko Haram raided Kolofalta in Cameroon, however, the military killed about 300 Boko Haram members the incident. On the 17th of January 2015, following the January 16 Chadian authority’s decision to send troops to Nigeria and Cameroon to fight the geoorganistic-transnational Boko Haram ‘jihadist’ periodic attackers, on 16th of January, 2015, the Chadian forces stormed Cameroon to assist the country in fighting the group.
On the 18th of January, 2015, the geoorganistic-transnational ‘jihadist’ attackers kidnapped 80 people and killed three others in some villages in Northern Cameroon. On the 20th of January, 2015, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for attacks on the town of Baga in Nigeria. The number of casualties could not be ascertained. On January 24th, 2015, about 15 people were killed in Kambari, a village in Konduga LGA near Maiduguri. On the 25th of January, 2015 at least eight civilians, about 53 geoorganistic periodic attackers and countless numbers of soldiers were killed in an attack when the ‘jihadists’attempted to capture the strategic town of Monguno, where 1,400 soldiers were stationed . As a result of these attacks, the geoorganistic-transnational attackers took control of about four out of five roads leading to Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital. On 29th of January, 2015, the Nigerian military, in collaboration with Chadian soldiers, recaptured the border town of Michika. Chadian forces claimed to have killed 120 geoorganistic Boko Haram fighters, losing only three soldiers in a battle which took place in the north of Cameroon. Also on 4th of February, 2015, the Chadian army claimed to have killed 200 Boko Haram members, losing only nine soldiers as the insurgents attempted to capture the border town of Gamboru Ngala. On the 6th of January, 2015, Boko Haram attacked Bosso and Diffa towns during which the Chadian forces killed about 109 ‘jihadists’.
On the 7th of January, 2015, Nigeria postponed its general election for six weeks to allow its armed forces combat and recover towns controlled by the ‘jihadists’. On 12th of January, 2015, the West African Allied Forces led by Nigeria and supported by Cameroon, Chad and Niger, invaded the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, a stronghold of the geoorganistic-transnational Boko Haram ‘jihadists’, killing a significant number of them. A warplane also reportedly bombed a funeral ceremony in Niger killing 37 civilians; the warplane has remained unidentified till date.
On the 20th of February, 2015, the Boko Haram killed 34 people in attacks across Borno State, killing 21 from the town of Chibok and on February 21st, 2015, the Nigerian military recaptured Baga town that had been in the control of the ‘jihadists’. On the 24th, of February 2015, about 24 Chadian soldiers were killed by the Boko Haram in a battle which claimed over 200 ‘jihadists’near Garambu, Nigeria’s border. In addition, the Chadian military recaptured the town of Dikwa, also in Borno State. On the 7th of March 2015, five suicide bomb blasts left 54 dead and 143 wounded in Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital. It has been observed that Boko Haram geoorganistic attacks on prisons and the forceful recruitment of young men from the attacked villages and towns has given rise to crimes and aid recruitments into the geoorganistic-transnational Boko Haram. Its rather unfortunate that IPOB allowed its activities to deteriorate to its being proscribed as an illegality and its being called a terrorist organization and in that condition, IPOB should seek immediate redress and retreat to restore sanity, if at all there is a window of opportunity for that in the best interest of the southeast regions than to allow war to take place. The proscription has greater implications short, medium and in the long run on both social, economic and political institutions and on the innocent citizens should IPOB insist on their agitation for a Biafran state culminating to war situation. The proscription, designation and domestication of the two; BH and IPOB from the North and South eastern regions respectively for their resistance was a huge mistake that can be avoided and/or managed with sincerity of purpose through consensus, thus ensuring peace and development of the two regions .
Boko Haram agitates for the substitutions of the existing political and/or democratic structural arrangement of Nigerian polity with utopian philosophical hegemonic thoughts calling for a sort of society but the question remains whether Boko Haram uttered in concrete terms who should benefit and how such establishment or regime will work as they envisaged? Boko Haram has since been substituted by the warlords with Jihadiist, regional bandids, hoodlums and gangsters. Again, Boko Haram is not clear as to what they are clamoring for and how such change will bring about development of the North and are equally not explicit as to the benefit of their agitation. In contrast to Boko Haram terrorist group, IPOB’S proscription as a terrorist organization joining the bandwagon of global terrorism agitates for a cause on the basis of self determination and restructuring for resource control of the Nigerian democratic structural arrangement.
Nigeria people unite: “united they say, we stand and divided we fall”
Dr. M. Bintube.