Obasanjo’s recommendation for tackling Boko Haram

The recent “carrot and stick” approach recommended by
former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the solution of
the Boko Haram insurgency should be taken seriously by
President Goodluck Jonathan.
Till date, among all our past leaders, Obasanjo has
continuously shown concern, worry and proffered solution to
this lingering crisis. He, human like all of us, though, has his
faults which many of us have at one time or the other kicked
against both while he was in or out of power. Yet, it is often
said that, messages are considered while the messenger can
be ignored. Obasanjo as a former president and military
chief in this country has a lot to offer in terms of experience
and tactics in security matters. We cannot for very obvious
reasons sideline him when he speaks on similar issues just
because we differ with his political moves. We should and
must take him seriously because of our interest in building
and achieving peace and unity in this country.
It does not fetch us any advancement to trade tackles, each
time any leader bares his mind on this menace and, probably a
way out of it. We can for the merit it would do us as a nation,
marry the suggestions brought forth.
For years now, the Boko Haram group has shown the capacity
to over-run Nigeria in a matter of time and, it is then
desirable for the government of the day to look for the
solution without minding where it is got. Again, the argument
by the government that members of this Islamist group are
faceless is far from the truth; with this argument it is simply
providing for the security agencies, excuses to look the other
way while, innocent Nigerians are killed daily by this group.
The Boko Haram sect is an organised group of terrorists, the
memebers meet, discuss, acquire weapons, in fact, no doubt,
they must have sponsors. The truth remains that our security
agencies are not doing enough to arrest this ugly situation, it
is, in fact, worrisome that till date, this sect has not been
infiltrated by our security agents while its members have
infiltrated into the Police, SSS, Military and Presidency, as
Jonathan himself admitted some time ago.
Our security men are not telling Mr. President the whole
truth about this menace; they should buckle up, for the
reason they were engaged is to fight enemies of the state.
Obasanjo, according to media reports, spoke with the lawyer
of this group; would a faceless group have a lawyer? Why are
the security agencies not seeking out this lawyer to open
dialogue with the group? Why is it difficult for the security
chiefs to meet with their former ‘oga’, with the available
information at his disposal? For us to solve this problem that
is gradually growing to a monster status, all hands must be on
deck. Whether any person likes it or not, if any madman
decides to light the match in any highly inflammable
environment, it is doubtful if there would be anything to
salvage. Therefore, any crazy man wanting to set Nigeria
ablaze now has a very affordable and willing tool to use in
Boko Haram. Mr. President should meet with the former
President and indeed, all other past leaders, to discuss a way
out of this crisis before we are all consumed.
There is no doubt that, our past leaders, mainly the military
chiefs would come in handy in dealing with this crisis. They
have great wealth of experience that could be very relevant
in tackling this problem. President Jonathan could rub minds
with them, to tap from their experience and professionalism.
It is also important for the President to rejig his security
chiefs, perhaps to make them aware of their duty. All the
intelligence units of the security agencies ought to, by now,
be working in unison to be able to break into the camps of
these unrepentant Islamic militants. Certainly, to me, that is
where to start from, if they have not.
A human rights activist, Shehu Sani, once reportedly offered
to link the government with a contact person who could be a
veritable source of peaceful negotiation with members of
this sect. This is another door for consideration in achieving
peace. We would have expected the security chiefs to invite
Sani for discussions as one of the options to finding a lasting
solution to this evil that manifested in our country a few
years back, an evil and wicked act that has taken lives of
innocent Nigerians for no just cause. We have so far,
according to a report last year by the Human Rights Watch,
an international rights organisation, lost about 2,800 people.
This number is enormous, enough for the government to feel
extremely concerned and for the citizenry to lose confidence
on its government. Businesses have shut down in mostly Borno,
Yobe, Kano, Kaduna states; people have had to relocate to
neighbouring states and Abuja which afford more serene
environment, to continue their lives and businesses. Some
parents too have relocated their children’s schools to other
states for the safety of their lives. This evil must be tackled
to allow development thrive in these places and indeed
Nigeria.
This is not an issue to politicise at all, rather, it calls for our
leaders to work assiduously at taming these insurgents with
immediate effect. Nigeria is now regarded as a terrorist
nation and included in the list of countries to be avoided by
tourists and businessmen. Nigeria now witnesses poor
economic growth and development as a result of this
worsening security problem.
Our past leaders must invest their wealth of experience in
resolving this crisis. It is not Jonathan the Boko Haram
elements are fighting but, Nigeria, which may spell doom for
all if left unchecked.

Nwaogbe wrote in from Maitama, Abuja

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