Days after the Inspector General of Police, Afis Ringim, declared that Boko Haram will soon be flushed out of the country, a mega bomb rocked the very headquarters of the Nigeria Police at Abuja. The car that brought the bomb had trailed the convoy of the IG, and wanted to park at the IGs parking lot before it was asked to re-park elsewhere. Apparently the IG himself was a prime target. And so, again, innocent lives have been lost – about 4, not counting at least two occupants in the bomb-bearing car. Nearly 70 vehicles were also destroyed. See some details here>>> http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art201106172471729 .
Understanding this latest bombing incident does not require a degree in criminology. It is clear that the reality of having lost out is a bitter one for the sworn Enemy of Nigeria to accept; and just like Pharaoh of old, he is determined to have one more go at pulling Nigeria back into bondage. Unknown to him, however, this latest pursuit after a jubilating nation is only bringing him (and his entire formidable hosts) closer than ever to their red sea experience - to becoming dinner for the fishes, by the grace of God.
The way Pharaoh-spirited politicians (and their cronies in the Police/Press) have been trying to portray or interpret this latest Boko Haram-labelled blast would have been comical were not for the gravity of the situation. First, there were the strenuous efforts to label the bombing as a suicide mission, despite clear evidences to the contrary. Why would a genuine suicide bomber who had successfully infiltrated the convoy of the IG comply with the instructions of a traffic policeman to divert and go park elsewhere. According to reports, the bomb subsequently went off while the vehicle was in motion, away from the crucial target. Maximum damage would have resulted if the driver, were he a suicide bomber, simply crashed the car into the IGs convoy! (see ThisDay, June 20). Apparently, the unfortunate pawns inside the car thought they were merely to park the park and disappear! Hopefully the nation’s security will soon be able to re-construct the actual details, but it is more likely there was a mole police officer somewhere who remotely detonated the incredibly-sized bomb, probably to the shock of the Boko Haram couriers who were being merely used by far more endowed political actors. As a matter of fact a plot to bomb the IGs office, NOT by Boko Haram, had been foiled only a few days previously (see some account here http://allafrica.com/stories/201106200409.html ).
Then there were also the puerile efforts to blackmail the President into entering into dialogue supposedly with Boko Haram – proxy for lost-out politicians. Actually, the calls for “dialogue” to solve non-existing problems started with the showman-preacher-politician, Rev Chris Okotie, who immediately after the elections said the results should be nullified, and a caretaker government formed by all the presidential candidates be instituted (http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/polls-okotie-rejects-results-calls-for-interim-govt/90017/) . Okotie had actually called for Interim government even before the general elections - soon after politician Atiku Abubakar had lost the PDP ticket to Goodluck Jonathan (http://www.tribune.com.ng/sat/index.php/news/245-okotie-calls-for-interim-govt.html). All these calls for “dialogues” are really only thinly-disguised voice of Pharaoh, the man (and his coalition) that had publicly vowed to make the country ungovernable if not allowed to rule Nigeria.
In the beclouded vision of Nigeria’s Pharaoh and his spokespersons, it is reasonable to compare the Boko Haram situation with Niger Delta militancy. In the last edition, we explained why this is arrant nonsense. It is instructive to watch Boko Haram’s conditions for dialogue grow with time, with each terrorist action. Late last year, sect spokesmen were virtually begging to be treated with respect and making the reasonable demands of having unmolested access to their mosques and unconditional pardon for detained and exiled members (see http://allafrica.com/stories/201010140307.html). By February 8 this year, after the successful high-profile killings of a gubernatorial candidate and his security details, the demands have grown to include calls for the resignation of then governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff. After the Abuja beer parlour shootings in June and when calls for amnesty became vociferous, Boko Haram stepped up the list. Now included are demands not only that the former governor and a host of traditional rulers be prosecuted under Islamic laws, but that the newly-elected governor for Borno state must also resign or be removed by President Jonathan. Finally (at least for now), is the demand for the “strict practice of Sharia law in at least 12 Muslims-dominated states in the North, equivalent to one-third of the country.” http://www.informationnigeria.org/2011/06/boko-haram-conditions-for-ceasefire.html.
Yet, not only top mainstream Islamic clerics (as we reported in vol 14 no 2), but now the main opposition political party in the country, is insisting that these demands can be discussed! While we have a great deal of sympathy for the young people being destroyed in the name of Boko Haram, there is little doubt that the real powers behind the sect are either outright foreigners, or at least heavily brainwashed people who see themselves more as Al Qaeda than Nigerians. Worse still, any supposed dialogue with Boko Haram will not even be with these rabid Islam-inspired ideologues, but with the desperate politicians who have now found a new tool to empower and use. (See again, for instance, http://churcharise.blogspot.com/2011/02/nigeria-travails-of-national-re-birth.html)
Like we warned in the last edition of CA! (vol 14 no 2), before the President could settle to the important business of providing electricity, education and employment, he must need settle the security issue first - simply by allowing the law to take its course with respect to those already indicted in the several bombing incidents. In other words, the temptation to resort to a “political solution”, no matter how nicely it is couched, must be totally resisted.
For instance, in the initially encouraging steps taken by the President, a Panel was constituted to study and report on the bomb blasts and related violence. Soon however, it became clear that the unwieldy 22-man Judicial Panel lacked even the power to compel people to appear before it. Moreover, the 82 year old, controversial Sharia-advocate, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu was deemed the right candidate to chair the Panel! As we write, (today June 22) the six weeks given the Panel to submit its report is expiring, yet hardly anything has been heard concerning its activities.
Hopefully, the President was just trying to test the grounds with the Panel. But it should be clear to him that time is not on his side. The enemy is far more desperate than the President perhaps realize. With the security outfits now soundly aroused, knowing they are prime targets in the new war, all the President needs do is put men of proven integrity, capacity and drive, in the right offices to implement the newly passed anti-terrorism bill. And like the God of heaven helped Attahiru Jega at the elections, we can look forward to the Divine hand discomfiting Pharaoh’s chariots mid-sea, making him history as Nigeria moves forward to fulfill her glorious destiny.