What Is Wrong With Nigerians? (2)
by Kallys Albert Sr.
The best way to keep something bad from happening is to see it ahead of time… and you can’t see it if you refuse to face the possibility (William S Burroughs). So why do Nigerians refuse to face and confront Boko harampossibility except turn around pointing fingers? Recall that Yusuf officially founded Boko Haram in 2002 in the city of Maiduguri capital of Borno state with the main aim of establishing a Shari’a government in Borno State under then-Senator Ali Modu Sheriff (Johnson, Toni 31 August 2011). Since then, northerners, their governors, leaders and other elites have embraced without reservation the Boko Haram and its ideology.
In attempting to decode “What is wrong with Nigerians?” this article brings to fore some aspects of events in 2012, which in retrospect, reveals casual connection between those events and the April 14 2014, abduction in Chibok, Borno state under Mr. Kashim Shettima’s watch. That Mr. Shettima has something hiding, or he is not telling it all is not exaggeration. The January 13, 2012 incident may provide empirical facts essentially relevant to understanding the suspicious and secret romance between Boko Haram and Mr. Shettima, the governor of Borno state. On January 13, 2012, a member of the Boko Haram terror group, Kabiru Sokoto – a wanted fugitive by the Nigerian Police for alleged complicity in the Christmas Day bombing of a church at Madallah, Niger State, in which many lives were lost was arrested at the Borno State Governor’s lodge in Abuja in the company of two others. As the news spread like wild-fire, Shettima’s state government came up in defense and in a press release issued this statement “[I]n the wake of the arrest, there were insinuations in some quarters that the Borno State Government was harboring a suspected sect member at its lodge. ‘There is the added allegation that the state government could be in cahoots with the sect, which has claimed responsibility for terrorist outrages in many parts of the country, most of them in Borno State. The Borno State Government hereby vehemently dismisses these allegations and insinuations. ‘They are untrue, misleading, and callous and are an attempt by some detractors to turn the truth on its head and to try to score political points with a very serious matter of individual and state security.”’
In addition, the state government claimed that Mr. Shettima ordered an investigation and proceeded to state the outcome of the so called investigation as follows:
On the evening of Thursday, January 5, one Ibrahim Umar Abba, an indigene of Borno State and a post-graduate student at the University of Birmingham in the UK, called the permanent secretary of the Borno State Liaison Office in Abuja. He said he was scheduled to catch a British Airways flight back to the UK the following day and would like to spend the night at the Governor’s Lodge in Abuja. The permanent secretary, who at the time was in Maiduguri, granted Ibrahim Abba Umar permission to spend the night at the lodge. When Ibrahim Umar Abba turned up at the lodge, he came with two other persons, one of them an Air force officer, the other a civilian. Neither of them is known to His Excellency the Governor, or to any other official of the Borno State Government. It turned out that the security agencies were on the trail of one of the three men, later identified as Kabiru Sokoto. The security agents arrived at the lodge and arrested the three “guests” as well as all the staff of the Governor’s Lodge. . .
That scant defense from Mr. Shettima, never explained how an indigene granted a one-night-stay on the 01/05/2012 at the lodge failed to leave the next day, or how he extended his stay to 01/13/2012, eight days after, when those terrorists described as “guests” were busted on a tip-off. At the time of state’s defense, it claimed that no “official” of the government knew either of the presence of the Harams in the lodge or their continued stay. It sounded so casual, seemed immaterial such that no one critically thought much further about the incident – especially in Nigeria where those in government are above the law. Interestingly, Mr. Shettima and his government proceeded to proffer reprehensible premises – cozily to psyche Nigerians’ naivety in the process (excerpt):
I will also like to remind the public that in the last one year alone, many leaders of the Borno State ANPP have been assassinated by suspected members of the Jama’atu ahlus Sunnah Lid’dawa’ti wal Jihad. They include the late Awagana Ali Ngala, then North East Vice Chairman of ANPP; Alhaji Modu Fannami Gubio, ANPP gubernatorial candidate Borno State; Honourable Mustafa Baale, Chairman of Jere Local Government; Fannami Ngranam, ANPP Chairman for Jere Local Government; Goni Modu Sheriff, Chairman of Ngala Local Government and many others. How therefore can the Borno State ANPP chapter and the state government that it controls possibly be in cahoots with or knowingly shelter a suspected member of the sect thought to be behind the cold blooded murder of so many of our leaders?
However, the issue is not whether the sect killed millions of ANPP rather, it was about providing safe heaven to wanted murderer, a terrorist being harbored at the government lodge at tax payers’ expenses– a place least expected to find these terrorists. That irrelevant fallacy reasoning by Mr. Shettima and his government played true to Nigerians and their naivety and swiftly evaporated into thin air like escaping steam from a fatigued turbine. The time frame between then and April 14, 2014, saw now how that arrest, the claimed insinuations and Shettima’s shameless defense cascade into debatable perspectives. In the wake of the Chibok abduction of unarmed innocent girls from Borno state, it was alleged that Mr. Shettima and his government literarily forced WAEC officials to conduct their exam at the school promising security. According to WAEC officials, Mr. Stettima and two other governors wrote the agency stating:
“They had security in place for the candidates and that we should come and conduct the examinations in the schools. They also said that they are not ready to relocate their students from Chibok; and indeed other areas to Maiduguri or nearby locations, where security agencies could provide security’’
(Charles Eguridu May 6, 2014)
Furthermore, it was reported that pretty close to the day of the examination, security at the school was redeployed leaving the place vulnerable. Most information from Mr. Shettima and his wife
Hajiya Nana Shettima since the abduction, like those when Kabiru Sokoto was arrested at his governor’s lodge have either been inconsistent with, or palpably half-truth. Despite the many vituperations and threats from almost all northern leaders to make “government ungovernable” none of the northern leaders came open to condemn the activities of the Boko Haram, except recently Buhari (May 9, 2014) and Babangida (May 11, 2014) let out weak rebuke of the sect; a medicine after death, occasioned by the presence of the whole world throwing in their weight to locate the abducted girls.
Before then and despite the increasing menace, none of the northerners thought it humane enough to chide the kith and kin in the murderous sect. In retrospect, in January of 2012, a governor of an impoverished state called Zamfara unilaterally commenced the separatist agenda, turned parts of Northern Nigeria into theocracies under a supposed secular Constitution. Shortly thereafter in February of 2012, the news went viral naming Ibrahim Babangida as the major sponsor of Boko Haram, – by a former sect member, although he denied the allegations. Nigerians see things happening, they see factual evidence of how and who is behind the sect, but refuse to face the possibility, they blink and ignore those empirical evidence while mulling impossibilities. In the next series, we’ll examine individual northern leader’s threat to make the government of Nigeria ungovernable and how those threats mirror the present day events.
Kallys Albert Sr.
+612-306-1945 (direct line)
Nigerian Citizens for Good Governance
Community Organizing and Education Mission