o one is precisely sure of the number of innocent Nigerian souls that have been lost since the Boko Haram insurgency started in Northern Nigeria.. One thing is, however, clear. Thousands of innocent Nigerians have died needlessly. This include an alarming number of foreigners, who had visited the northern part of the country to help in the development process. Whilst the Boko Haram insurgency may have started as a local Nigerian affair, fuelled by disgruntled power-crazed Northern politicians who believe that only them are born to rule, the militancy have been hijacked by more sinister and ruthless jihadist elements with clear links to Al-Qaeda global network. Their modus operandi is strictly ideological. To put it simply, they want the islamisation of Nigeria regardless of what the rest of millions of Nigerians think or wish. This is their main objective.
To put it into context, the sinister Boko Haram affiliates behind the recent kidnapping and killing of innocent foreigners in Nigeria have no interest in material wealth that a Niger-Delta styled amnesty programme will certainly bring. Money does not motivate them. They are only interested in maintaining the global islamist jihadist network using Nigeria and Mali as their local hubs. In their opinion, all non-Muslims are infidels. Western education or civilisation is a sin. Both must be eradicated by any means possible no matter how violent, brutal or heartless the process becomes. This is the Boko Haram agenda.
The recent calls for an amnesty by one of our most highly respected Northern monarchs with all due respect shows a lack of understanding on what drives current Boko Haram leadership and the global Islamic jihadist network. The Boko Haram militancy is based on religious ideology and not due to a desire for a redistribution of Nigeria wealth as in Niger Delta. They want the abolition of western civilisation and education as we know it in Northern Nigeria, and in fact the entire country if they can achieve this. This objective as they are now slowly finding out is impossible to achieve with Nigeria being a strictly secular state where Muslins, Christians and atheists have mingled freely for hundreds of years.
To put it into context, their objective is a bridge that the Nigeria state will find too far to cross. To understand this fact, is to realise why the Federal government is correct in its current military strategy to rid our beloved country of this evil. Granting amnesty to Boko Haram is to acquiesce to some of their demands including introducing strict Taliban style sharia rule all over Northern Nigeria. To negotiate with Boko Haram and allow amnesty is akin to America negotiating with the late Osama-bin laden in order to change his mind on religious bigotry and hatred of all things western. The Boko Haram terrorism in Northern Nigeria to a very large extent is based on ideology. Our leaders need to understand this. Once they do, it will be clear that it is not something than can be bought off with money as happened in Niger-Delta.
The only solution to the problem at present, is for all hands to support the federal government and her international partners in using all means possible to eradicate this evil from the land. The National Assembly despite its bipartisan nature fully understands this with the recent passing of the terrorism bill in Nigeria. To eradicate the Boko Haram insurgency will not be an easy feat but with sustained high intensity military pressure and intelligence, the religious insurgency will be reduced to its barest minimum as is now happening in some Northern states. Only when the insurgency is under full control by the federal government, can a marshal plan be created for ordinary youths in the North in order to allow them to share in the "Nigerian project and dream".
No one denies the fact that the average northern youth is deprived but with the majority of Nigeria oil wealth in the hands of immensely wealthy Northerners, one wonders why they are not allowing this wealth to tickle down to some of their kinsmen. Will the military and carrot strategy work? Yes! There is a chance it will. First, the removal of Osama bin laden and his top lieutenants from the map have certainly put a stop on Al-Qaeda high-profile global terrorism activities. Second, the use of high-grade intelligence by the Western powers have put the entire Al-Qaeda organisation on the back foot. As to date, neither the Americans, UK or any of the western powers have considered granting amnesty to Al-Qaeda. Reason: These countries are smart enough to realise that it will be a dumb approach to the problem due to its ideological roots. In this vein, it will also be foolish for anyone to think that granting a Niger-Delta amnesty to Boko Haram will force the religious insurgents into encouraging secondary, primary schools and churches to be built all over Borno state. This is wishful thinking. It is important that our leaders understand this.
Finally, in an ideal world, no one wants the killing of innocent Nigerians and foreigners. No one also want the militarisation of Northern Nigeria. The Boko Haram religious insurgency is, however, a unique problem in our country already beset with multitude of problems. It is a unique problem that requires unique solutions. Granting amnesty and handing money to religious bigots bent on destroying the nation state is not one of the solutions.