Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boko Haram, Kidnappers, and Niger Delta Militants: The Error!

If you have ever watched an American film, and the plot included a kidnap, and hostage scene: one thing you would probably hear from the government side, is that the United States Government, does not negotiate with terrorists!

And it is actually a mirror, of what obtains in real life. The US, does not negotiate with terrorists! Ever! 

They must have arrived at this decision, after a careful examination, of the anatomy of criminality! If crime is rewarded, it can only lead to more crime! The moment there is no return on investment for the criminal, it discourages him, and potential copycats!

I am constrained to touch on this, in the light of the manner the militancy problem in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, was "resolved"

What the government did, was to negotiate with the militants, and give them money to stop kidnapping people, and hurting our economic interests!

The government found it easy to do, because it had a long established, and robust history, of negotiating with kidnappers!

In the past, operatives of the state security agencies, were actually involved in the negotiation with, and handing over of ransom payments, to kidnappers! In other parts of the civilized world, this is a crime!

We need to ask ourselves as a nation, was the modus operandi of the "amnesty" the best option for the government?

For short-sighted people, it was the best option! But for those who believe in building an enduring, virile, strong, and equitable nation, other options should have been explored!

Why were the militants in the creeks in the first place! What was the reason for their insurrection? Some claimed resource control, others marginalization, another group the underdevelopment of the region!

None of the militants claimed that they were in the struggle because they wanted to go to school in America, and could not raise the funds needed for their education, or that they wanted to be trained in one vocation or the other! 

But that is exactly what some of them are getting today, at tax payers' expense! 

And, sadly, the fundamental issue, and grouse, they premised their struggle on, are still there, waiting to inspire the next lot of militants! 

Until the underlying,fundamental, problem is addressed, we are like the Yorubas would say, ignoring the leprosy, and treating the scabies! 

I am not saying that it is wrong for the government to send Nigerians abroad! What is wrong, is the message we have sent to the millions of youths all over Nigeria, who are law-abiding, and have never carried a gun in their lives, and all they want, is to go to school in Nigeria,or have a decent job: and because of government ineptitude, they cannot!

Are we telling them that, the only way to get government's attention, is to wage war against the State?

In rewarding the militants, and not addressing the legitimate issues they raised, government has set a bad precedent! 

The militants, were only the symptoms, not the problem!

I have started hearing talk of amnesty for Boko Haram militants in the Northern part of the country! If you do not know, the Boko Haram are an Islamic religious group with very extreme views! They were hitherto patronised by the government of Borno state, and funded, when it was convenient! 

It was when the government found that it's pet python (Boko Haram) was now too big to live in the living room, that it tried to eliminate it, but by then, the group had acquired enough arms, and resources to wage war on the three North Eastern states of Bauchi, Gombe, and Borno! 

What would the modalities for such an amnesty be? 

I ask because the group has as a cardinal tenet, the repudiation of all things modern, and the holding of such as evil!

In a government organized "amnesty", would the Boko Haram members be sent to America on government scholarship? Or would they be sent on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia? 

Since they forbid all things modern, would they be making their Saudi trip by camel, or donkey! We need to know, so that the contract can be awarded for the purchase of hundreds of Boeing 747 Camels to take them across the desert!

Since government has now adopted the amnesty method, as a means of assuaging perceived, real, and imagined, injustices: what are we going to do about the kidnappers in the South East of Nigeria who are currently terrorising the populace?

And while we are on the matter, the people who occupy the states that our hydro electric dams are located in, are becoming more vociferous on the need to create a commission modelled along the lines of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to ameliorate the destruction visited on their land by the numerous dams!

So you see, negotiating with terrorists ( a terrorist is any person who uses force to coerce another to do his bidding. My own definition, if it is wrong pardon me) is a slippery slope, and we are already sliding down the slope of no return!


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