Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Nigerians react on proposed Olympic threat

Some members of the Nigerian community have opposed the recent report by the British press that members of the extremist Muslim group, Boko- Haram (western education is forbidden) may launch a major attack to the coming Olympic Games in London.

This is in retaliation to a recent report that Boko Haram along with other Muslim extremist group – Al-queda and somali’s al-Shabaab - are now high on the M15 and M16’s watch-list in run-up to the Olympic games. The report also associated the sect to member of the al-queda and al-shabaab of Somalia and that the group could spread its message of hate of violence.

 The group Boko Haram officially known as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which means - people committed to the propagation of the prophet teachings and jihad, came to the awareness of Nigeria as an harmless group of offbeat individual whose purpose of pursuing a sudden fancy lifestyle in their peculiar way of interpreting Islam in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria.

Founded by late Mohammed Yusuf, the group first clashed with the authorities when they refused to wear helmet when riding motor-cycle, but it soon degenerate into a defiance when they collided with the members of the military enforcement agency -‘operation flush’ leaving some of them dead. In retaliation, the aggrieved group began increasing clashes that eventually lead to the death of their leader and his father-in-law, Alhaji Baba Fugu.

The revolution which started as a group of hooligan in the society soon escalated to what is now regarded as a terrorist group. In January, the Human Right Watch asserted that about 935 lives have been lost since June 2009 when Boko Haram set up its attack. More have been lost with the recent attacks.

Speaking to some Nigerians on the latest development regarding Boko Haram being a major threat to Olympics, Keshi Elvis, a  lawyer with Megafield Solicitor said, such act is nearly impossible as the group still operate  locally –‘ they operate in the north and have not gone to the south west of the country talk less of crossing the border to London.’

Keshi sees Boko Haram as an illegal outreach that have destroyed lives and properties with the political motivation to disrupt the present government says nevertheless, security check should be looked into and measures should be taken since they have link with the alQueda.

Supporting this notion is Gbenga Adeyefa, a graduate of Architecture with passion for political issue, who collaborated that, ‘although any thing is possible, they are however not as sophisticated as going international to a developed nation like England.’

‘They may have link with al-queda but they are not strategic or technical as to crossing over to Europe’, he posit.

Gbenga who believes that the sect might be doing a copy-cat work of members of the Niger Delta group; seeking remunerations from the government stated  that their supposed link to al-queda might grant them sophisticated weapon, it might be easy for them to operate in a country like England where they have gadgets and professionals to tackle them upfront unlike back home where they operate.

He believes that it is a wise thing for the European country to place Boko Haram on the M15 and M16 list because ‘you can’t eat your cake and have it.’
However, Funsho an undergraduate studying mass communication  believes the ‘ Boko Haram is a Nigerian issue aim at causing problem in disguise of politics and religion with no gain at causing problem in the Olympics only if they aim at sending Nigeria off the competition.’

A Clergy who prefers to remain anonymous said, the fear of Boko Haram launching an attack at the Olympics this summer is possible but he believes the issue has a political undertone.

He condemned the sect saying, ‘they claim they are against western education but they are making use of bomb – a western invention.’

‘Until they are unmasked, it will be difficult to move ahead’, he said.

Although security experts have asserted that Boko Haram tactics and weaponry points  to help and training from outside group , Keshi said ‘a forum should be organized to know what they want since a similar thing was done with the Niger Deltas issues and till today we hear nothing from them. The people who claimed to have been funded by politicians should be found, arrested, investigated and charged to court if found guilty. The brain behind this should be identified.

He also recommended that a state of emergency should be declare in the regions where there are crisis as stipulated in the Nigerian constitution, section 305 sub section 2;6

In combating the issue, prominent Nigeria Laureate, Wole Soyinka have seek that the FG should convoke a national dialogue for all Nigeria ethnic nationalities to iron out the basis of their future coexistence. ‘If you don’t have a dialogue, you will have a monologue of a series of monologue that will be deadly.’

Recent development has revealed that members of the Boko Haram sect are now willing to dialogue with the Federal Government. This occurred after the recent arrest of the group’s spoke man and the bomb blast on Tuesday in Kaduna metropolises with explosions at the army cantonment (Dalet barrack), Nigeria Air force base at Mando road and the flyover bridge at Kawo, Kaduna. Two masked men wearing black at one of the Nigeria Television Authority stations, a Federal Government media, in dropped the tape. They named four people- Sheik Abubakar Gero, Dr Shettima Ali Monguno and former Governor of Yobe state, Senator Bukar Ibrahim as their negotiators. The name of the forth person was not audile. 

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