Boko Haram: Nigerian Senate president calls for urgent ‘military action’

Senator David Mark

“A clear, unambiguous and decisive military response from the Government, beyond the imposition of a state of emergency, is urgently required in this circumstance.”

Nigeria’s senate president, David Mark, has made a strong case for an urgent military action, beyond the state of emergency in place at the moment, to end the war against Boko Haram.

The senate president, in a speech at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, said it is clear Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram.

“The enemy has clearly and unequivocally served the nation notice of its vile intentions,” the senate president said. “Therefore, a clear, unambiguous and decisive military response from the Government, beyond the imposition of a state of emergency, is urgently required in this circumstance.”

“This is an option we must consider now!” he insisted.

Since embarking on Easter holidays, members of the Boko Haram sect have dealt Nigeria two devastating attacks in quick successions. Less than 24 hours after killing at least 75 people in a motor park bomb attack in Abuja, the sect abducted over 200 girls from a school in Chibok, a small town, south of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The abducted school girls are yet to be found. Some reports claim they have been sold off to foreigners.

Boko Haram says it abhors modernity and has engaged a bloody campaign to ensure the Islamization of northern Nigeria, leaving thousands of casualties in its trail.

The scope of Boko Haram’s assault on the Nigerian State cuts across places of worship, schools, police stations, military facilities, government installations, and defenseless communities.

Pupils have been brutally murdered en masse in their dormitories; school girls have been brutalized and kidnapped from their schools; police stations and army barracks have been attacked and incinerated; lives and property have been destroyed and whole communities destroyed by the insurgents.

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“Because they are fired by zealotry and extremism, they are not likely to be swayed by overtures of any kind. We must henceforth shift from fighting terrorism to fighting insurgency,” the senate president said. “The full might and strength of our security services must now be deployed to confront this scourge and we expect our security services to rapidly reorient their assets and capabilities so as to overcome this difficult challenge. And this must be done within the shortest possible time frame with minimal casualties.”

The operational structure of Boko Haram is not publicly clear but the government appears convinced the insurgents are funded by both foreigners and local politicians with an intent to cripple Nigeria’s political institution.

The group is believed to have received support from politicians in both the ruling People’s Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress.

Former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, now a member of the ruling PDP, was accused of making monthly donations of N10 million to the sect. Isa Yuguda, the governor of Bauchi State and a member of the ruling PDP has also been accused of sponsoring the sect at N10 million monthly.

Former governor of Borno State and an opposition member, Ali-modu Sheriff, under whose watch Boko Haram gained prominence, is also believed to have sponsored the group financially.

Ali Ndume, a sitting senator, as well as Saidu Pindar, Nigeria’s ambassador to Sao Tome, both members of the ruling PDP, have also been accused of sponsoring the sect.

Despite the established links between politicians and the sect, the Nigerian government is reluctant to hold anyone responsible beyond political rhetorics and party accusations.

“The Government must do all it can to immediately identify the sponsors and the source of funds to the terrorists and the insurgents. In this connection, nobody who is implicated, no matter how highly placed, should be treated as a sacred cow,” the senate president said.

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