EDITORIAL: Boko Haram attacks, an inept government and the survival of the Nigerian state

On Tuesday, in an act of breathtaking savagery, members of the extremist Boko Haram sect murdered more than 40 innocent children in their school in Yobe State. For sheer barbarism, there is nothing to compare it – except of course the killing last year of another set of students in Borno State by the same vicious group.

Over the last five years, Boko Haram has been responsible for the most violent death of Nigerians outside the civil war. It is the worst threat to national security and even national unity.

Yet we continue to prevaricate. We are still not sure whether to woo them with amnesty or mow them with bullets.

Even the presidency which is privy to more facts than the rest of us seemed to think that we exaggerate the menace of the deadly Boko Haram sect. Or perhaps it just likes to play down the threat, in the hope that we will be lulled into a false sense of security.

Last week when the harried governor of Borno State, Kashim Shetima came to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan after another horror attack on a sleepy community, he told the press that what we face was war and that our army was less equipped and less motivated than the enemy.

Anyone who has followed events in that unfortunate part of the country knows that the governor had merely stated the truth. Yet the president and his handlers decided to subject him to very brutal attacks. The Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, accused the governor of peddling hysteria while the president himself used his last presidential media chat to lambast Mr. Shettima .

After Tuesday’s savage attack however, we now know who suffer from hysterics and histrionics. The presidency has made the usual condemnation, issued renewed marching orders and offered condolences. There is even talk of the army chief temporarily relocating to Maiduguri.

The Chief of Army Staff, General, Kenneth Minimah who appeared before a Senate Committee to defend his budget said the army did indeed needed more money, and more arms. In essence, the governor was right: we are not winning this war. Not yet.

But there is no talk of a presidential visit. In not standing by the governor, in never visiting the schools and villages where all the mayhem took place, President Goodluck Jonathan has deepened the people’s sense of abandonment. He has given the impression, unwittingly perhaps, that the lives of those children mean less than they should.

The sorrow of their parents will find no relief in the visit of the nation’s leader. In any civilized democracy, such a massacre would have merited at least one condolence visit by the President to the school. Indeed, the president would have been judged by how well he responded to the crisis, including whether he had shown the right amount of emotion. The quality of his empathy would have been the subject of intense national discourse for a long while. And how his visit was judged would have reflected on the opinion polls, with serious bearing on his presidency.

If we have any sense at all, the next elections will be lost or won solely on this administration’s record on security or the quality of the opposition’s alternative strategy. We cannot continue to condone a situation where a group of terrorists kill at will, cheapening the very essence of our being.

The taking of any human life is a horrible thing. The brutal murder of over 40 students in a boarding school is the height of bestiality. It is also proof that the government has failed in its most important task of protecting the lives of the people. There is no way of sugarcoating this fact, and no public relations gimmick can put a fine face on this matter.

This country cannot long bear the kind of savagery that took place on Tuesday. No government, indeed no system, can survive this sort of impunity.


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  • Lanre

    Thank you Premium Times for bringing this matter to the front burner. I have given up on Jonathan. When one of the previous senseless killings by Boko Haram occurred, my reaction was that Jonathan should be removed. That comment was written then out of anger and the urgent need for resolution. The killings have continued. Unabated. You even added a new twist. The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan does not even deem it fit to visit the schools where this carnage took place. Rather, a centenary celebration will continue. Just like the $20b missing funds, Nigerians are being subjected to the worst kind of leadership any people can be unfortunate to have. The solution lies with Nigerians. In other climes, these acts are grounds for a people’s revolt. Nigerians need to look inwards and stop listening to people like Obasanjo, Babangida and all these expired men who do not wish Nigerians well. I am not digressing. Obasanjo imposed Jonathan, pretty much. Babangida sees nothing wrong with what is going on. Jonathan is clueless. In the meantime, he continues to scrape through barely using tested methods of leadership to govern Nigeria. If the votes of Nigerians matter in 2015, people must vote according to their conscience. Do not follow the Obasanjo’s, Babangida’s of this world. This is what you get when you do. I have given up on Jonathan.

    • blogNaija

      at this age and time; killings and burning will go on for 4hrs- no security on sight, it’s a rude joke. you will be shock that the next security base is less than 1hr drive away.
      even if it’s one young boy- he worth being defended with the last strength of Nigeria.
      but his name will not even be mention.
      Boko Haram is evil and govt is useless; the result is chaos!

      • Dan maikoko

        Not only that we have a security force that does not know the ABC of security. The Americans ensure that there is mobile telephony in all Taliban infested areas of Afghanistan so that they can lure the Taliban into using such facilities which will give the Americans vital intelligence. Secondly the Americans have moles everywhere that feed them timely info using mobile phones and other network technology. The first thing the Nigerian so called security did when a state of emergency was declared was to shut down all mobile communication channels. The terrorists simply switched to Thuraya.
        Another thing that shows our backwardness in the comity of nations is our police and emergency numbers. All nations on earth adopt a 3 digit system that even a 6 year old child can remember and easily dial. Numbers such as 911, 333, 999 e.t.c., in Nigeria all police numbers are 11 digits and does not have any easily remembered pattern such as 080-EMERGENCY.
        Timely info from the public using mobile phones and simple numbers would have saved many of these children. Even when the terrorists are gaining ground and the Nigerian security is aware they are using Thuraya, mobile phones are still not active in those areas proving the classic Einsteinian quote ” The definition of madness is to continue to do the same thing over and over again each time expecting a different result.”

      • Naziru Adam

        Brother your last statement you have read: Boko Haram is evil and the govt is worse!

    • Naziru Adam

      We are all together with you on this! Let pray to see the end of the end of these madness (BH and the kind of leadership we have in the country.)

  • Es3

    Premium Times should first ask themselves and their sponsors the role they have played in perpetuating Boko Haram in Nigeria in their desperate a bid to discredit the government of Goodluck Jonathan…before coming out here to sermonize on what they (and their sponsors who double as sponsors of Boko Haram) are largely responsible for?!!!

    • Umarmalalawan

      A typical southern fool with coconut head, do you think the northerner are that merciless to sacrifice their life’s and that of innocent student just to discredit GEJ govt. is he going to rule nig for life, even if he manage to rig election the second time he is to rule only for 8 years. Do you think being him or any other person being a president matter to the poor rural communities, which knew very well that who ever become a president you personal need to work hard to earn a living, did Americans sleep just because they have good leader. Lazy fool, how much did you earn since GEJ become president, obviously nothing. Then what? Why the tribal sentiment without kobo in your pocket.

      • Oweja

        FOOD FOR THOUGHT! Thanks.

      • esaulogbon

        Many of them are so so brain dead… their reasoning is upside down because of tribalism.

    • Yahuza Sani Sagagi

      Or should they ask how much Goodluck Jonathan and his have benefitted from the crises.
      What his (GEJ’s) government has done to douse the insurgency.
      Whether it is premium times (or its sponsors) responsibility to protect the lives of Nigerian Citizens regardless of where the threats are coming from.

      • Es3

        Or should it be a question of what should Jonathan do as President that he has not done on the issue of Boko Haram, except arrest and jail their sponsors as demanded by some, even without sufficient evidence???!

        Did they military tell you they do not orders to eradicate Boko Haram or that their request for more arms and ammunition is because they lacked it before instead of it being for the replacement of bad (and expended) ones and replenish???

        Exactly what???

    • Charles Azuri

      Es3, you should hide your head in shame. here we are talking about innocent students murdered in cold blood and you bring up a diversionary sequence in the name of sycophancy. May God help you!

      • Es3

        Diversionary?

        Do you know a jack about the issue I raised here on Premium Times and their sponsors being major stakeholders in Boko Haram???

        You sure don’t and it does not even make the least meaning to you that the monster that they are financing (and assisting on other ways) has turned the lives and the blood of young, innocent, very hopeful Nigerians to their early morning food and wine?!!!

        Yes, rather you should bury your own head in shame for not being interested in taking the very first step of finding out (of a truth) who are these blood sucking demons I our midst!!!

    • Clear Water

      May the same faith befall your children. Useless ingrate. Mcheeeew

      • Es3

        You mean your own children?!

        Despite your bestiality, I will not wish you that in return. Rather I will ask that God would have mercy on you and help you to become a human being!!!

  • uduak

    It looks like premium times is one of the sponsors of boko haram

    • Ata-Ifiok

      kop ndisime inua mfo, ebod ikot! Kere nkpo ke iwuod mfo b4 atang ndisime.

      • Truthometer

        What! Why speaking in tougue here? Don’t worry, Nigeria go better.

      • Akpan1

        Thank you my brother. Unam ikot ke enye ado.

  • abujakeneth

    That is why we must talk and every body should be looking forward to the coming national conference.

    • Dan maikoko

      What national conference? The up coming one that is not sovereign and its decisions not binding and no-go areas such as the “UNITY” of Nigeria is clearly spelt out. What national conference?!

    • Mahmoud Lawal

      Are you going to invite all major stakeholders, including the dreaded and murderous BH, to the diversionary ‘National Dialogue’?

  • RICH

    BUT THE AMERICANS SAID THAT THE PLACE WILL BREAK BY 2015. WHAT IS GOING ON NOW IS THE SIGNS BEFORE THE END..BLAMING GEJ IS A WAST OF TIME.

    • Dan maikoko

      Whatever will happen in 2015, Nigerians elected a man as president and the least they expected is that he should pretend to be president. Let Nigeria break for other things and not the lack of something we paid so high to elect. From what you are saying one will conclude that there was no reason to elect GEJ in 2011 as we would have done better with no leader today.

  • Angryman

    Let’s place the blame where it belongs
    At the feet of the instigators/sponsors
    At the feet of the perpetrators
    At the feet of their collaborators
    At the feet of the northern elders
    I hope Premium Times is not unwittingly promoting another round of massacre by Boko Haram seeing the criticism it has brought against the President
    Could this be another way of discrediting the President ahead of 2015
    Premium Times is probably oblivious of the agenda of Boko Haram and their sponsors /supporters
    Here you are putting all the blame on the President
    It appears you expect him to take up arms and man the road block or pursue the insurgents
    He has given his orders to those mandated for the task
    If they lack any resources it is the responsibility of NASS to make such resources available – they control the purse
    You expected him to be at scene of incident within 24hrs like it was a road traffic accident or some natural disaster
    I believe you are aware of protocol which factors in the President’s safety
    Another important factor to consider is the attitude of the Northern elders ; who have been opposing him in this fight against Boko Haram albeit cunningly
    That Shettima’s statement was unfortunate is no gain saying
    As I once said , it was a morale booster to the insurgents but demoralizing to the military
    This was what he should have said to the President privately and not to the public
    Now that we have realized the extent to which Boko Haram and their sponsors will go it is time we all stood up to condemn and oppose them
    The best we can do is to stand by the Nation by standing with the President

    • Danmaikoko

      To stand with the president in doing nothing? Are you really serious? Did we elect the northern elders and all those instigators you blame to do the first constitutional responsibility of protecting our lives? Will the president hand over the defense budget and the command of all the armed forces of Nigeria to the northern elders and instigators so that they can protect us? Or in your twisted logic you think its fair that the president will keep the army, police, sss, NSA, costoms, immigration and all instruments of security while northern elders secure the country for him to rule? Does your inept president need secret admonition to perform his duty; is he that daft? Real president rule and discharge their responsibilities no matter who opposes them; while clueless presidents sit at the party table while terrorists and their instigators kill his citizens.

      • Angryman

        Sorry , to the unbiased , what I have written is simple enough to understand
        So , you think the President has been doing nothing
        No wonder he said if he were to withdraw the troops will Shettima be able to stay in Government house

        Yes , we did not elect the northern elders , so should they help in putting out the fire or to oppose whoever tries to put the fire out
        As far as you are concerned you have no problem with the instigators /sponsors and perpetrators
        Have you heard the remarks of some saying it is your problem and that you should deal with it

        “Real president rule and discharge their responsibilities no matter who opposes them; while clueless presidents sit at the party table while terrorists and their instigators kill his citizens” – but your elders will be the first to scream murder and ICC
        They should know their responsibility in this issue
        Don’t forget Ihejirika referred to them as ingrates
        You need to be objective

        • Dan maikoko

          You just happen to confirm my points point-by-point. If the president is doing something we will not be in this mess today, by doing something I mean something to stop Boko Haram. I don’t mean that the president is not sending condolences and condemning the attack each time it happened or sending more soldiers to the northeast, or inflating by the day military spending on the crisis. He is doing all that and more. And real presidents don’t think about heaven falling when they arrest and punish terrorists and murderers, they just do it. I see no reason why Abacha will line up 9 innocent people and hang them unjustly while our so called president is waiting on terrorists sympathizers and sponsors. What is he afraid of? If Ihejirike call them ingrates what about that? Does that stop them. We want leaders that act whos ever ox is gored and not leaders who call people names.

  • Preco01

    “Anyone who has followed events in that unfortunate part of the country knows that the governor had merely stated the truth. Yet the president and his handlers decided to subject him to very brutal attacks”. Everything to Mr. Jonathan is politics to keep his fingers and those of his inept group of hangers on perpetual dipping in and out of our commonwealth at will, regardless. May the souls of those young Nigerians rest in peace and may God console their parents. Amen

  • Mani_Kay

    HEAR O NIGERIANS

    Proverbs 26:27 (KJV)
    27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

    CONCERNING BOKO HARAM …… WHO CAN BRING A CHARGE AGAINST PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN

    The NSA is a Northerner;
    The IG is a Northerner;
    The Chief of Defense Staff is a Northerner;
    The Minister for Defense is a Northerner;
    The GOC 7 Division is a Northerner;

    The natives who are persecuting members of the armed forces but gladly hiding and assisting members of Boko Haram in their respective communities are Northerners and from Borno State to be specific.

    They talk about implementation of reports of various committees …… I challenge them to publish the contents of these reports for public review ….. the essence of all their reports is that FG should give them more money to chop.

    North Eastern State which now comprises Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and Taraba States was created at the same time in 1967 with Rivers State.

    As at today there are a whopping 112 Local Governments in North Eastern State …… how else do you bring meaningful development to a people if the Local Governments are of no help to them.

    It is on record that they have more States and far more Local Government in the North East.

    Then North Eastern State – 6 States as at today with a total of 112 Local Governments

    Then Rivers State – 2 States as at today with a total of 31 Local Governments.

    What else do they (the) Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani want ….. that will bring development to them?

    Enough is enough!!!

    • Naziru Adam

      Yeah the pit that guys like you are digging for Nigerian will eventually be your grave!

    • Ubanka

      Typical zombie. Your profile picture depicts you.No brain, no sense jorojarajoro.

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