Communities habouring Boko Haram deserve the Odi treatment, By Femi Fani-Kayode

I have nothing against the Islamic faith. As a matter of fact some of my most loyal friends are practising Muslims. There are many Muslims in my family and my maternal great grandmother was an illustrious Fulani woman from the Muslim core north. I do however believe that there is a world of difference between a true Muslim and an Islamist. The former is a humble worshipper of God who seeks to peacefully and piously live his life in accordance with the dictates of his faith and in true harmony with his neighbour. He is tolerant, reasonable, rational and God-fearing. The latter is the opposite. He is an Islamic fundamentalist and an extremist who seeks to impose his will and his own understanding and interpretation of Islam on others by compulsion, intimidation, violence and terror.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Nigeria today fall into the former category but there is a small and growing minority that sadly fall into the latter. That group constitute those that we describe today as Boko Haram and they have been waging a relentless and brutal war of terror against the Nigerian state and people for the last few years. They are indeed the enemy within. The question is what should our collective response be to these men of violence and blood. That, together with the cursory analysis of how we got into this mess and the way out of it is the topic of this essay.

Some are of the view that we ought to enter some form of dialogue with Boko Haram and that this would eventually solve the problem. My younger brother, Mujahid Asari Dokubo, enunciated that position rather well in an article titled ”How To Address The Boko Haram Problem In Nigeria” (25th June, 2011) . He suggested that President Goodluck Jonathan should enter into negotiations with the islamist terrorist group as quickly as possible regardless of the fact that they themselves have made it clear that they are not interested in any form of dialogue with the government and that they have murdered thousands of innocent and defenceless Nigerian men, women and children in the last three years alone. I respectfully beg to differ with Dokubo on this issue and indeed with all those that share this view.

In my view the solution to the Boko Haram problem is simple. They must be utterly crushed by the Nigerian state and certainly not negotiated with. This is because in any serious society, there can never be dialogue, compromise or any form of negotiation with terrorists whilst they are still carrying arms and waging war against the state and the people. Worst still there can be no compromise with those that seek to forcefully establish a 17th century Islamic fundamentalist caliphate in our country and those that seek to impose their strange and outdated values on each and everyone of us. Worst still there is no doubt in my mind that Boko Haram is part of the world-wide Al Qaeda-sponsored ”global jihad” and if we give them one inch they will definitely take a mile. We cannot afford to have peace with them on any terms or peace with them at the cost of our hard-earned civil liberties, liberal and cherished values, plural and multi-cultural society and modern way of life. There must come a time when we as a people can boldly say ”enough is enough” and when we draw the line in the sand. And if Boko Haram crosses that line they must be confronted by the full force of the Nigerian Armed Forces who must be ready, willing and able to unleash hell on them regardless of the collateral damage and immense infrastructural destruction that this will cause in various parts of our country. President Olusegun Obasanjo did this decisively and with ruthless efficiency in the town of Odi in the Niger Delta area a number of years ago with remarkable success. By the time the Nigerian Armed Forces finished shelling Odi from the land, the sea and the air there was not one building left standing there except for, interestingly, the local bank. The casualties in terms of human life were extremely high but the point was made and the objective achieved. From that point on the Niger Delta militants stopped killing policemen and soldiers right up until the time that Obasanjo left power. Why can the same solution not be applied to the Boko Haram problem by the Jonathan administration today? What is the fear? Why should the same treatment not be meted out to any city or community in our country that grants the foot-soldiers of Boko Haram covert support, safe haven, sanctuary or shelter? This is all the more important because they are not true Muslims or believers in God.

Rather they are a cancer that must be identified, isolated and cut out of our body politic before they spread their terrible disease of hate, extremism, violence and intolerance throughout the federation and the reprisals begin. That is what a strong, focused, resolute and purposeful government ought to do. Sadly we have not seen any such thing from our government. Instead what we have witnessed from them are a series of feeble and pathetic pleas for dialogue with the enemy and the shameful display of weakness, incompetence and insensitivity when faced with their terror. To make matters worse the National Chairman of the President’s own ruling PDP, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, recently declared that Boko Haram was ”fighting for justice”. What a thing to say by an elder statesman who I not only have tremendous respect for but who I have always regarded as a father. I really do wonder what type of ”justice” he is referring to when churches are now being blown up virtually every Sunday morning all over the north and when thousands of defenceless Christians are being slaughtered on a daily basis. Is that what the Chairman calls ”fighting for justice”. Are these the people that are denying Boko Haram their justice and that are denying them their rights? Are they the ones that killed their leader, Mohammed Yusuf, a few years ago? Boko Haram started by targeting government institutions and security agencies with extreme and deadly violence but now they have graduated to killing the followers of Christ and they have made known their intention to wipe out Christianity in northern Nigeria and to stop Christians from peacefully worshipping their God. Is that the ”just cause” that they are fighting for? 

We must understand that Boko Haram, what they stand for and what they seek to establish is patently evil and that what they are doing represents the greatest threat to Nigerian unity since our civil war. They are not just a danger to Christians but to all true Muslims as well. Real Muslims like Dokubo, Tukur and all the others that believe that Boko Haram are fighting a ”just cause” would do better by trying to educate and enlighten their misguided islamist brothers. They should advise them to stop the violence, to stop the slaughtering of Christians and true Muslims, to stop destabilising the Nigerian state, to stop trying to Islamise northern Nigeria, to stop trying to return our country to the dark ages of the 17th century and to stop trying to wage a global war of terror against the rest of humanity. We as a people must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by their evil agenda and we must vigorously and courageously resist them no matter what it takes. No responsible and strong government would compromise or enter into negotiations with such barbarous and evil men that have so much blood on their hands. To throw down the gauntlet and confront such evil is one of the major challenges of our time and it is a challenge that our government must not fail to rise up to in a fearless, vigorous and responsible manner.  

A few home truths must now be told. We Christians take strong exception to the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters from all over the country have been brutally killed by Muslim fundamentalists in northern Nigeria over the last 50 years for no just cause. The innocent blood of those people cries to God in heaven for vengeance and it gets louder and louder by the day. Boko Haram have said publically that they want the adoption of full Sharia law and the establishment of an Islamic fundamentalist state in all the northern states of Nigeria before they stop killing and bombing innocent people and spreading terror. Yet the truth is that that will never happen as long as Nigeria remains as one nation and remains a secular state. And if Nigeria ever stops being a secular state then we will simply break it up and go our separate ways. It is as simple as that. No-one wants a full blown religious war but neither will anyone run away from it if it is foisted on us. For how long can the people of the south and the Middle Belt sit by idly and watch silently as their own kith and kin that reside in the core north and their northern minority Christian brothers and sisters are subjected to nothing less than genocide and mass murder from the most ruthless and barbaric terrorist organisation that this country has ever known. I believe in restraint but is it humanly possible that we will be restrained forever?

Yet I believe that there is still hope and that a war can still be avoided. That hope lies in the speedy convocation of a Sovereign National Conference. That, in my view, is the only vehicle that can provide a lasting solution to the monumental challenges that we are facing in our country today, including the scourge of Boko Haram. I say this because whether we like to admit it or not, Nigeria is more divided today on ethnic and religious lines than it has ever been since our independence in 1960. We should iron out all these issues at such a conference once and for all. These religious clashes and killings feature in the northern part of Nigeria alone and hardly in the south. In the south-west where I come from the Christians, the Muslims and the traditional worshippers are one and we treat each other with love, respect, understanding and sensitivity. We do not kill ourselves on account of our religious differences. That is simply our way and clearly many from other parts of Nigeria and indeed the rest of the world have a lot to learn from us.

My position is that if Nigeria cannot be built on a foundation of equality, equity and fairness for ALL her people, whether they be Christian, Muslim, northern, middle-beltern or southern, then we should reject the concept of a united Nigeria and we should begin to renegotiate the terms of our union. I love this country and I would always be amongst those to defend and speak up for her unity but the truth is that there is absolutely nothing that is sacrosanct about the unity of the Nigerian state if we cannot live together in peace. As a matter of fact there has been a school of thought since 1914 when Nigeria was first created that it was an ”unworkable union” and a ”cruel joke”. Lord Frederick Lugard’s vision, and indeed his intention, when he recommended the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914 was ably described and enunciated by his own very words when he said that the northern protectorate of Nigeria could be described as the ”poor husband” whilst the southern protectorate could be described as the ”rich wife”. He then pronounced the ”permanency” of our forced union by saying- ”today we marry the two and our prayer is that this union lasts forever”. That is how the north and the south got ”married” and that is how the famous amalgamation of 1914 came about.

The problem was that the two young spouses were never asked by their British masters whether they actually wanted to stay together, let alone get married. Worst still the ”poor husband” was never given the opportunity to court woo or propose to the ”rich wife”. To make matters worse the two spouses came from different worlds, had different backgrounds, had a different religion, had a different history and had a different world-view. Today the ”rich wife” and the ”poor husband” have suffered immensely in each others ”loving” arms. The marriage has been strained and turbulent. We fought a brutal and avoidable 3 year civil war from 1967 in which we killed no less than 2 million of our own people. Since1960 the story has been more or less the same and the tales of tragedy and woe have just continued to pour in. If it is not genocide, mass killings or sectarian butchery by groups like Boko Haram then it is always something else. Yet today’s barbarism and mass killings are far more horrendous than ever and are far better planned, funded, orchestrated and executed by those that are behind them than ever before.

The question is how much longer can the ”rich wife” and the ”poor husband” give and take this sort of thing from one another? For how long can the centre hold before the voices of reason and restraint are completely drowned by the irrational, compulsive outrage that is gradually building up and the uncontrollable outcry for reprisals and revenge? For how long can our hope and fervent prayers prevent the dogs of war from being unleashed? May God save Nigeria.

 

 

 


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  • naubiko

    Mr FFK on this one I totally agree with you. In desperate circumstances it needs bottle and bravery.
    Now, is the president brave enough to do this or allow the country to degenerate into chaos.

  • Major Gideon Gwadza Orkar

    “A few home truths must now be told. We Christians take strong exception to the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters from all over the country have been brutally killed by Muslim fundamentalists in northern Nigeria over the last 50 years for no just cause. The innocent blood of those people cries to God in heaven for vengeance and it gets louder and louder by the day. Boko Haram have said publically that they want the adoption of full Sharia law and the establishment of an Islamic fundamentalist state in all the northern states of Nigeria before they stop killing and bombing innocent people and spreading terror. Yet the truth is that that will never happen as long as Nigeria remains as one nation and remains a secular state. And if Nigeria ever stops being a secular state then we will simply break it up and go our separate ways. It is as simple as that. No-one wants a full blown religious war but neither will anyone run away from it if it is foisted on us. For how long can the people of the south and the Middle Belt sit by idly and watch silently as their own kith and kin that reside in the core north and their northern minority Christian brothers and sisters are subjected to nothing less than genocide and mass murder from the most ruthless and barbaric terrorist organisation that this country has ever known. I believe in restraint but is it humanly possible that we will be restrained forever?”

  • Major Gideon Gwadza Orkar

    “A few home truths must now be told. We Christians take strong exception to the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters from all over the country have been brutally killed by Muslim fundamentalists in northern Nigeria over the last 50 years for no just cause. The innocent blood of those people cries to God in heaven for vengeance and it gets louder and louder by the day. Boko Haram have said publically that they want the adoption of full Sharia law and the establishment of an Islamic fundamentalist state in all the northern states of Nigeria before they stop killing and bombing innocent people and spreading terror. Yet the truth is that that will never happen as long as Nigeria remains as one nation and remains a secular state. And if Nigeria ever stops being a secular state then we will simply break it up and go our separate ways. It is as simple as that. No-one wants a full blown religious war but neither will anyone run away from it if it is foisted on us. FOR HOW LONG CAN THE PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH AND THE MIDDLE BELT SIT BY IDLY AND WATCH SILENTLY AS THEIR OWN KITH AND KIN THAT RESIDE IN THE CORE NORTH AND THEIR NORTHERN MINORITY CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE SUBJECTED TO NOTHING LESS THAN GENOCIDE AND MASS MURDER FROM THE MOST RUTHLESS AND BARBARIC TERRORIST ORGANISATION THAT THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER KNOWN. I believe in restraint but is it humanly possible that we will be restrained forever?”

    • ALIBABA

      MORNING TO YOU MY MAJOR.I’M PROUD OF YOU INCLUDING THE NORTHERN CHRISTIANS TOO.WE ALL ARE ONE AND MUST ACT AS ONE AT ALL TIME.

  • Dbilikisu

    Mr Fani kayode has truly spoken well, from the heart, but I disconcur with some of his point, suggesting that the core north be shelled like odi is not quite reaonable because in the case of odi, the govt knew who the enemies were but now who is the enemy? BOKO HARAM? I think we should face reality and accept what is starring us in the face,what we have on our hands is beyond boko haram because it cuts across many tribes and all religion in nigeria. We have heard of people who are not muslims but have carried out bombings or tried to bomb churches across the country. So what’s the rationale for conluding that boko haram are all muslims? Iam not a northerner but I live in the north, I see how muslims and christians are killed indiscriminately on a daily basis, we all live in fear for nobody knows who is next or where the next target is. We really need to start doing our own thinking

  • The writer’s view on Odi and recommending it as a solution to the current crisis is reckless and wicked. In these troubled times, people should think very carefully before commenting on issues. Nigeria is already on fire. Don’t pour petrol on the flames.

    • Oghenetega

      So u.what have u thought of cos there’s no solution t dis crisis in Nigeria in all u have written.So don’t u ever criticise whatever another has suggested.mpcheeeuw!

      • Isimeme1

        dont forget the writer’s solution, which is the solution you agree with & are insulting other people about: the random murder of innocent men , women & children that occurred in Odi. You a “Mountain” of a human being are insulting people becuase they disagree with u abount mass murder. You an example of typical Nigerian:Peculiarly BRAINLESS

  • Deri

    Where in the North do u have your Odi-Yusuf the leader of BH murdered Rev Ojeh .Was the zone where Yusuf also killed some police officers ever raided in Yobe state where Boko haram sprang from by the army? How many police officers have been killed in the North by Boko haram? If an Ijaw militant group had done half of what Boko haram is doing in Nigerian, the entire SS would have been turned into another Nagasaki by the Fulanis.. The hypocricy shown by 9jas on the Buhari Islamic sect is actually getting out of hand. Boko haram has the full support of buhari, bakare and tinubu. What did the people of Ayakoroma do before the chief of army staff sent choppers to spray the peopel with bullets from the air. Even D old men and women who were trying to get away were ordered by the chief of army staff to be gunned down. And their huts burnt with the aged who could not escape forced to die in the inferno–that was in the niger delta–in the same niger delta in gbaranmatu, Yara Adua threw bombs on the peole as if they were balls of akara. who was held accountable–but in the North of nigeria where boko haram operates from, the family of Yusuf were paid over 100m because Shehu Sani acting on behalf of boko haram took government to court–in ours they buried the genocide committed on us deep inside the sands of history. In Odi our women were left with fatherless babies and the Aids virus–until the SS secedes from nigeria they will never get their bearing right–they woill continue to be slaves in nigeria in spite of the presiudency of jonathan

  • Mary_kay

    STFU!!! NOW!!! Reading dis was a waste of my tym. Disappointed in premiun times for publishing this piece of filth… Mtssssss

    • ALIBABA

      WHY NOW HAJARA-TRANSFORMED-MARY

  • Haksamy

    Your Papa. You bigot, call a spade a spade. Na war you want.

    Dan ubanku give us our arewa republic.

    “Rich wife” for where Shege Churh Rat

    • ALIBABA

      HAKSAMY FROM YOUR NAME ITS OBVIOUS YOU ARE NOT NIGERIAN.I MUST TELL YOU THE TRUTH,BREAKING UP AS A NATION WILL NEVER FAVOUR THE NORTH.TRUE NORTHERNERS KNOW.

      • Blaky

        Who tel us marriage na by force. I dont see why we should remain to be involved in a tense, insulting, hurtful relationship

  • Isimeme1

    Before appreciating what Mr Fani-Kayode has said, the question that is begged is, was the “Odi Treatment” legal under international law or even moral?Once a person has properly pondered this question, then they can take measure of whether there is a presence of unrelenting hatred in his statement. I would like to see this hatred demonstrated towards the enemies that have stole Nigeria blind for 13 long miserable years. My faith rests in bloggers who by their utterances can yet see the “Forest from the trees”. It is the height of unforgivable treason to forment a contrived “north/south divide” to coverup for “unprecedented looting” never before seen. For some of us our eyes remains firmly “on the ball”. As one blogger on SH put it : ” We don sabi them….all the enemies of Nigeria”.

  • Ehi_young

    “Why can the same solution not be applied to the Boko Haram problem by the Jonathan administration today? What is the fear? Why should the same treatment not be meted out to any city or community in our country that grants the foot-soldiers of Boko Haram covert support, safe haven, sanctuary or shelter? This is all the more important because they are not true Muslims or believers in God.”

    Odi is a Village, a community. That was the reason victory of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was swift, decisive and thorough. As I have stated elsewhere, Boko Haram is an enemy on the flight. They don’t have a defined territory that one could reasonably send a strong army of men. That is an indisputable fact. That may explain the seeming helplessness of Federal Government and why it is practically handicapped from mobilizing an all out war against the sect. The issue of collateral damage as you rightly said is real, and I do not think it is strategically feasible to declare a war on a community simply on rumor of the presence of Boko Haram within.

    Adding to that, Boko Haram is what it is presently because when the escalation took an ugly form at the beginning of this administration, those who would have intervened, especially the prominent religious leaders and call the sects to order, declined to do so, believing that it is a war against President Jonathan who stole their Presidency. It took the bombing of Kano for prominent voices in the north to think it is a serious national malaise.

    I am one of those who support dialogue. My reason being “we do not know who is really a Boko Haram”. If we dialogue with those that normally hold themselves out as Boko Haram leadership, chances are that there will be cessation of hostility. In the dialogue, Nigeria would like to know what exactly is at stake. If it is imposition of Sharia law on Nigeria State, it is a no go area, because Nigeria is a Secular State. If it is elimination of western education or refined life style, it is a no go area. Because such rights are not only constitutional, they are inherent. If the demand is for evacuation of southerners and Christian from the north, that again is not negotiable, because we are one sovereign nation with the right to reside anywhere we like and worship the way we like.

    If on the other hand, the demand is for the release of those arrested in connection with killing and bombing in furtherance of the sects’ forceful indoctrination campaign, then Government negotiators should be willing to assure the Sect that those arrested will receive speedy and flawless trial in accordance with applicable laws. And that such trial should be monitored by NGOs and International Human Rights Organization. At the end; lets pray that the Sect Reps agree to cooperate and down their weapon. And then take such message to their followers. It won’t cost anybody anything. If one the other hand, they are unwilling to compromise on their beliefs and demands, then we should all brace for escalation of bombing from the sect.

    Given such scenario, Federal Govt should not waste a minute to mobilize its Armed Forces and security agencies for an all out manhunt on all those who are directly and indirectly sympathetic of the sect. Starting from leadership of the sect, those who preside at the places of worships of the sect, those known to have participated in the propagation of the sect doctrinaire. The Armed Forces should work in collaboration with Community Heads, local chiefs, Landlord Associations, We should start from the top and not the bottom. We should stop public display of those arrested in connection with sect related criminality. These are the people who know the modus operandi of the group. Why must you show case them when apprehended.

    A declaration of war on the sect and their sympathizers and affiliates would reveal whether or not Nigeria is a one sovereign nation. Would prominent northerners and political leaders and Millions of law abiding Muslims form the geographical north be willing to join forces with the security agencies unpretentiously to wipe out the sect from that part of the country? That is the stage we are now politically.

    Finally, those who secretly nurse grudges against President Jonathan, should realize that if he fails for any reason directly and remotely connected with the destabilizing activities of the sect, Nigeria State will fail as well. Every Nigeria has every right to rule this country. If Jonathan cannot rule this country, no one else will be able to rule this country again, because their won’t be any Nigeria if he is unable complete his four years in office as the constitution and our electoral law mandate. If you want him out of office, wait until 2015 and stop sponsoring Boko Haram. It is the best thing to do.

  • This extremely irresponsible article shows that Nigerians have a callous disregard for human life. What happened at Odi was barbaric and shameful. Similar issues happened in Bosnia and people are rightly on trial at the Hague for their actions. The people responsible for Odi should be prosecuted by the ICC for their crimes. And it beggars belief that anyone could suggest the same should be done on a scale of x100k.
    This article is calling for a mass slaughter of northern Nigerians, simple as that.
    On a general note, Nigerian newspapers should please practise restraint and self-censorship at this critical time. No more inflammatory articles like this please.
    And the FG should seriously consider passing an emergency sedition law to prevent reckless articles and even more inflammatory readers’ comments. Where these comments are written under pseudonyms, then the newspaper should be legally responsible. And where possible trace people via their IP addresses. Where these people reside outside Nigeria, the FG should get the host govt to deport them back to Nigeria to face the consequences of their hateful comments. Hate speech is a crime in all western countries as well as wise African countries like South Africa & Rwanda. Nigeria is facing the worst security problems possible and it’s so wrong for the media to allow incitement to public disorder everyday in their newspapers and online news sites. Freedom of speech doesn’t give us the right to put other people in danger or incite loss of life.

    • Oghenetega

      Oh shut up!u’r even worse than those islamists.The article still hasn’t taught u enough lessons,u’r advised t read through again.
      Why would u suggest that ur fellow Nigerians be deprived of their ultimate right?;do Nigerians look like animals who should not express their emotions?
      The nature of Boko Haram are:
      They are extremists
      They impose ideas on Pple
      Stop asking FG t impose unnecessary laws on us

  • salisu goni

    FFK is a reckless and irresposible bigot. He should wait until he becomes the President of Nigeria to send his troops for the genocide. He has been preaching violence and war. We hope he will come out of his confort zone to lead the war. No wonder we have been having incessant plane crashes because of calibre of people we had as aviation ministers. Msheww!!

  • Oghenetega

    The federal government reserves the right t make peace by ALL MEANS.If u disagree with FFK’s solution t this problem,then give a us a better solution instead of making senseless comments.As for dividing Nigeria,the northernerns will return all what they have benefited from the natural resources in the South-south.After extorting all our oil and gas!

  • Kauri1969

    FFK clearly knows nothing about Odi.

    Criminals who ambushed police near Odi later withdrew and the military went on to bombard a community who the same criminals had also been terrorising.

    “obasnajo did this with efficiency… Success ” ??????

    Did FFK miss the entire period of Niger delta militancy ???

  • The Sledge

    Why not just kill all the people in Nigeria leaving the caball to have it all to themselves. However, even that might not be enough for them, given what the whole world has seen of their unbridled greed. This man callls himsellf a lawyer so perhaps he’ll find a way to defend his felllow thieves in the junge they would have descended into, having done away with the rule of law and respect for human life. But then this would be in keeping with one who served in a government which assassinated the attorney-general and minister of justice, whereupon the main suspect was selected into the Senate in order to make laws for the good governance of Nigeria. It’s enough to make your head spin so perhaps the author of this drivel with its pretensions to intellectuall rigour and plain speaking is simply confused I don’t imagine this would be difficult after having served under a man who is himself certifiablle, which was why he descended on Odi before proceeding to dash the Paris cllub $18bn we didn’t owe, and this through the good offices of a Nigerian spook employed by the Worlld Bank. And so on and so on.