Nigeria is gradually being torn apart: What lessons to learn?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Folks, Nigeria seems to be on the brink of catastrophe at many levels.

While the terrorist group Boko Haram wreaks havoc on the society in North-Eastern Nigeria, the country’s politicians gathering in the safe haven of Abuja are bickering over raw political power with the opposition threatening to block the government’s 2014 budget. And blocking the budget means straining the administration and making it difficult for it to do what it has to do to govern the country!!

The objective of the opposition is clear: to incapacitate the Jonathan Goodluck administration, weaken its grips on power, and create the unfortunate impression that it is incapable of moving the country forward. All in readiness for the next general elections for it to be voted down. As if by voting it down and installing in office these doom-mongers, anything drastically new will be brought to the table to solve Nigeria’s problems.

In any attempt to comprehend the problems facing Nigeria, one cannot under-estimate the violence that the Boko Haram group is wreaking on the country. I am not in the least ignorant of the political capital that the Boko Haram terrorist activities have for the opponents of the incumbent government. Unfortunately, there seems to be some “insider-work” going on against the Jonathan Goodluck administration, which has been neglected to the government’s own disadvantage.

Sometime last year, it was reported that some members of the government were sympathetic toward the Boko Haram or were even providing material support to boost the group[s terrorist activities. The President has moved to make changes in the military establishment but such changes haven’t helped stem the tide. The situation rather appears to be worsening day-by-day.

From what has happened so far, one can only say that Nigeria is gradually heading toward disaster. If Boko Haram can operate with so much impunity and purposeful wickedness without any fear of being clamped down upon, there must be something boosting its activities that the Jonathan Goodluck government lacks the capacity to confront.

I am very much concerned about the Nigerian situation and will repeat my appeal to leaders of the West African sub-region to pool resources together to help Nigeria solve this Boko Haram problem once-and-for-all. Failure to do so will open the floodgates for the group to spread its activities to the sub-region or to establish cells in the other countries to perpetuate its terrorism.

In all that hap-pens in Nigeria, it is the poor people who have nothing to gain from the activities of the politicians in power who suffer the scourge of the terrorism being wreaked on the society. In the latest happening, there is so much to make stomachs churn:

  • Suspected Islamist militants have attacked two villages in north-eastern Nigeria, leaving 74 people dead. Militants attacked Kawuri village in Borno state as a busy market was packing up on Sunday, setting off explosives and setting houses ablaze.
  • Witnesses said 52 people were killed in that attack, while 22 died in an attack on a church service in Waga Chakawa village, Adamawa state, on Sunday.
  • Gunmen planted explosive devices around Kawuri village prior to the attack, said a witness and security official. They also killed civilians in their homes, dozens of which were set ablaze in the attack.
  • “No house was left standing,” Ari Kolomi, who fled from the village to Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, some 70km (43 miles) away, told AP news agency.
  • “The gunmen were more than 50 [in number]; they were using explosives and heavy-sounding guns.” Mr. Kolomi said he did not yet know if his relatives had survived the attack.
  • Earlier on Sunday in neighbouring Adamawa state, gunmen attacked a busy church service in Waga Chakawa village, an army spokesman said.
  • They set off bombs and fired into the congregation, killing 22 people, before burning houses and taking residents hostage during a four-hour siege, witnesses told Reuters news agency.


Clearly, the Nigerian government stands paralyzed before this problem. No proper intelligence gathering is going on to put the government ahead of the pack so it can prevent the terrorist acts or clamp down heavily on this Boko Haram. Does Nigeria have any intelligence and security service at all to help the government secure limb and property and prove to the citizens that it has superior means to ensure national integrity?

Why is it so difficult for the government to know what it needs to know about Boko Haram so it can clamp down on its activities?

Some claim that Boko Haram has the backing of politicians from Northern Nigeria or some members of the government and security services and that as soon as a Northerner becomes Nigeria’s President, its activities will cease. Is that how the management of a country’s affairs should be approached?

Truly, Nigeria is descending into an abyss from which it will not recover if it does descend there. Probably, the ghost of Uthman dan Fodio is at work to punish Nigerians for accepting the British influence to destroy what the Sokoto Caliphate had in store for the country!! A test case for historians!!

And day-in-day-out, the history of Nigeria is being enacted and re-enacted, which other African countries should learn from if they haven’t already done so from the turmoil in Somalia, Egypt, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and many more.

As the citizens’ living conditions worsen and the population explodes, on expects those ruling the countries on the continent to take pragmatic steps to solve existential problems, not to pursue agenda that worsen problems.

Unfortunately, it is these very suffering citizens whose blood, toil, and sweat feed the national coffers that these politicians fleece to live in comfort. It is not as if all these countries lack natural or human resources to make progress. They have everything in over-abundance but are hamstrung because they lack leaders to take charge of affairs and act responsibly in the national interest.

Oh, Africa!! When oh, when?

I shall return…

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