Home ViewpointOpinion Emmanuel Onwubiko: Nigeria’s expensive ‘supper’ for terrorists

Emmanuel Onwubiko: Nigeria’s expensive ‘supper’ for terrorists

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Nigeria is no doubt the birth place of one of the World’s most dangerous terror groups known as Boko haram. Ironically, Nigeria is the only nation in the World that goes to bed, dines and wines with terrorists in the name of reintegration and de-radicalization just as politicians have now opened a new Vista of money grabbing gambit from these avenues of reintegration of terrorists classifies funnily as ‘REPENTANT TERRORISTS’.

Already, news are circulating that Justice ministry which has in the last five years failed to diligently prosecute terrorists is asking the National Assembly for a budget line of over N2billion to prosecute terrorists. At the same time, the Army has another juicy budget for the so-called reintegration and de-radicalization of terrorists.

Ironically, Nigeria has suffered much more than all of Africa put together from terror attacks when we compute the effects and the consequential negative impacts of terror attacks carried out in the last ten years since the insurgency began in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Both in terms of human loses and infrastructural devastation, Nigeria has continued to receive a bloodied nose literally from the Islamic terror group that operate from the North East of Nigeria which is a vastly landed area that geographically is bigger than France and Belgium put together.

For purposes of statistical factuality we will consult both the united Nations and the office of the governor of Borno State to get the estimates of the destructions unleashed on the North East of Nigeria by the terrorists just as we will then be able to get the exact timeline and then we analyze the idiocy in the policy of appeasement that the current administration in Abuja is practicing even when Nations such as Niger, Mali and Chad have been decisive in dealing with terrorists in accordance with their local laws.

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State reportedly said that Boko Haram torched 47,615 houses, classrooms and municipal buildings in the last decade.

The over decade terrorism has also claimed 32,000 lives with property worth $9.2 billion (N3.42 trillion) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Governor. Zulum disclosed this at the weekend to an 18-member House Committee on the North East Development Commission (NEDC) at Government House, Maiduguri.

According to him, the statistics on massive destruction of property are devastating and scaring. “The Boko Haram insurgency has also triggered acute humanitarian crises,” he said, adding that the over a decade long terrorism has devastated the social and economic impacts on people.

He told the legislators that there were also “deepening fragility and poverty” in the Northeast sub-region. While lamenting massive destructions of property, he said: “The insurgents have destroyed over 400,000 houses in the state. About 5,000 classrooms were also torched.

“No less than 202 health centres were destroyed along with the torching of 1,613 water supply points,” he said. He added that other infrastructural facilities and public buildings destroyed include, 713 energy distribution lines that plunged the state into darkness for over two years.

According to him, 800 municipal buildings were set ablaze, including hospitals, police stations and 22 council secretariat complexes.

Specifically Speaking on number of orphans and widows, Zulum disclosed, “we harvested a total number of 53,111 orphans, while about 54,000 women were also widowed by the terrorists.” He said these are unofficial figures, noting the confirmed number of orphans and widows are more than 107,111.
“We also have over a million IDPs in the state,” he said, stating that the task is enormous. He, however, noted that credit must be given to Federal Government, because about 22 councils were under the control of Boko Haram. He said that from September 2015 to date, most of the councils were fully recovered, despite the challenges being faced in the state.

Relatedly, from the international community came the report that the number of attacks by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring countries has risen, and half a million children have had to flee to safety in the past five months, bringing the total number of displaced children in the region to 1.4 million, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said recently.

“Each of these children running for their lives is a childhood cut short,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, in a statement.

“It’s truly alarming to see that children and women continue to be killed, abducted and used to carry bombs,” he added.

UNICEF, together with governments and partners in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, is increasing its operations to assist thousands of children and their families in the region with access to safe water, education, counselling and psychosocial support, as well as vaccinations and treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

The agency’s work in the region is almost 70 per cent underfunded, having received only 32 per cent of the $50.3 million needed for humanitarian efforts in 2015. Because of this, over 124,000 children in the conflict-torn area have not received measles vaccinations, more than 83,000 lack access to safe water, and over 208,000 are not in school.

“With more refugees and not enough resources, our ability to deliver lifesaving assistance on the ground is now seriously compromised,” said Mr. Fontaine.
“Without additional support, hundreds of thousands of children in need will lack access to basic health care, safe drinking water and education.”

Now let us read about how other African nations neighbouring Nigeria have dealt decisively with terrorists even when the government of Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria is playing hide and seek with these mass murderers.

Malian jihadist leader, Souleymane Keita has been sentenced to death for terrorism.
Bamako Court of Assizes gave the judgement against Keita, head of Katiba of Ansar dine du Sud, and two men.
Boubacar Sawadogo, 51, and Moussa Maïga, 33, are Ansar Dine top members in their home country, Burkina Faso.
PANA reports that more than ten others were handed the same punishment in absentia.
All were accused of preaching jihad in southern Mali and on the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
Keita expressed no regret for his actions, insisting that their fight was against Mali’s secularism.

“If I have the possibility, I will start again. I am not a terrorist; I am leading the jihad at the border between Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, in the name of Ansar Dine,” he said.

Then, Chad has sentenced 10 members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram to death on terror charges, after a three-day trial in the capital N’Djamena.
The 10 were convicted over their roles in twin attacks on the capital in June, which killed at least 38.
The attacks were the first by the Nigerian-based group in Chad, which hosts the headquarters of a regional force set up to fight the militants.
In July, Chad reintroduced the death penalty for acts of terror.
Opposition and civil liberties groups have criticized the new anti-terror legislation, saying it could be used to curb civil rights.
The men were found guilty of charges including criminal conspiracy, killings, wilful destruction with explosives, fraud, illegal possessions of arms and ammunition, and using psychotropic substances, according to chief prosecutor Bruno Mahouli Louapambe, quoted in AFP news agency.
The trial had been due to last eight days, but “due to security reasons it was speeded up and moved on Thursday to an undisclosed secret location,” a judicial source told AFP.
Among those convicted was Mahamat Mustapha, aka Bana Fanaye, the man described as the “mastermind” of the attack by Chad’s Interior Minister Abderahim Bireme Hamid.
The June attacks were followed by a blast at a market in the capital in July, which killed 15 people.
Chad has banned people from wearing the full-face veil following the bombings.
Boko Haram had previously threatened to attack Chad, after it sent troops to help Nigeria recapture territory from the militant group, mostly in Borno state.

Chad has been instrumental in helping Nigeria retake most of the areas Boko Haram had seized.
The jihadists, who want to create their own Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, have killed thousands and forced millions to flee their homes in the country’s north-east Nigeria since 2009.

Even as Nigerian government has in five years failed to prosecute the terrorists and their sponsors, a middle Eastern nation has just done that.

Six Nigerians are facing prison terms of ten years to life after a federal appeals court in the United Arab Emirates upheld their convictions for funding the terrorist group Boko Haram.
According to The Daily Trust newspaper, the accused were initially tried and convicted last year following their arrest in 2017.
The court in Abu Dhabi Monday sentenced Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu to life in prison. Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were each given a ten-year sentence.
The newspaper said the court judgement said that between 2015 and 2016, the accused transferred $782,000 from Dubai to Nigeria to benefit Boko Haram even as associates defended their actions, saying there was nothing criminal about the transaction.

From all of the above, it is clear that the Nigerian government does not want to be decisive in dealing with the issues of terrorists and their antics but the government is showing signs of a group of persons who have something to hide that the rest of the World don’t know regarding why the government could be paying terrorists in the guise of rehabilitation and de-radicalization of terrorists when other nations are using the instrumentality of their local laws to try to eradicate terrorists from their territory. Nigerians should ask their government why the officials are harbouring sponsors of terrorists because the Court in Dubai found out that a top official of the government is the chief funder of terrorists in the North East of Nigeria. Nigerians need to petition the International Criminal court in The Hague NETHERLANDS and the President elect of the USA Mr. Joe Biden to intervene and ascertain why Nigerian government is not interested in stopping terrorists from killing Nigerians.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.

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