United Action for Democracy condemns the dastardly bombings in suburbs of Abuja on Friday by Boko Haram, and sympathises with family members of the scores of poor people whose lives were cut short in their prime in these attacks. We must however consider this as a clarion call for thinking out of the box. The sloganeering and unsubstantiated claims of the ruling All Progressives Congress that such cowardly acts will not stop the sect’s defeat appear hollow and annoying, considering its posturing on the Boko Haram insurgency, when it was an opposition party.
Over 1,200 Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram since APC came to power. There is little basis for confidence that many more will not face a similar fate. To present the sect’s tactics of urban guerrilla warfare as something new is equally being disingenuous. On the contrary, this was the norm for Boko Haram until mid-2014 when it was inspired by the territorial expansion of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And indeed, most of the territories it seized from the Nigerian state had been recovered before the March 28 presidential elections.
Boko Haram members have been arrested in several states to the south of Abuja, according to reports credited to the Department of State Security. This points at the likelihood of an expanding sphere of attacks by the sect, in the coming period. The Abuja bombings might, rather painfully, herald a deepening of the macabre dance of death associated with Boko Haram, and the Federal Government’s campaign against it.
This is the time for citizens to act. It was not the army and other security forces that forced Boko Haram out of Maiduguri. It took the self-organising defensive and offensive actions of the Civilian JTF for respite to be won in the ancient city and neighbouring towns. The Nigerian state’s curtailing of Boko Haram’s reign of terror might not be forthcoming precisely because it prioritises cure for the symptom over that for the ailment. Poverty, unemployment and disillusionment, basic recipes for providing the sect with ready recruits remain rife, as we continue to wait for the campaign promises of the APC to materialise.
Poor working people across the length and breadth of the country must draw inspiration from the Civilian JTF and organise self-defence committees. We must also demand of the government to immediately begin to take action, as it promised whilst in opposition, towards eradicating poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion. Enough is enough!
Issued: October 4, 2015