The radical and systematic operation of the Boko Haram sect has become too sophisticated to be left alone for puerile Nigerian politicians, hence the need for a critical, unbiased study of this group’s behavior and strategy in the Nigerian academic field. Their successful attacks at the FCT is not only creating uncertainty over the ineffectiveness of the Nigerian security forces, but equally evoking a cloud of unrest whether the conspiracy theory in working is specially designed to undermine the very existence of the Nigerian nation and dream.
It seems like the Nigerian Government with all its omnipresent security machineries do not yet know what the real problem is; how then can we expect a solution?
Common sense insists that we must first; know what the cause of the problem is, before jumping out to find a solution. If by now we still do not know what the problem is (like Mr. President sounded in one of his media chats), then obviously, we have even not started finding a solution! Or perhaps, the underground demand of this sect is so complex that the Nigerian Government would rather allow the killings to continue than accept a compromising ground to the menace? Or even worse, there seem to be something that the Nigerian Government is not saying and is not willing to share simply because it undermines the metaphysical unity of the Nigerian state?
Whatever the case may be, no amount of wanton killings will permeate a government’s acceptance for such deadly acts. Since it has become obvious that the insurgency is bigger than all of us, it becomes imperative to share whatever idea (including rumors and heresies) that we might think could lead to a lasting solution. I have highlighted six theories in this article as possible origin and objective of the Boko Haram sect.
1. The Islamization Agenda Theory
This is the most common theory associated with the sect. It begins with the very etymological concept of the term ‘Boko Haram’ which translate to mean ‘western education is sinful’ and whose objective seeks to establish a ‘pure’ Islamic state ruled by sharia law. Critics (including myself) have rejected this thesis to be the objective of their act. This is due to the fact that even though the federal constitution of Nigeria forbids any state to adopt any religion as state religion, as at December 2012, nine northern states (including Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) and three others (in some parts with large Muslim population) have adopted Sharia as a state religion and had become part of the legal system. The survival of Islam is therefore not threatened and has never been threatened to the extent that a guarantee was needed for a peaceful co-existence. Whatever the case may be, Islamization Agenda theory remains a formidable force people believe is responsible for the uprising.
Another version of this theory accuses a former military head of upgrading Nigeria’s membership in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to full-fledged membership. Theorists argue that such membership comes with certain dubious responsibility, such as supporting certain World Islamic agendas (including secret Islamic terrorist covet operations). Renouncing such membership or failing to meet up certain responsibility often comes with a price; terrorism becomes the price to Nigeria in this case. (We must not forget that Nigeria has practically had a Christian President for the past thirteen years.)
2. Politically Motivated Theory
This is another argument that has created so much division among contemporary politicians and Nigerians of different region. It is often accredited to the past speeches of Northern politicians and their bid to make the country ungovernable if a Northern Muslim is not elected President. A second growing thought in recent time is the believe that the opposition parties and their leaders have infiltrated the frustrated sect and has offered them solace in return for their continuous effort at jeopardizing the return of the incumbent president. The plausibility of this thesis is thin and laughable. This is due to the fact that all Northern politicians have offered open support to the government and have condemned the very act of terrorism in the name of politics. Whatever Nigerians have resolved to believe in, the Political Motivated Theory remains a formidable hypothesis on the objective of Boko Haram.
Another version of this theory is called the Oil Block Cartel Theory. It still falls under the Politically Motivated Theory, however this theory asserts that most of the oil blocks previously and still been controlled by Northern citizens will see their oil block license elapsing by 2018/19, hence they are all in a desperate bid to guarantee that one of their own ceases power prior to this time. With the present agitation arising from the Niger Delta people, one would draw a conclusion that many present oil block owners will lose their licenses and wealth if President Jonathan returns in 2015, hence the desperate need to bring him down politically.
3. MEND kind of Objective Theory
When the then Federal Government of Nigeria resorted to dialoguing and ‘settling’ the Niger Delta Militants rather than fighting to a finish, it became clear to many politicians that the only way to get attention to their youths and region was to adopt a similar pattern of aggressive attention seeking agenda by creating a ‘militant group’ of the North in other to get what the ‘Southern Militant’ group had achieved. The very fact that a secret military report instigated by former President Umaru Musa Yar’adua indicted the late NSA, Azazi and some southern governors as sponsoring and diverting federal military artillery to members of MEND has created the possibility for this theory.
If a Southern top military head could in connivance with southern state governors, divert federal arms and fund the Niger Delta Militants, is there no possibility that a group of Northern top military head, in connivance with some Northern governors are equaling driving towards the same end? People would argue that it could be so. Apart from an existing Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NDDC, 13% derivation, also, an annual budget for ex militants, etc are many of the benefits that came with Niger Delta Militancy. Are these equally in sight for political gains in the North? Many would imagine. While this theory is surrounded by controversy, it remains a theory that very few politicians have suspected to be the aim of the Boko Haram sect. To bring to the North what the South obtained through violence!
4. Population Reduction Theory
This is the least plausible of all theories. The proponents of this theory argue that Boko Haram is acreation of the present administration to reduce the population of the North in other to get a competitive advantage in the next general election. This theory is least plausible because the population hub of the North which is Kano, Kaduna and Katsina seem to be having a free air as to the activities of the sect. The population reduction theory is not only implausible but ridiculous. However, it remains one of the most popular opinion on the objective of Boko Haram.
5. Nigeria’s African ‘World’ Power Threat Theory
A reporter once asserted that a Wikileaks report once reported that “the US embassy’s subversive activities in Nigeria fits into the long term US government’s well camouflaged policy of containment against Nigeria the ultimate goal of which is to eliminate Nigeria as a potential strategic rival to the US in the African continent”. After Nigeria’s led force (without support of the West) intervened on a peacekeeping mission to Liberia while at the same time engaging Sierra Leone in forced peace combat, with predominantly Nigerian troops (over 90%), some western powers concluded with the recommendation that the US Government in conjunction with its allies should seek to contain the growing influence of Nigeria. This report supports the notion that Boko Haram is a CIA covert operation to undermine Nigeria’s military power in Africa. This report is all over the internet but seems to be widely discredited for the inability to authenticate its source.
Another sub theory under this heading is the recent accusation by Global Prolife Alliance (GPA) accusing Bill Gates as a sponsor of Boko Haram.
Yes, the Bill Gates you know! The chairman of GPA disclosed recently that Bill Gates and Monsanto were sponsoring the insurgency in the region using their biotechnology companies. According to him, ‘the major aim of the insurgency was to capture the food security of Nigeria and control Africa’s largest nation by population and economy… this could only be possible by fighting to displace the indigenous farmers in the country and replace them with Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs corporate farms in the North East food basket region of Nigeria’. The chairman of this group goes further to assert that ‘Liberians and Sierre-Leoneans were brought to Nigeria as ECOMOG boys to fight as Boko Haram. He also attacked the electronic wallets (cell phones) given to farmers by Bill Gates through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. According to GPA Boss, ‘the cell phones’ are a tracking device for selective elimination.
We cannot rule out any possibility from our armchair research, hence it is left for the Federal Government to investigate every accusation and follow every lead.
6. The Army Agenda Theory
This last theory asserts that the real Boko Haram sect has been crushed long ago and what we now have is the military wing of the Nigerian Army taking their share of the National cake (there could be no other time than now). This theory also points fingers to all military contractors (local and international), top military officers, etc as acting as the Boko Haram when the sect no longer exists.
No one else can know better than the Nigerian government. It must take every lead seriously and investigate every accusation without any sense of bias nor prejudice.
These theories are purely a product of armchair research and speculative intuitions and should therefore not be treated as facts but opinions towards finding a permanent solution to the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
By: Tony Osborg