Just before the presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan celebrated his victory over Boko Haram. The swiftness with which the bandits were “vanquished” raised more questions than answers.
The Jonathanian soldiers were shown on video burning the mutilated bodies of Boko Haram at the Sambisa Forest. In Bama, men dressed in Nigerian Army uniform, who spoke in Hausa were also shown cutting the throats of their victims’ body can say if they were our soldiers or Boko Haramists. President Buhari has promised correctly to investigate these atrocities.
It is obvious now that Jonathan counted the crocodiles before crossing the river. As a Niger-Deltan, he should have known better. Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch have called for investigation of what they say is war crime.
I am not a skeptic, but I was worried that the monsters had only melted into their caves, while they wait out the elections which they had threatened to disrupt to be over. I know the monsters would fight on.
As President Buhari works to defeat Boko Haram, I believe his efforts would be successful if we apply strategies which must include the rule of law. The National Assembly has already enacted an Anti-terrorism Act. The Chief Justice of Nigeria should, as soon as possible, set up special courts to try the thousands of Boko Haram suspects held in prisons. Punishment for those convicted should be swift and severe. This is a battle of ideas. It is about freedom versus totalitarian concepts. People who cut the throats of their opponents on video can never be reformed. I recommend swift and harsh response through military force and the rule of law.
Secondly, there should be a holistic security architecture that will deal with failures at all ends. If a prison is attacked, the prison head and the warders in charge of that prison should be charged with accessory after the fact of terrorism. If a police station is equally attacked, the same punishment should apply. If any soldier runs rather than fight he should be tried right there and punished for cowardice according to military law at the battlefield.
The Governor of Kano State and his red cap chiefs should be encouraged to emulate Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State and stay away from religious issues. The religious police in Kano (Hisbah) and other similar thugs in other states should be disbanded and the Nigerian Police Force empowered to enforce the rule of law. Gov. Ganduje of Kano State should turn Kano into a Dubai.
The jurisdiction of Sharia courts in all Northern states should be restricted to family jurisprudence. They should not dabble into criminal law.
Northern governors should be compelled by their people to stop financing Islamic sects and wasting billions in pilgrimages to Hajj, mass marriages of single women or divorcees and focus on implementing the Child’s Rights Act and extending free and compulsory education to all. There should be a deadline of three years to achieve 100% school enrolment in all the Northern states.
Like Chad, the wearing of Boukas by women should be suspended especially in markets, motor parks, near schools and places of worship in the North East, some cities in the North West and North Central.
President Buhari should set up a special force to tackle Fulani terrorists and cattle rustlers. They are all criminals. They all threaten the unity and stability of Nigeria.
Another revamped Task Force should be deployed to the Niger Delta to nip in the bud, the rising tide of militancy. The so-called militants are not fighting for the people, they are fighting for themselves. They should be treated as criminals that they are.
Those who are reviving Biafra should face, equally, severe ends. The unity of Nigeria is not negotiable.
All the Federal Institutions established by the Constitution to enforce the law, must be empowered, reinforced and given the necessary leadership to enforce the law.
All extra-constitutional measures and involvement of non-state actors especially in the Southern states must be eliminated.
Boko Haram and their likes must be defeated by might and in the battle of ideas.
The nation should now brace up for a total war, be tough in all fronts with resolve. A war of heart and might in the name of ONE NIGERIA against all enemies, foreign or domestic.
* Oroh is Edo State Commissioner for Art And Culture