After seizing territory and hoisting flags in parts of Niger State, two hours away from Abuja and allegedly infiltrating Lagos and other parts of the South, the Boko Haram terror group needs to be far more seriously confronted, writes Louis Achi
According to CNNs Fareed Zakaria in his latest Washington Post Column, ten years after Osama bin Laden-choreographed multiple terrorist strikes at the heart of America, the threat of Islamist terrorism has faded
Hear him: This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the operation, code-named Neptune Spear, that Killed Osama Bin Laden. Its an opportunity to reflect on the state of Islamist terrorism and radical Islam more generally. And the initial diagnosis is clear: The movement is in bad shape.
The number of deaths caused by terrorism around the world has fallen sharply since 2014, and right-wing extremism poses a greater threat in the US, Fareed notes. As a political movement, Islamism is flailing, as Iraqis and Syrians fled ISISs caliphate in droves, and as Egyptians protested the Muslim Brotherhood government there.
Today, the appeal of jihadist groups whether in Afghanistan, Nigeria, or the Horn of Africa largely centers on local grievances, not ideology, a major reversal from the glory days of al-Qaeda and its global aims.He then counsels his fellow Yankees: lets learn to right-size our adversaries and find a way to run fast but not run scared.
It would be interesting to get Fareed to stop over in Abuja and address the National Assembly, with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State in attendance for good measure. After a grim search at the entrance to the national parliament, he would quickly learn that Nigerians are running scared having not found a way to right-size our adversaries.
He would also learn that some kernels of his analysis suffer from a deficit of updated information. He would learn that Nigerias Operation Lafia Dole (now renamed Operation Hadin Kai) is not Americas deadly, clinical counter-insurgency strike code-named Neptune Spear, that Killed Osama Bin Laden.
He would finally learn that if the threat of Islamist terrorism has faded in continental United States, its blossoming in Africa, especially, Nigeria and that the number of deaths caused by terrorism in Nigeria has sharply risen. He would learn that Boko Haram (meaning Western education is forbidden) is not a local grievance but ideologically anchored. Then, like the great journalist he is, he would move to revise some of the basic assumptions of his analysis. Here is why.
Last Tuesday, nervous, chubby-cheeked Nigerian Senators expressed justifiable fear that the Boko Haram insurgents may overrun the nations capital, Abuja, because of the attacks the deadly group had launched on contiguous states.
The previous day before the senators expressed jitters, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State, revealed that Boko Haram terrorists had taken over about 50 communities in the state. Wait for it: he said the terrorist group is just some two hours away from Abuja.Curiously, as a way of addressing the issue, Senate resolved to send its leadership the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and other principal officers to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari. But no date has been fixed for the meeting. Old story.
The Senates decision followed a motion, moved through a point of order by Musa Sani from Niger State, tagged, Activities of bandits and Boko Haram terrorists in Niger State.Again, for good measure, the upper chamber also resolved to summon the newly-appointed service chiefs to brief them on steps so far taken to salvage the situation. No date has, however, been announced.According to Senator Musa Sani, I can authoritatively confirm that the Boko Haram terrorists have mounted their flags in many of the villages they have captured such as Kaure, Alawa and Magami, adding, Inhabitants of these war-torn parts of the State have been abandoned and left to their fate thereby compelling them to wallow in perpetual agony and abject misery.
He further informed his colleagues that about 42 communities across the two local government areas of Shiroro and Munya Local Government have so far fallen under the Boko Haram control with about 5,000 villagers already displaced in the last three days.
They have kidnapped many and their wives seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members while three military camps in Allawa, Bassa and Zagzaga in the two local government areas have been sacked and some security personnel killed by the insurgents in the last one month of renewed attacks, the embattled Niger State senator revealed.
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, cut to the heart of the matter, when he submitted that the central government has lost its legitimacy to lead, since the primary responsibility of government is to protect the people and this has not been done.
He said: Any Government that finds it impossible to secure the lives of the people has lost legitimacy. We have made beautiful suggestions and have had retreats on insecurity but unfortunately, the recommendations havent been implemented. If we need to shutdown Niger State or the Senate in order to find solutions, let us do that.
More, it could be recalled that the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, had in February alleged that Boko Haram has entered Lagos and stated that no part of the country was protected from infiltration by the terrorist group. Sources have also claimed that the Lagos State government hadarrested members of the group and that it was the fear of them taking over the state that they banned Okada and Keke operators in some parts of the state.
Meanwhile, successive travel advisories by the UK and US governments warn their citizens of heightened insecurity in the country and go as far as specifying which states to avoid.
Besides having serious implications for the stability of West Africa, should the Boko Haram terrorists who have been technically defeated successfully breach the security of the countrys strategic administrative and commercial nerve centres Abuja and Lagos the consequences can only be imagined. Beyond the customary rhetoric, the time to genuinely confront and defeat this scourge is now.

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