By Anthony Kolawole
I have followed the war against terrorism in Nigeria with keen attention and conclude that indeed, there is a grand conspiracy against Nigeria. I say this for various reasons, chiefly amongst them is how the Boko Haram group now ISWAP have continued to wage a war despite the fact that they have been under heavy bombardment from the Nigerian troops.
I know some won’t agree with my position on the decimation of the Boko Haram/ISWAP group for reasons best known to them. However, my reason is based on facts available for all discerning minds to verify.
As a start, it must be stated that since 2009 when the Boko Haram sect took up violence against the Nigerian state, there has never been a time like now that the Nigeria troops engaged the renegades and confined them to the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region.
From the year 2016 to the present day, the Boko Haram group suffered heavy bombardments from the Nigeria troops that saw to the capture of its operational headquarters in Sambisa Forest as well as the takeover of the 16 local government areas it once held sway.
I believe that we celebrated too early in the day, thinking that what were left in the war against terrorism in Nigeria were clearance operations of the remnants of the Boko Haram fighters. We were wrong. We didn’t realize the international dimension in the Boko Haram war; we thought we were dealing with a group of locals blinded by an ideology that wasn’t in tune with reality.
Then came the rush by international NGOs to North East Nigeria under various nomenclatures purportedly rendering humanitarian services, but in truth engaged in espionage activities. Upon realization of this fact, the military authorities in Nigeria raised the alarm, and as usual, some segment of the populace joined forces with some hogwash human rights organizations to criticize the military authorities. It didn’t stop there.
The military authorities also raised the alarm on how some foreign interests are selling arms and ammunitions to the Boko Haram group, and there was also an unjustifiable outcry stating that the military authorities were making excuses to violate human rights. But today, with the emerging facts that Boko Haram fighters are receiving arms and ammunition, including battle tanks with which they launch attacks, from France through the francophone routes, our eyes have become clear.
This is the stark reality confronting us as it stands. Questions are begging for answers now. Questions such as the way and manner the Boko Haram group gets its supplies. And why is it that there is a great deal of terrorist activity at the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin despite the presence of a strong detachment of French troops stationed in Chad. And they are supposedly fighting terrorism in the region.
There has also been a round of intellectual debate on the French connection in bolstering the activities of Boko Haram. And all the arguments point in the direction of France. Initially, I had reservations on the postulations, but not anymore from what I was able to gather from credible intellectual and military sources.
In my curiosity, I placed all the postulations on the table, and the pieces of evidence were overwhelming, so much so that I cringed. And admitted that indeed France has something up its sleeves in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria. This is a shame and an outright affront to the independence of Nigeria by France. This is the case of the man behind the mask.
In all of these, a question keeps popping up in my head. And the question is how did we allow such a heist to thrive? I won’t blame the military authorities because the alarm had indeed been raised earlier, but we chose to ignore it and instead play to the gallery. And now that the reality has dawned on us, we are dazed.
We are dazed because we failed to see the masquerade in France and the Francophone countries surrounding us. We didn’t ask questions when Boko Haram fighters were attacking military formations with gun trucks and carrying out surveillances with sophisticated drones. We didn’t ask how they acquired the dexterity with which they operated military tanks. We didn’t also ask why they have made the Lake Chad Basin Region their safe heaven.
It is indeed ironic that France, for whatever reason, has so been sponsoring the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group so it could continue to wreak havoc in Nigeria and continue to benefit from the heist. At this point, I would say that the role of France in promoting the activities of the Boko Haram group is indeed despicable and worthy of condemnation by all stakeholders in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
I believe that now that many revelations have come to the open, Nigeria must take urgent steps towards addressing this anomaly. The international community must also rise to this occasion and ensure that France is called to question. The danger of the whole scenario is that should France succeed in this plot of spreading terrorism across the African continent; the consequences might be severe for these countries to deal with.
And with regards to Nigeria, the government must begin the process of galvanizing the cooperation of other African countries to ensure that this illicit trade is nipped in the bud. The military authorities must also channel resources and efforts towards wiping the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorist from the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin Region through the cooperation of the Multinational Joint Task Force. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Time is of the essence. And for France, the game plan has come to the open, and it is an indication that an end is indeed around the corner for its nefarious activities on the African continent.
A word is indeed enough for the wise.
Kolawole PhD is a University teacher and wrote this article from Keffi.