Apr 18, 2014

The Nigerian Security Apparatus and Boko Haram

When the Islamic Jihadist, Boko Haram, started in the town of Maiduguri, North-eastern Nigeria in 2007, many thought it was going to be a flash in the pan. Today, it has grown into a callous, mass-murdering monster, consuming in its way, many of its cynics and casting a blanket of uncertainty on the future of Nigeria. Thus Boko Haram has become the bitter toast of Nigerians and the true salt of the earth.

Also, the question on the same lips is the question of why it has become difficult to defeat this bunch of poor kids who are either uneducated, quasi-educated or miseducated. It is difficult for one to believe that the Nigerian security agents lack ideas to how to overcome the religious combatants. One can, however, presume that they have run out of ideas on how to end the deadly shootings, slaughtering, abductions and widespread subversions of the political errand boys turned terrorists.

Without doubt, Boko Haram is a descendant of International terror organizations with Al–Qaeda as the ultimate ancestor. Critically-minded Nigerians worried about the frequency of mass killings, are of the expectations that the Nigerian security organs should have studied their American counterparts to understand how Al-Qaeda was brought down and rendered slumberous, thereby making America and other target territories safe.

The defeat of Al-Qaeda was made possible by the fact that it is (or was) organogramic.  The Americans reasoned that if they can get at any member within the leadership ranks and covertly track his movements, it will lead them to the ultimate target, Osama Bin Laden, who was the founder and leader of Al-Qaeda. Getting to any of these leaders was possible since field combatants who take orders from the top were often arrested and many where in Guantanamo detention camp. That was how Bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed Al-kuwaiti’s name was mentioned to the American interrogators at Guantanamo. Since Bin Laden was said to have trusted Al-Kuwaiti so much, the Americans figured out that if the superior was alive, there was a good chance the two were together.  It worked and Bin Laden’s hideout was discovered through a phone call Al-Kuwaiti made from a house where the two lived with siblings, wives and children in a town called Abottabad in Pakistan.

Bin Laden had remained on the run for close to ten years because of the level of sophistication of the operations of Al-Qaeda. Boko Haram, on the other hand, lacks that level of advancement. It is made, largely, of ignorant and misguided youths whose desperate search of what to do made them easy targets of recruitment into Boko Haram.

The operations of Boko Haram can never be successful without an organizational structure too. Getting at the members of the leadership ranks should, hence, be relatively effortless. A lot its field combatants are already undergoing interrogations at various detention centers across the country. It is the reason why Nigerians wonder the sort of questions these detainees are being asked, given that the killings, mayhem, burnings and general sabotage have continued like normal daily routines. Nigerians are of the hope that detainees should be answering questions such as: who are the other leaders besides Abubakar Shekau? Where are your camps? How do you mobilize yourselves for major operations or atrocities? Where are the weapons coming from and how do you bring them into the country? … At this point too, the search for mobile phones numbers of the key leaders should have also become crucial in the effort towards undermining the leadership of the sect.

Courageous youths in the city of Maiduguri, who go by the name of Civilian Joint Task Force (Civilian JTF), have volunteered themselves to fortify the security apparatus towards overcoming the unconventional soldiers. This decision of the youths does not imply they are punks who do not value their own lives. Hence Nigerians feel that the Civilian JTF should have been used in a manner that minimizes the frequency of their deaths. There are people who feel that the Civilian JFT should have been used, covertly, to infiltrate the rebels of Boko Haram, bringing out useful information. This can lead to uncertainties within Boko Haram, a situation that will undermine their confidence.


There is the need for the Nigerian security apparatus to act fast and wisely. The extent of killings has reached an unbearable extent.

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