FOR over 10 years, the Nigeria army have been waging a relentless and ferocious war on Boko Haram Islamic terrorism in the Northeast geopolitical zone of the country.
The bloodletting and daredevil insurgents have incorporated war-hungry terrorists sprawling the Islamic countries in the Arab regions and Nigeria became over stressed and needed state of the art weaponry to have a “balance of terror” to overrun the heartless religious extremists.
The ordering of Tucano jet fighters by President Buhari administration has confirmed his earlier assurances that terrorism would be ended by his administration. Happily, the air-force has ably deployed the state of the art war plane which sent the Islamic insurgents to scampering.
However, it has become increasingly expedient if not a categorical imperative to deploy the dreaded jet fighters to the Northwest part of the country where the supposed “bandits and criminals” have unreservedly demonstrated the characteristics of terrorists wrecking imaginable and unprintable havoc on the people, killing, kidnapping, especially school children and apparently achieving their devious objective of abhorrence of western education which led to the closure of over 600 schools.
Contrary to the expectation of people from the air-force to deploy the super Tucano fighter jets to rout the so called bandits and criminals, Nigerians were made to know that the sophisticated war arsenal could only be made use of when the federal government declares the bandits as terrorists in line with the instruction of the US government that supplied the jet fighters to Nigeria.
There is therefore a nation-wide clamour for the declaration of the bandits and criminals as terrorists so that the air-force will go into operation to rout the serial killers. Consequently, the two houses of the National Legislature on September 29, 2021, summoned the courage to pass a resolution, urging the president to declare the killers as terrorists through a proscription order pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 [as amended]. Apparently, feelers show that the federal government is dithering to do the needful to the exasperation of Nigerians. Enlightened Nigerians have weighed in and urged the national legislature to declare the killers terrorists so that the air-force will wipe them out and failure to do so means that Nigeria’s democracy is on the reverse gear.
In other words, as the felons continue to unleash their unrestrained reign of terror in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and other Northwestern states that has claimed thousands of lives, including members of the armed forces, it has become pertinent for the federal government to heed the feverish calls by Nigerians from across the country.
Nigerians are anxiously looking at Buhari to live up to his promise during his election campaign to restore security throughout the country by waging a total war against the terrorists unimaginably depicted as “bandits and criminals”, bombing all their locations and also declaring all known leadership of the serial demon-inspired murderers wanted and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution.
To demonstrate the nation-wide exasperation on the dithering of the federal government to do the needful, the 36 speakers of state Houses of Assembly at the end of their conference, last Sunday, in Katsina State, passionately asked the president to declare “bandits and criminals” as terrorists and mortal enemies of Nigerian nation-state.
It is patently shocking that an Islamic scholar of note, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has been hobnobbing with the felons and even had the audacity to ask the federal government to give amnesty to the murderers. He even went further to canvass imminent Golgotha for the country if his advice was not heeded.
Hear him: “Don’t declare the bandits as terrorists as it would mark the end of Nigeria as a sovereign and united entity”.
According to the Islamic cleric, once bandits are designated as terrorists, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will come into force and give “criminality a spiritual cover” by claiming that they are fighting a ‘Jihad’. Denouncing the position of the cleric, a legal practitioner argued that: “If Nigeria is practicing true democracy should President Buhari not declare bandits terrorists after the Senate and the House of Reps who are representatives of the people had asked him to do so?”
To be frank and forthright, one would asseverate that the reluctance of Mr. President to label the felons appropriately as terrorists defies rationality depicting that Nigeria’s democracy is on paper and not practicable.
According to angry commentators, “the failure of the Buhari administration to agree to the request of the Senate and the House of Representatives to declare bandits as terrorists show Nigeria democracy is on life support and not working. They should initiate a bill for an act declaring bandits as terrorists in Nigeria and at the end, if the president is not willing to sign it, the procedures are there to make it an act of the National Assembly without an assent of the president…
The current government seems to believe it has a duty to protect criminal elements from the president’s ethnic extraction. There is no doubt that a different scenario would have played out if these terrorists were from another part of the country. The first thing this government did was to rebrand terrorism with the ‘bandit’ label. This is why they have the boldness to operate almost everywhere now. The modus operandi of these bandits is not different from Boko Haram and other terrorists”.
Terrorism may be defined in several ways but central to the concept is violence and mindless spilling of blood and destruction of private and public property. Due to the discriminatory approaches to dealing with mindless bloodletting especially by the foreign herdsmen, banditry and terrorism have become business and taint of nepotism.
A situation where the supposed bandits have the rocket launcher with which to shoot down jet fighters and has the audacity to attack a train carrying hundreds of people, then something must be behind the dithering to declare them terrorists.
Terrorism should be treated as such no matter the ethnic colouration of the perpetrators. Mr President should have the moral courage to do the needful at this moment of distress by Nigerians.
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