By SEGUN OLATUNJI
The government has asserted repeatedly that it knows the sponsors of various terror groups in the country. Hitherto, the government was bluffing that the sponsors would be named, arrested, and prosecuted. Now, the government has backpedaled, as the Attorney General of the Nation (AGN), and the spoke-persons for the president publically stated: we have identified, and blocked all means of financing terrorism in Nigeria. In essence, the government is saying that the sponsors of these killer groups will not be publically identified nor prosecuted because the federal government has blocked all the means of supporting these robotic Killers while terrorism is aggressively sprawling and burgeoning rambunctiously.
A top ex-military intelligent officer blared on a national TV that all security agencies were aware of the sponsors of terrorism; they divulged the names to appropriate quarters, including the president, to no avail; and some of the financiers are in the current government. The Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, many a time, has asserted that she is in the possession of the names of the terror sponsors. Paradoxically, the Nigerian government has not done its due diligence of protecting Nigeria by retrieving the list for questioning the alleged terror sponsors for prosecutions. Without more, the government prefers shielding the terror sponsors from public mortification and prosecution.
We cannot terminate terrorism in Nigeria without outing their sponsors, especially their financiers. All over the globe, the fight against terrorism includes tracking funneling of funds to terrorist groups via businesses, mosques, churches, individuals, and their foreign sponsors so as to destroy the terror value chain. All the avenues to launder money, assist, inspire or recruit foot soldiers for terror groups are tracked down, and cut-off through the courts.
Despite the fact that all phases of our life in Nigeria has been infested heavily by the terror groups, this government has failed to bring the sponsors of these terrorist groups to justice. In other climes that suffered terrorism, their governments did not distinguish among the typologies of terror groups: the various actors were prosecuted as it is the wont around the world. Whether you are a corporate terrorist ( laundering from corporation to terror group) or a parastatal terrorist (siphoning public wealth for terror purposes) or governmental terrorist (divulging the anti-terrorist strategies to terror groups) or milito-terrorist (stealing ammunitions for and/or disclosing privileged information to terrorists) or intelligence terrorist (alerting the terrorists of an impending action) or plebian terrorist (ordinary sympathizer of a terror group aiding a terror cause) or institutional terrorist (clergy, police, judiciary, etc recruiting for, condoning and offering soft landing to apprehended terrorists) or foreign terrorist (promoting terrorism in Nigeria), the comeuppance is severe when caught, except in Nigeria.
Irrespective of the statuses of the afore-mentioned terror-actors in the value chain of terrorism, all work for the same goal: infliction of highest number of fatalities on greatest number of people in order to foist Caliphate on or depopulate or change the demography of an occupied territory in Nigeria. Their singular objective is to maximize the efficiency of their murderous acts. All the excuses given by the government for not prosecuting the terror sponsors are suppression of the truth—suppressio veri. The AGN, Shehu Musa and Adesina are all hiding behind a finger while insulting our collective wisdom. If the government could publically identify the ENDSARS’ sponsors, detain them, and freeze their accounts for supporting a legitimate protest, why can’t the government identify the names of the terror-groups’ sponsors, freeze their accounts and prosecute them too?
The country must confront this government for its lack of political will to truncate the pillage engulfing our country and retarding our development by arresting and prosecuting these sponsors of terrorism. The campaign against terrorism should not be limited to military campaign; it must be holistic. Therefore, the government must let justice be done though the heavens fall—fiat Justitia, ruat corelum.
What the state actors in Buhari’s government are saying now is from a page in the book authored by Buhari before becoming president. Buhari had pronounced several statements in favour of Boko Haram: an attack on Boko Harem was an attack on the North and many other inflammatory speeches. No wonder he is mulling amnesty to them, instead of goading them to prison or gallows en-mass.
We may wake up one day and find that the cooperation among Boko Haram, ISIS-WA, Fulani herdsmen and the so called Bandits has produced Caliphate in hardcore North, and is threatening the South. The protracted and minatory terrorism is enough to spark a popular coup; or worse still, trigger a civil war or dissolution of corporate Nigeria. Already, we are subjected to longanimity caused by man-made inflation, sectarianism, youth exodus, brain drain, internal and external displaced persons, business flight, war-induced famine, pervasive criminality, high unemployment rate, debilitating and pervasive poverty and high mortality rate, etc. Thus, the inaction of this government against the sponsors of the transnational terrorism is nothing short of complicity of this government in the wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria. Furthermore, this government, including Buhari, should be prosecuted after exiting office for knowingly providing haven to terrorists and for turning blind eye to burgeoning corruption. It is no longer acceptable to brush aside non-prosecuting discretion of this government as lack of political will: it is an egregiously unpatriotic act which borders on treason or treasonable felony or misprision or all the three.
It is yet to dawn on this government that anything less than declaration of holistic war on terrorism is a knowing elongation of war on terrorism. Terrorism must be tackled at all its facets simultaneously. No matter how much the military pound the terrorists, without cutting off their financial support, the terror group would spring up again. Their financial supply which is their life-blood manifests in myriad ways: from the states bribing terror-groups to avoid their states, to parastatal or governmental terrorists looting public fund to support the terrorists, to individual and/or the state paying ransom to terrorists, and to illegal mining of precious minerals to finance terrorism. Obviously, the terrorists must declare return on investment so as to pay dividends to the financiers in order to keep the vicious circle or loop of terrorism stronger, wider and more enduring. As long as the money keeps flowing from the financiers through terrorist middlepersons to the terror commanders to their infantry (foot soldiers), war on terrorism would persist.
In the fight against terrorism, no person is above the law, no place is sacrosanct, and no act of the court is sacrilegious. Everybody and every act must be dealt with swiftly within the law. After the terror campaign for 12 years, it is high time for the government to concede its failure and seek for help from the countries that experienced terrorism and prevailed: Israel, India, Indonesia, USA, Russia, New Zealand, and so on, especially in efficiently availing surveillance devices to pin-point the location of any terrorist cell for eavesdropping on their military plans so as to economize ammunitions, minimize collateral damages, and guarantee precision of preemptive attacks at the barest minimum number of casualties to our military and its hardware.
The policy of reformation, rehabilitation and integration into the military and reintegration into the society is an appeasement and capitulation to the terrorists, and it is suicidal to opine the least. Because the policy weakens our military from within and makes them easy quarries for the terrorists. Such a benign policy toward terrorists beggars the purpose of punishment for plunderers, marauders, and mass murderers.
In addition, we must find a way to wheedle our children to schools. We must entice them with at least free two square meals a day in school. Provide the children with uniform, books, tuition-free education, and pocket money regardless of gender. There must be a universal prohibition of girl-child marriage till the girls turn 18 years. You do not want Aljimaris wandering the streets for survival: they are ready-made throng to be militarized for terrorism. Our porous border must be efficiently monitored with synthesis of surveillance technologies and skilled personnel.
The North has to modernize or scrap Sharia. Anything that indoctrinates its masses to be fundamentalists and/or militants to the extent of non-tolerance, and extermination of others on the basis of religion is a ticking bomb. The reinforcement of Sharia in the North in 2001 has accentuated fundamentalism and militancy that is now threatening our heterogeneity and cohesiveness. A situation where female non-Muslims cannot wear trousers, where non-Muslims cannot drink whatever he or she wants, where non-Muslims cannot show-case his or her ware on mannequins, and even where Muslims are involuntarily prosecuted under Sharia is not only ultra vires and unconstitutional but also has mandated the fringe to run the revered religion of peace amok.
We cannot permit patients to run the asylum! Where then is the supremacy of our Constitution? Paradoxically, the Hisbash does not see anything inherently wrong in girl-child (underage) marriage. What else won’t they do? Start peeping through our windows to ensure we comply with missionary sex position? Common on now! Countries with overwhelming Muslim population like Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, and Burkina Faso do not have either Sharia or Hisbash!
To this end, Hisbash or the Islamic police must be disbanded because it stultifies migration, commerce and unity. Hisbash’s modus operand is elitist, disdainful, and traumatizing to the impoverished Muslims, and non-Muslims while forfending the interests of the powerful and the rich Muslims from apprehension and subsequent prosecution.
One fundamental role of the Senate is to thoroughly vet the ministerial or agency nominees and not rely on the promises from the presidency. Despite this oversight role, the Senate has dropped the ball many a time. For example, the disclosure of past cooperation between Pantami and Boko Harem, and other sympathetic expressions of Pantami for both local and transnational terror groups, his nomination was ironically approved by the Senate. The presidency’s admission that it knows other terrorists or sympathizers begs the question: how many more terror sympathizers has the Senate approved into the executive branch?
Action speaks louder than voice. For the government to discountenance the persecution of terror sponsors, and contemplate conferring amnesty on ex-members of the terror groups, the AGN is at the minimum, a confirmed sympathizer and an enabler of terrorism in Nigeria if not a terror impresario.
Therefore, Malami is unfit to continue as AGN, just like a voluntary and timely departure of the President would be a gladdening and a deservingly welcoming relief, in addition to the departure of Minister of Sports, Minister of Communications, Minister of Finance, Minister of Information and all the other ineffective, corrupt, and underperforming ministers and appointees undermining security and developmental efforts.
Segun Olatunji sent in this piece from UniWorld Legal Services Lagos, Nigeria