Love him or hate him, the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, was in his best element last week. This time, the governor was not dishing out’ hand-outs’ to the hundreds of victims of Boko Haram assaults in his state; of course, he does that almost on every other day! But was in faraway Kaduna where he delivered a lecture at the Arewa House. A man, who has seen his state being pounded mercilessly by the insurgents at regular intervals for over three years, should by now be very rich with intelligence on terrorism, at least with respect to developments in his state. That he did give out in a very dose at the occasion.
So, when he mounted the podium and patriotically released some intelligence for use by Nigerians as guide to a safer country, many scoffed at him, saying here he goes again! What do you expect to hear from politicians that have already carved a niche as a people always desperate to take a plunge for evil? Sadly, we have also boxed ourselves into an avoidable corner in our daily life where honesty is fast-becoming a scarce commodity. Therefore, suspicion has become the name of the game.
Smarting from the bashings he had received and the propaganda that have followed and continues to follow the abduction of the 200+ girls by insurgents at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, the governor found occasion to speak and he did speak patriotically. I personally believe that those who speak out in the interest of the country when the occasion calls for it are the real patriots in our midst. Here’s his warning and for the purpose of this piece, I term it an executive advisory by the Borno strongman.
‘If Boko Haram succeeds in overrunning the North-east as they seek, they will surely want to extend greater havoc to other parts of the north and if they overrun the north, they would want to extend to the south.
“Crisis of any type has got a life of its own which depends on something for survival. As humans we depend on oxygen. Crisis depends on negligence. And this negligence can be in different forms. Negligence can be in the form of parents or teachers failing to guide and instill the right habits in children to keep them out of crime from cradle; negligence can be in the form of Government at whatever level, failing to create and provide jobs to citizens in order to make crime unattractive; negligence can be in the form of Government failing to work hard to get the right intelligence at a good time or refusing to act.”
I am not really a fan of the governor, but he is by far not just ‘some guy’ as that US senator had sarcastically and uncouthly referred to the federal government in his angst over the Chibok kidnapping.
The curious coincidence with the events that happened in Imo and Abia State that almost gave effect to his warning, not withstanding, his lecture remains a foot-for-thought for our intelligence community and for all lovers of Nigeria.
God could have used as a vessel to foretell the Imo incident. It is not also unlikely that his warning could have spurred the military guys that apprehended the 33 buses and the 486 travellers in the vehicles to more a more diligent policing of their beats.
Only God knows how many of such incidences of security breach as we saw in Abia and at Imo State on the same day are waiting to happen in other states.
I expect all operatives from the office of the defence minister, the National Security Adviser, the Department of State Service, the military and all its intelligence agencies, the police, civil defence, journalists, traditional rulers, politicians from the ward level to the federal level and the governors, most of who do not rightly know how and where to apply the security votes they receive or collect. They expend it on so many other things, but security issues. Some even recruit thousands of army of youths for use as thugs in elections in the name of youth employment and place them on monthly salaries that are higher than their civil servants’ minimum wage.
Boko Haram should be pushed not just out of the North-east zone, but out of the shores of this country. As Shettima rightly pointed out, now is the time to act to ensure that this sore on our map does not spread across the map as cancer.
Insurgency is already assuming a crisis dimension in our country.
Like cancer, early detection is the cure. In other words, crisis depends on negligence to thrive, which I believe nobody craves or wishes this country.
So, Shettima is not the issue; he is just the messenger. I plead to our intelligence community to act as professionals, which I feel they are already doing, by going for the message, by vetting it, and if possible, send an executive invite to him or they should pay an intelligence trip to his office for further clarifications on the points raised. No single organization can handle this challenge alone; we need to collaborate with one another to be able get over this in good time before the next year’s general elections.