How do you fight an enemy who is not an enemy but a fellow-citizen? How do you fight someone who is fighting you but you don’t know exactly why? How do you fight a mad man? That precisely is the challenge we face in Nigeria with regard to the Boko Haram. That challenge reached a new chapter with the kidnapping of 276 Chibok schoolgirls.
Al-Qaeda In Nigeria
The United States specialises in belittling anything and everything not from America and by America. The late American senator, John McCain, boasted that if he had been U.S. president, he would have sent American troops to rescue the kidnapped girls without waiting for the permission of “some guy called Goodluck Jonathan.”
But then the government of somebody called George Bush, with all its sophisticated gear and gadgets, looked for a certain man called Osama Bin Ladin for 10 years. When it finally found him, the whole world discovered that the almighty U.S. of A. had been conned for years by the Pakistanis.
The Pakistani military kept Bin Ladin secure from American eyes in Abbottabad, less than a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy. While doing this, Pakistan collected over $20 billion in military and economic aid from the United States in the name of fighting America’s terrorist enemies. The battle is always so much easier when the boot is on someone else’s foot.
Nigeria has neither friends nor godfathers in the international system. Nevertheless, we deserved the understanding of the international community as we moved to contain the insurgency. Efforts of the Nigerian government in countering insurgency need to be acknowledged and supported in light of how intractable similar problems have proved to be in several countries where international resources have been mobilised to greater degree.