Boko Haram And Nigerian Military Clash

Nigerians have had cause for worry over the last couple of days with news that Boko Haram members had brutally murdered around 100 people in attacks in various Northern states.

The group had until recently been much of an amusement to many people in both the Islamic northern states as well as the Christian south, and had been dubbed the Nigerian ‘Taliban’. There are no know links between this group and the Afghan militants however and it would seem they are just another of many religious personality cults that often spring up in the country.

It’s leader Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf certainly hasn’t been one for personal publicity and not a lot is known about him although rumours abound. He is alleged by some to be a public schoolboy educated in the UK and recruits disenchanted students with fire and brimstone speeches about the decadence of Western culture which he has declared war on until Nigeria becomes a pure Islamist state.

In 2000 most of the Muslim northern states adopted a version of Sharia Law.

Yusuf is also rumoured to be exceptionally wealthy, drives a brand new Mercedes Benz and is something of a playboy, go figure that one out!

Another famous playboy turned Islamist is of course one Osama Bin Laden, who spent his days cruising the streets of Beirut City while studying there pryor to the countries civil war.

Yusuf accuses the government of targeting his followers and that they would never surrender.

He told Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper:

“What I said previously that we are going to be attacked by the authorities has manifested itself in Bauchi, where about 40 of our brothers were killed, their mosque and homes burnt down completely and several others were injured and about 100 are presently in detention. Therefore, we will not agree with this kind of humiliation, we are ready to die together with our brothers and we would never concede to non-belief in Allah.”

He added: “I will not give myself up. If Allah wishes, they will arrest me; if Allah does not wish, they will never arrest me. But I will never give up myself, not after 37 of my followers are killed in Bauchi. Is it right to kill them, is it right to shoot human beings? To surrender myself means what they did is right. Therefore, we are ready to fight to die.

“Democracy and the current system of education must be changed otherwise this war that is yet to start would continue for long.”

Whilst Nigeria occasionally erupts in religious violence it is generally brief but extremely bloody. However in general the parties mainly co-exist relatively harmoniously.

In my experience you are most likely to be in harms way in Lagos in the christian south than in the relatively sleepy and docile northern states who’s people are known for their hospitality, a trait somehow lost in the big cities of the south.

What must always be  focused on when discussing the politics of Nigeria is the blatant corruption by the educated elite who since independence from the British in 1960, have swindled the people out of billions of Naira, leaving a great mass of the population with little prospects. What should be an oil rich nation is anything but.

The Nigerians deserve much much better.


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