Boko Haram: Defeated, depleted or what exactly?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

On BBC Hardtalk, Nigeria’s Army chief employed a technical dodge to backtrack on the Army’s claim in 2016 that it had defeated Boko Haram.

“I don’t think anybody has said Boko Haram has been eliminated”. General Tukur Buratai said this with that look that says ‘I probably said something similar to this but not this in particular’.

Taking back its premature words on the defeat of Boko Haram is an inconvenient yet imperative course of action for the Military at this time as it could not possibly justify the continued ravaging of the people in the North East. After claiming to have recovered the sect’s flag and paraphernalia from Sambisa, Buratai and company sounded the klaxon of victory last year in what has now become a hasty and needless show.

Maiduguri has been hit multiple times this year alone, with many fatalities. Shekau remains a mystery both to the nation and to the Army, and it does not appear the anti-Western education sect is any closer to their end than when they abducted scores of school Children from Government Secondary School Chibok in 2014.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed insists that it would be wrong to suggest that the group is resurging. “The truth is that there is no resurgence of Boko Haram. Cowardly bombings and kidnappings are some of the hallmarks of an asymmetric warfare that insurgencies are. And like I say all the time, such wars do not end by the signing of any truce. They taper off with time” the Vanguard credits Mohammed as saying.

Hoping on an insurgency to “taper off” is not the most reassuring, confidence-building anyone expects from the Government, certainly not after the “deadlines” and the declarations of victory. Nigerians are not going to demand full disclosure on the intelligence being used to approach a definite end to the crisis but there has got to be more than just a hope and a wish that the terror will eventually “taper off”


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