Temie Giwa: Prevention is better than dialogue (YNaija FrontPage)

 Every Nigerian with an AK47 is being given an incentive to unleash terror on innocent folks, to kill and maim them, then demand ‘dialogue.’ It is a business model

Nigeria is unsafe and most of us who live here have known this for a long time. Roads, airports, offices and entire regions are deadly places for most Nigerians.

Two days ago, in the social media world, we buried one of ours on the road to Ibadan. The mother of a very powerful minister was kidnapped and then released. Nothing is well with Nigeria and nowhere else is in more trouble than the North.

Most states in the Northern region are groaning under the pressure of corruption, incompetence and terror. Boko Haram claims that it wants restitution for the war it chose to start with the Nigerian people and that her members must be rewarded for killing children and destroying entire livelihoods in the North. The question remains, will we give in to their demands? Or will focus on justice? 

When the executive branch is asked about what it plans to do to stop Boko Haram, you often hear about a ‘dialogue’ strategy. First, the President’s spokesman claimed that dialogue was already taking place and then the president insisted that although his government wants to dialogue with the sect, they do not seem keen on this. Even Boko Haram claims that it wants to dialogue and it has enough hubris to demand where this dialogue must take place and with whom.

 Never mind that the Nigerian strain of dialogue is often followed by an expensive amnesty plan. After all, the dialogue with the Niger Delta terrorists has cost Nigeria millions of naira, with almost N36 million budgeted for 2013. Every Nigerian with an AK47 is being given an incentive to unleash terror on innocent folks, to kill and maim them, then demand ‘dialogue.’ It is a business model in Nigeria and it works except in saving lives and keeping Nigeria safe. It simply gives an incentive for other groups to use terror to achieve economic emancipation and Nigeria cannot afford it.

A sect like Boko Haram does not gain access to fairly sophisticated bombs and guns without backing by powerful and rich individuals or groups. The funding is the life force that keeps the sect alive long enough to unleash mayhem on the Northern people killing more than 3,000 people in three years. A recent report showed that Boko Haram is funded through a combination of foreign and local champions, individual actors and some groups. A British group, Al Muntada Trust fund, has been implicated as diverting its community-funding scheme to Boko Haram. Then there is the clear and constant presence of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that is said to supply Boko Haram with weapons through the many porous borders of the North.

In Nigeria, two federal lawmakers have been implicated in supporting Boko Haram in various guises. Senator Ali Ndume has been accused of providing logistics to Boko Haram including whereabouts of various security personnel and receiving information pertaining to plan terrorist attacks without reporting to the Joint Task Forces (JTF) or State Security Service (SSS). He is currently going through the court system and if convicted will hopefully be sentenced to a lengthy prison time.

The case against Senator Ahmed Khalifa Zanna is comical enough for hilarity. He confessed to giving Boko Haram members N1.5 million for the recent Sallah celebration. His nephew, who was recently arrested in his home, is also being tried for terrorism activities. Senator Zanna is a member of the Power Sector Reform and was also on the board of the deceased NEPA. He was also a major supporter of the Former Ibrahim Babangida’s reelection bid in 2008.

 There are and should be many more like these men. It is clear that if we follow the money, it will bring us to the real culprit in this fight, the rich and powerful of the Northern establishment. Following the money and ending this war should be our demand to this government, not expensive and inhumane dialogue.

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