What Does Datti Know About Boko Haram?
What informed the federal government’s decision to even agree to dialogue with Boko Haram last week, with Dr. Ibrahim Datti as mediator? Tired of fighting terrorists and murderers, and tired of protecting its citizens?I suspect two things might have happened: It is either members of the deadly sect and their sponsors are fast losing ground to security agencies and, by extension, the war and wanted soft - landing or some people in the corridor of power wanted to prove to President Goodluck Jonathan how influential they are.
The fact that the move was unnecessary and dubious was the only reason it collapsed within 24 hours.
As I have consistently argued in this column especially from the perspective of many experts’ understanding of a terrorist group strategy, I don’t think we need to dialogue with a sect with an evil mission that has become a global threat.
The well-made scope to fighting terrorism may be diverse but, within our present circumstance, what we need to do is for the federal government to sustain the war against Boko Haram and defeat the group and their sponsors once and for all.
After all, it was the sect that started the war that has resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent souls. For me, the issue of Boko Haram is both religious and political with international dimension that has become a sombre danger not only to our democracy but to the unity of our great country.
The huge complaint of Datti and the Arewa Consultative Forum about the insincerity of the federal government in the failed dialogue is not too important here; what is strange to me is the qualification of Datti as the mediator in the failed talks.
Why does Boko Haram have faith in him? Why would Datti not want the public to know about the process of the dialogue? What does Datti know about Boko Haram? Perhaps a lot.
I think those who wanted to hide the dialogue between the federal government and Boko Haram from members of the public are the real enemies of this nation – they are not sincere in the negotiation.
If members of the sect are actually agitating for a just cause, as some of their admirers want us to believe, then, why are they afraid to make their demands publicly?
Even if the dialogue was necessary, is Datti’s intervention not supposed to be in good faith? If that is the case, then, his decision to withdraw from the talks was a premeditated boob.
The leak of the planned talk is not an influence whatsoever to the objective of the negotiation – if at all there was any purpose - and does not make available to Datti a rational ground for his withdrawal from the dialogue. As I said, the dialogue was superfluous.
I do not want to believe – like some people do - that Datti knows a lot about the deadly activities of Boko Haram. I think the only thing that qualifies him as mediator in the first place is his pro-Shari’a credentials.
The Islamic sect members had over and over again, demanded broader operation of Shari’a in Nigeria, and, as the president of the Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria (SCSN), Datti is seen by many analysts as a strong supporter of Boko Haram. Naturally, then he qualifies as a bridge between the sect and the federal government.
He is a first-class medical doctor in the north, but I doubt if other stakeholders in the crisis, especially the Christians in the north, would have taken Datti very seriously in view of his past antecedents.
Some people may not agree, but many Christians in the north today see him as one influential Muslim leader who has divided the region along religious lines through his actions and utterances.
At a time the motive of Islamic banking system was not too clear to many Nigerians, especially the Christians, and there were pockets of resistance to its implementation, Datti called a press conference in Kaduna and threatened to defend the implementation of the Islamic banking system with the “last drop of my blood”.
He went further to warn the Christian community opposed to it to back off or face his anger.
The president of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria had said that he would rather go to war than give up his agitation for Islamic banking.
Of course, the Islamic banking system has since commenced; Nigerians later saw the economic advantage of it but Datti’s threat remains a shock to many people.
As warned by a very upright retired military officer and former governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, we must not allow Boko Haram’s ambition of creating a climate of fear, terror and panic ahead of their evil plan to re-invent Nigeria.
The impression the sect has succeeded in creating before the international community about our country is that major cities in northern Nigeria - Kano, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Kano, Jos and others - are no longer safe to live in.
Conservatively, over 4, 000 innocent souls have lost their lives as a result of Boko Haram’s deadly actions.
In the last one year, every passing day has brought tear-jerking stories of unkind killings by Boko Haram bombs and explosions.
With scared-out-of-your-wits citizens running from pillar to post, and with several police and military checkpoints conducting widespread stop-and-search across our nation, especially in the north, it paints a horrible picture of a nation that is at war.
Those who should know have said, time without number, that there are many issues the Boko Haram insurgency has thrown up, which could not be merely addressed while some have no solutions at all. For instance, how do you address the intention of Boko Haram to impose Sharia law throughout northern Nigeria?
Are they not in search of dismantling our country as we know it presently and creating another in which they alone decide the affairs?
Or if as we were told they want to eradicate profligacy, corruption and injustice in our nation can they do that by killing their brothers and sisters – most of them innocent? What were those things that Datti wanted to table before the federal government on behalf of Boko Haram that he does not want the public to know about?
As Col. Dangiwa has rightly observed, one thing Boko Haram seems to be doing rather very well now is setting the various groups in Nigeria against one other.
As if they are under the influence of many demos, leaders of the sect have been speaking from both sides of their mouth: one day, they say they are killing Christians because Christians are said to be killing Muslims; another day, they say they would drive southerners out of the north because southerners are sending northerners out of the south; yet another day, Boko Haram would say they are fighting the government because government leaders and agents are corrupt and unjust. Haba! Me ne ne?
I think Datti and his admirers should be ignored; as a matter of fact, the security agencies should turn their searchlights on him to find out whether he has compounded the current problems of Boko Haram or not.
The ongoing efforts by some concerned northerners to tackle the issue should be sustained so that, collectively, we can abort the evil intention of Boko Haram and its sponsors.