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Monday, 5 May 2014

CHIBOK A Crime against Nigeria Humanity

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Legal Eagles
May Mbu-Agbamuche

In the last five years Nigeria has witnessed an extremist insurgency that has persistently and steadily shaken the very foundations of our country. From the attack on the Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero, to the killing of General Shua, the bombing of the UN building in Abuja and most recently the Nyanya bomb blasts and, more harrowing yet, the abduction of over 200 school girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State.
One thing is certain we are faced with an extremely well-funded and highly organised terrorist group. On 15th April 2012, while I was in Kano a bomb went off at the New Road motor park. Upon further enquiry we were told that it was merely a fake bomb planted by rival bus companies .It was however a stark warning of atrocities to come that was ignored because exactly a year later another bomb went off at the same park with hordes of people set to travel by night gruesomely killed when over 5 luxurious buses were burnt to ashes. Similar attacks occurred just three weeks ago at the Nyanya bus station, Abuja killing 75 and last week a suicide attack took place at Karshi taxi park, barely 100 metres from the site of the Nyanya bomb blast.
The kidnapping of more than 200 girls from the secondary school in Chibok has elicited unbelievable passions throughout the country, effectively uniting with Nigerians against terrorism. The fact that there is no clue as to their whereabouts has made this act a shattering and egregious nightmare. The school was closed down for four weeks as a result of security threats only for the students to be recalled to write their final examinations when insurgents struck and abducted them. When the insurgents arrived at the school the girls, we are told, had tried to hide but were lured into seven vehicles, seemingly provided to rescue them by the insurgents disguised in army uniforms, who then drove them into the forest.
What baffles one is the fact that Senators from Borno State who had valuable information on what transpired and of the movement of the girls were said to have informed security agencies, yet nothing appears to have been done with this intelligence. Indeed intelligence gathering and the capacity to react promptly are of critical importance in matters of this nature. Although we can only imagine the operational challenges facing our military, it will be worthy of note to investigate the state and numbers of helicopters, weapons and equipment available to these forces. Also, though a state of emergency was declared in the affected states this has not yielded any tangible solution to these attacks and therefore it has really not achieved the desired result.
The Presidency, the National Assembly and the Governors are all united in the quest to find a lasting solution to the security problems facing the country. Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, former World Bank Vice-President, led about 1000 women in a demonstration against the Federal Government’s poor and inadequate response to the Chibok kidnappings. The Multi-National Joint Task Force set up to fight terrorism and the menace of Boko Haram no doubt has been working extremely hard within their limitations to curb this insurgency but one thing I noticed is that every time they announce a breakthrough against these terrorists, the terrorists in turn respond by taking their atrocities to yet another level, leaving us all bewildered each time. This is a clear indication that the challenges before the Joint Task Force are enormous and the calls for new and better strategies are in order. Foreign support should also not be ruled out as we need help urgently and we must be honest enough to own up to this fact.
Terrorism has become a major threat to some African countries and it is spreading. The time has therefore come for greater collaboration between neighboring states to fight this scourge. We have all the laws in place to successfully join forces: In 2009, a bilateral agreement was signed between Nigeria and the Republic of Chad with emphasis on security and trans-border relations. The aim was to enhance collaboration between the military, customs and immigration among others, to check trans-border crimes and manage refugee problems etc. Nigeria has also signed a bilateral agreement with Niger, with the primary purpose to provide mutual military support and for the security of both nations’ common borders.
With these bilateral agreements in place, Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria must unite against terrorism and work assiduously to enhance security at their existing borders. The African Union and ECOWAS must also rise to support the fight against terrorism in Africa. Additionally, further commitment from the United Nations will be required to ensure that violence against children is seen as a crime against humanity and suitably eradicated, globally.
Most importantly, a collaboration with the international community primarily the United States of America because of its extensive satellite coverage of the continent and France with its heavy presence in neighboring francophone countries and the United Kingdom, with its historic ties and willingness to contribute, will likely be required for us finally and definitively to quell this scourge of terrorism

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