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Boko Haram poverty stricken atrocities ''Standing in the way of unity''!

Unity of northern Nigeria is currently being threatened by the violent activities of Boko Haram sect,

while the north powerful leaders engage poor people to cause problem.


Most Nigerians are confused at the state of things in the North as poverty has fed Boko Haram's ranks using Almajiris to launch attacks with as little pay as N300.00. Or is it that Jonathan broke the unofficial rotation of Christian and Muslim as Nigerian President. Could we then say that Boko Haram is no longer a sect of Islamic fanatics but a set of uncontrolled thugs that has the support of disgruntled politicians and their paid ruffians?

The level of poverty in Nigeria today is almost exclusively a Northern preserve, which has reached the level of a legendary to the credit of the past northern leaders. The wealth in the north is confined within the hands of few citizens while most of its citizens are entrapped in cancerous poverty. Some of their leaders equate themselves to tin-gods; the untouchables, with the feudal mentality as if the rest of northerners are not human beings.

Most Nigerians would agree with a respected leader in Balarabe Musa, a former governor of Kaduna State that Northern Nigeria is the least developed region in the country, which will always stand in the way of national development and security. This view is in acquiescent with the international and local reports in addition to the northern educational backwardness, which breeds abject paucity in an unsecured environment.

One thing is for a region to be least developed and another thing is for it to appreciate that the minor development within the region should be sustained, not destroyed. Its sustenance equally depends on the mindset of the community that destruction of meager development will further escalate the poverty level that will take decades to rebuild, especially under some self-centered leadership within the impoverished region.

The North is gradually destroying whatever is left to improve the quality of life in that part of the country by the activities of Boko Haram, if that is their mission to destabilize the country and part away. Some northern leaders that are funding the destruction program need to transfer their resources to some meaningful development programs. After all there is no religion that teaches violence or destruction of properties. No investor would sink his resources in a violent unsafe environment.

As a matter of fact poverty is not limited to the northern Nigeria alone, it is everywhere in the country as could be observed on the faces of most Nigerians. People, who fuel violence, are found both in North and South Nigeria. The rich and the powerful in the region with sufficient money to develop the region, unfortunately, engage people to participate in organised violence, and destruction of life, which worsens the situation in the north. Destroying the meager development in the north is not good for the region.

Boko Haram leaders captured so far are feeding fat from their sponsors using Almajiris to commit the atrocities. Whatever they are paid could not be spent in the grave of suicide bombers. It is simply mental laziness and the devilish inner part of the 'Enemies Within' some northern leaders against humanity.

Poverty is a battle for every Nigerian to fight not by destroying whatever has been established. Nigerians, especially the North, should be discussing the low level of development, which includes poverty, as a national problem and not a northern problem, otherwise the north will impede any development in that region most especially.

Except the north get into the stream of progressive programs, the whole Nigeria would continue to swim in poverty. Robbing your face to clear the germs, would eventually transfer from your eyes to your nose.

The development gap between the north and south can be bridged with the understanding that the southern leaders would not abandon their development programs while waiting for the north to catch up. The north must double up not by destruction their progressive programs through educating their mindset which is about half a century fissure.

Unfortunately, the past leaders, mainly from the North, were blinded with their Monarchy style of governance; mortgaged the future of the North, the results are being witnessed today (February 2012). This could be the beginning of some serious isolation of that part of the country in the next 50 years, as the place is not safe to reside or think of any development; the weather is not on its good side either, as the Desert is rapidly encroaching the region; Lake Chad is almost dried up. Boko Haram should NEVER be an answer or an excuse of the excruciating poverty across the Northern states.

Gaddafi, as bad at as the world tried to paint him, accomplished much for his country. Gaddafi did wonders that most of African countries never done. Unfortunately, he allowed joy that has a slender body, got into his head and thought that he had his people in his pocket after about 42 years control.

If it is religion the North wanted to cling into, they should emulate Gaddafi's positive side by developing the north and minimize the level of poverty in that region. Gaddafi, in 2009, made Libyans life expectancy to be 75 years for men and 79.8 yrs for women; in the first 15 years of his rule the number of Medical Doctors per 1,000/citizens was increased by seven times with the number of hospital beds increasing by 3 times. Infant Mortality Rate went from 125/1,000 live births about average for Africa at the time to 15.04/1,000, the best rate in Africa; Education and Medicine were free; Education and Internships abroad was at Government expense which the northern leaders could use as templates for the northerners.

The northern leaders should provide homes for Northerners as Gaddafi incorporated a policy of "a home for all Libyans" and during his rule, new residential areas rose in empty Saharan regions. Could all the 19 Northern State Governors start joint projects that would be great gifts to their people like Gaddafi built the Project Great man-made River, without any financial help from the World Bank or IMF? The project supplies water to irrigate about 382,850 acres or about 600 square miles of farmland in the North.

The Northern leaders MUST stop exporting their wealth to already developed Dubai, and invest on the impoverished North and disallow the invaders' destruction of whatever is left in that part of Nigeria. Aliko Dangote is a northerner and he is the richest man in Africa today because he invested where the conditions are favorable.

The current (2012) insecurity in northern Nigeria is nothing to write home about. Boko Haram destructive activities are giving rise to questions whether the northern poverty level is a myth or reality; or is it created by the north or the Nigerian state; or can poverty-free north solve the growing insecurity ravaging the region.

Long before the oil was discovered the North was on the fore front as the largest producer of Groundnut, Cotton, and some other agriculture products from that wonderful part of Nigeria. Multi-Million questions on the lips of an average Nigerian has been what happened to the popular Kano pyramids. Why would the North disengaged from the farm products or got mentally lazy after oil discovery. Those with no access to the oil money rely on selling contracts because their uncles, cousins, brothers, were in the coffers of the government.

Indeed, today's northern Nigeria, as it would be recalled, had its glorious days. Kano, the largest city in the North, was the commercial nerve center and used to be a bubbling industrial city with over 300 factories. The ancient town had Sharada and Bompai as bustling industrial neighborhoods. The city also had groundnut pyramid, which ensured that the North contributed 50.5% to the national income in the sixties. Kaduna was also the home of textile in Nigeria, and Kakuri was a thriving industrial layout.

Taking the statistics of collapsed industries in the North, Nigeria used to be very proud of the textile industries in the north, with the availability of the raw materials produced mostly from Nigeria. The leaders from the North were very busy siphoning the oil money that could have been used to improve the textile industries.

To say that the collapse of industries in the north was an international conspiracy is a canard. It was a self imposed devise to subject the people of the north to slavery to turn to professional beggars. The perpetual poverty in the North was partially caused by lack of job, closing down all the lucrative industries that gave jobs to people of the north. The international conspiracy is what I would term as intra-northern leadership conspiracy to keep people in abject everlasting poverty.

The industries sold to Asians in the hay days, were closed down for the fact that they had to pay through their nose to get the raw materials, bribed their ways to get supplies needed, added to the bottleneck in getting government permission to keep their license, and the refusal of the government to support them. To turn around and blame the Asians as part of the International conspiracy for the collapse of the industries is like blaming an impotent's wife of not getting pregnant. That is hypocrisy.

If they could make a U-Turn in these areas, they would not blame anyone on why the tractors, motor vehicles, textile or fertilizer's factories were closed down. As of today (2012) the Asian Tigers have ran away from commodity-based economy in favor of real industrialization. Most Nigerians would blame the collapse of industries in the north on greed, egoism, and heartless services to humanity.

If the country cannot feed its people despite the availability of the arable lands for grain products in the north, how justifiable is it for some northern leaders to complain about the impoverished north. The world wants them to divert their resources to some positive and aggressive projects such as agriculture by actions taking a cue from Kwara State; the Almajiris could be engaged on the farm. Nigeria needs to be fed by its agricultural products and help other parts of the world to survive hunger.

As poverty index shows, the World Bank has recorded that the Northern portion of Nigeria has World's highest illiterate children. As Professor Ibrahim Gambari, of northern origin, with the Royal blood, from Kwara State, the Under Secretary-General, Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations, dialoguing on health and education, puts it,

"the level of immunization of Children against dangerous childhood diseases, in the South-East is 44.6% immunization coverage, but the North-West has 3.7% and the North-East 3.6%. If you take the education of the girl-child as indicator, you see similar pattern of inequality with the South-East having an enrolment rate of 85%, South-West having an enrolment rate of 85%, South-South 75%, while the North-East 20% and North West 25%."

Expatiating on this, he added:

"In the last twelve years, the poverty level in the country doubled between 1999 and 2007. Previously, the UNDP and World Bank report estimated that 35 million people were living on less than one dollar a day. By 2007, that number has risen to 70 million. And it affected the whole nation over a period of time. That figure has been certified by international organizations."

While not facing the reality on the ground, some of the indolent northern leaders like Senator Joseph Waku, the Vice National Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), erroneously stated that the Igbo should

"Go home if you're tired of staying". Listening to him, "We northern leaders are even contemplating that Boko Haram is his (Jonathan's) own making to blackmail the north so that they can secede. It has reached a dimension for one to believe that there are some people somewhere that are fuelling this crisis to give a dog a bad name so that they would have a reason to secede. We are beginning to suspect that there is a plan against the north."
Sometimes the look of your hair indicates the state of other parts of your body.

Believing that 'no tree makes a forest', or, 'no one has the monopoly of knowledge', or, 'we use the left hand to wash the right hand for cleaner hands', there is no way the north would survive without the use of oil products in all its ramifications. America still relies on oil products to make it a rich country. The Middle East, with its oil money, still needs technology for development. The north should not just be shooting from its hips ignoring what makes human being a complete whole.

The Northern leaders destroyed Education during Babangida’s administration. In 1999, Obasanjo was about two months in the office when Shehu Shagari led a team of Northern leaders to Aso Rock to complain about the neglect of education in the north. Shehu Shagari retrieved almost immediately when he realized that he was part of the northern leaders' conspiracy to impede the northern progress. The Military northern leaders mostly demolished the vision of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Tafawa Balewa.

Zumunta Association's quest to encourage the Northern leaders the importance of higher education has not been fully supported by the northern Governors. As a pointer to what the Northern leaders should do, the Zumunta Association in the United States, at its inception in 1991, established full University Scholarship program for candidates of northern origin one per State in technology, and science. Its requests fell into the deaf ears of the northern leaders. Instead, they prefer to have mansions in Maryland, Dubai, Pretoria, Zambia, and across the world. Who is to blame for all the impoverished north, the international conspirators or "the Enemies Within?" We appreciate Atiku's American University in Yola as an education landmark.

Secretary of the Council of Ulamas and a foremost northern critic, Major Abubakar Umar (rtd), described some Northern leaders as a disgrace, first to the religion of Islam, the north and Nigeria.

The Government tends to ignore the confessions from Boko Haram members arrested about their sponsors because they are Generals who never retire, as well as some untouchable money bag politicians. There is no smoke without fire in the revelation by Sheik Sani Haliru an ex-Boko Haram Leader, now converted to a Christian, from Niger Republic, but his mother is from Bornu State grew up in Wulari, Maiduguri. Most 'invaders' under the disguise of Boko Haram, are from Niger Republic.

As published by Republic Report New York, February 13, 2012, titled, 'IBB's Rejoinder: Exclusive: IBB, Buhari, Top CBN-Officials Are Boko Haram Sponsors - Sheik Sani Haliru'. Sheik Sani Haliru, from Niger Republic, confessed that he got his Islamic Education from Sheik Abubakar Gummi; mentored by Osama bin Laden; trained in Libya and Pakistan as an Attack Strategist, alongside Ali Baba Nur, Asari Dokubo, Jasper Akinbo, Mohammed Yusuf, Salisu Maigari, Danlami Abubakar, Cletus Okar, Ali Qaqa, Maigari Haliru and Asabe Dantala.

He alleged that one of their sponsors is

"General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida who has more than 600 men and women Jihadists who are under his pay role, and scattered all over the Country in the Nigeria Army (NA), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Navy, Air Force, Oil and Gas sectors, even in the finance home such as in top level positions of CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) and other banks. You find them in politics, in the Senate, National Assembly, in the media both print and electronic and even in Aso Rock, Abuja (Nigeria's capital)."

From the interview granted Sani from the Question: "Q: Apart from IBB, who are the other top sponsors of terrorism in this country?" He alleged that "A: They are many, but IBB is the major financier. He introduced the suicide bombing that started when he killed Dele Giwa. I have the names of six traditional rulers and seven present & ex-Governors as well as several top military and security officers who are co-sponsoring the so called Boko Haram. That apart, I have documented evidences to prove that General Mohammadu Buhari, Alhaji Abubaka Atiku and other top politicians and traditional rulers are some of the people behind Boko Haram. Very soon, nemesis will catch up with them." Time will tell.

It is most embarrassing the prevailing poverty level in the north most especially that any right thinking leader would prefer to destroy rather than construct. This is not to say that the Northerners are slothful with heavy empty coconut heads without any focus. But the unfortunate development of laziness by some past leaders from the north is worrisome. These leaders had the ample opportunity to develop the north to the envy of the entire world, but failed dolefully, just like Chief Obasanjo missed the opportunity for Yorubaland but failed mournfully. Ironically that sense of ravenousness, that was so apparent among the northern leaders, created the interminable paucity in the North.

In one of my articles titled, 'Agenda for my Northern Governors', published on, Monday, December 20, 1999; and in some Nigerian Newspapers then, regarding the Northern Governors resolution on the poor treatment meted to them by the British Government each time they visited UK; touched on the issues of

"bad leadership; Education; the Almajiris; Ecology problem; Agriculture; Lake Chad; Sharia; Technical assistance from Zumunta Association, USA, Inc.; Irrigation with specific reference to Borno State; Flooding; Good Roads; and Elected officials in the north to come together and form caucuses among the National Council of State, elected officials, Northern caucus in the National Council of Speakers among others, nonpartisan organizations, exchanging ideas, not crying over non-Royal treatment in London, and to bridge that communication gap - Northern Solidarity; and to allow Northerners, both men and women, the freedom to do whatever is morally acceptable in the society so as to survive in life."

Once again,

"Past Northern leaders had ample opportunities to develop the North to the envy of other States and pride of the future generation, {but failed}. What is the outcome of the North years of control of the Federal Government besides, robbing Peter to pay Paul? What major development came to the North through these selfish northern leaders? NOTHING! Not all of them were bad; at least those that were good could not control the appetite of their subordinates."

Ejeki agbadura, 'let us pray', as my wife would always tell me each time we are about disagreeing on some issues.

The Northern Leaders should pray fervently for the region not to turn into another Afghanistan for terrorists, and for the UNITY of Nigeria be sealed forever.



Professor Femi Ajayi is Head, Political Science and Public Administration Department, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State

By Prof. Femi Ajayi


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