In 2009 a man called Yusuf, leader of a radical Islamic group who was under arrest by the police, was shot dead in broad daylight by a policeman, an event that went viral in the social media worldwide. Till today nobody has told us what punishment the policeman received or who he was. Presumably he is still in the force as a higher officer. Yusuf’s followers transformed the group into the terrorist group, Boko Haram, whose slogan is ‘no to Western education.’

Since then the group has killed thousands of Nigerians and rendered thousands of others homeless, taking refuge in internally displaced people’s camps. The irony of Boko Haram is that they are committing mayhem with weapons produced by Western education, guns, bombs, vehicles and so on. Even the clothes the animals are wearing, the shoes, wrist watches, mobile phones they are using and so on are products of Western education. So what sort of education do they want Nigerians to imbibe? Do they want no education at all or the education of sitting down under trees and reciting the Koran? The latter is the sort of education that millions of children have been imbibing in the far North of Nigeria that has helped to create millions of what they call almajiris, young children beggars roaming the streets with bowls for alms. Of recent some of these children are being shipped to the south in lorry loads. In the south they stand out like sore thumbs in the cities where they roam. They are easily recognizable on the streets where they are of nuisance value to motorists and pedestrians. Is that what Boko Haram is after or are the members just blood thirsty, illiterate, savages eager to send us back to the dark ages?

Our ‘great’ military say they are winning the war against Boko Haram but the opposite seems to be the case. Boko Haram has virtually rendered Borno state a no go state where farmers cannot go to their farms or risk being decapitated. Where is the Western education these illiterate farmers are using to prepare the soil laboriously and plant millet, corn, sorghum and so on? If adherence to Islamic education is what they want why kill these poor farmers whose religion is Islam? Clearly these terrorists are nothing but prehistoric savages just out for human blood. Boko Haram, Darul Salaam, ISWAP, or whatever other name they answer, are ravaging other parts of the far north and are now penetrating the Middle Belt. They are even alleged to be here and there in the south and our capital, Abuja. They are waxing stronger by the day.

But can any right thinking Nigerian be surprised? How can any reasonable person be? Boko Haram has millions of impoverished and uneducated citizens to recruit from. Nigerians are poor and getting poorer by the day. Just take the example of the almajiris. These children are being produced by parents who have not got the means of catering for them and bringing them up as responsible citizens. They grow up knowing only how to beg and before they know it they are adults without any skills that could help them earn a living. In the north their religious beliefs help create the problem. A Muslim is permitted by his religion to marry four wives and have concubines. So a poor farmer who can hardly feed himself marries four wives and produces children he has no hope of being able to cater for thereby increasing the almajiri population. In the Close I live in one of our Muslim night guards who we pay N20,000 monthly proudly told us that he has two wives and eight children. How is he ever going to be able to cater for his wives and children? And that brings me to something I saw on television sometime ago that still makes me sad. A highly placed member of our National Assembly was boasting to all and sundry how powerful he was with his four wives who he brought to the House and who he told to stand up and be recognized and the sheepish women stood up! He also boasted that he had eighteen children and his tone seemed to imply that he would have more as if producing children is a virtue that would put bread on the table of citizens. But there is no doubt that with the incredible salary and allowances he draws monthly he should be able to cater for his family. But is that the case with the average citizen in the far north.

Unfortunately our government seems to be recycling the Boko Haram and playing into their hands. There are those they call repentant Boko Haram, murderers, savages to whom it is alleged government pays monthly to help them get reintegrated into the society. Why wouldn’t useless citizens join Boko Haram and then turn themselves in to the authorities so that they can be paid a salary monthly? And to make matters worse there is the story that members of the so-called repentant Boko Haram are being absorbed into the army. What a society we are building! By the way, where is Kabiru Sokoto, the man who bombed the United Nations building in Abuja? I believe he was in prison but has been released. May God help us.

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