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Corruption, ransom payments “strengthened the insurgents” says Obasanjo

West & Central Africa

Corruption, ransom payments “strengthened the insurgents” says Obasanjo

Report by Hassan John

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigeria’s terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen Jihadists have a common goal to “Islamized” the country.

Speaking at the at the Synod of Oleh Diocese, Anglican Communion which held on Saturday 18 May, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, in Isoko, Delta State, Obasanjo countered narratives of governments and many organizations attributing the radical insurgencies in Nigeria to poverty and illiteracy. The former president said the insurgency did not arise due to “lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria,” which might have contributed to the radical Islamic ideology, the insurgency but it “is now West African ‘fulanization’, African Islamization and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” Obasanjo said.

Villages suffer destruction by Fulani cattle herdsmen continuously in Central Nigeria. Photo Credit – Author

The Boko Haram insurgency was given every narrative except what it ought to have been, a radical Islamic ideology with the goal to destroy Christianity and any Western civilisation to be replaced with Islamic Sharia law. Instead, the “boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot,” Obasanjo pointed out that both terrorists’ groups have now “incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. 

“They are now combined and internationalized with ISIS in control,” Obasanjo stated that “when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose,” he said pointing out the corruption that had overshadowed the fight against the insurgency. “Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results,” Obasanjo said.

Over 100 Chibok schoolgirls still in captivity of Boko Haram. Photo credit: Boko Haram propaganda video

Nigeria’s former president accused the Federal government of having very weak intelligence to fight the terrorism and rather than facing the insurgency head-on, it “embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payments of ransoms. Today, the insecurity issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of Nigerian Government or even West African Governments,” Obasanjo said.

The former president said to effectively curb the devastation the country is going through, Buhari’s government “must appreciate where we are, summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently collectively seek the way forward for all hands on deck and with the holistic approach of stick and carrot,” he stressed that, “there should be no sacred cow.”

The Global terrorism Index 2018 ranks Nigeria 3rdon the table of countries suffering deadliest terrorism and the country is listed among the nations where Christians suffer the greatest persecution in the world.

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