Boko Haram and the planned Break-up of Nigeria By Ailesh Dease

05/08/2014 by socialistfight

 

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“It is embarrassing that the president had to wait for Malala to come all the way to Nigeria to convince him to meet with us three months after the attack,” said Dauda Iliya, a member of the Chibok panel of elders

The name ‘Boko Haram’ is an amalgamation of the Hausa and Arabic languages. Boko is applied to the old British Colonial education, which many Hausas saw as an attempt to colonize their minds. Haram is borrowed from the Arabic and refers to anything, which is forbidden in Islam as opposed to those things, which are ‘halal’ and so are permitted in Islam. Boko Haram means, “European Colonial ‘education’ is a fraudulent deception”. (The etymology of Hausa boko by P. Newman 2013 )

This whole concept is rooted in the historical experience of Nigerians when the British sought to introduce their education system to replace traditional Islamic education. The Hausa elite would not send their own children to schools where the traditional culture and values of the Hausa and of Islam would be undermined and their children would be turned into “yan –boko” i.e. bogus westerners. Boko is associated with western education now, but the initial resistance was to values being imposed by foreigners.

The colonialists politicized religion and ethnicity in order to divide and rule the people. After political ‘independence’ the situation deteriorated to what it is now.

Boko Haram (BH) is a group of Islamists in the north of Nigeria, fanatic but peaceful who campaigned for an Islamic State based upon Sharia law. They became deadly after the Nigerian government murdered their leaders in cold blood in 2009. There were mass extra judicial killings and they never got any justice.

BH as a movement has shamelessly betrayed Islamic teachings. Islamic religious scholars and Muslims all over the world have criticised BH not only for its violence but also for its bigotry and dogmatism and its attempts to coerce Christians to convert to Islam and to force what are perceived as secular schools to close down.

The conditions that have nurtured BH are primarily poverty and exploitation- the everyday violence of capitalism, the absence of basic services such as clean water, electricity, education, health care etc. hideous corruption and theft in the government,

BH began to carve out territory between four countries Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger and Chad. Over time they have become more deadly and more audacious. In Cameroon they broke into an aArmy barrack and freed two of their leaders, they filmed the attack and released the edited video. They have bombed major bus stations in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

On the 14 April 280 girls were abducted and taken hostage from their secondary school dormitories in Chibok in Borno State by BH. They have asked for the release of their prisoners held in Nigerian jails in exchange for the girls. The government has refused to negotiate with BH. It took one month and mass protests by the women of Nigeria (historically women have always taken the lead in protests e.g.. women led uprisings against colonialism) for President Goodluck Jonathon (GEJ) to recognize the kidnapping of the Chibok girls. It took 3 months for the President to invite the parents of the missing girls to meet with him.

The government is too corrupt to get anything done. Nigerians do not have stable electric supplies in spite of the trillions of dollars of revenues from oil sales. A few months ago they fired the Governor of the Central Bank because they said over $50 billion was stolen by the National Petroleum Corporation. Army generals are pocketing money meant for buying weapons for the soldiers and police who are supposed to be fighting BH. The soldiers have no proper food or clothes, nowhere to sleep or clean water to drink. …. This is the outcome of the corruption that has ravaged Nigeria for the last 50 years. The corrupt capitalist ruling class has stolen over 500 billion dollars.

The Nigerian Government is responsible for a counter offensive against BH, which has bought allegations of widespread slaughter of civilians. The people accuse the Nigerian military of a terror campaign, of indiscriminate shootings and bombings, unexplained civilian deaths, nighttime round ups of young men by the security forces. People said that this climate of terror forced them to flee in their thousands on foot into the harsh scorching semi desert to Niger. [1]

The Nigerian security forces have always been known for their brutality, their lack of respect for human rights and their indiscriminate killing of civilians have been well documented. Wikileaks documents shows that the CIA took advantage of sectarian divisions in Nigeria, recruited unemployed Islamic extremists (BH), trained them and returned them to Nigeria to create chaos. Covertly supporting terrorist organizations to achieve Foreign Policy aims is now the name of the Imperialist Foreign Policy game…. after Libya then Syria then Ukraine then… Wikileaks reported on a United States cable of 29/6/09 which showed that the CIA predicted the onslaught of deadly terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, 2 months before they started terrorist actions.

After bombings in Damaturu, the US Embassy issued a statement stating that such bombings should be expected in three specific establishments in Abuja. This statement raised several questions such as ..what did the embassy actually know about the bombings…?

Wikileak documents also indicates that SS8 a surveillance company in the US was producing viruses (Trojans) that hijack individual computers and phones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android etc.), to take over the device, record its every use, movement, GPS info and even sights and sounds in the room it is in. This software was bought by the Nigerian Government and used as tools by the CIA in its eavesdropping on Nigerian politicians, thus detecting corrupt practices. They used this information to threaten politicians to carry out their instructions. The United States Intelligence Council has predicted that Nigeria will disintegrate by 2015. Algerian intelligence confirms a direct link between Boko Haram and western-financed Al-Queda In The Maghreb -AQIM. [2]

In 2011 The US State Department refused to place BH on the terrorist List because BH had sponsors at the highest levels of the oligarchs in Nigeria.

BH spokesman Abu Qaqa claims to have visited Mecca with Boko Haram leader Abu-Bakr Shekau, where the group received financial and technical support from Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia (AQAP) (Boko Haram vows to fight until Nigeria establishes sharia law, The Guardian, January 27, 2012)
The United States has conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM (African Military Command). One scenario tested the US Africa Command’s capacity to respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war, by sending 20,000 US troops to battle vying rebel factions seeking to control the Niger Delta oil fields. [3]

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy (with natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and arable land.) is an important source of oil and petroleum for Beijing. A divided Nigeria would pose a major problem for China (a re run of Sudan) which has (among other major contracts) signed a $23 billion deal to construct three fuel refineries in Nigeria, adding an extra 750,000 barrels per day of domestic refining capacity. [4]

China has invested in Africa’s telecommunications market by building and launching a geostationary commercial satellite, owned by Nigeria and operated in Abuja. [5] In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” AFRICOM’s mission is to create war and instability in the name of fighting terrorism. Just another front in its war with China for global energy dominance.

At an AFRICOM Conference on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller declared that the guiding principle of AFRICOM is to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before stating that China’s increasing presence on the continent was a challenge to American interests. [6]

On the 10th May 2014 BH staged a deadly attack on Gamborou in Borno State killing 300 villagers. On May 16 2014 Sahara Reporters posted a report :”War against Boko Harem… Nigerian Soldiers Say They Are Ill-Equipped, Betrayed by Commanders, Authorities in Abuja.”

Some soldiers suspect that their commanders reveal military operations to BH. The National Premium Post, Nigeria’s daily online newspaper, on May 18, 2014 published an article claiming that army Generals are selling weapons to BH (nine serving Generals face court-martial for treason). The Army quickly refuted these claims, but questions remains, Why are soldiers leaving their duty posts and turning their guns against their commanders? Why has the insurgency flourished in spite of trillions spent to curb it?

A report titled We were barred from repelling Gamboru attack” in the Daily Trust on 22 May 2014” reported that a Nigerian soldier in Borno state confirmed that Boko Haram attacked Gamboru in their presence but their commander asked them not to repel the attack. The soldier told BBC Hausa Service that helicopters were overhead while the attacks were going on. 300 people were killed, houses were burnt while soldiers watched and were ordered not to help the people being attacked. The records show that more public money is stolen when the state is in crisis so there is no incentive to end the crisis.

In 2012, The Nigerian Tribune reported Boko Harm’s funding was traced to the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund. In 2005, The Center for Security Policy stated, “Al-Muntada has, incidentally, been particularly active in promoting Wahhabi-style Islamism in Nigeria… Al-Muntada… pays for Nigerian clerics to be ‘brainwashed’ in Saudi universities and imposed on Nigerian Muslims through its well-funded network of mosques and schools.”

Religious fundamentalism always mean super exploitation and oppression of women. The abduction of the girls raises the whole issue of sexual slavery, sexual violence and the manipulation of religion to serve the needs of specific sections of the oligarchy. In order to stem the tide of struggle against the economic and social conditions prevailing in the country, fundamentalist cults were imported from North America, this, together with its Islamic counterpart functioned as a shield for the Oligarchs. Religious ideas undermine those who questioned the economic and market fundamentalism which pushed the producing classes further into poverty. In the North, under Sharia the exploitation of workers intensified and like the South, the public purse was looted. The Oligarchs sent their children to school in Europe while a poor person would have their arm amputated for stealing a loaf of bread.

Without a class analysis of the campaign to “Bring back our girls”, we will not be able to determine the real causes of the problem.

The US seeks to set up a permanent military base in the country and the kidnappings have given them an opportunity to do so. Nigeria’s coastal defence has already been surrendered to the US.

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The US has used the kidnappings to serve it’s own interests, 3 months on and with all it’s “advisers” in Nigeria there is still no sign of the girls.

Nigerians need to build a party through grassroots street and village committees up to national levels to ensure democratic participation and accountability at every stage. They need to build a worker’s party which would nationalise the nation’s resources under workers’ control; create secure employment; establish a secular state; provide free education and health care for all; develop adequate infrastructure and industrialise the country on an environmentally sustainable basis. This is the way to end religious fundamentalism

 

Notes

[1] Human Rights Watch 2014 World Report

[2] Algeria says Nigeria’s Boko Haram tied to al Qaeda, Reuters, November 13, 2011.

[3] Africa: U.S. Military Holds War Games on Nigeria, Somalia, All Africa, August 14, 2009.

[4] Nigeria and china sign $23bn deal for three refineries, BBC, May 14, 2010

[5] China Builds And Launches A Satellite For Nigeria, The Washington PostMay 14, 2007
[6] Africa: U.S. Military Holds War Games on Nigeria, Somalia, AllAfrica, August 14 2009

 

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