President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria said on Thursday that he has ordered ” a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists on our soil.” He made this remark as he gave reassurance to the parents of 219 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in Yobe in March and Chibok in April and are currently being held hostage by the Boko Haram.
Boko Haram was founded by a Muslim cleric by the name of Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri in 2002. Its official Arabic name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-jihad, which means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad. Boko means “fake” and Haram means “forbidden.” In the Hausa language, Boko Haram is loosely translated to mean “Western education is forbidden.”
As an Islamist group, Boko Haram gained notoriety through bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and is bent on overthrowing the Nigerian government led by President Jonathan. Most recently, the Boko Haram perpetuated the mass kidnappings of more than 200 schoolgirls in the northern areas of the country.
It is under these conditions that Jonathan said:
“I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism.”
This televised speech marked the celebration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Boko Haram regards Nigeria as being influenced by western non-believers even when it has a Muslim president. The group propagates the prohibition of taking part in any political or social undertakings including voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers and getting an education, which they believe are associated with western culture.
The terrorist group launched military operations in 2009 to try and overthrow the government for the purpose of establishing an Islamic state. In the same year, its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody. He was succeeded by Abubakar Shekau.
During these operations, thousands – mostly civilians – have been killed in the north-eastern part of Nigeria. They also attacked police and UN headquarters in Abuja, the country’s capital. Their attacks do not discriminate. The Boko Haram has been observed to attack both Christian and Muslim groups in the region. It was in this situation of rising violence that President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
In November of 2013, the United States of America finally designated the group as a terrorist organization with fears that it has links with the al-Qaeda. There has been a great deal of political disagreement in the United States over the fact that Hillary Clinton refused requests to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group while she was Secretary of State.
In view of the impending destabilization of the nation’s democracy, national unity, political stability and the importance of its preservation, President Jonathan had given the security forces authorization to use “any means necessary under the law to ensure that this is done. I assure you … that these thugs will be driven away. It will not happen overnight, but we will spare no effort to achieve this goal.”
The northeast part of the country is presently under a state of emergency and the Nigerian forces have been in full scale operations there for a year now. However, Nigeria is yet to see an outcome for this military action.
In a statement, Jonathan said
“With the support of the Nigerians, our neighbors and the international community, we will reinforce our defense, free our girls and rid Nigeria of terrorist.”
[Image from Goodluck Jonathan’s official Facebook page]