In my discourse last week I made attempts to explain the obstinacy of the Boko Haram insurgency by pondering Governor Murtala Nyako’s lens, which suggests government’s overt and/or covert complicity. This claim, at the minute, is unproven. But unfolding events continue to imply some ruthless conspiracy, which if carefully viewed, tells us how badly the crisis has been managed from the outset. Some of these intrigues I will try to recapture and leave it for us all to put the jigsaw together.
On January 14, 2012, the police claimed arresting Kabiru Umar, also known as Kabiru Sokoto, in Abuja. He is the man recently convicted for masterminding the 2011 Madalla Christmas Day bombing. But two days later the police came back to say he had escaped from their custody when taken to Abaji to search the property he lived in before his arrest. He was re-arrested nearly a month later. But not before a few jobs had been threatened (and eventually lost), including Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim’s.
Kabiru Sokoto’s arrest, escape and re-arrest look like scenes from a badly scripted and terribly acted movie. The most mindboggling part was his escape in Abaji, which security agents claimed was facilitated by an unarmed mob that subdued armed security men and disentangled him.
It later emerged that Kabiru Sokoto was actually under the custody of Zakari Biu, a commissioner of police whose dismissal in 2000 was as controversial as his reinstatement 10 years after. Although Biu has repeatedly insisted on his innocence it still beggars belief that the escape happened in the first place.
But the mystery webbed around Abu Qaqa, the once relentlessly garrulous Boko Haram spokesman, is even more astounding. On a number of occasions it was claimed he had been apprehended, but each turned out to be untrue or so it seemed. Once it was claimed he had been killed in a gun battle but a concrete proof to make it believable was never produced.
On hearing the news of Abu Qaqa’s first so-called arrest I naively thought the days of the insurgency were numbered. It was because I thought being a prominent actor in the insurgency the security forces would extract a substantial amount of valuable information to make running over the sect a walkover. But that has not been it and from all indications the insurgents are never deterred.
Earlier this week the mystery in which the Boko Haram violence has been masked was barefacedly taken to another level when the State Security Service (SSS) announced foiling a jailbreak attempt a detained insurgent had initiated by hitting a guard at the back of his head with his shackles. And that resulted in a gun duel in which 20 insurgents died.
Marilyn Oga, whose unimpressive lies fell flat in the past, childishly hoped we would gullibly take it in this time as she said: “At 0715 hours, the Service suspect handler went to the detention facility within the Headquarters to feed the suspects. One of the suspects attempted to disarm him by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff. His attempt to escape drew the attention of other guards at the facility who fired some shots to warn and deter others.”
But what Oga did not say was whether such priced detainees as Abu Qaqa managed to escape in the end or were killed or are still detained in the same facility or, in the interest of their and public’s safety, they had been moved elsewhere. Of course behind the cover of operational secrecy she would say such information is not meant for public consumption. But what difference would it make it anyway?
The news that has been circulating is that the jailbreak was not as simplistic as painted in the SSS statement. There was much more to it. It has been suggested that Abu Qaqa and other notable Boko Haram detainees planned the jailbreak and made good their escape, with the help of insiders as usual. If this is not the case I dare the SSS to come out and debunk this claim by swiftly putting Abu Qaqa on trial or tell exactly what has become of him and support their claim with material evidence.
Otherwise, we would continue to believe that, again, someone is working tirelessly to make sure the truth about the Boko Haram violence is never unearthed. And the identity of that someone is as wrapped in mystery as the truth about the sect. But we are not all as susceptible as the government and its security agencies imagine. There is no way the insurgency would remain as relentless as it is up until this minute and we pretend we don’t know who the sponsors are or what they planned to achieve.