A strategy often employed to make conflicts like the Boko Haram violence very confusing is blackmail. Proponents of this strategy create a false enemy and, by so doing, evade the real one. And that real one could even be them or someone closely linked to them.
One day in November 1993, preparatory to the genocide in Rwanda, Hutu children whose ages ranged between six and 14 disappeared in the mountings they had gone to fetch water. Their strangled bodies were later found on which there were marks suggesting the older girls had been gang-raped. A distinctive signature indicting the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, the Paul
Kagame-led Tutsi military wing) was left at the scene of the crime. It looked clearly like a set up. And it emerged afterwards that it was Hutu extremists desperately wanting to hang such evil acts on the Tutsi and provoke reprisals or even mass murder that did it.
Recently, after the suspension of Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanisu from his position as the governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank I casually passed by a comment on social media that the Boko Haram violence would escalate. One of the contributors to the thread argued that it was always when there was pressure on the government that the sect escalated its attacks. The contributor cited a number of ‘credible’ examples.
As uproar over Malam Sanusi’s suspension grew amidst claims he was edged out because he exposed corruption at the NNPC something dramatic surfaced confirming the claim in the thread mentioned above. Reno Omokri, President Jonathan’s special assistant on social media had allegedly circulated via email, using the alias Wendell Simlin, a message to media organizations in the country linking the escalation of the Boko Haram violence to Malam Sanusi and Alhaji Umar Mutallab. Simlin’s allegation came at a time high schools had been increasingly targeted with pupils slaughtered or abducted. So, it seemed like a case of giving the dog a bad name.
But Wendell Simlin was soon unmasked and behind the mask was Reno Omokri! Technology makes it so easy to trace the sources of messages like emails. And in Omokri’s case he had sent the message on a word document, whose origin could be traced by right clicking on the document, which when done pointed to Omokri. And because he previously sent messages to the media using his real identity it was found that all the messages came from the same IP address. So, there might have been an attempt to invent an enemy frame.
Omokri’s gaffe did not deter the federal government or its appendage, the State Security Service (SSS), from prosecuting Sanusi for allegedly financing terrorism. But what they have turned a blind eye to is the scandalous link Reno Omokri has to Wendell Simlin. No one has taken the allegation seriously let alone investigate or caution Omokri. And as is typically the culture, the matter has since naturally died. Case closed.
In April 2012 the late National Security Adviser Andrew Owoye Azazi hinted the complicity of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Boko Haram crisis. Although, of course, he stopped short of pointedly saying the monster was deliberately created to stall President Jonathan’s presidency, he was immediately attacked by his own party chieftains, which resulted in him vacating his position to appease the ‘tin gods’. But Azazi, himself, had a history that is not entirely palatable to the ear. It would, nonetheless, be told in the concluding part of this discourse.
In attempts to explain the origin of the Boko Haram insurgence claims are made again and again, each made in ways that further compound people’s confusion. Those I find most irritating are the ones blaming it on enemies of the regime impetuously wanting to frustrate the government after failing to stop President Jonathan from returning to power in April 2011.
These claimants are either mischievous or naïve or both, because the insurgency started long before Jonathan’s presidency and temporarily climaxed to an all-out violence in July 2009, during the late Umar Musa Yar’adua’s presidency. Unfortunately even well educated people that should know better seem to suffer from some form of self-induced amnesia.
Obfuscation, in total disregard of the sufferings of victims like the innocent, hardworking Nigerians caught up in Monday’s bomb attack at Nyanya bus station or the young girls abducted from schools and their families, is a tool willfully used in this senseless game of deception. Whatever the intent is, time will come when we will find out.
To be concluded