You have for long warned about insecurity from the North. Why do you think the army can’t contain it? As far back as eight to nine years ago, we observed that the institution of the Nigerian army became a target of the intelligentsia behind what we called Boko Haram. They have known that the Nigerian army was the last institution in Nigeria that could practically bind the country. But now, the army seems divided. What I know is that the Nigerian army cannot handle this people because the sophistication with which the sect operates is beyond the training of the Nigerian army.
You argue that the issue is not just Islam. What is it?
I think the African is the best person to know that term. What the Africans discovered is that people will use every reason everywhere to sort out their ends. I said this still is not Islam, I said it is not religious. I said it is not political, ethnic and tribal. I said it is a new kind of war that the world knows. Some people in the Northern part of Nigeria will still tell you that Islam had been in the country up to 600 years before Usman Dan Fodio came in. The religion of Nigerians was not killing anybody. If you like, let’s go to the archives and get the letters written by Shehu El-Kanemi, who was an Islamic scholar, addressed to Usman Dan Fodio in 1907 on the issue of jihad.
The Boko Haram crisis, according to you, has a long history. What is it? There is nothing like Boko Haram. The Boko Haram thing was invented by the Western press after the explosion of Maiduguri. Boko Haram is just one out of the many demands of nothing less than 26 militant groups operating in the northern part of the country. And what those people did was that when the title Boko Haram was convenient for them, they used it to further their cause. It was Osama bin Laden that created a new structure of modern terrorism. That is why every sensible nation of the world has separated Islam from Islamism.
Nigerians are advocating for amnesty. What is your position on it? Nigerians are advocating for amnesty because they are terrified. One of the things government has refused is that there is a psychology of terror. When the psychology of Boko Haram begins to succeed, palpable fear will overcome the populace. When they begin to panic, a drowning man will die faster. The truth is that amnesty is a stupid idea. It is like somebody who has yellow fever and you are treating him for malaria fever, you will make it worse and the patient will die. Amnesty may work for disenfranchisement; it may work for political grievances; it may work for people who have anything apart from ideological basis for terror. The Western world is inexperienced in Africa that is why they ascribed the cause of terrorism to poverty. It is ideology that is causing it. Let me give you an example. The son of one of the wealthiest Muslims in this country planted a bomb inside his underwear and attempted to blow up an American plane with lots of people therein. Was that poverty? The truth is that it is radicalization that makes people to use your own convenient doctrine to make a brother kill his brothers. Nigeria is at war. Everywhere in the world where this thing is happening war has been declared, a new kind of war. And the whole country must be galvanised to fight this new kind of war. It is not the old kind of war where soldiers would wear uniform and shoot. It is a new kind of war which Nigerians refuse to understand. Therefore, there is trouble as long as people in high places continue to be stubborn and refuse to listen to sound counsel. There are people in high places who are members of Boko Haram in Nigeria. There are people who have infiltrated the ranks of Boko Haram. In Maiduguri, a Muslim is afraid of his fellow Muslim because he doesn’t know whether or not he is a Boko Haram member. In Kano, when Boko Haram wanted to use one man’s car to go and bomb, he refused but he was killed. When they killed him, the Federal Government...
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