Boko Haram has brought to the fore so much confusion and chaos between our leaders and us, the led. The reactions to last week’s column were as overwhelming in number as they were in variety. While someone reminded us that our grandparents used to call Western secular education BOKOKO-A-WUTA, another offered that the demise of Muhammad Yusuf and his cohorts is just good riddance. The matter is really confusing, and becoming more confusing by the day. Find below a representative sample of readers’ comments.
SULAIMAN ILU, KANO: The West has so demonised Islam and Muslims so much that no Muslim has any rights anymore, and his life is of no value. Two million Muslims were uprooted from Swat Valley in Pakistan for the West’s proxy war; only Muslims populate Guantanamo; and now this. We should get more Islam-conscious Muslim commentators to expose this misinformation and other sinister plans against Islam.
ABDULLAHI LAMIDO, GOMBE: The quest for knowledge lights the candle of our consciousness and uplifts our spiritual and academic prowess. It gives us the ability to reason. Boko Halal!
DANLAMI WUSHISHI, MINNA, NIGER STATE: Is there any justification for the summary killing of Muhammad Yusuf? I watched that interrogation on YouTube, but Allah knows best.
IBRAHIM MUSA GWAMMAJA, KANO: It is the injustice of our leaders that led to the emergence of Boko Haram. But I am vehemently against the way Muhammad Yusuf and others were killed by the security agencies. Culprits must be punished.
ABDULKADIR BAFFA, BAUCHI: I believe, as you do, that there are lessons to be learnt from the Boko Haram uprising; for those who care to learn. Hope we will learn. Continue to do your own bit.
DANLADI MOHAMMED, BUNKURE, KANO: To say the least, what you said is the actual truth and nothing but the truth. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un!
HUSAINI USMAN, DAURA, KATSINA STATE: Look at the way they were gunned down, while they are not carrying any arms. In my little understanding of Islamic law, this sect did nothing that should warrant summary execution. I must say yes, there are indeed many Harams in Boko, both in content and in method.
KHALID IMAM, UNGOGO, KANO: This is state genocide. Our leaders’ care-free attitude to our collective security and peace by abandoning us at our hour of need said it all. My heart bleeds for my fellow youths of this battered country.
AYUBA WAKIL ABBA, NGURU, YOBE STATE: You got it right. Any other interpretation of this matter other than this informed interpretation may fall flat. There must be equal rights, equal opportunities and equal justice in Nigeria so we can achieve a peaceful and egalitarian society.
DANTANI DANNANA: Apartheid-era South African leader Pieter Botha once told off Desmond Tutu not to delve into politics, and instead concentrate on telling people how to enter Heaven. A senior Nigerian military officer once noted there are two laws operating in Nigeria: one for the North and the other for the South; money for Niger Delta militants but summary execution for Boko Haram. Though these people could be wrong in approach, do they deserve extra-judicial killing? The day of reckoning will come.
ABUBAKAR GAMBO, MAIDUGURI, BORNO STATE: I am writing from Maiduguri. Whoever said Boko Haram people were peaceful is a liar. Muhammad Yusuf and followers progressively terrorised us in Maiduguri. They declared all Muslims that do not belong to their sect as infidels, particularly if you are working in the civil service; they separated parents from their children by making the children chose either their families or the sect, among other things. Some of these events took place in my neighbourhood, so it is not hearsay. When human rights organisations started complaining of extra-judicial killings, I ask them: what about the women who have been widowed, the children who have been orphaned and the parents who have lost children because of Muhammad Yusuf?
SANI ABDUL-AZIZ: I blame Nigerian Muslims for being cowardly and hypocritical on this Boko Haram issue. Nobody came out forcefully to confront them before it got out of hand. Nigerians should remember who first started the fight: Didn’t the Police first kill members of the Boko Haram group during a funeral? Do we collective amnesia? Let us all remember what our grandparents used to say about Western secular education:
AMINU MUHAMMED SALISU: Though we should commend the security services for a job well done, it should be that there was evidence of use of execessive force which violated fundamental human rights. An eye-witness reported seeing extra judicial execution of eight members of Boko Haram in a motor park called Tashan Mass in Bauchi. Since that episode I was crying inside myself and looking for somebody that shares my sadness. People should not be killed like rats. Our leadership in the North has failed.
RABI’U INUWA IBRAHIM, KANO: In Islam, as in all decent beliefs, even ritual killing of animals has rules. The Prophet (upon whom be peace) had said when one came to slaughtering animals, there should be ihsan, (Hausa: Kyautayi or Kyautatawa): the slaughtering instrument should be sharp so the animal could die quickly. Animals, not humans. But look at the crude way of execution we all saw. And then no killing of humans should be condoned if not according to law. A person must be tried, sentenced and all appeals exhausted. Extra-judicial killing has no basis, and it should not be allowed in Nigeria. Perpetrators of this must be punished. And where does it say, in the laws of interrogation, that a suspect’s dress must be removed to show him near-naked, even though he is handcuffed? This is just barbaric.
ABU FIRDAUS: What is wrong with holding non-conventional views; when has it become a crime to express a different opinion in a society that upholds “freedom of creed and speech”? What of the UN convention on human rights? One is not shielding the Boko Haram movement, but they were products of the frustrations of the Nigerian corruption and grinding poverty. Boko Haram may not be over. From their 2004 “Yobe Taliban” days to the present 2009 encounter, the movement seemed to have increased membership. As long as Nigeria remains corrupt, its leadership insensitive, elections are rigged, freedom of speech and creed denied, poverty at its peak, the breeding of Boko Haram shall continue unabated. All that remains shall be our prayer that may Allah guide us and lead the Ummah out of this fitnah.
WE SAY AMIN!