Boko Haram goes to foreign school

THUMBAY Hospital is a medical facility with state-of-the-art equipment in the United Arab Emirates and a medical tourist destination. The number of Nigerians who patronise the hospital encouraged it to experiment with bringing its care to Nigeria and make it local.

About two years ago, it looked for an hospital in Abuja to partner with as a step towards building a facility here. The last time I spoke with some of its personnel, the Nigerian experience is becoming nightmarish.

The other important observation at Thumbay is that its medical school has a lot of Nigerian boys and girls who are mostly from the North. I was delighted to see that and my inquiry showed they were sponsored mostly by state governments from the North and only a few by their parents. It reminds of the healthy competition in the regions in the days of our proper federalism when as the West was banishing ignorance. The East was flooding foreign institutions with scholars. It was a glorious moment before we embarked on this silly experiment of running Nigeria from the centre and creating an “impossible country” now tottering to the edge of the precipice.

And the latest manifestation of the impossibility is the madness in nation ruining that some northern irredentists have come up with in the legislature to further the “repentant” Boko Haram project which the executive started by recycling Boko Haram terrorists into the system.

The Association of Widows of Nigerian Armed Forces took to protests when they could no longer bear the wickedness of releasing these terrorists into the system even as the body bags of their spouses keep arriving now and then.

National Vice-President of the Association, Mrs Edith Opesanmi, who spoke in Abuja recently, faulted the decision of the Federal Government in releasing the so-called repentant criminals who are responsible for the death of so many gallant officers and soldiers as well as helpless innocent Nigerians.

She said that the terrorists were not better than other criminals like armed robbers and kidnappers who are being made to pay for their crimes, Opesanmi who is the widow of the late Col. Johnson Opesanmi, said terrorists should not be given preferential treatment. “They (terrorists) should face justice. You know they are involved in the killing and maiming of soldiers. So, whenever they are arrested, they should be punished like any other criminal.

“We widows feel bad about it. Our husbands go to fight these terrorists and keep dying. The number of widows is increasing daily. Some of these widows are young ladies.”

Admitting that the Federal Government may be trying to replicate the amnesty programme of the Niger Delta militants, she said both situations were not the same noting that, after all, the amnesty did not stop militancy.

The widows’ protest did not impress northern hegemonists like Senator Gaidam who has now presented a bill before the Senate to create an agency for repentant Boko Haram to replicate the Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta Militants who were rupturing pipelines but not known for wasting human lives. Even at that, some of us were on record to have opposed that project as it was not going to solve the problem in the region. And we have been proved right.

The highly unimaginative and insensitive northern politicians have now gone to the peak of banality by packaging the people whose creed is “western civilisation is sin” as the new scholars from the North that Nigeria should sponsor abroad for education as against the girls and boys northern states are taking to Thumbay to study medicine.

The two scenarios show clearly that some northern elite know what is good for the region but they have made up their minds that Nigeria must not do good. And they will not allow the constituent units to function for good in autonomy!

The proposed bill in the work provides in Section 5 that:

“The agency shall implement programmes geared towards the rehabilitation of beneficiaries, engage the services of offshore and Nigerian institutions in the pursuit of the educational needs of ex-agitators,”

Funds for this obnoxious policy of rehabilitation of the repentant terrorists will include-donations, grants, annual subventions from the government and counterpart funding from the six North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe.

More so, the proposed law provides that the chairman of the board of the agency will be appointed by the president, subject to the confirmation of the senate.

It said the the governing council of the agency will have one representative from each of the North-East states, one representative each of the stakeholders, three representatives of the impacted communities, one person from the army, air force, navy, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps — all of whom must not be below the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The council will also have one representative each from the federal ministries of humanitarian affairs, finance, environment, petroleum resources, North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and the local content board.

Let us not forget that in terms of principles Muhammad Yusuf stated, “the western education system conflicts with Islamic education”. In terms of the group’s credo they hold that “democracy totally conflicts with Islam” (Murtada, 2012, p. 16), quoting the hadeeth of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri. Ahmad Murtada refers to Muhammad Yusuf’s Hadhihi “Aqeedatuna” (pp. 82-99) to ascertain the prohibition against Western education.

They prohibit studying in the educational system from primary through to university level for a number of reasons: (a) missionaries and colonialists established these schools as a means to serve their missionary interests among Muslims in Nigeria. They argue that the Islamic system of education was widespread in our country before the missionaries arrived and it was still fully functioning until the colonialists took over the entire country. Thus, their system took over all aspects of life, important the educational system, which results in a Muslim bit by bit becoming a disbeliever; (b) mixing between the genders [Ikhtilat] and Tabarruj [uncovering and wearing impermissible revealing attire], while Allah says: ‘And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance.’ {al-Ahzab (33): 33}; (c) the study of subjects, ideas and theories which conflict with the religion such as Darwin’s theory of evolution which conflicts with Allah’s saying: ‘Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah, over all things, is competent.”’ {ar-Rum (29): 20} (pp. 17-18)

If this Bill becomes law, it should be the defining moment for all those who still naively think that a country can emerge from the current contraption. An arrangement that believes terrorists are its best exports to the rest of the world as scholars (read bombers) can definitely not be part of the modern world.

This is nothing but a spiteful rendition of “we” and “them” politics that cares no hoot about the health of the country. It’s a sad reminder of “you can’t be giving amnesty to Niger Delta boys and be killing northern Boko Haram boys”. If we cannot agree to punish terrorists because of geography, what can we ever for the sake of history have consensus on as bad?

I have come to the conclusion that “one Nigeria” is a mirage, a deception and a death sentence in nation-building. Only the naive and simpleton is still persuaded by such folly. Do we still have such in large number? A philosopher once said “I freed a thousand slaves and could have freed ten thousand more only if they knew they were slaves “

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