New Telegraph

Borno Bomb Blast: Another Wake-up Call

The horrifying, blood-letting spectacle of the recent series of attacks carried out by suicide bombers; which included according to reports a female bomber, in Gwazo town, Bornu State, that has sent 32 hapless citizens to their early graves and 42 others currently battling with different degrees of injuries is most despicable and worrisome.

Indeed, it should trigger the burning question of how to find lasting solutions to the recurring spate of insecurity, especially in the North East geopolitical zone of the country. According to Amnesty International: “These deplorable attacks that took place at a time people were mourning demonstrate complete disregard for human life.”

Going further to describe the tragedy as “reprehensible acts of violence, cruel and heartless” it has called for an end to assaults on civilians, especially right there in Borno State.

Though President Bola Tinubu has out rightly decried the mayhem, describing it as “desperate act of terror” and promising the perpetrators “certain encounter with justice”, solutions would entail going far beyond mere rhetoric.

Nigerians have been serially regaled with similar vacuous verbal vituperation from past presidents since 2002. In spite of the president’s spokesperson describing the recent bombing as “an isolated episode” the government should be reminded that there have been similar suicide bombing, rearing its ugly head in Borno State over the past four months.

And though the president has vowed not to allow “the nation to dither into an era of fears, tears, sorrows and blood”, what the Vice President, Kashim Shettima saw when he paid a recent visit to the hospital where the victims of the bomb blast were being treated was exactly that!

As reported, most of the 42 victims were agonising over abdominal ruptures, limb and skull fractures that must have kept them asking the all-important questions about the government’s statutory functions; of guaranteeing the security of lives and property.

That is in addition to providing for their meaningful welfare as expressly enshrined in Sections 14 Sub-section (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The questions have become more pertinent because over 400,000 innocent lives have been wantonly wasted, while some two million people have been displaced from their homes by the Boko Haram Islamic terrorists, over the past 15 haunting years.

Notably, their dastardly acts shook the global stage over a decade ago in April 2014 when 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped at Chibok in Borno State. Some three months later the first female bomber created chaos and decapitated more lives.

That was in June 2014. Though the first male bomber executed the Boko Haram terrorists’ plan back in 2011 researches indicated that so far over half of the suicide bombers in Borno State are of the female gender! Some of them are suspected to be part of the kidnapped Chibok girls.

Their mode of dressing with the head-to-toe hijab assists them to conceal the bombs and explosives. This calls for great concern, and urgent, proactive measures to

The next step of course, is to stop the obnoxious amnesty programme for the so called repentant terrorists. It has not worked

quickly checkmate their series of mind-boggling atrocities. With specific regards to the embattled Gwazo town, it should be noted that it was seized by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014.

Despite the military taking it back, a year later in 2015 the group has kept up its series of attacks and kidnapping spree on the town and its environs ever since. It would be recalled that in November, 2023 terrorists killed 20 innocent people returning from a funeral ceremony in the neighbouring Yobe State.

And a day later they killed 17 farmers in Gurokayeya village for refusing to pay the so-called ‘harvest tax’. But why are they still succeeding? According to Kabiru Adamu, a renowned security analyst of Beacon Consulting, the root causes of the long winding insecurity incubus are yet to be squarely addressed with sincerity of purpose.

That is on the part of the government. In addition, mass poverty of the people has made it easier for the terrorists to recruit new members. Apart from the monster of corruption making the Boko Haram terrorism some sort of rocket science to unravel, lack of adequate weaponry on the part of the Nigerian military to meet up with that of the well-sponsored Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists, as well as acts sabotage are responsible for the long years of its wasting of priceless lives and property.

What then are the best ways forward out of the terrifying torment visited upon innocent citizens by the Boko Haram insurgents and other non state actors? One of course, is the bold and historic step taken by President Tinubu to uncover and make public the identities of the 15 entities, nine individuals and six Bureau de Change operators/firms involved in sponsoring the evil act.

That was in March 2024. Nigerians are therefore, waiting with baited breath for him to muster the political will to bring them to speedy justice. The next step of course, is to stop the obnoxious amnesty programme for the so called repentant terrorists. It has not worked.

Another important measure is the adoption of a holistic approach to involve the traditional rulers, leaders of youth groups, the police, the military and financial institutions to cut off the terrorists’ easy access to funds and weapons. Also needed are empowerment programmes for the youth and women so that they no longer fall as easy prey to the enticing overtures, including funds made available by the terrorists.

The borders with the neighbouring countries such as Republic of Niger and Chad should be closely monitored. There should be sustained enlightenment of the people to reduce mass gatherings during festivities and periods of mourning. Equally important is the deployment of hi-tech security equipment which can detect all manner of explosives.

It has become an imperative. While efforts must be made to keep checking out on the disbursement and expenditure of all funds made available for the purchase of arms and ammunition, we all should support President Tinubu to step on the biggest toes responsible for sponsorship until Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are brought to their begging knees.

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