Nigeria must brace itself for more Boko Haram terrorist attacks
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Nigeria is multi-ethnic and multi-religious and you have many different religious denominations within Christianity and Islam, which are the two dominant religious groups in this county. However, from a religious point of view then Boko Haram and other radical Islamist groups are the biggest threat to religious pluralism. Therefore, the recent terrorist attacks by Islamists on Christmas Day aren’t a surprise because Boko Haram is intent on spreading Islamic jihad in Nigeria.
Christians and the majority Muslim community which opposes Boko Haram all fear the rise of this Islamic terrorist organization. The armed forces and local government officials in areas where Boko Haram are based also fear the growing rise of this militant terrorist movement.
In 2009 three Christian pastors were captured by Boko Haram and Sabo Yukubu, Sylvester Akpan, and George Orji were tortured by their Islamist captors. Boko Haram gave them the choice of life or death in this world because if all three Christian pastors converted to Islam, then they would be spared. However, these three brave Christian martyrs remained firm to their faith and because of this they were killed brutally.
The spirit of Sabo Yukubu, Sylvester Akpan, and George Orji, couldn’t be crushed and in death these individuals have shown the path ahead for the people of Nigeria, irrespective of ethnicity or religion. This applies to the spirit of “love” and not the dark forces of Boko Haram who kill innocent Christians and Muslims who refuse to bow down to their brutal ideology.
Therefore, the Christmas Day terrorist attacks which took place in Nigeria is a stern warning to the government of this country that this dangerous ideology is a threat to national security. In Nigeria the attacks by Boko Haram are clearly religious but often you have inter-religious killings in this nation which have ethnic overtones and the same applies to clashes over power concentration. Given this, any religious organization which threatens others is a major cause of concern for central forces because this could re-ignite religious clashes in other parts of Nigeria.
It is abundantly clear that Boko Haram is intent on spreading their hatred therefore it is essential that rational voices are heard in both the Christian and Muslim community. Therefore, moderate religious leaders on all sides need to work together because Boko Haram is a threat to all people who support a united Nigeria.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria commented that “Nigerians must stand as one to condemn them.” Clearly the leader of Nigeria is correct because if Boko Haram fails to ignite inter-communal violence then their power base will be reduced. Also, the central government needs to focus on internal issues related to past corruption and to re-invigorate Nigeria because the potential of this nation is enormous.
In areas where Boko Haram is strong it is clear that the military solution by itself will not work. Therefore, counter-terrorist measures need to be implemented and central power bases need to work more closely with regional leaders who support religious pluralism and a united Nigeria. If this doesn’t happen, then Boko Haram will exploit this political vacuum.
Since 2002 when Boko Haram was founded the dark forces of this Islamist organization is clear for all to see. This applies to massacres, criminality, religious hatred towards’ Christians, attacks against moderate Muslim leaders, fighting the military of Nigeria, and installing fear into the local population where they are strong.
Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Minister, commented that “Even on Christmas Day, the world is not spared from cowardice and the fear of terrorism.” William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary, stated that “These are cowardly attacks on families gathered in peace and prayer to celebrate a day which symbolises harmony and goodwill towards others. I offer my condolences to the bereaved and injured.”
St Theresa’s Church in Madalla, close to Abuja, was the scene of the most barbaric attack on Christmas Day. The death toll from this terrorist attack is currently 35 but it could increase because more than 50 people are injured.
Other terrorist attacks occurred on the same day in northern Nigeria. Therefore, the government of Nigeria needs to implement counter-terrorist measures to tackle this dangerous Islamist organization. Given this, it is essential that moderate religious leaders work together in the Christian and Muslim community in order to prevent more people from joining Boko Haram. Also, Nigeria needs national unity and all citizens who are proud to be Nigerian must work together in order to prevent the dark forces of Islamic terrorism and ethnic chauvinism from tearing this country apart.