Zone of death
The title of this article was inspired by a weekly television programme, “Sina’atul-maut”, which literally means “death making” aired on the popular Dubai-based and Saudi-owned news and current affairs Arabic satellite TV channel, Al-Arabiyya. The programme hosts intelligence analysts and experts on terrorism who address and analyze the brainwashing propaganda and combat strategies of various non-state combatants, militias and other terror gangs operating in different countries particularly in the Middles East.
The programme also highlights the “exploits” of such terror gangs in their rebellious activities against their respective governments, which underscores the formidable security challenges they pose to their countries, as it also, to some extent, exposes the failures of the notoriously ruthless (though not necessarily competent enough) military and intelligence services of those governments.
Anyway, though there is obviously no similar TV show focusing on the actual events taking place on the ground in the ongoing and indeed worsening armed conflicts between government and various armed groups, and also between various armed groups among themselves in Nigeria, the way and the rate at which such armed groups increasingly outmanoeuvre and effectively overpower the largely demoralized and apparently infiltrated Nigerian government’s troops and other security agents remain a mystery that perhaps only a few can explain.
Besides, unlike what is obtained elsewhere, the situation in Nigeria and the amount of mystery surrounding the crisis is admittedly inexplicable enough to warrant and justify the growing popularity of belief in conspiracy theories among people particularly in the north who rightly or wrongly suspect that the whole crisis is a result of an internal or external conspiracy plotted against the region and perhaps the country at large.
This suspicion, which has already grown into a conviction across the region, is further supported by the wave of indiscriminate killings particularly in the northeast where ordinary people are being cruelly killed, mercilessly maimed and displaced, while the lucky but horror-stricken, deprived and exhausted survivors are condemned to misery and endless agony, having lost their loved ones, relatives, properties and meagre livelihoods. This gruesome and painful reality shows how the region is being deliberately turned into a misery processing and indeed death making zone.
Yet, what makes Nigeria’s death making zone particularly worse is that, in other countries there is clarity about the individual and collective identities of all the parties involved, their motives and motivations, as well as their objectives, regardless of their legitimacy and justification. Whereas in Nigeria, apart from Boko Haram terrorists who, on the Internet some weeks ago, showing how several heavily armed Boko Haram terrorists driving in a convoy of vehicles, invading Giwa Barracks in Borno and freeing hundreds of detainees without any resistance from the army who had apparently taken to their heels, was a clear indication of the extent of challenge they pose to the Nigerian state and its largely unmotivated hence downhearted troops and security agents.
Furthermore, it also explains the ease with which they massacre innocent and defenceless civilians e.g. the massacre of schools boys in Buni Yadi, Yobe State less than two months ago, and the mass abduction, in Chibok, Borno State, of more than two hundred female students from their school who, except the less than fifty who have so far escaped from captivity, still remain mysteriously missing.
Anyway, while similar situations in other countries are handled with the amount of seriousness necessarily required to tackle it, in Nigeria, the process (if any) is overshadowed by sheer lack of political will to confront it, and also cluelessness about what exactly needed to be done, on the government’s side,