The spate of activities by insurgents in the north of Nigeria hit a new level this week as reports of insurgents burning down telecom masts keep coming in. At last count, Associated Press reports at least 30 towers destroyed across several northern states, including Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Kano and Gombe.
The Islamist sect known as Boko Haram threatened mobile phone companies six months ago for cooperating with the government to flush out its members. This group has constantly killed people and destroyed property in a bid to compel an implementation of strict Shariah law across the entire country. A spokesperson for the group has been quoted as saying, “We are attacking GSM companies because they have helped security agencies to arrest and kill many of our members, and we will continue with our attacks on them until they stop“.
There it is. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for this operation. It looks clear that the goal at this point is to make the country ungovernable and their operatives untraceable via telecoms channels. Anyone familiar with military tactics knows that taking out enemy communication lines is key in a military campaign. Whoever was behind this massive operation should be treated as having declared war on the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the government has been speaking of dialogue with insurgents. In my opinion, dialogue and negotiation should not be in the picture here. This massive destruction of years of investments should be dealt with decisively and clinically. The wholesale slaughter of people that has been going on for years needs to be brought to an end.
Whatever the socio-economic circumstances behind Boko Haram’s activities, their actions cannot be allowed to go on. This has to be dealt with decisively. The earlier that Boko Haram is dealt with as a terrorist organisation, the better. These guys are not acting in the interest of the people of Nigeria. Simple.
What would happen should the affected telecoms operators decide to abandon the hot areas in the north? Or God forbid, a decision to withdraw services and investments from Nigeria? A total breakdown. It would be back to the Jurassic era for us. Years of progress would simply vanish overnight. Heaven forbid. We forbid.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.