Bombs blasting at every corner. Many of them suicidal. Territories are lost. Children kidnapped. Towns ransacked. How did we get here? Some 10 years ago, if anyone had told me that suicide bombing would come to Nigeria, I would have laughed at such person. We usually heard of such occurrences in the Middle East.
We used to joke back then that a Nigerian loves his life to anticipate taking it, no matter the situation.
So what changed?
In the early 2000s, in Borno state, a certain Muhammad Yusuff came with an ideology that vilified western education. Claimed it was antithetical to Islamic teachings. Hence, the need to ban its spread.
Now, the story begins.
Erstwhile students of western education started dumping school, graduates began burning heir certificates. It was a clampdown on western education. Isn’t it absurd how hitherto disciples of Boko would suddenly see it as haram? Only one reason appeals to me here- brainwash. See ehn, my greatest fear isn’t the loss of my life or limbs; heck, Stevie Wonder is a wonder on the piano & Pistorious wowed us in the London Olympics with an Oscar worthy performance. It’s the loss of my intellect that bothers me more. Irrational acts seem rational for the victim. Same brainwashing that made Jonestown church members commit suicide in the 1978.
Back home, even though the government hasn’t shown enough willpower to combat the scourge, the war has to be fought on two fronts- physical and mental. I suppose the latter to be more vital because these savages usually misconstrue the teachings of Islam to suit their aim. It is now left for true scholars of the religion to give proper interpretations of the deen. Down South here, scholars are found wanting in this regard. They have not done enough to give proper interpretation of what the Quran teaches especially on knotty issues. Friday sermons still remain as they were pre-Boko Haram. Some just touch the issue on the surface. They need to make the war an intellectual one in order to defeat the ideology while the soldiers engage the terrorists on the battlefield. With the internet, an innocent mind is open to any interpretation, right or not. Or why do you think some people leave some European countries to join ISIS? The Boston bombers come to mind here, especially the younger of the two.
This is not to undermine the efforts and sacrifice of some scholars up north who continue to speak against the evils of Boko Haram. May Allah grant them victory in this war against terrorism.
Here is my widow’s mite!