Boko Haram Declares a Cease Fire: Really?

tags : Boko Haram, Nigeria, Nigerian Christians

Boko Haram (Jamaatul Ahjlil Sunna lidawati wal Jihad) recently announced a cease fire in its violent campaign in Nigeria. Since 2009, Boko Haram has created a fountain of blood, bullets and bombs, claiming over 1,000 deaths. Although the announcement may have momentarily doused tense nerves, it has not translated into a national jubilation. The reasons are legion.

There have been no prosecutions of the previous killings by the sect; no one has gone to jail yet. Also Boko Haram is a ubiquitous organisation, not like the hierarchical al-Qaeda. How does one fight or engage a faceless organisation? The leader of the sect admitted to various factions within the group and this diminishes the validity of the truce. Besides, on the day of the declaration, eight people were slaughtered in Gajiganna town in Magumeri in the local government area of Borno State, about 45 kilometres from Maiduguri. In a situation like this, the cease fire raises more questions.  

Expectantly the Nigerian government is not so enthusiastic:

But the Federal Government said it would properly study the conditions (if any) for the ceasefire before a decision and pronouncement could be made on it. A top Presidency official, who pleaded anonymity, said, “From our experience, the sect is not reliable and their words cannot be taken at face value. All facets of governmental apparatus would be consulted before a final decision would be taken on the matter. We are not in a hurry to jump at their offer”.

Nigeria’s population size is famed to be around 162 million. A Pew Research survey of 2010 gives a roughly equal mix of both Christians (46%) and Muslims (52%) while African Traditional Religions tag behind with a mere 1% (Pew Research Centre, 2010). However, this number remains contentious as the national census does not have categories that classify religion.

The sect’s attacks on Christians – among others – have already created an erroneous impression that this is a religious pogrom. This monochromatic simplification has gained grounds at home and has been amplified abroad by the foreign media. The fault line between Christians and Muslims is significant in Nigeria. As I have argued elsewhere in MercatorNet, the culture of impunity in murky Nigerian politics makes it difficult to attain retributive justice. And with years of oppression, the single tale of a Christian-Muslim war is easy to ascribe to. With this scenario, it will take more than a mere announcement to erase the end of the so-called butchery of Nigerian Christians.   

The recent assassination attempt on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, is an incident that destroys this stereotype. Although Boko Haram did not claim responsibility for the attack, the fact that a much revered and highly adored Islamic monarch could be attacked sent shivers down the nation’s spine.

Ross Alabo-George thinks that this may be a reflection of the mass illiteracy and poverty that has afflicted Northern Nigeria. “The attack on the emir is quite unfortunate, but the attack that happens to the North everyday is the millions of Northern children living in poverty and illiteracy. In this generation driven by information and information technology, only education and proper mentorship can build children with smart minds, minds that can reason”.

Also another fact is the conditions that the Boko Haram group may give for their unilateral withdrawal of war on Nigeria. It is assumed that they will ask for amnesty from the Nigerian government, which will include immunity from judicial prosecution. This, in my view, might be a hard sell to Nigerians, especially families of victims of their attack.

As events unfold, one thing is certain; this apparent road to peace is still strewn with debris. The muted breath of Nigerians is not because they do not love peace or the serenity that comes with security. Unless some of the issues outlined before are addressed, it might be difficult to jump into wild jubilations. At least not, not yet!

Nwachukwu Egbunike is a writerblogger and publisher in Ibadan, Nigeria.

This article is published by Nwachukwu Egbunike and MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus

Search Harambee

 Subscribe to Harambee
rss RSS feed of posts

 From MercatorNet's home page

Reflections on an unforgiving day
18 Jul 2014
What links the twin tragedies of a downed plane over the Ukraine and Israel's invasion of Gaza?

Five steps Malaysia Airlines must take after its second disaster in four months
18 Jul 2014
Inaction could sink the company.

Why we all deserve free, yummy dark chocolate
18 Jul 2014
If Obamacare offers free contraceptives, why not free chocolate? It has health benefits, too.

Mothers in shackles
16 Jul 2014
It’s not only in Sudanese prisons that women give birth chained.

Celebrity swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out
15 Jul 2014
In a tell-all interview, one of Australia's most famous athletes admits that he is gay. Is he?

Chinua Achebe, African Union, Organization of African Unity, security, poverty, development, barack obama family, Conclave 2013, large families, empathy, diversity, ethnicity, kenyan tribe, malaria, tragedy, New York Times, madonna, malawi, aid, corruption, economics, The Economist, demography, malaria, insecticide, resistance, MINT, BRIC, Nigeria, economic growth, slum, makoko, infrastructure, Africa, Traditional kings, childbirth, maternal health, lists, history, reproductive health, faith, African women legacy, true feminism, africa cult of ancestors, africa hopeful, kenya, terror, islam, Al-Shabaab, westgate, same-sex marriage, african values, tech hubs, Communicating Africa, images of africa, health policy, Pope Benedict retirement, innovation, poverty and technology, Harambee awards, suffering, best of, china, africa, silicon valley, kenya, africa, internet jobs, Things fall apart, safe abortion, safe motherhood, saaf, w.i.e.r.d, heroes, Nigeria, books, Boko Haram, dreams from my father, papabile, history of africa, Harambee, stereotypes, African writers series, hunger, agriculture, food security, sistine chapel, Cardinal Turkson, desertification, maasai, masai, brand, close-knit family, Kenya, china trade, chinese president xi, partnerships, foreign direct investment, china, united states, african community life, demographic winter, africa story, funerals, homosexuality, good news, information technology, e-book, affordable education, kenya, africa, reconciliation, kenyatta, aid, gleneagles, tony blair, bono, bob geldof, obituaries, mail, al qaeda, french military, intervention, neo-colonialism, African Pope, media bias, art, maternal mortality, Ghana, fertility, Ihub, media, Coltan, PlayStation, Natural Resources, #bringbackourgirls, Harambee USA, Obama Africa visit, Rwanda, MercatorNet, Pope Benedict XVI, Uzoamaka Maduka, the american reader, literary culture, life, down syndrome, movie, nollywood, east africa community, kenya, innovation, Africa institutions, African children, sos children, stories, rebasing, nigeria, economic growth, Nelson Mandela, forgiveness, reconciliation, power, leadership, democracy, robert mugabe, Nigerian Christians,
Follow MercatorNet
Sections and Blogs
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2
5 George Street
North Strathfield NSW 2137

+61 2 8005 8605
skype: mercatornet
© New Media Foundation | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston