HISTORY, according to Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, “is an account of past events and developments; a methodical account of past origin and progress of a nation.” The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary also defines history as “all the events that happened in the past; a turning point in human history.” From all these definitions, it is very clear that the study of history is very important for the individual and the nation because it will help both the individual and the nation to learn from the experiences and the mistakes of others. Hence, the axiom that those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat the mistakes that others made. That seems to be our problem in Nigeria. We play down the importance of history and that is why the country fails to learn from the experiences and mistakes which other countries made. For instance, history has recorded that countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas encountered insurgencies or terrorisms at various stages of their development. What did they do rightly or wrongly in fighting such security challenges.
Contrary to the popular belief in some quarters in Nigeria, insurgency or terrorism is not new in the world but their dimensions keep on changing as a result of development in science and technology. As it was in those days, intelligence gathering still plays a major role in fighting wars. But have we learnt from other countries the modern ways of intelligence gathering? Are we still relying on outdated equipment and method? If we are in tune with modern intelligence gathering, why is it not possible to pre-empt Boko Haram attacks on targets? As a result of our intelligence gathering failure, the Islamic sect has embarked on an- all- out war against the country. It seems to be having it its way and has succeeded in turning Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States into its killing field where thousands of innocent souls have been killed in cold blood. It is now expanding the frontier of its killing field. On Monday, April 14, the sect struck at the popular Nyanya Motor park in Abuja, with devastating effect. Nyanya Motor park is about five kilometers to Aso Rock Presidential Villa. In the attack, more than 100 people were killed while hundreds of others were injured. A few hours later, it struck in Borno State, where about 100 female students of a secondary school, who were writing their West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, were abducted. From all indications, Boko Haram has overreached its nuisance value and it is time for the federal government to go beyond the usual condemnation of attacks and decisively move to end the insurgency. (See our cover story this week jointly written by Olu Ojewale, general editor, and Vincent Nzemeke, our correspondent in Abuja bureau office, who arrived at the scene five minutes after the attack. It is entitled “Boko Haram’s All-Out War“.
As reflected in their story, there is an urgent need for the federal government to end the insurgency now. It can do this in various ways. First, it must identify the sources of the sect’s funding and arms supply in order to block them. Second, the government must identify Boko Haram’s backers and deal with them without minding whose ox is gored. Third, it must begin a massive public security awareness campaign to enlighten Nigerians on the need to be security conscious. Fourth, it must sink its pride and accept whatever assistance other friendly countries want to offer to bring an immediate end to the insurgency. It is now time to stop the blame game and seek the co-operation of everybody to end the nightmare once and for all. Happy Easter celebration.
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— Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT