Insecurity: Two Governors In Borno

Insecurity: Two Governors In Borno
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  • As ISWAP names new field commanders
  • Security agencies keep mum

SAMAILA ISHAKU

In what has become a recurring episode of the bizarre, the insecurity concerns in the North East is taking another disturbing dimension as the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP/Boko Haram has continued to dare the Federal Government.

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In a viral report doctored from a video that has gone viral released by the radical Islamic group recently, a sizable part of Borno State, including the Lake Chad area and the notorious Sambisa forest, have allegedly been carved out with a governor in place.  

One Abba Kaka was believed to have been named as the Governor of Tumbumma with its headquarters in Marte, Abadam, Kukawa, Magumeri and other areas of the Lake Chad region. Marte was a fierce battle field for the insurgents and the military.  

It was also alleged that the so-called government led by Kaka has already begun a regime of economic and financial activities, a move that would be seen by many security experts as disturbing for the nation.

The area is believed to have imposed some tax regimes where farmers and fishermen were to pay specific sums to legitimize their trade in the areas. Also the new government of ISWAP/BokoHaram sects has been collecting the sum of N5,000 from farmers and traders monthly, while fishermen allegedly pay the sum of N2,000 per bag of fish among other levies as reported in the wildly propaganda circulated video broadcast by the sect.

In addition to these reported increasing activities of the sect, it is believed to have appointed other commanders in charge of various operations. Those whose names featured included the following: Abubakar Dan-Bunduma who is named Operations Commander in the Timbuktu triangle, Baba Isah –Kaga in charge of taxation and trading activities and Ibn Abu Umar who is the Chief Prosecutor.

While the military or the government is yet to make pronouncements on the development, many are careful to give credence to the said inauguration of a governor as the insurgents have at times been agents of unreserved propaganda to claim it has gained prominence in the area.

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Since 2009, an Islamist insurgency based in northeastern Nigeria has killed tens of thousands of people and which triggered a massive humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

 Founded in the early 2000s as a Salafist Sunni Muslim Reform Movement, Boko Haram, which roughly translates to “Western culture is forbidden”, has evolved into one of the world’s deadliest Islamist armed groups. Since 2016, an Islamic State (IS)-affiliated splinter faction, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (IS-WAP, aka ISIS-WA or ISWAP) has surpassed Boko Haram in size and capacity, and now ranks among ISIS most active affiliates. Boko Haram and IS-WA have proven resilient despite military pressure. Regional governments have periodically reasserted control over contested territory and killed or detained scores of alleged militants, yet security gains often have been short-lived. Human rights groups also have documented extensive human rights violations by regional militaries. The United States has provided counterterrorism and other security assistance to governments in the region and obligated more than $2.3 billion for the Lake Chad Basin humanitarian response since 2015. As of mid-2020, nearly 13 million people required some form of aid in the Lake Chad Basin region, and over three million people were displaced, according to U.N. estimates.

However, recent reports celebrated the killing of one Abubakar Shekau believed to be the leader of Boko Haram  by allied group, ISWAP in a show of supremacy between leaders of both sects. Some held that Shekau would not succumb to any leader and would not play second fiddle, hence he was said to have been killed in the milieu.

However, quite critical is the funding of these groups that have been unrelenting over the years. Experts have often said that their influence and characteristic stubbornness is a function of its reliance on support and funding from within and outside the regions in which they are operating. Some of these come from illicit foreign donors, sympathisers from Nigeria and monies illegally seized from indiscriminate and deadly operations among others, according to reports.

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According to Nairametrics, an online media, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) announced in a newsletter that it raised the sum of N51.9 million through Zakat, a form of obligatory Islamic Charity from March 14 to May 12, 2021.

It quoted a report by Security consulting firm, Human Angle, from the translations of the newsletters from the group that broke away from Boko Haram in 2016, which were obtained by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an independent analyst firm on extremist violence.

“Muslims with significant wealth are mandated to give zakat every year based on the value of their savings and goods. In Nigeria, every Muslim whose savings is up to N1.9 million is expected to give zakat, which is 2.5 percent of however much they own”, he stressed.

However, the statistics from the humanitarian toll is alarming as the 12-year-old conflict in the North-east has caused, directly and indirectly, the deaths of some 350,000 people, the vast majority of which are children below the age of five, the United Nations stressed in a new report.

The death toll, given by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in a new study on the war and its effect on livelihoods published recently, is 10 times higher than previous estimates of about 35,000 based only on those killed in fighting in Nigeria since violence broke out.

The armed group Boko Haram launched an uprising in 2009 displacing more than two million from their homes and spawning one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions of people dependent on aid. The conflict shows little sign of ending.

Children younger than five; account for some 324,000 deaths, more than nine out of 10 of those killed, with 170 dying every day, the UNDP said.

Of nearly 350,000 deaths from the conflict, it estimated 314,000 to have resulted from indirect causes.

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Insecurity has led to declines in agricultural production and trade, reducing access to food and threatening the many households that depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the UN said.

Thousands of displaced people lack access to food, health facilities, shelter and clean water, with children more vulnerable, the report added.

“With another decade of conflict, that could grow to more than 1.1 million,” it said.

In the Lake Chad region, the UN said more than “3.2 million individuals are displaced, with 5.3 million food-insecure people at crisis and emergency levels”.

The situation is worse in northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, it said.

“In northeast Nigeria alone, 13.1 million people live in areas affected by conflict, out of whom 8.7 million are in need of immediate assistance,” the UN said.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is a retired general himself, is under pressure to return normalcy to the region.

But the security forces appear overwhelmed as they battle other security challenges, including herder-farmer clashes in the centre of the country, kidnapping and banditry in the northwest and separatist agitations in the South.

In the northeast, armed groups have kidnapped dozens of aid workers, of whom many have been killed.

The military said it has sustained the war and has almost decimated the group that has often been tagged a rag-tag army. More of its efforts in the weeks ahead would give firm credence to its resolve.

On the recent development in the North-east where the groups are reportedly naming their governor, the incumbent governor, Babagana Zulum has also not made any official remarks.

Aljazirahnews


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