Will the Federal Government defeat Bokoharam the fourth time? – By Caleb Onyeabor

The first major outing of the dreaded bokoharam sect was sometimes in 2009. Though under the leadership of Mohammed Yusuf, the group appeared more anomic than not. Virtually everyone underestimated the group. After all, they appeared like a ragged mob trying to cause a minor societal disturbance. It didn’t take the Nigerian Government long to respond, albeit a coercive clamp down. In a short while, the offensive was over. Mohammed Yusuf was arrested and was murdered extra-judicially. We were told it was over. Bokoharam had been defeated, most of us accepted the news with job. That was the first defeat.
Two years later, the defeated bokoharam reemerged. This time with a deadlier modus operandi and sophisticated organizational set up. For the first time since the civil war of 1967, national terror was unleashed on the country. The sect began to show its adoption of international terrorist practices and within a few months, rose to becoming one of the most deadliest terrorist groups in the world.
Bombs went off sporadically. In market places, in churches, in mosques, in schools, in government buildings, on road sides, in motor parks leaving many dead and many other injured. Videos started coming out. For the first time, a man introduced to us as Abubakar Shekau was at the helm of the sect affair.
Despite claims by the government that they are on top of the matter, the reality showed that they were not even close to the bottom as the sect raged on.
Many times we were told shekau had been killed only for the killed shekau to show up from the land of the dead to prove them wrong. The war raged on and it got so worse that the insurgents began to annex local government for themselves, hosting their flags and declaring the captured areas under a new Islamic government.
In all of this, troops were under equipped, poorly catered for and easy preys to the insurgents. There were rumors of moles in the army and in the government. It became an embarrassment both at the national and international level. At that time, the unforgettable incident in Chibok happened and many other followed suit.
Towards the 2015 general elections, knowing it had become unpopular, the then government sought for more time to win the confidence of the electorates, a 6 weeks offensive was launched and in a short time, like a magician who had found his magic wand, the local government captured were liberated, bokoharam was pushed back aggressively and all that was left was a final assault on Sambisa forest. The war looked almost over. We were told they had been defeated and this is the second time.
Pushing Bokoharam to sambisa forest did not save the then government as they lost the general elections. The emergence of the new government saw bokoharam resurge. The first few days and months of the new administration, the terrorists were on rampage again. They were back to action and terror once again reigned.
The new administration was able to put its house in order to organize what seem like a counter offensive. It worked. Bokoharam was pushed back once again to sambisa. Their operations were only limited to the north east and in remote villages in Borno in particular. That was when the minister of information came out to tell us that bokoharam has been defeated. This time technically. We aren’t sure whether the previous defeats were technical or electronic or mechanical. Maybe we do not really understand the meaning of defeat. Nevertheless, that was the third time we were told bokoharam had been defeated.
In these last months, it seems they are back again. The back to back execution of captured victims and the recent attacks on military bases and local governments areas including the cutting off of Maiduguri from national road network is a sign that they are back.
Will the Nigerian government defeat bokoharam the fourth time ?

President Buhari Made many promises to defeat the dreaded Bokoharam but…

First and foremost, the government has not been sincere in this war. Soldiers still complain of being poorly equipped and catered for. Moles are still everywhere in the army and in the government. The multinational joint task force set up has more or less been disbanded while this menace is still rearing its ugly head.
For us, this has become a complicated and complex war fought with so many faults. The rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant bokoharam members is a policy that doesn’t augur well for military strategy against terrorism. We may be seeing more bokoharam insurgents in the army. The army will fight itself. Its always dangerous when enemies are within.
The federal government has to be on their toes. Weapons, Welfare of soldiers and international collaboration is key. It won’t be a bad idea if we win this war the fourth time and it won’t be bad either if this fourth time is the final time.
Caleb the Political Animal writes from Enugu. Connect with him on twitter through this link twitter.com/caleb_onyeabor