The senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, on Sunday identified 13 factors responsible for the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially in North-East Nigeria.
Speaking when he received a delegation of Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, MSSN, in his Kaduna office, Mr. Sani described Boko Haram as a “demonic force” and a serious threat to the religion of Islam, Nigeria and humanity.
He said there was no better time than now for the MSSN to play a key role in addressing issues that bedevil the people, the region and the country.
“Your relevance today is very much needed in terms of finding solutions to the challenges of our era and challenge of our generation.
“I have been able to identify 13 factors that have seriously contributed to pervasive insecurity and the wave of violence and bloodshed ignited and sustained by insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.
“We have reached a point in the North where we are not safe in the mosque, not safe in office, not safe in church and in any public gathering,” he said.
Enumerating the factors, Mr Sani identified manipulation of religion as first major factor.
“The first and very strong factor has to do with manipulation of religion. There is no doubt those who took up the part of extremism sow its seed from manipulating and distorting religious teachings.
“The second is the disconnect between government and the governed. The growing gap between the leader and the led has created a vacuum, and has made it possible for violent extremists to take over that vacuum and propagate their murderous ideology.
“The third factor is the prevalence of social and economic injustices. What you refuse to invest in social security, you must spend on national security.
“The fourth factor is the global terror epidemic – terror contagion. Terrorism in Yemen, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Africa spreads its cancerous effect destroying lives and property.
“The fifth factor is the collapse of public education. Normal schools that should have provided meaningful education to our children have collapsed, and as such people who cannot find good place to learn, they will go and learn from bad places.
“Then we have the massive unemployment as the sixth factor. Many of our young people that ought to live decent and responsible life are roaming about in the street. People like these are vulnerable and represent one of the most potent threats to our collective existence, our unity, our peace and our democracy.
“As the seventh factor, we have the prolification of arms and unguarded boarders. It has become easy for arms to move around our country, so accessible that our boarders are porous and as such extremists find it easier to pick up guns and ammunition to fight.
“The eighth factor is the under-development of the North by previous administrations. It is very clear that governments in the past have not used the opportunity of power to educate the region, to develop the region, to lift our people out of poverty. So, there was irresponsibility in governance at that time.
Continuing, Mr. Sani also identified human rights abuse and extra-judicial killing as another important factor.
“[The ninth factor is] Human right abuses and extra-judicial killings. This is another very important factor. If you violate the fundamental rights of your citizens, all you are encouraging is act of lawlessness because lawlessness begets lawlessness. The root cause of this insurgency was triggered by the Killing of a leader out of the confines of the law and since then, we never knew peace. This is an issue.
“Economic collapse of the North is the tenth. Most of our industries have closed down. Our economy is as arid as our weather. Most of our states depend on oil revenues to pay salaries and execute capital project. We have neglected agriculture, we refuse to explore solid minerals, we refuse to use our power, which is the wealth of people we have to advance our region.
“[As eleventh factor] we can also say that capitalism breeds terrorism. Where we have an institutionalized master-servant relationship, where you have a system that is unjust, unfair and unconcerned about the state of the poor, then you have created a ground for people to take desperate measures to survive.
Mr. Sani identified lack of unity and ethnic crisis in the North as the twelfth factor.
“Disunity in the North occasioned by intra-fighting between ethnic groups and believes have created a vacuum. So, for us to win a war that has threatened our collective existence, unity is inevitable.
As the thirteenth factor, the senator said: “And then I can say the distortion of religious realities and facts is the seed of terrorism. That is where the seed is. If you are a preacher and you distort the teachings of religion and bring something that is not supposed to be there, you are creating a monster.
“Therefore, for us to win the war against insurgency, we must break the wall of fear. Our religious clerics should choose the option of either engaging the insurgents or confronting them. The battle against insurgency is the battle for the soul of Islam, for the soul of the North and for the soul of Nigeria.
“We must in every respect take these battle as our collective battle,” he said.
He said the MSSN had a role to play by being Muslims and by being students to speak to the new generation.
Earlier, the president of MSSN, Kaduna State Area Unit, Salihu Bindawa, lamented the banning of Hijab in public places and in schools.
“Muslims are not terrorists. We want to use this avenue to appeal to you to take our case to the Senate,” he said.