Nigeria’s bid to win the fight against Boko Haram may take longer than expected except
the Federal Government identifies the sect’s foreign backers and severe such links.
This was one of the recipes for fighting insurgency given by Turkish journalist and interfaith dialogue expert during a chat with a cross-section of journalists in Lagos. Kerim Balci said the importance of international cooperation cannot be undermined as terrorists groups such as Boko Haram rely on external financial and material support to execute their operations. “There is no single terrorist organization that don’t have foreign backing…financial, logistic support as well as military support,” he said.
Balci drew attention to the experience of Turkey during the era of militancy by the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK -Kurdistan Workers Party) and how some Western interests financed the group’s activities. According to him, PKK capitulated and agreed to peace talks only after its European backers decided to stop sponsoring it, following mounting pressure from Turkey. Balci said Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a greater role to play than the Ministry of Defence.
He said military operations targeted at Boko Haram might not force the group to accepting a ceasefire easily as long as they continue to receive training, equipments and financial assistance from foreign sources. Rather, Boko Haram will continue to change its operational tactics.
“Nigeria’s intelligence has to work to identify their foreign supporters. The foreign ministry has to work hard to cut their foreign links. It is not the defence ministry that is actually important,” he said.
An idol mind is devil’s workshop according to an adage. Balci noted that terrorist groups exploit the poverty and illiteracy of the society to recruit jobless youths through financial and material inducement.
Balci also said that the government should cut all links between Boko Haram members and the local residents. This, he said could be achieved through the establishment of schools, vocational centers and other socio-economic activities that keep the people, particularly the youths employed or busy, to the extent that they may not be easily cajoled by members of the sect into either joining or assisting them.
Balci do not agree that multiculturalism contributes to socio-political problems and therefore should not be an impediment to Nigeria’s development and growth. “I don’t agree that heterogeneity or multiculturalism is a threat to the development, growth, unity of Nigeria.”
Curiously, Balci said, Nigeria should be committed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This is because terrorism has hit the country. “Every Islamic terrorist group uses the Israeli-Palestinian crisis to recruit followers. It has been scientifically proved that if the Israeli-Palestinian struggle can be solved, every terrorist group will be wiped out,” he stressed.
By EMMA EMEOZOR