NewsWest AfricaPolitical faces behind terror and its impact on Nigeria


Posted on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 10:34

Political faces behind terror and its impact on Nigeria

By Konye Obaji Ori and Nicholas Norbrook

Powerful Nigerian politicians, including former governor of Borno state, Alhaji Ali Sheriff, former Ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe, Sadu Pindar and current Senator Ali Ndume have been indicted as sponsors of the killings of hundreds of people and the bombings of several establishments - most notably the suicide bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria's capital on August 26. 

Political elites are believed to have armed youths to keep hold of the reins of power in north-east Nigeria/Photo/Reuters

According to SSS intelligence, regional power, political vendetta and oil money were the primary motives behind the actions of the indicted politicians.

The arrest of Boko Haram spokesperson, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga revealed a "political thug", according to the SSS, who received orders from northern political elites under the code name: al-Zawahiri, derived from al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Of the men indicted, the involvement of Senator Ndume of Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) was most alarming because he was part of the committee commissioned to broker peace with Boko Haram.

The arrests of the suspected sponsors of the extremist group forced the senate, into a hasty closed-door meeting last Tuesday.

The senate has since discussed the security situation of the nation, but are reluctant to speak on their findings. PDP spokesman, Rufai Ahmed Alkali, has also refused to comment thus far.

"It's still an allegation and investigations are going on. We are encouraging the security agencies to continue with their investigation," Speaker of the House Abaribe told reporters.

Diplomats and security sources say the terror group has since disintegrated into three factions, with one wing focused on further violence while maintaining contact with terrorist groups in North Africa and Somalia.

The exposure of the sponsors of Boko Haram puts the nation's north-south political power dynamic into play once more.

Khalifa Dikwa, a professor at the University of Maiduguri, says political elites armed youths to keep hold of the reins of power in north-east Nigeria.

Some speculate that Boko Haram began as a creation of politically and criminally minded former military leaders in northern Nigeria.

While one of the factions of Boko Haram wants the strict implementation of Sharia law across the nation, other factions are focused on local issues.

But, the group's main demand, in a nation that is split into a Muslim north and a Christian south, is largely not practical. 

Experts warn that Boko factional splits will not make negotiations any easier.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 11:02

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