Governor Babangida Aliyu
By Sunday Okobi
Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has given an insight into the crisis afflicting the northern part of the country, especially the unrelenting security threat by Boko Haram, suggesting a possible way out.
In a special interview published in London in the January 2012 edition of Africa Today magazine issued by the publisher, Mr. Kayode Soyinka, Aliyu, who is also chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), identified injustice, youth unemployment, breakdown of the family system, neglect of the traditional institution, poor planning, and the brainwashing of impressionable youths by mischievous Islamic clerics as some of the factors militating against the region.
He said: “You used to beg people to go to school, now you have gotten some that have gone to school and you have not been able to give them what they might think is their right,” adding: “Then you have another group that has lost out either in the western education or Islamic education.”
“These were not the case before. There was concern for the extended family and by that it goes to the larger community. But that seems to have broken down now. The people are becoming more nuclear without the commensurate feeling,” Aliyu alleged.
Aliyu described the present happenings as evidence of poor planning and research, as well as poor intelligence gathering adding: “If you were told 10, 20 years ago that a Nigerian could be bombing the place you would say not in northern Nigeria.”
So it means our planning and our level of intelligence information has not been useful. Therefore, we should reflect the new way of solving problems,” he said.
Apportioning part of the blame to some misguided Islamic preachers, the governor disclosed to Africa Today: “At times if you go to hear the kind of sermon they make you will be wondering whether it is an Islamic sermon or it’s just a sermon of somebody who is annoyed with the society.”
He faulted the promise of paradise which he alleged that the hate preachers usually make to would-be suicide bombers, saying: “Any good Muslim will tell you that suicide is not part of Islam. In fact, we have it that if you commit suicide you will not go into paradise no matter your reason. So for anybody to say he is a suicide bomber because he is extending Islamic tenets is not true.”
Observing that there was “an international dimension to the crisis”, the governor lamented the neglect of the traditional institutions which he said could have helped in fishing out strangers, who infiltrate their domains to sow the seed of discord.
“We must not also run away from the international dimension of this crisis, Borno is a border state to Chad. We know what is happening in Sudan. We know what has happened in Libya. We know when Qaddafi was alive the kind of relationship he was having with some of these neighbouring countries,” he warned.
Aliyu, however, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to summon the courage “to correct the many anomalies” in the country so that his administration can achieve it objectives in transforming the country.