Emeka Maduabuchi Onyemachukwu (names unreal) was born and bred in the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital. During his growing up years Maiduguri was a friendly home for all Nigerians because the majority ethnic tribal people of Kanuri and other indigenous groups are some of the most hospitable Nigerians you can find.
He graduated with distinction from the respected Federal University in Maiduguri known as University of Maiduguri.
Mr. Onyemachukwu incidentally set up computer accessories’ selling outlet in Maiduguri whilst waiting for fortune to smile on him but the opposite of the word fortune occurred when the daredevil armed Islamic Terrorists known as Boko Haram began their indiscriminate bombing campaign in Maiduguri and other North Eastern communities.
The business plaza where Mr. Onyemachukwu’s investments were located was amongst the first to be attacked even as he barely escaped being killed. During the earliest bombing campaigns, the armed Islamists carefully targeted Christians and moderate Moslems before snowballing into indiscriminate mass killings.
This young struggling Nigerian, Onyemachukwu, decided with his entire family members to Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State in South Eastern Nigeria.
For many years, this gentleman who is of Igbo parentage but had imbibed the unique cultural peculiarities of the Kanuris in Borno State found it almost pragmatically impossible to adapt to new life in Anambra State, the original State of his parents.
So early last week, Emeka Maduabuchi Onyemachukwu decided to visit Maiduguri to explore the possibilities of his childhood environment to try to restart his life since most of his friends still stay in Borno State.
At first when he wanted to embark on this journey, his parents and relations did everything within their control to discourage him, but Emeka decided to take a plunge believing that the emerging newspaper reports of series of military successes by the Nigerian troops may have actually reduced the threats posed to the lives and property of ordinary law abiding citizens by the armed Boko Haram terrorists.
His arrival back to Borno State coincided with the just ended Sallah festivities which marked the end of the year 2016 Ramadan Season for Muslims. Emeka arrived in Maiduguri which in the last four years was almost a war zone to experience peaceful movements of civilians like never before.
He quickly put a call across to his parents to announce to them that he has decided to stay back in Maiduguri to start up similar business with the little savings he could make from his brief stay back home in Onitsha in addition to the generous assistance his younger brother in the United States gave to him.
This good news of (Chukwu)Emeka which typically represents the meaning of that name in Igbo which means ‘God has done marvelous things for us’ seems to have happened in the North East going by the pragmatic evidence of real military successes spearheaded by the military troops comprising of the three segments of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The information about the heroic decision of Mr. Emeka to return to Maiduguri to restart his private economic pursuit came about the same time that a symbolic event happened which for a long time if sustained would form a part of the good stories around the current President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
This symbolic event was the verifiable information that the road linking Nigeria to Central Africa, and by extension, the North Africa from the North-eastern region, the Maiduguri-Mafa-Dikwa-Gamboru/Ngala road, was few hours back reopened by the Nigerian Army.
The road, a total of 138 kilometers, is not only strategic but of economic importance to the nation. It was closed three years ago by the military at the peak of the Boko Haram crisis, Daily Trust is reporting.
The reopening of the road which closure had almost crippled the commercial prowess of Borno State by the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, in conjunction with Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, was part of
activities marking the 2016 Army Day celebration in Borno State.
In his remarks, Buratai expressed his pleasure in witnessing the formal reopening of the road, adding that the road remains the life wire of Borno State and by extension, the country.
“The Maiduguri-Gamboru Ngala road is one of the strategic road operationally and that is the reason I ensured that it is recovered from the terrorists bearing in mind its economic importance to the state.
“It is time to keep the road busy so that economic activities on it will commence and I charge the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) to ensure that the road is always open to motorists and transporters and avoid breach of security,” Buratai said.
Some photographs from the activities marking the end of fasting by some of the military fighters who are Muslims reminded me of the photos of the illustrious exemplary leadership skills of the Holy Father Pope Francis who since the last three years of his papacy has always mingled with the poor and has led the over two billion global Catholic faithful with the power of personal examples of humility and service.
Apart from these virtues of humility and service showcased by General Buratai which were in abundance at all the events that heralded the reopening of this important international highway in the North East, one other salient achievement is that if properly managed the gains of opening up the road could trigger renewed good governance and truly return Nigeria to the path of globalization and good governance. In the book “Globalization, National Development and the Law” edited by Professors S.A.Guobadia, and Epiphany Azinge (SAN), we were told that: “the global efforts to promote international relations have suffered inexorably from international terrorism”.
There is no gain saying the fact that armed Boko Haram terrorists with their recent affiliation to the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq, has assumed a notorious status as one of the deadliest terror groups worldwide.
2015 Global Terrorism Index, published by the Institute for Economics & Peace, found that Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadist group, was responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, compared with 6,073 at the hands of ISIS.
The writers of this report stated that the scale of Boko Haram’s bloodlust may come as a surprise to those who are more used to hearing about Mosul than Maiduguri, but the Obama administration is well aware of the threat posed by the group.
The US government it reported, has been providing training, equipment, and funding to countries menaced by Boko Haram, though it has notably declined to sell weapons to the Nigerian government.” That was before President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated.
Currently, the top 10 most dangerous groups in the world based on terrorist and rebel activity over the past 30 days as of 14 April 2016 are shown with their GTI rankings and score. Up-to-the-minute GTI rankings for all groups are contained in the Intel Center Database (ICD). The danger posed by Boko Haram terrorists has declined significantly since General Tukur Buratai took over the counter terrorism war alongside other top military chiefs and the National Security Adviser.
Intel Center’s Group Threat Index (GTI) examines the volume of terrorist and rebel alerts, messaging traffic, videos, photos, incidents and the number killed and injured by a group over the past 30 days and runs it through an algorithm to assign the group its GTI. Boko Haram isn’t amongst the top ten today.
What the most recent information on the global ranking of terror networks around the World shows is that the current government in Nigeria successfully built upon what military strategies it met on ground and that the soldiers with the technical assistance of friendly nations have mastered the art of war which in the considered thinking of a great philosopher Sun Tzu (C.544-C.496 BCE) is of vital importance to the survival of any nation state.
The aforementioned great philosopher rightly affirmed that a morally justifiable war punishes those who threaten or harm the State; just as criminals within the State are punished to ensure a stable and prosperous State. He reasoned logically that planning and waging and avoiding war determines foreign policy even as he also asserted that military strategies provide a framework for domestic political organization to ensure a stable and prosperous State.
That was the great thinker Sun Tzu who reigned in the late 6th century when China was said to have reached the end of an era of peaceful prosperity- the so-called Spring and Autumn Period- in which philosophers had flourished. (See “The Politics Book” edited in 2013 by Sam Atkinson).
In as much as we commend the Nigerian government for almost bringing to a successful end to the monumental terror attacks of Boko Haram terrorists, Nigerians expect a much more sustainable plan to sustain the peace when the war is finally over.
The justice component is crucial to sustaining lasting peace. The federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice must roll out effective mechanisms for the efficient prosecution of the suspected terrorists who are in military detention facilities.
Government must also go after the real terror masterminds who funded the well coordinated terror attacks across Nigeria which has so far lasted over three years with over 25,000 innocent Nigerians killed.
The Nigerian government must also put to good use the funds donated by our foreign partners to care for the victims of terrorism.
The pictures of heavily malnourished internally displaced children and other Nigerians in the North East whilst at the same time governors and politicians of the North East are looking so robustly rich are bad advertisements for Nigeria.
To win the war on terror successfully, we must guarantee social justice to the victims.
-Onwubiko is Head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @ www.emmanuelonwubiko.com.