When in 2006, the United States of America, USA’s, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, predicted that Nigeria would no longer be in existence by 2015, the CIA received no small bashing from Nigerians, who rubbished the prediction then. But recent terrorist events in the country may lend credence to this prediction, thus raising the pertinent question: Is Nigeria programmed for self destruct before 2015?
The Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, the espionage arm of the United States’ intelligence apparatchik, released a report in 2006, in which it predicted that Nigeria may disintegrate before 2015.
According to the agency, Nigeria as a corporate entity was likely to splinter along tribal and sectarian lines by 2015 if some of the inherent fault lines were not properly managed and controlled.
Tagged “Mapping the Global Future”, the report projected global trends and likely scenarios up to 2020 and stated: “While currently, Nigeria’s leaders are locked in a bad marriage that all dislike but dare not leave, there are possibilities that could disrupt the precarious equilibrium in Abuja, to the extent that open warfare (may) breaks out in many places in a sustained manner.”
The report did not end with its glooming prediction; it also proffered some antidotes to the problems it envisaged. The report further showed that many home truths negated the possibility of a disintegrated Nigeria in 2015, agreeing that violence, insecurity and killings in what it called troubled states may not translate into disintegration.
Also in March, 2010, former Libya strongman, the late Muammar Gaddafi, while commenting on the Jos pogrom, called for the splitting of Nigeria into two along religious lines in order to avert further bloodshed. Today, the Jos pogrom has continued to be a recurring decimal, with hundreds of lives lost.
A few years ago, the major security threat confronting Nigeria, apart from the ethnic militias, was armed robbery, and gradually kidnapping crept in, following the insurgency by the Niger Delta militants. Then Islamic militancy crept in and today, the whole nation is at the mercy of Boko Haram.
Before Boko Haram became the major Islamic militant or terrorist group, there have been clashes here and there, especially in the North. Ethnic conflict has never taken as much toll as on human lives and property in many parts of the country as we have with the emergence of Boko Haram sect. Terrorism has crept into the psyche of the nation that to many, especially in the North, the fear of Boko Haram is now the beginning of wisdom.
Apart from pockets of pipeline bombings in the Niger Delta in the days of militancy in the region, the nation had its first taste of terrorist act on 1 October, 2010, when about 12 people were killed in Abuja near the Eagle Square venue of the country’s 50th Independence celebration.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, was implicated in that incident. Series of bomb attacks followed on 24 December, 2010 in Jos and Maiduguri where no fewer than 38 people were killed and over 70 injured. A week later, on New Year eve, four people were killed in another bomb blast in an army barrack in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Since then, the rate of bombing has increased in tempo and veracity. Suleja in Niger State was next on 8 April, 2011, when the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was bombed, leaving 11 people dead and 38 wounded. Twin bomb explosions in Bauchi and Abuja on Democracy Day, 29 May, 2011 left 18 people dead and 31 injured.
On 16 June, 2011, Boko Haram sect took the fight to the police headquarters in Abuja, where the former Inspector General of Police, IGP, Hafiz Ringim, escaped death by the whiskers. Next was the UN Building, also in Abuja which was bombed on August 25, 2011, leaving 18 people dead.
Boko Haram sect wrecked more havoc on hapless Nigerians on Christmas Day, 25 December, 2011 in Madalla, Niger State, killing 45 people, injuring over 90 and destroying property worth millions of naira.
The declaration of state of emergency in some local governments in four states of Niger, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe did not stop the sect from unleashing further mayhem on the people as the terrorists visited a Deeper Life Bible Church in Mubi, Adamawa State and killed eight worshippers while another set killed 12 more persons in Gombe.
The Kano multiple bomb blasts of January 20, perhaps has the highest number of casualties as over 200 people were sent to their early graves. Since the Kano multiple blasts, it has become a daily occurrence for the Boko Haram sect to attack innocent people in different parts of the country.
In all these attacks, the response of the Federal Government has been that the perpetrators would be brought to book.
Many people have seen the activities of Boko Haram as a plan not only by some Nigerians but also some foreign interests to destabilise Nigeria.
As a result of this menace, prominent Nigerians including Chief Kalu Idika Kalu, Edwin Clark, Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, have called for true federalism and resource control in Nigeria.
Musa said Nigeria’s continued existence depends largely on the grace of God as the country is fast moving towards a failed state.
He said there was need to call a national conference where each region in Nigeria will register its grievances and look for a way forward.
A prominent Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark, lent support for the convocation of a national conference and not a sovereign conference, where everybody will sit down and formulate a way forward.
Contributing, former Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Olu Falae, condemned the military for pushing Nigeria to the sorry state she is in today, adding that there is need to establish a genuine federation that will keep Nigeria together.
Former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said the country cannot move forward without proper restructuring.
“All Nigerians need one Nigeria. We need a country that works,” he said.
This call is in line with the persistent agitation by well meaning Nigerians for a platform to discuss how to move the country forward.
It is hoped that the Federal Government will heed the present call by these eminent citizens to save the country from sliding into compltete anarchy.