Ending Boko Haram in December: Talking Without Thinking

President Buhari of Nigeria promised that he will end the menace of Boko Haram by December 2015. That was Buhari talking without thinking. But, it is barely 2 months to the end of December; it appears that Buhari is about to break his promise.

During his recent interview with Al-Jazeera, Buhari claimed that ‘torrential rainfalls’ in December could impair the possibility of defeating Boko Haram as he promised. Mr Buhari is now thinking and talking at the same time.

But certainly, there are no rainfalls in West Africa during the month of December. Dry season starts from November, which is accompanied by cold-dry dusty winds (Harmathan) until mid-March.

Even Buhari’s military chiefs have confirmed his fears. But they didn’t claim their impediment will be rainfalls, rather, weather conditions. Possibly, they are talking about the poor visibility that comes with Harmathan season.

It is obvious that Buhari and his political party (APC) are drowned in their deceit and propaganda to the extent that they are now playing themselves. For Buhari to tell his fellow Nigerians, who hardly see rainfall in December that there will be torrential rainfalls in December 2015 could be an attempt to deceive the people or one of his numerous gaffes.

Anyway, if Buhari has been thinking than talking, thus, before setting the December time limit for himself, he would have considered that Harmathan could reduce visibility and impair the capabilities of his military.

Moreover, a thinking Buhari ought to have recognised that he is engaged in two types of war with Boko Haram. The first being war against Boko Haram insurgents while the second war is against Boko Haram terrorists.

The difference between the two wars is that the Boko insurgents want to establish a caliphate in Nigeria. And hence, they engage in arms confrontation with the Nigeria military. The military knows where they are - in Sambisa forest and its surroundings.

Then, there are Boko terrorists who want to use terrorism to achieve the same establishment of caliphate, if insurgency fails. In this case, nobody knows who the terrorist are, but they include children as young as 11 years.

Now, talking without thinking is why Buhari failed to understand that the two wars with Boko Haram are based on ideology. As such, ideological war does not end in 6 months.

And that was why Pres Obama recently delayed the withdrawal of the remaining American troops in Afghanistan. Obviously, the war against Taliban insurgents, which the US has been fighting since 2001, isn’t over yet.

Although Mr Obama has been fighting the insurgents in the Middle East with drones and missiles; but in America, the war on terror is fought with intelligence gathering. The enemy is unknown unlike in Afghanistan where the enemy is clearly - the Taliban. 

Likewise, if Buhari succeeds in defeating the Boko insurgents with military hardware, there will still be the Boko terrorists that can only be defeated by intelligence gathering. And whichever way anyone sees the situation, the December deadline is nothing but a propaganda that has backfired.

Perhaps, Pres Obama saw Buhari’s December target as irresponsible. And thus, decided to send American troops to Cameroon instead of Nigeria, to assist in fighting Boko Haram in West Africa. At least, the president of Cameroon didn’t set an unrealisable time limit to end Boko insurgents.

In addition, former Pres Obasanjo brought some Colombian security experts to advice Buhari on how to fight and defeat insurgency in Nigeria.

But what could Buhari, who wants to end Boko insurgents by December/2015, learn from some dodgy Colombia security experts who have been fighting their own insurgents in the last 50 years without the end in sight?

Maybe, Obasanjo was indirectly telling Pres Buhari that he (Buhari) cannot end Boko insurgents by December. And in order to reinforce his message that war on insurgents are not won overnight, Obasanjo brought to Buhari, some Colombians who have been fighting insurgents for the past 50 years.

Overall, even though Buhari has not openly said so, but it is very obvious, from his utterances, that he will not meet the deadline he set for himself. And therefore, the war against Boko Haram continues beyond December 2015.