Opinion
Boko Haram: the sound of war drums
Publish Date: May 15, 2014
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By Kaweesa Keefa

There is no precise or widely accepted definition of terrorism. In 1974, at the UN Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism, a group of non-aligned state parties, which included Nigeria, failed to reach a conclusive definition of International Terrorism.

However, they proposed a definition as “… acts of violence committed by individuals or groups of individuals which endanger or take innocent lives or jeopardise fundamental freedom …”

Little did they know that 40 years down the road, Boko Haram would strike down in their domain.

One noted international lawyer has defined terrorism as acts which in themselves may be classic forms of crime but which differ from classic criminal acts in that they are executed “with deliberate intention of causing panic, disorder and terror within an organised society in order to destroy social discipline, paralyse the forces of reaction of a society and increase the misery and suffering of the community”.

I concur with the learned counsel. The April 14, kidnap and abduction of the 236 Nigerian girls from Chibok location has certainly brought a lot of grief, misery and suffering not only to Nigerians but to all likeminded and civilised society.

As I submit, the world is not celebrating the mother’s day but is grief stricken and mourning. 

Latest among those to share her feelings is the US First Lady, Michelle Obama, who has stated that she is outraged and heartbroken at the cowardly act.

The prime minister of Britain, David Cameron, has joined a list of world dignitaries to condemn the act and has joined the ‘Bring Back Our Girls” campaign while Pope Francis has prayed for sanity to prevail. Notingly, the 1926 slavery convention or the convention to suppress the slave trade and slavery was an international treaty created with the objection to confirm and advance the suppression of slavery and the slave trade.

Art 11 of the Brussels Act provides to ‘endeavour to secure the complete suppression of slavery in all its forms and of the slave trade by land and sea...”. 

Surprisingly, the signatories to this convention have not been publically come on scene. There are reports that the girls have been transported in buses and sold as slaves in Niger, Cameroon or Chad however, Issa Tehiroma Bakari the Cameroon minister of communication has denied that the missing girls are being held in their country.

Bakari said his country is committed to combating terrorism with Nigeria though it is alleged that some countries neighboring Nigeria have neither acceded, signed nor ratified the slavery convention.

Sen. Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Relations Committee  said ‘this terrible act of brutality  must be condemned in the most forceful of terms, that it is abhorrent and unconscionable and we must support Nigeria  to hold the guilty accountable, prevent future tragedies from occurring and address the challenges facing Nigeria.

One challenging but unique feature which binds African communities together is that if a neighbour makes an alarm, it is answered by a more aggressive and sounding of war drums to confront the enemy.

It is my submission that the Nigerian neighborhoods should be filled with sound of war drums. Africa has expert mother gunners who could be readily drafted to spear head this noble cause in the likes of Nkosazana Zuma of AU, Dr Asfour of Egypt, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and for once Dr Miria Matembe who could also advance her castration strategy. Africa should be awash with the slogan of ‘Bring Our Girls Back”.

Let us forget about world cup and fight for African dignity. The laws are in place and the entire world is watching us.

The writer is a lawyer

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