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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Journaliste: Bouddih Adams

Roughshot: Boko Haramisation Boomerang

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I am scribbling this piece when Tchadian forces have done to Boko Haram elements what they have been doing to innocent Nigerians and Cameroonians.

Putting it another way; the Islamic sect are reported to have been Boko-Harammed by Chadian forces in Northern Nigeria.

What goes round comes around, they say. This is not only a saying, because, it actually and usually obtains.

And that is what is happening to people who grabbed CDC surrendered land in Fako and sold and when their people agitated, the land grabbers called them Boko Haram.

Today, these people who grabbed parcels of land meant for the people and kept for themselves and are scheming through chieftaincy to continue keeping them, have, in turn, been christened Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram phenomenon has come and added to the vocabulary of many people and nations. Many people, especially in the Cameroons, use it to serve their interests or feed their egos. In fact, it has been used in giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, a Buea-based lawyer, who has served on many international crisis missions, argues that, by using the nomenclature of very serious crimes like genocide, for lighter crimes against humanity, is a disservice and dishonour to the victims of the heavy crime.

He maintains that describing what happened in the February 2008 hunger crisis when many people were killed and others maimed, is a disservice and dishonour to the victims of the Rwanda genocide, for instance.

By the same token, to call a fellow villager or citizen a Boko Haram or terrorist, because he is at odds with you, evokes disregard for the people who have been butchered by the Boko Haram, and for the families that have lost them.

A senior man of law, Barrister Chief Charles Taku, who has served, and is serving many international tribunals, asserts that only the United Nations, through its instruments, can determine who is a terrorist.

But in the case of the supposed number-one citizen of Buea who is scheming to become of the chief of Wonjoku, a quarter in Bova II, and some Fako chiefs and land grabbers who described those agitating and crusading against their greed, calling them terrorists, is actually a boomerang.

The Chief of Bova II, Isume Nyoki, has called Patrick Esunge Ekema and his supporters who want to carve out this quarter of his chiefdom and be installed Chief, Boko Haram.

The gimmick is an underhand to hold some 50 hectares of land surrendered by the CDC in the Wonjoku near Bulu, Chief Nyoki avers. At the same time, natives of this other Wonjoku where the 50 hectares were surrendered are crying foul that the Mayor and his cohorts have taken what does not belong to them.

And, behold, the origin of Boko Haram has something to do with land issues. Land and the resources thereof, are at the centre of most civil wars. The Boko Haram idea was founded by people who stayed back home and worked the land, while their kith and kin who went out and acquired Western Education returned and grabbed the land from their uneducated brethren.

Today, no one can understand what they really want. They attack places outside Nigeria and even kill those who are following the Islamic religion they are purportedly propagating. They kill people in Mosques praying to the very Allah they are purportedly worshipping.

Yes, chiefs and local authorities in Buea, christened journalists and some people of goodwill who were advocating against their grabbing land and terrorising their citizens, as Boko Haram. The chief executive of the municipality, Patrick Esunge Ekema, even published a communiqué in a local tabloid, describing those crusading against them - land merchants - as misguided fellows practising xenophobia.

In a related case, a ‘chief’ signed a communiqué describing the crusaders against their greed and graft as paupers and jealous people. However, the matter is before a court of law, hence we shall not comment on it.

So, who is misguided: the person who wants to assume and be conferred a royal title when he is no royalty, or the one person who points out that the other is power-drunk and abusing his people? Who is a terrorist: the person who grabs what belongs to the people or the person who protests against his act? Or, the person who uses a pistol to intimidate citizens.

That is surely why someone said ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. But a terrorist, in a common man’s reasoning, is the person who uses an arm to terrorise unarmed people, his own citizens, not the people who cry foul because they are thus terrorised?

They sell the land, go around with fat sums of the money – in millions - in their pockets, gallivant and frolic with small girls in wine and beer parlours. And as primeval blokes with no looks and ladle to impress the girls, they resort to the only leverage by slapping wads of the money on the table and boasting: “I have money!” Then, they turn around and describe those who have been deprived of the land as poor and jealous people.

Are they not behaving like the Boko Haram, who are using vehicles and guns manufactured by the West, and turn around to say they do not want Western education?

These blokes are feeding fat off peoples’ land that they grabbed and are, at the same time, intimidating them. And, as if enough is not enough, they are trying to have their fingers in every pie, including royal pie. Are We Together?

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