I watched my friend Isa Gusau, the spokesperson to the governor of Borno State, explaining the situation in Borno to the trio of Sunrise Daily on Channels TV today and Mr. Gusau as always, a brilliant and honest analysts, a man I respect so much, was point blank and very honest in tackling the issues as usual. First, Isa Gusau clarified the issue of occupation and he explained that no local government so far is occupied by Boko Haram. I agree with him. He agreed that Boko Haram roam around freely because there is no constituted authority around the areas worst affected by Boko Haram. He stated that from Maiduguri to Bama is empty because there is no human presence as reconstruction is going on.
If these areas are not occupied by Boko Haram and they have been chased out why don’t we have the presence of constituted authority there? No police, no immigration, no army except for regular patrol, in other words, it is just an empty vast land not really fully occupied by either Boko Haram or the authority. We are talking about an area over 100 kilometers from Maiduguri. This means that the Senator from Borno is not completely wrong.
Ok, let me try to explain ‘occupation’ and ‘control’ as regards this case. You may occupy some place but not be in control of it. In the days of rise of the Italian Mafia in the early and mid 19th century in the United States, the police and FBI occupies everywhere, but the invisible hands of Mafia controls everywhere they make as territory. The case of Borno State looks like Boko Haram may have had their flags destroyed and removed from where they once occupied but they definitely control these areas. If they don’t control these areas why don’t we have constituted authority there even with the federal government boasting of moving the army headquarters to the North East?
Now I understand how Boko Haram easily attack villages just at the outskirt of Maiduguri, there are no constituted authority, not even the army guarding these areas as I have been told severally by people residing in Maiduguri and Isa Gusau has just corroborated this story by his description and explanation of events as he spoke on Channels TV. Apart from Maiduguri these areas are not safe and if only Maiduguri is safe in the whole of Borno State then it means the Borno State is completely not safe.
The government is trying to defend the assertion that Boko Haram still occupy certain areas, they may not occupy the headquarters of the local governments, but they certainly control these areas as they roam freely there. The problem with this whole discussion is that everything gets muddled up in the politics of government trying hard to justify that they have incapacitated Boko Haram after the December dateline. Now that Boko Haram have proven them wrong they are trying hard to twist and turn out of it all.
In all this, one can see that the Borno State senator is not wrong at all. When people in government start analyzing simple words as ‘occupation’ and ‘control’ and these simple words start to become complex and complicated, you know something is not right.