Photo: Ibrahim Uwais, killed by US air strike in Syria
It is no longer news that the son of Chief Justice Uwais, Ibrahim Uwais, who was reported to have gone to join ISIS in Syria, has been killed. He was killed by US air raid, reported Sahara Reporters. He was said to have gone to join the Jihadists with his wives and children.
On night of 25th December 2009, I tuned on CNN, I was living in Kano then, to be stunned by Breaking News. A Nigerian attempted to blow up a plane inside the United States. The young man was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, son of a billionaire Nigerian magnate. The Nigerian government and people were on the defensive. They argued that Mutallab was radicalized in London.
Was Ibrahim Uwais radicalized in London? Were Boko Haram soldiers, members and sympathizers radicalized elsewhere? We must begin to look inward as a nation. We must begin to ask ourselves the right questions. Until we ask the right questions we cannot get the right answers. Talking of questions, this takes me to whether poverty is responsible for radicalization as some people would want us to believe.
Photo: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
I think radicalization has been going on for a very long time in Nigeria, even before Boko Haram. The Wustaz syndicate in our Universities was part of that syndrome. I don’t know if the Wustaz are still very powerful, I left University over a decade ago. During my time on campus they were so powerful they stopped social life on campus in most Universities up north where they had power. They were so powerful some lecturers were part of them, even religious organizations from outside and the university authorities knowing their power sometime bend for them. So, radicalization, in my view hasn’t got much to do with poverty. I think most Nigerians are radicalized in Nigeria before they even travel out of the country. Some are radicalized in the Madrasas, some Madrasas and at home and some from Mosques and sometimes friends and mentors, but in Nigeria.
We cannot continue to exonerate ourselves of blame and blame others. We cannot continue this game of denial. We need to start telling the truth and before we do that we must ask the right questions.