At some point in Nigeria’s history, terrorism seemed like such a far fetched concept and we watched from the safety of our living rooms as CNN dutifully reported bombings from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Perhaps, like me, you shook your head and wondered how people would strap bombs and blow themselves to smithereens in the name of religion. We told ourselves Nigerians love life too much for suicide bombing to ever become a real thing.
Fate and Boko Haram had other things in mind for us, and the year 2014 was marked by a rise in the profile of fundamentalist group Boko Haram and with what was once regarded as a motley army of conscripts have come to become the biggest problem of Nigeria’s North East.
At first it started from churches and places of worship and then intensified to just about any public place. Suicide bombing and wanton attacks on civilians have become so commonplace that we barely bat an eyelid when these things happen.
The disappearance of 276 girls in Chibok brought international attention to this terrorist scourge and even the promised support of the United States in fighting the terrorist group.
Several months after the girls were abducted, the problem has blown out of proportions and the Nigerian Army has found itself overwhelmed by the sophistication and the superiority of the insurgents.
Even the soldiers are feeling the heat; some officers opened fired on the GOC in Borno state and have been court martialed and some sentenced to death. There are reports from soldiers on the front of how under equipped they are and how underfunded the army is.
Leaders in the West African region are said to be considering the creation of a regional military to deal with the Boko Haram insurgents who are making incursions into Cameroon. A week ago, the Cameroonian army reportedly killed 143 Boko Haram members while repelling an attack on Kolofata.