President Goodluck Jonathan

Boko Haram is not a Nigeria-only security challenge. It poses a major sub-regional headache whose solution lies in a containment approach by the membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

It appears the regional grouping is yet to speak out about the importance of such coordination. This is important if we must avert a spill-over of the sect’s operations, given the ease with which they now produce locally Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

A robust response based on reliable intelligence reports, coordinated at sub-regional level, would be a wonderful approach towards dousing the Boko Haram-stoked fire.

For now, they have shown the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Police Force their firepower and foolhardiness as in suicide missions they have the hearts to undertake.

Addressing the threat posed by such a terrorist group at the sub-regional level calls for something more than the usual ECOWAS summit discussions.

A couple of days ago, the Chief of Staff of the United States African Command (AFRICOM), General Carter Han, cautioned West African states to be wary of the implications of the operations of the Boko Harams.

He spoke about the possibility of spillovers which is what should concern our security apparatus in the country.

ECOWAS should consider the admonition as a wakeup call and come up with a feasible response mechanism which would, beside other assignments, monitor the activities of the Boko Harams.

West African countries, he admonished, should pool their resources towards containing the Boko Haram threat. For those who consider this looming security threat as too distant to be of any consequence, this warning from the American General should be enough to wake them from their slumber.

The power struggle for the leadership position in the Boko Haram sect, according to him, is a dangerous development with the potential of a spillover to other countries.

 Boko Haram is able to hatch rapidly in places where Islam dominates. Given this peculiarity, there is no denying the fact that transferring their activities to the northern parts of the sub-region is only a matter of time and choice, given the predominance of Islam in these parts. In other words, the strategists of the sect can easily move into these parts when it pleases them to do so.

When they decide to engage in hit-and-run tactics by taking cover in neighbouring countries where they are likely to find safer havens, they could consider spreading out in the name of spreading their so-called puritanical and warped approach to Islam.

It is an inflammable stuff which feeds on the prevalence of poverty, occasioned by youth unemployment and the like; that is why Boko Haram should be stopped by all means.

The Hausa language which is spoken in many dialects in the northern parts of Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Benin and Ghana offers impetus for the spread of Boko Haram.

Let our national security apparatus do a proper appreciation of the situation and coordinate their findings with government appropriately.

The Ghana Immigration Service has an important role to play because Boko Haram members can easily move in through our porous borders.  



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