Saturday, February 25, 2012
Azorka Boys and Bamba Boys: the coming Boko Haram in Ghana?
“This is a particular time when the country has major security challenges. There are explosions everyday, people are dying and are being killed daily without any reason”. These were the comments of Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan after it became known that some members of his own government as well some members in the judiciary, legislature and the armed forces have been secretly supporting the Boko Haram terror group.
As the above statement by President Goodluck Jonathan shows, Nigeria now resembles a war zone with Boko Haram terrorist group in the north attacking security officers and massacring innocent civilians almost on the daily basis.
On Friday the 20th of January Boko Haram members placed several bombs in key locations in the city of Kano and detonated the bombs accompanied by shootings with security forces. More than 211 people lost their lives making it one of the bloody days in the history of 'democratic' Nigeria. But the violence is not limited only to the north.
In the South of the country, petro-insurgency has been going on for years. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) and other ethnic militia groups and criminal networks operate freely with the style of American gangsterism: robbing, kidnapping civilians for ransom, murdering rivals of their political masters and bunkering oil on a daily basis.
In 1982 Chinua Achebe noted in his book “The Trouble with Nigeria” that General Olusegun Obasanjo before handing over as Head of State of the coup that brought Murtala Mohammed into power, predicted that Nigeria would be counted among the “ten leading nations in the world by the end of the [20th] century” but that prediction was never to be. Instead the country descended into chaos and ultimately became a failed state. Things are falling apart and there are fears that Nigeria may disintegrate altogether.
Professor Wole Soyinka, in a BBC interview, described members of the Boko Haram group as not lawyers, bankers, engineers, or doctors; but rather people schooled in the Islamic madrassas in Kano, Kaduna and Maiduguri in the north of the country; then employed by the elite in the north who supplied them with arms and other weapons to cause mischief and mayhem. Along the line the Boko Haram boys grew powerful until their handlers could not control them anymore.
But members of Boko Haram also realised that they had been misused by their political and economic masters and decided to demand a share of the cake. When the masters refused, the Boys joined forces and metamorphosed into a radical movement i.e. Boko Haram. They however, continued to receive the backing and support of the elite who are still bent on using violence to maintain and control the country. In November some senior figures of the Nigeria political class including Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume were arrested after it was discovered that they had met and supported Boko Haram.
In January 2012 President Goodluck Jonathan announced that members of his own government were supporters and sympathisers of the Boko Haram terror group. That child-cry did not surprise anyone who is familiar with political patronage in the country. In other words Boko Haram is both a project and a product of the corrupt political and economic system that has been allowed to fester since the 1960s. It is a project developed and used by the corrupt political and economic elite to advance their political and economic interests and ambitions. At the same time the violence that has come to be associated with Boko Haram is both a product and a response to the corrupt political and economic system that allows the rulers to deny the poor masses their share of the national cake.
In the south of the country unscrupulous politicians, using stolen oil money, pay thugs to cause mayhem, steal ballot boxes, disrupt voting exercises and cause destruction to life and property. Nigerian politicians of all colours hire unemployed youth as political hit squads and assassins to kill and disorganise the political machinery of their opponents. The Area Boys, as they are popularly known in Nigeria, are provided with guns and money (stolen from the state coffers) to attack their political opponents. Afterwards these same guns are used to rob oil tankers, kidnap oil workers for ransom and to terrorise the population.
In Ghana I can see similar pattern being fashioned out by the ruling NDC with their Azorka Boys and the opposition NPP with their Bamba Boys. In Ghana it is a common knowledge that the Azorka Boys and the Bamba Boys are not men of any magnanimity or good behaviour.
Like the Boko Haram group in northern Nigeria, the Tamale based Azorka Boys and Bamba Boys are no lawyers, doctors, or engineers. They are known to be violent and lawless thugs who are paid by their power hungry political masters to criminally cause mayhem and disturb the peace of Ghanaians especially before and during elections. Like their counterparts in Nigeria, the Azorka Boys and the Bamba Boys follow orders given by their NDC and NPP masters. The ruthless tactics used by Azorka and the Bamba Boys and the political support they enjoy in the NDC and NPP are no different from those used in southern Nigeria. During elections they are supplied with all kinds of weapons by their paid masters to undermine the integrity of political processes in the country. The Akwatia and Asewase by-elections and the 2008 elections are clear examples of the threat posed by these Boys.
The Azorka Boys and the Bamba Boys have not yet become Boko Haram (i.e. terrorist group). At the moment they are still obediently taking orders from their political masters and being fed with the crumbs that fall from the tables of their NDC and NPP financial and logistical backers. But anyone with critical eyes will agree with me that Azorka Boys and the Bamba Boys have all the hallmarks and characteristics of Boko Haram.
Is it by accident that the Azorka Boys as a group is based in the north? Is it also coincidental that majority of the Bamba Boys, if not all of them, belong to a certain religious order? Will Azorka Boys and Baba Boys develop into Boko Haram in Ghana?
At the moment the condition in Ghana is ripe and all that these violent and lawless Boys need is a radical person who will indoctrinate them with dangerous ideologies and philosophies and turned them into bombs and killing machines as Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria. The massive corruption on the part of the elite class i.e. politicians, top civil servants, judges, the police; extreme poverty and inequality in northern part of Ghana; the neglect of the youth by corrupt and insensitive government; politics based on ethnocentric, tribalistic, jihadists and highly inflammable language; poor and failing educational system that offer little or no skills to graduates; massive unemployment faced by a frustrated population; corrupt and complicit police; and most importantly the NPP and NDC penchant use of the violent Azorka and Baba Boys to achieve political power are the necessary conditions needed for Boko Haram style activities in the country to occur.
NDC and NPP must know they are sowing the seed of terrorism in Ghana with their use of Azorka Boys and Bamba Boys. In other words the Azorka Boys and the Bamba Boys are a threat to the political and economic order in Ghana and they are a threat to the long term security, stability and prosperity of Ghana and should be disbanded before they metamorphosed into Boko Haram style terror groups.
By Lord Aikins Adusei
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