A look at Boko Haram’s financing

Noel Ihebuzor:

Troubling!

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Boko Haram has enough money to buy its own artillery now according to Voice of America. Analysts interviewed by VOA said there probably isn’t enough funding within Nigeria for buying heavy weapons, indicating that much of Boko Haram’s funding comes from abroad. Several revenue sources were named:

Foreign sources

  • West African piracy
  • Drug smuggling
  • Unrest from the Arab Spring has created and weapons trafficking “highway” to Nigeria

Domestic sources

  • Bank robberies
  • Stealing from the Nigerian military

In addition to the Boko Haram bank robberies, previous Money Jihad coverage has shown that zakat has been funneled by Boko Haram supporters through Nigerian banks to fund terrorist operations.

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Readings and Reflections -26th Sunday ordinary time – on Sin and Death

By

Noel A Ihebuzor

The readings today deal with sin and its consequences, the first reading in particular. Sin leads to death. Iniquity leads to death, some slow on-set, some instant and some others gradual, and yet some others death by increment and accretion, often times invisible to the eye. And by death here, I mean death in its several forms – physical, emotional, spiritual, economic social and communal death. There is also the death of the conscience, a death that then unleashes other forms of deaths and which spawns unimaginable deviance. Sin and vice in whatever form lead to destruction, decay and death. In communities, they lead to a decline in social capital, the destruction of bonds, the extinction of trust, the erosion of values and the suffocation of good sense, decency, equity and balance. Bad becomes good, good is mocked at and derided, social pressure draws more converts to evil, evil is praised and sin and its proceeds are celebrated.  Man, “homo superbus” reaches for the dial on the control box and dims the voice of God, snuffs out the light of truth and puts shades on the candle of love. The voices of victims of violence and violations are choked, the innocent are injured by the mighty and impunity is unleashed and struts around a demoralized world.  Look around you for proofs of these very broad statements that I have made. The wages of sin is death. Whilst sin is a violation of God’s statutes, its immediate consequences are always social and are felt in the here and now in this material earth. For every sin, there is a spiritual loss followed by a socio-economic debit. When you sin you offend God and hurt man.

Righteousness redeems a nation and a people. It leads to life. Righteousness is simple. It simply consists in knowing God and in living His living and life giving words. The sinner who renounces his/her life of sin, of cruelty, of stealing, of lying, of defaming, of distorting, of purveying partial truths, and packaging opinions to the unwary as if these were truths and returns to God is readmitted to God’s favors and God’s love and to Life. But this return, repentance and reconciliation must go beyond theatrics and verbal display. Words accompanied by action, action driven by the spirit of God and His laws. Love God, Love your neighbor. If you love God, you will not break His commandments. If you love your neighbor, you would not cheat him/her, you would not tell lies against him/her. If you love God, you would not commit idolatry. Demoting God from the top of your value system is a form of idolatry. Putting money and power at the pinnacle of your value system is a form of idolatry as these become your new gods. These new gods lead you to all forms of aberrant and emptying behaviors – they lead you to things like election rigging, graft, rent seeking behavior, cronyism, grabbing public assets, false declarations, looting, importing sub-standard items, free-riding behavior, contract inflation, unprofessional project monitoring/evaluation, biased audits, skewed and dishonest Op-Eds etc. Let me give a very trivial example concerning love of neighbor – If you love neighbor, you will not drive in such a manner as to push him or her off the road, but most of us who come to public podiums to sound off on the ills of society do this on end! When last were you polite to the other road user? If you loved your neighbor, you would demonstrate courteous road behavior. In the work place, you would be polite and fair to all your staff, you would deal with an even hand with all. The second reading contains a listing of attributes that conduce to a life free from sin – humility, kindness, compassion, mercy, saying no to selfishness, resisting vainglory behavior and recognizing the needs and the rights of others.

Christ reminds us in very strong words of the need for a return to God in word, in truth and in action. His strong words underlie the importance of true repentance. The truly repentant reap the rewards of paradise. Let this assurance challenge and drive us to turn away from the evils and iniquities of this world.  Let it challenge us to reject the false and cheap values of the devil and to embrace the eternal and life giving values and laws of God, the summary of which are – the discipline and mastery of self based on and driven by a love of God and neighbor.  May we set about achieving this critical, live saving and spiritually elevating behavior change from this Sunday – and may God’s spirit guide, strengthen and animate us in this venture, Amen!

Guardian Angel

Noel Ihebuzor:

Brotherly affection and protectiveness carried a bit too far!
Disturbing tale, but still Rx!

Originally posted on naijawriter:

I told her not to marry him but it was like talking to an electric train. Her mind was made up, my words were a waste.

I listened in disbelief as my twenty-one year old sister begged me to remember her “biological clock was ticking.”

I marvelled as she bade me to reconsider, because “all her mates were married.”

I gasped when she declared that I should get used to it, she was marrying Leo with or without my blessing. Kponkwem.

As I listened to her, lava coursed through my veins. I was angry, livid even, but I wasn’t sure who my ire was for.

Part of it was for a society that made Diana think marriage was a trophy; a 50 metre sprint where the fastest women got medals and flowers instead of a gruelling marathon-relay where your partner’s skill and commitment was as important as endurance, focus and…

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25th Sunday in Ordinary time – my cut-aways from today’s readings in the Catholic liturgy

By 

Noel A Ihebuzor

Today’s reading from the catholic liturgy are rich and deal essentially with God’s love and the injunction that we should all seekthe Lord now. Permit me to share my cut aways from these readings with you. The messages are simple and and the commands do-able in our crowded world. All we need really is to make out time and open our hearts to these simple messages.

Let us seek the lord, now and always.

Let us seek now that He may be found

Let us seek the Lord now that we have time.

Time waits for nobody.

Seek God today! Call God today! He is near to all who call on Him.

There is an appointed time for everything under the heavens.

This is our time to seek the Lord.

God is generous in mercy and compassion.

Our life today is proof of God’s love, mercy, protection and compassion.

God is slow to anger and full of great kindness.

(I can testify to God’s unfailing kindness – Four weeks ago, there was a fire accident in my home in Abuja. In my depths and in my sinfulness, I called to God. He heard me. He hastened to my rescue. He rescued my son from death. Two days ago, two of his siblings, mummy and myself “escorted” the boy to commence his degree studies in the UK, 96% healed. God is good indeed. Call Him. I called Him. He answered. He always answers. He will answer you.)

God’s mercy and compassion are beyond human understanding

God’s mercy and economics defy human logic.

The parable of the workers’ wages overflows with an overpowering logic of equity and fairness

The simplicity of God’s logic and economics contains deep truths.

God’s love economy is driven by deeper eternal and liberating principles

God’s love economy is suffused by constancy, consistency, timelessness and universality.

Some humans would want to impose limited human logic on God.

We must never be envious because God is generous.

To live like God is gain even when it feels like pain

All the works of God and His logic are holy and “correct”

Let us imitate God today in fairness, in compassion, in love and in generosity.

Let us magnify God and spread His core message of Love.

Let us fly the tricolor of Faith, Hope and Charity in all our actions.

Happy Sunday – Noel

El-Rufai, Boko Haram apologist, political opportunist or verbal contortionist? Your call!

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

I visited my archives and found a rejoinder I wrote to this article by Malam Nasir El-Rufai. It is still worth reading for two reasons. The first is the persisting BH scourge which has been marked lately by the increasing savagery, mindlessness and bestiality of their attacks. The kidnapping of innocent schools in Chibok and the earlier slaughter of school children outside their dormitory represent the high point of this campaign of sadistic and mindless savagery. The second reason to read the article again is related to recent attempts to firm up, embellish and market a four variants model of Boko Haram by Mr El-Rufai. How solid is the evidence for such a model? How good is a model building that picks, chooses and stretches evidence at the whims of convenience? What levels in frequency of occurrence justify inferences and conclusions on which such a bold four variant models is built?  Such questions are worth asking as the country struggles to separate fact from fiction and facts from faction-driven twists and distortions. Model building is a serious business and is different from an exercise embarked upon out of spite and bitterness and in a style characterized by malicious flippancy. In its present form, Mr El-Rufai’s four variants model is not very persuasive. Its intentions are not to clarify issues but to obfuscate and to divert attention and public wrath from the sponsors and apologists of BH. The reader will recall that Malam El-Rufai had in the recent past, with plenty of characteristic indecent haste, given great publicity to an interview granted by Dr. Davis which had suggested, by implication, that Gen Ihejirika was a BH sponsor. Gen Ihejirika has since replied and the reader is advised to read all three sources – the Davis interview, the El-Rufai uncritical publicity blitz of the same and the General’s Response and make up his/her mind as to where truth, sanity and decency lie.

Click here for the El-Rufai article – and read my rejoinder below. At the end, ask yourself this question, in consideration of the said article, my rejoinder and recent outbursts by Malam El-Rufai whether we are dealing with a BH apologist, a political opportunist, a verbal contortionist or simply with a man in acute need of help.

=========

This is a very revealing write-up. Though well researched, the findings of the research are selectively used and herein lies its major flaw. Malam El-Rufai may not want to be seen as apologist and spokesperson for the BH but this is the impression that stays with one as one goes through much of this article. Let me illustrate with one or two examples.

I will be drawing excerpts liberally from the write up by Mr Nasir El-Rufai (NER for short in the rest of this comment) as I make my long comment, with advance apologies to NER for any plagiarism.

NER describes BH as peaceful in origin. But read below -

“In April 2007, Sheikh Jaafar was murdered in cold blood while praying in his mosque in Kano by assailants that years later turned out to be suspected members of a sect to be known as Boko Haram, operating out of Bauchi State”.

Can such a group be correctly described as “largely peaceful”. Largely peaceful should be made of more peace conducing acts!

NER affirms “Many in the North see the patent inaction of the authorities as the advancement of a sinister agenda to destroy an already near prostate northern economy through occupation, militarization and disruption of socio-economic activities. The federal government has done nothing to deny these or indicate otherwise, and the state governments have acquiesced to the cavalier attitude of the Villa.”

This is mischievous, inaccurate, unhelpful and is deliberately crafted to further incite a section of the country against the rest. NER knows that action has been engaged and is on-going yet NER finds it convenient and expedient to the advancement of the agenda he defends to deny these.

NER also tries to distinguish between what he calls variants of BH – “Many of us believe that there are at least four variants of Boko Haram – the real BH and three other fakes – sponsored by the government, politicians and criminal groups – that use the brand to advance their own self-centered agendas”. Questions for NER – who is this “Many of us” and where is the evidence base for this belief? Unless substantiated, such sweeping statements are simply exercises in sensationalism and are very unhelpful.

NER says nothing in this write up of the consistent targeting of symbols or institutions of Christianity by the BH. This is a deliberate omission that weakens the credibility of his analysis of the causes of the BH terrorism. Rather, NER is at pains to point out greater northern and Muslim casualties as a result of BH terrorism. Here, he creates the unfortunate impression that his primary concern is with the lives of northerners and Muslims, a focus which I believe betrays a mind-set we should all condemn. One also notices with great concern the very subtle manner NER tries to elevate BH terrorism to the level of an insurgency challenge.

NER appears to know what does not motivate BH and can thus advise those thinking of an amnesty type program to go back to the drawing board! To what does NER owe this knowledge?  Yet NER recommends dialogue and “honest discussions” between government and BH, and with that the implicit that either that there have not been such dialogues or that discussions that have taken place so far have not been honest!

NER’s section where he mentions the Maitatsine is particularly worrying since it could be read to mean that persisting difficulties with unearthing BH in the north could reflect surrounding community acceptance and admiration of this group. If this is true, then there is indeed great cause for worry. If it is not then NER’s “the current situation in Kano and Borno States is one in which the military occupiers are killing more innocent people than Boko Haram, which injustice is creating resentment against the Army” should be read as unfortunate attempt at creating resentment against law enforcement agencies carrying out a difficult national assignment against a terrorist group that vanishes into and blends with the crowd.

NER’s last paragraph reads like a recommendation and endorsement of terror tactics and he achieves this through very crafty paragraph editing. The paragraph commences with an argument that military solutions alone against terrorists do not work, and then shifts to a case for government to act to stop the loss of lives and to deliver a country that works for all. He then ends by urging government to bend over backwards to make this happen. Implicit in all of this is that things are not working well for portions of the country who are now up in arms. This way, NER hopes to reposition and brand the BH terror campaign as a crusade for social justice and not as a manifestation of religious fanaticism, extremism and intolerance which has now been tapped into by a bigoted political elite. And by the way, is the implied threat in NER’s last sentence really necessary?

The unasked question

By 

Noel Ihebuzor

 

We came to the chattering room. 

we asked questions. 

flashes and smiles flashed

their Switches timed to perfection

and the question not asked
spoke of us the loudest! 

 

 

That unasked question

spoke, in silence so salient, strident

shattering the chattering dribble

of hollow voices of hollowed men

revealing their charter, their complicity

with a principal with no principle.

SOYINKA’S OPINION OF BUHARI AND HIS PRESIDENTIAL DREAM

SOYINKA'S OPINION OF BUHARI AND HIS PRESIDENTIAL DREAM.

What political future for a man with such a past and whose entire hopes are pinned on the amnesia of the present?
(Text excerpted from @omoyayinka)


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