Senator representing Yobe East senatorial district, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, has disclosed that contrary to beliefs that Boko Haram started in Nigeria about six or 10 years ago, the sect had actually been in existence in the North for over three decades.

According to him, the sect had been in the country since the 1970s following the killing of its spiritual leader in Egypt in 1970 by President Gammal Abdel Naseer.

Ibrahim, who is a former Governor of Yobe State, said the sect came as a religious ideology and not a political movement. The senator, who serves on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) made the disclosure to journalists in Abuja.
Furthermore, he said the sect which began as an ideological movement against western education and some other western ideas including democracy, first arrived in Minna, the capital of Niger State, before moving to Kano, Yobe and finally settled in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State between 2001 and 2002. Ibrahim added that it was not yet a full blown terrorist group at the time.

He explained further that Boko Haram militants are not political thugs constituted by some politicians, saying rather, Boko Haram dislikes democracy as a western idea.

He said: “The History of Boko Haram dates back to 10, 15 and even 20 years or more ago. This thing didn’t start six years ago as largely claimed. It started much, much earlier than the six years. Boko Haram is a philosophy driven by a warped religious ideology. It is strictly an ideology on ground in some parts of the world for quite sometimes now.

“It all started, we were told, in Egypt during the reign of Gammal Abdel Naseer who died in 1970. Naseer beheaded the leader of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Egypt in 1970, an action that made his followers to scatter to other parts of Africa, especially the North and West Africa including Nigeria.

“When they came to Nigeria, their spread started in Minna, now the capital of Niger State, up to Kano and some other areas before moving to Yobe, and Maiduguri where they permanently settled down and later turned out to be a full blown militant group because of the high-handedness of the Nigeria Police against them.

“Police in that part of the country started killing some of them even at the grave yard while carrying out burial of some of their dead ones which consequently made them to become fully militant by first taking arms and ammunition against the Police and men of other security agencies and by extension, the Nigerian state.

“Boko, meaning, western education is haram, meaning, prohibited, forbidden or unacceptable is just an idea that later turned to be something else. It has nothing to do with being employed by politicians or being used as political thugs but the issue of youth unemployment worsened it further by the unemployed youths serving as large army of recruitment for the insurgents”.

He recalled the level of destruction that Boko Haram insurgents had carried out in North-east in recent times, noting that it will take 20 years to rebuild the people and places affected.

According to him, no fewer than 6,600 orphans were camped in only one location in Yobe State besides over 200 primary schools burnt by the insurgents in the state alone “So many government structures have been destroyed. More than 200 primary schools have been destroyed. There are 6,600 orphans in a camp alone.

“I’ve not seen my house in the village for 18 months now which I learnt have even been bombed down by the military during their war against the insurgents who earlier seized the property and drove people away from the village (Goneri). Two hundred and seventeen of them are presently staying in my house in Damaturu among who are 40 primary and 50 secondary school pupils that are now schooling in Damaturu,” he said.

He expressed hopes that like other similar groups in the past, Boko Haram will become history moreso that it is allegedly partnering the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

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