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Open Letter to Boko Haram: Please Attack Our politicians



A school child in Suleja, Niger State. Photo Credit Tom Saater

A school child in Suleja, Niger State. Photo Credit Tom Saater

Tahir Sherrif

Dear Boko Haram,

First i must apologize for using the whole phrase Boko Haram while writing a rather personal letter. This is because in all the information provided about you, none has been able to truly describe you completely as to whom you really are, or where you come from. The cities you have captured have become numerous, the man perceived to be your leader has been executed and names like ‘Shekau’ et al have begun to look like a ‘similes’ and fictional characters. So, sir my sincerest apologies.

However, the objective of my writing this letter to you is to state how very scared i have become of you in recent times. You have proved your point, not in terms of what you want or how you want to go about it, but that in all sincerity, you are here to stay. I understand that. Perhaps, given the recent developments globally, i may even learn to live with that. Still i must also say a few words.

In all that has been happening, i do not know what it is that i did wrong to incur your wrath, i am perplexed as to the cause of our misunderstanding. Is it that i am following the wrong routes? am i breaching territorial lines? Have i messed up in anyway at all? If so, with this i wish to state that i am sincerely sorry for not knowing what i have done wrong. If it is an issue you have with the government, then perhaps we may even be on the same side. I am neither a Politician, an Elder Statesman, a Governor, Senator, House of Representatives member, or even a Local Government Chairman of over 774 local governments. I am not even a personal adviser to any of them.

I am just the everyday trader, the Okada rider that helps you from tight traffic jams, the pure water seller than reduces the heat for you on a hot day especially i this weather. I am simply the orange seller that moves from car to car, the jobless youth with my CV in a large envelope, the bus driver, the bus-conductor; i am an ordinary everyday Nigerian. The truth is, i do not even work in any of the government institutions that challenge your authority.

Girls outside a school in Suleja Nigera. Image Credit Tom Saater

Girls outside a school in Suleja Nigera. Image Credit Tom Saater

I also wish to channel a grievance to you. By grievance i do not mean that i can do anything should you fail to grant me audience, but in truth to bring you to the table as a deciding force in the affairs of the country Nigeria. Normally i would use ‘Our Country’ but the time for kidding with ourselves is slowly going behind us, thanks to you et al. My grievance thus is why you have left those who clearly are at the helm of affairs and brought your wrath upon me. Those who as the incomplete news describes were responsible to have triggered your anger in the first place. Those who make the laws, and break them with impunity.Those who sat down to deliberate on sending security operatives en-masse to crush your uprising. Those who fly private jets to avoid you after failing on all the promises they made to you. Or those who have turned what is supposed to be a discussion that will include you, into a contest of sleeping and scrabble at the cost of N12million naira each. Please sir, please attack our politicians instead.

Or better still, along with the politicians attack our security operatives who have used all the funds allocated to them to protect themselves and their barracks and offices. The ones who swore an oath to protect us, and by so doing defend against non-state-violent groups like you. Obviously these guys are not in your team. They even attach themselves to the Politicians en-masse and have been known to imprison some of us for praising you and causing the longest chain of traffic jams which as they insist delays your attacks. Did I mention that sometime in the past the gobbled up a huge sum which they said are for cameras they intend to use in looking out for you?

Having stated my plea dear sir, i also wish, only out of curiosity to ask of your origin. Are you from Nigeria? Are you? Or Sudan, Mali and Chad? Please where are you from actually? Are you from France? Because some say you speak French fluently and given that Francophone countries surround the northern boarders in Nigeria. Are you from the Diaspora? Are you from China Or Britain?, because to be very honest, with the by-products of our universities roaming around it is hard to imagine that such a solidly functioning network, a global brand like you can come from within. Are you a Muslim also? Because even with the numerous church bombings some Muslim Scholars who have not have been saying otherwise, yet at the park in Nyanya Abuja, like other attacks, you didn’t separate Muslims from Christians. Or in another light, are you from Mars?

Perhaps i have gone too far sir. I sincerely apologize; i hope this curiosity has not crossed the line. But given all that has happened, i must confess that this not just curiosity anymore it is my fear of you which has led me this far. Especially after reading somewhere online that customized terrorism can be used as a tool by a government to suppress its people following the statement of a very top government official that you were part of the government. All these give me the impression that i am the only one in your target list. Please forgive and change the target. I am the defenseless, jobless, everyday street hustler looking for my daily bread. I believe when you begin to fulfill this requests, the answers will start coming out, Please attack our politicians.


Tahir Sherrif is a Nigeria-based researcher, writer, and social commentator with a recent focus on governance and participation, regional development and social change.


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