This is a continuation of Part I: How our sons, husbands joined Boko Haram, by parents, wives
Mohammed Mustapha (he did not disclose his age, but looks in his late forties), the guardian of Ibrahim, says he will live to regret having the boy as ward. The younger Ibrahim got conscripted into the Boko Haram terror group at Banki, where he went to continue his Quranic studies.
He has been killed by the Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole soldiers.
Mustapha, a thriving Bama trader before Boko Haram insurgents sacked the town, tells the story of his terrorist ward.
“My father and his were born of the same parents. We are, therefore, cousins. Our fathers died, entrusting him to me as his guardian. He was progressing in his studies at a Quranic school at Bama when he came one day and told me he was going to Banki to continue his studies.
“Not long after he relocated to Banki, I received information severally that my ward had become wayward and he had, in fact, joined Boko Haram. I resolved to set out for Banki to confirm what I had been hearing about him. Before embarking on the journey, however, I went to notify his mother and consult her on the appropriate move to take. She knew he had relocated to Banki.
“I relayed what I had been hearing about him to her and warned seriously against allowing him to go farther than can be checked. The mother allayed my fears, saying that her son had not gone wayward. I rested my case and took leave of her.
“While going along a street at Bama, I saw him. I caught him immediately and dragged him to the boys of the civilian JTF in our ward and told them that I had been hearing nasty stories about him, and I wanted them to investigate him properly accordingly. In the course of their investigation, the civilian JTF boys discovered that he had friends with whom he had been roaming the streets.
“So they combed the streets in search of the friends. They eventually got two. In the course of investigating them, the two boys confessed being members of Boko Haram, including him. The JTF boys then faced him, querying him over his mother’s denial of his Boko Haram membership, while his two friends had just confirmed that he was.
“Before the end of investigation, the naughty boy sneaked out and fled to Banki. He was pursued there and, luckily, he was caught and brought back to Bama. The three naughty boys were exceptionally lucky that the civilian JTF workers did not take hurried decision on them. Search began for witnesses against my ward. Meanwhile, his mother had been weeping, and although by our culture I should accord her every motherly respect, I rebuked her instantly and told her that her weeping was worthless at that point.
“It was resolved that he would be put under observation for two months; but not long after, information came to me that he was caught with a gun. I was asked if I could do anything to exonerate him from insurgency. I replied: “what will I do with him? Our parents have died. Of what use will a worthless boy, a terrorist, be to us? I disowned him, and he was killed by the soldiers.
“Our fathers and uncles died, leaving behind about fifty of us. All but this boy are righteous and disciplined. None of us his kinsmen ever exerted any influence on him as to drive him out to join the terrorists. He alone decided to stray out of the righteousness into which he was born, and get lost in his perilous ventures. So, none among us, let me repeat, none among us his kinsmen, is aggrieved and pained over the fate that had befallen him. In fact, we all jubilated. You know, whenever they enter the town, the first set of people they kill is their parents, brothers, sisters and other relations. So, if he had not been killed, we would have been the first set of people he would kill whenever he entered Bama. We were all happy that he was killed!
“To express their devoutness as Boko Haram members, the people they first kill whenever they enter the town are their parents and relations. If they don’t meet their own parents and relations, they will kill the parents and relations of others. As they sacked us from Bama, the Boko Haram boys in our ward killed my three uncles. They had aged, so they had no energy to flee. So, while we all fled, they remained behind, and the bad boys who had flooded the streets of the town killed them. Since no man was left in the town, our women performed their funeral.
Mallam Umara Madu, 56, is another fleeing trader now residing in Maiduguri. He tells the story of his two Boko Haram nephews and wards.
“They were born by my elder sister, but I am their guardian. Their names are Babagana Usman, 12, and Madu Usman, 18. Although their parents are alive, I am their guardian.
“The elder Babagana was the first to join the terrorist. Later he came and conscripted the younger Madu. This is about two years now. That was when both of them left Bama. Even when they were at Bama, they were itinerant traders. The fact I want you to underscore here is that my nephews joined the terrorist group not because they had nothing doing, but because someone somewhere indoctrinated them, because they are too young to think rationally and separate good from bad.
“I cannot remember receiving any information that the two boys had killed anyone there, but what you should know is that they would go out to commit their atrocity at another location unknown to us.
“Even their parents did not know when and how they joined. It was only when the club was lifted that they got to know. That was the period of bafflement, because majority of people were intensely baffled to hear that even their and their neighbour’s children had since joined Boko Haram. It was too late then for us to do anything about my nephews.
“So when we confirmed that Babagana and Madu had joined the insurgents, we all disowned them. We condemned them to the calamitous life they had chosen to live, and warned them never to come near us. But after we cursed them, the parents began to entertain the fear that they could, in anger over the curse, connive with their fellow insurgents, sneak into Bama and kill all of us. However, we remained calm.
“When the club was lifted and the Holy Quran was raised (that was when the civilian JTF was formed, coupled with a formidable popular resolve to retaliate against the terrorist sweeping across the two states), we resolved at Bama, as it was all over the Boko Haram-controlled territories at that point in time, to rid ourselves of the terrorists. Since the beginning of this calamity, we had lived at Bama for about seven years without farming or trading. They never gave us the peace and freedom to do these. Whoever dared to go out of Bama for even about half a kilometer would surely be killed by the boys.
“That was how we lived in traumatizing captivity. We were completely holed up in Bama. Our only access to the outside world was the road to Maiduguri, which our merchants could dare to ply to purchase food items and other essential provisions for us. Our own children would not allow us to trade or farm. Our own children were starving us to death. My shop was set ablaze thrice. Everything of mine went with the flames. The Boko Haram terrorists raided Bama nine times.
“When we lifted the club against the terrorists and swore by the Holy Quran, we surged out in the search and pursuit of the Boko Haram terrorists. We handed over the ones we could catch to the soldiers for execution. Those we could not catch fled to the bush.
“Many of the worthless boys were conscripted by enticements. Promises of huge amounts of money and other goodies did the trick. Imagine this situation: a son has never seen his father with any amount of money close to One Hundred Thousand Naira. Someone suddenly approaches him and promises to give him One Hundred Thousand Naira, buy a new motorcycle for him and also give him the amount of money he requires to marry.
“Because of poor upbringing and lack of education, most of them instantly swoop at such proposals, bereft of any capacity to think rationally for the right decision. They, therefore, get conscripted instantly.
“I have a friend, a barber, whose son exhibited proper upbringing by spectacularly rejecting such proposals. The recruiters proposed giving him a new motorcycle and Eight Hundred Thousand Naira cash instantly if he agreed to join, and if he refused they would kill him. He resisted the temptation to jump at the proposal instantly, insisting that he would first have go home and consult his father.
“When he consulted the father, the father blessed him for reasoning aright and warned him against joining them, saying that what they were doing was against Islam.”
Source: DAILY TRUST