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Enigma of growing sympathy for terrorists in Nigeria



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Nigeria has developed a culture of having more sympathy for terrorism and perpetrators of crimes in the country. From the Chibok girls episode to the Dapchi girls, from the wanton killings by Boko Haram terrorists to the Fulani herdsmen invasion of rural communities, those in political offices and some Nigerians on the street seldom condemn the criminals but spend more energy to defend the culprits, while few not in power condemn the government.

The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) was the first known organized group that confronted the Nigerian government after the kidnap of Chibok girls by Boko Haram. The group harassed and intimidated the federal government in manners that conspicuously gave legitimacy to the activities of the kidnappers. To the consternation of Nigerians, the leader of the BBOG was offered luxury appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) after the 2015 general elections won by the All Progressives Congress (APC). The appointment generated suspicion that the APC may have been ‘owners’ of BBOG to unsettle the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), cause sufficient international embarrassment, then weaken the party government. Apparently, the emergent APC government appeared to be the principal beneficiary of the BBOG campaign under the guise of advocating for the freedom of the abducted Chibok girls.

Since then, activities of confronting the government than chastising the terrorists and other crime perpetrators in Nigeria have remained expanding enterprise in the country. The trademark expanded to ethnic and religious colouration in defence or condemnation of any crime in the country.

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The aborted bombing assignment of the Living Faith Church, Kaduna, by a suspect now in police custody, has generated much controversies in profiling the religious inclination of the suspect, this time, linked to Christianity,  and attempting to adopt the profile to vindicate the violent killings of those identified with the Muslim community.

Reports that the suspect identified as Nathaniel Samuel, sounded louder than the crime of killing innocent citizens. Sympathizers attacked the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over their mass protest of the rising insecurity and wanton killing of innocent citizens in Nigeria.  Sympathizers of the terrorists then notified CAN that Christians are also among the terrorists as though they justify and give currency to terrorism.

The president of Nigeria was not left out of the episode as indicated in his statement on the protest by CAN.

Ironically, the said Nathaniel Samuel who was arrested for attempted bombing of Living Faith Church in Kaduna and was celebrated as a Christian which his father was said to have confirmed, later opened up to reveal that his real name is Mohammed Kaduba, and not Nathaniel. He was gathered to have disclosed that he was forced to adopt the name Nathaniel for the operation.

Meanwhile, the issue is still under investigation by the police, and until the investigation is concluded, it will not be the public responsibility to make further argument. However, since the suspect has revealed his real identity and the circumstances, he adopted the celebrated Christian name, his religion identity may also have been compromised for propaganda purpose.

However, the more Nigerians offer sympathy for terrorists under whatever guise, the perpetrators gain confidence and develop more capacity for violence.