- (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
New details of Boko Haram's grand plans to "Islamize Nigeria" have been exposed through interrogations with the State Security Service. Two coordinators within the terrorist organization are finally speaking out, though it remains to be seen whether their information proves helpful to the Nigerian government.
"We had a grand plan to Islamize Nigeria, rightly starting with the North," revealed Abu Qaqa and Kabiru Sokoto. African news source ThisDay reported the exact comments from the interviews.
"We felt that a lot of Muslims were not practicing the religion faithfully as they should. Part of the plan was to reduce the powers of the Sultan to traditional ruler functions, only while all religious authority would be vested with our leader based in Yobe," said the coordinators.
Qaqa is the former spokesperson for Boko Haram, while Sokoto is believed to have coordinated the 2011 Christmas Day bombing.
"We believed there were so many things wrong with the present arrangement of combining tradition with religion," they told authorities.
Yet if Boko Haram has its way, Islamic law will become the law of Nigeria. No longer will there be government officials, there will only be religious leaders who hold all the power. This leads to the fear of Shariah law becoming realized in the land, which could lead to persecution and unjust treatment of non-followers.
Qaqa and Sokoto also offered insight into Boko Haram's practice of targeting high-volume areas.
"The plans to attack churches and schools were not a reaction to any provocation. The plans had been there. You know why the churches had to go. Those schools, for instance, were not teaching the children according to ways of faith," the terrorists explained.
"These were part of our initial plans of allowing only Islamic schools and wiping away the so-called secular schools. Though a lot of us who had gone to school saw this approach as too rigid since we could use the medium to propagate the faith faster, we were few and equally scared of being labeled traitors to face the ultimate consequence. We wanted to reform the schools to conform to our practice," the two proposed.
An attack on Tuesday night took the lives of three policemen and a 5-year-old boy in Konduga. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place immediately following evening prayer. The terrorist group tends to take advantage of the vulnerability of people praying in order to launch a violent attack.
Now with these revelations, will Nigerian forces be able to prevent attacks before they happen? The only way that seems possible is to shut down schools, though that in itself would be unfair and lead to new, innovative ways for Boko Haram to attack.