Opinion

Boko Haram/ISWAP: Who is Bulama Bukarti?

 

By Maxwell Ogala

The name Bulama Bukarti should ordinarily be viewed as an intellectual, a security analyst and a public policy expert. At least that is what his twitter bio says about him. But there is more that I think Nigerians need to know with regards to the festering of the Boko Haram war in North-East Nigeria.
I must state that the Boko Haram war in Nigeria has various dimensions in terms of the execution of its nefarious activities in Nigeria. There is the physical Boko Haram group that are in the trenches; there is the political arm that devotes substantial resources to the group by providing logistics support to the group through covert means.

There is also the intellectual arm that drives the ideology of the group as an academic exercise while concealing the real motives. In my opinion as someone that has studied the evolution of the Boko Haram group, it suffices to state that after the physical Boko Haram group, the next in line is the intellectual arm that propagates the ideology of the group under the banner of academic enterprise. We must also admit that this is the real threats that the Nigerian authorities must deal with in the final phase of the Boko Haram war in Nigeria.

This brings me to the identity of Bulama Bukarti who has been systematically promoting the ideals of Boko Haram under the guise of academic engagement which can also be labelled intellectual propaganda. Bulama Bukarti’s position of the origin and activities of the Boko Haram group has been such that promotes not only the activities of the group but one that systematical justifies its violent campaign in Nigeria by creating a nexus between the death of Mohammed Yusuf and the murderous campaign that has left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead and properties worth millions of dollars destroyed.

I stand to be corrected, after an extensive analysis of the position of Bulama Burkarti in his various articles and papers, there was a trend that systematically justifies the existence of the Boko Haram group. There was also the position that supports why the actions of the Albanawi faction is justified in the sense that Albanawi is one of the sons of the late founder of the group.

Bulama Burkarti is smart. Make no mistakes. He is clever too and one that mesmerizes with words to members of the unsuspecting members of the general public. It is therefore expedient that Nigerians know him and his motives.

I must add that the propaganda machinery he leads is top-notch. And this much the Nigerian government must be aware of and consequently begin the process of exposing the propaganda of Bulama Burkarti. I stand to be corrected, the likes of Bulama Burkarti are veiled experts and the earlier the Nigerian and the United Kingdom authorities realized this, the progress that would be recorded in the fight against Terrorism not just in Nigeria, but globally.

Bulama Burkarti must do well to be more circumspect in his analysis. He must come to terms with the starkness of the reality in North-East Nigeria with regards to the wanton destruction that the Boko Haram group has imposed on the people.
I won’t be surprised just like the generality of Nigerians that the likes of Bulama Bukarti constitute the bulk of those that do not want the Boko Haram insurgency to come to an end because of their irritant minds towards the growth and development of Nigeria.

As I mentioned earlier in this piece, the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria has various dimensions, and there are lots of conspiracies against the Nigerian government in its efforts at ending the crisis. I would also like to add that there is every possibility that he has joined the ranks of Ahmad Salkida in spearheading the intellectual arm of the Boko Haram group. They hide under cover of an academic exercise to bolster the activities of Boko Haram.
This is mostly why I have stated in numerous forums that ending the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria might be a daunting task because of vested interest consisting of those that are financial sponsors as well as those that are covertly propagating the ideologies of the group, yet, concealing their true intentions.

Bulama Burkarti is no stranger in Nigeria. From his writings, he appears as one that understands the dynamics of the insurgency but has elected to live in sell-denial for whatever it is worth. And this brings us to the critical question of why the Boko Haram insurgency has festered despite the efforts of the Nigerian Military.
I think for long, the Nigerian authorities didn’t pay attention to this evolving strategy in the Boko Haram crisis. I stand to be corrected. While the emphasis has been on engaging the physical Boko Haram group, the other arms continued to operate underground hence the prolongation of the crisis. This is also where the international community must come in to assist Nigeria because the Boko Haram group has not only assumed a regional dimension; it would also assume a global dimension if urgent and proactive steps are not taken. This much was contained in the advisory by the government of the United States of America on Boko Haram penetrating North-West Nigeria.

As hard as this reality is, we must come to terms with it as well as the international community in realizing that the threat posed by the Boko Haram group would escalate and attain an international dimension. The likes of Bulama Bukarti are holed up in their safe heavens in the United Kingdom and rendering covert support to the Boko Haram group.
In all of this, I fear for the United Kingdom because there are hundreds of Bulama Bukarti’ holed in the United Kingdom and having a field day in their nefarious activities. A word is indeed enough for the wise. In all of these, I am sure the Nigerian Military would begin to pay attention to some of the salient issues that are responsible for the continued resistance posed by the Boko Haram group.

I conclude with the painful fact that the overarching objective of the likes of Bulama Bukarti is the disintegration of Nigeria using the window availed by the Boko Haram terror group. Consequently, there is a need proactive measure to be put in place as propaganda is also a potent weapon of war.

Ogala is a UN trained facilitator in peace and conflict resolution and wrote from the United Kingdom.