The Rise of Suicide Bombings in Borno State and Evacuation of Organizations from Borno: An Ethical Assessment



ROLES IN CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION; WHICH WAY FORWARD?
Peace is not the absence of war and also is it not the presence of war in any way. The presence or absence of war does not dispose the true situation of a people especially when wrong political decisions are made at the right time but the social activities of both the local and international organizations present in the trouble spots. This is no
way different in the North-East Nigeria where organizations took upon themselves the responsibility to assist the people of Borno state who have, since 2009, been in constant turmoil as a result of the Boko Haram insurgence.
Organizations with different function assembled to work in mutually complimented action that is adequate for peace and development, but for these organizations to compliment their actions the outcome has to be beneficial to them which gives some limited space to function and for proper coordination. It requires the coordination in the different thematic areas of monitoring, socialization and cohesion, humanitarian, protection, mediation, advocacy and so many others. To perform these functions, organizations need to have information to know specific actions expected of them for proper coordination and incentives where necessary.
However, in January 2017, the Governor of Borno state Kashim Shettima evacuated over a hundred organizations from the state labelling them “non performing” organizations whilst performing organizations were World Food Program (WFP), International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Danish Refugee Council (DRC) United Nations Humanitarian Council of Refugee (UNHCR) and the International Office of Migration (IOM). The peculiarity of these performing agencies, as claimed by the state, is that they all have similar humanitarian function in peace and development.
We might as well begin to ask ourselves the definition of performance and non-performance in conflict areas because the government had set a threshold on humanitarian function as performing not recognising the other functions due to lack of immediate outcomes. The consequence is that the state of violence have been determined by how the Governor or state government reacted, thus measuring the impact through handouts and immediate outcomes.
The Governor mentioned that the state is in a post-conflict state which also meant that there is an absence of direct violence but the incessant suicide bombings in the state postulate otherwise. There is still a heavy presence of military personnel in the state and neighbouring states and border towns of other countries are affected. An assessment 10 months before and 10 months after the evacuation of about 126 organizations would suffice whether the vacation of organizations was effective in the post-conflict pronouncement.
Table 1. Suicide trends before the evacuation
                                        March – December 2016
Date
Description
Dead(Injured)
Location
Mar 16
1 suicide bomber
14(22)
Umarari Village
May 13
1 male suicide bomber
8(6)
Musa Usman Secretariat
June 17
2 male suicide bombers
2
Kusari area
June 27
2 suicide bombers
2
Suleimanti mosque Maiduguri
July 8
2 suicide bombers
6(1)
Damboa
Sept 12
1 female suicide bomber
1(3)
Dikwa
Oct 12
1female suicide bomber
5
Muna Garage
Oct 29
2 female suicide bombers
9(24)
Bakassi IDP Camp
Nov 11
3female suicide bombers
3
Umarari Village
Nov 18
2 female, 1 male
2(1 arrest)
Jiddari Polo area
Nov 23
1 suicide bomber
2
Muna garage
Dec 26
1 suicide bomber
1
Kasuwa Shanu Central District
Source: online resources
Table 2. Suicide trends after the evacuation
                                     January - October 2017
Date
Description
Dead(Injured)
Location
Jan 16
2 suicide bombers
6(17)
University of Maiduguri
Jan 25
1 male, 1 female suicide bombers
3
Usmanti layout
Mar 15
4 teenage girls
6(16)
Muna garage
April 2
3 suicide bombers
3
Muna garage
April 8
2 female suicide bombers
2(5)
Juddumuri village
April 24
3 female, 1 male suicide bombers
7(2)
Mamanti and Manari Village
May 13
2 suicide attacks
1
University of Maiduguri
May 16
3 female suicide bombers
3(6)
Shudari and Mandari Village
May 18
1 female suicide bombers
1(2)
Mashimari village
May 20
1 male suicide bomber
1
University of Maiduguri
June 8
3 suicide attacks
13(24)
Jiddari Polo Park
June 19
5 female suicide bombers
17(11)
Kofa Village
June 25
7 suicide bombers
16(13)
University of Maiduguri
July 7
2 suicide attackers
2
University of Maiduguri
July 12
4 female suicide bombers
23(23)
Molai Kura outskirt
July 17
4 female suicide bombers
12(13)
Zannari along Dikwa road
July 26
4 female suicide bombers
4(4)
Mandirari Village
Aug 4
2 suicide bombers
2+2dogs
Molai Hospital
Sept 8
2 male suicide bombers
2(4)
Muna Motor Park
Sept 18
3 suicide bombers
19(46)
Mashimari village
Sept 26
2 female suicide bombers
5
Dikwa
Oct  22
1 male 2 female suicide bombers
16(18)
Muna General Area
Oct 29
2 female suicide bombers
2
Mafa/Dikwa LGA Axis
Source: online resources
Both tables show that there is about 98% increase rate of suicide bombing in Borno state and an increase of about three times the number of death and injured persons after the evacuation of 126 organizations in the state on 11th January 2017. This shift has cost the state the loss of so many lives as most of the suicide bombers targeted, with clear instructions, places of worship, market and public utilities. In as much as we do not know the next phase of the violence in Borno state, we could as well posit that previous recurrence could have been avoided if properly coordinated by organizations and agencies which could have managed the political context. He who does not systematically know the disadvantages of absence cannot systematically know the advantages of presence.
Debatably, it could have been better to know which organizations are into peacebuilding and what they do. For these organizations, their final outcome is peace upon evaluation whilst building stronger and better relationship.
Furthermore, the organizations would bridge the gap in peace research; draw the specific variables in every incident and to know the bio-data of the suicide bombers for further recommendation to the state and country against future recurrence. For example, most of the suicide bombers are female from the assessment above. This would help the state to develop policy for female children of certain age bracket and for the families too but as it is, the ages of the suicide bombers were not mentioned which avails lacuna for proper research and recommendations.
Would it be fair to say that we do not question the evacuation because it’s their state and they make the rules? That depends on who we are as a people and what kind of development we want to see in the country, it is who we are that make us take responsibilities for what is right and for the kind of the peace we hope.
May peace prevail on earth... 

Written by Emmanuel Iziomoh; he is an MSC student on Development Studies from University of Nigeria Enugu Campus. 


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