University Dons At War With Boko Haram

The Amphitheatre-700 of the University of Yaounde 1 was, on June 5, 2015, the intellectual battlefield for an artillery of three university dons deployed by the Faculty of Arts, Letters and Social Sciences (FALSH) to verbally exchange fire on the impact of the Boko Haram terrorist group in sub-regional geopolitics. The lecture which was attended by university dons, students and the public held under the patronage of FALSH Dean, Prof. Richard Laurent Omgba.

Before recounting Boko Haram’s deadly attack on February 4, 2015 that left over 81 dead in the town of Fotokol, Far North Region, the moderator and journalist, Romuald Ntchuisseu Ngock, set his riposte rolling with a discourse on the supposed origins of the terrorist group by linking the words “Boko” to Book and “Haram” to Forbidden. To him, Boko Haram signifies the rejection of Western civilisation.

As first speaker, the lecturer in sociology, Dr. Armand Leka Essomba, sent a wave of panic in the hall when he stated, “Boko Haram does not cause fear among us, but reveals our political fears, our uncertainties and the weaknesses of our political communities”. He claimed that the group had demolished Cameroon’s pride as an “island” of stability, peace and tolerance in the rather unstable sub-region. Dwelling in the sphere of the imaginary, he said Boko Haram had pushed the country into collective delirium which reveals fears.

Amongst these features sociological fears as portrayed by political quarrels economic and generational fears illustrated by claims that Boko Haram was recruiting youth who had been neglected by employment and education policies and political fears upheld by allegations of armed uprising, and separatist intentions. “Boko Haram could be interesting because it proves that the political future should be managed in a peaceful manner,” he concluded.

The second speaker, Dr Willibroad Dze-Ngwa, a historian, cautioned that Boko Haram, the sect, is different from Boko Haramism an ideology that chastises Western civilisation. “Boko Haram is a group kept at bay while Boko Haramism is spreading,” he stated, adding that efforts to eradicate the phenomenon should include peace education. Taking the audience through alleys of history and philosophical discourse, Prof. Nkolo Foeacute established that the issue of Boko Haram is fundamentally philosophical. “Boko cannot come from the English word ‘Book’ but from the Hausa word ‘Deceit’,” he claimed. To him, Boko Haram’s terrorism is not against the Western world, but is within Islam itself.

The lectures were followed by a question-answer session launched by Pr. Richard Laurent Omgba who questioned Dr. Essomba’s partiality. “To me, Boko Haram revealed our strengths,” he stated, mentioning the great mobilisation of Cameroonians of all walks of life and the growing spirit of patriotism and solidarity in support of defence forces.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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