“When we get to the point of properly examining the issues behind their acts then we can solve the problems”, he said.
Speaking on Channels Television, he said that Boko Haram have behind them people who are being cynical about their fight against western education.
While warning that there were a lot to worry about in the Southern part of Nigeria despite having not felt the attacks yet, he noted that “It is war and we need to find out why they are waging war against the society.
He referred to the abduction of girls in a government secondary school in Borno State as a failure of the security network in Nigeria, adding that all major security organisations in the rest of the world have proper intelligence gathering.
The failure of intelligence gathering that would enhance a prediction of what could happen, he said, has led to the attacks on the soft targets.
He also emphasized the act of monitoring the entry of foreigners into the country which was lacking in the country as another major failure in comparison to countries like Egypt where this is taken seriously.
While admitting that the security agencies in Nigeria had done well enough to be commended, he insisted that they could do more.
The Safety Expert also berated Nigerians for being passive in their attitude to security, stating that it was important for Nigerians to be more conscious of their environment.
Going down memory lane, Dr. Adedeji recalled that during the Nigerian Civil War, there was a general mental alertness in the southwest that there was a war. He expects that this would be the kind of alertness that exists among all Nigerians irrespective of the region they live in.
“Don’t sit on the fence, join the Civil Defence” was the slogan that became popular in the media during the war and it still lingered in his mind.
He insisted that Government at all levels must get involved in getting people aware of the situation in the country and create a state of consciousness and readiness to fight the war together.
“In the beginning there was a soft sell – Christian, Muslim, now it is clear that that’s not the issue. It hasn’t gotten any religious connotation even from the beginning. They sold us a decoy and a lot of us fell for it.
“Now it’s becoming clearer that they have some deeper meaning to what they are trying to do”, he said, with the submission that they were “protesting against their leadership.”
According to him: “The reason for that is that up until this moment, the societies that you have up North, there are people who have lived with a sense of deprivation which has not gone away, to the extent that people over there are limited. The opportunity for people to self-actualize is completely hard and unreachable for a number of people.”
“There are unspoken questions that Boko Haram is asking – ‘why have you neglected us for this long? You told us don’t get western education, your children got western education, those children are far removed from us now, and they are not even doing what you used to do’.
“What the fathers of all the young northern leaders used to do was provide food – lunch, breakfast, dinner – for all these people in their neighbourhood, but their children are far removed from the practices that their fathers used to give in the society.”
On the view that Boko Haram was political, Dr. Adedeji agreed that this was a valid view but Nigerians must be careful not to limit it to party politics, as there was politics of human beings, politics of population, politics of poverty, and politics could be played with people’s minds based on the power an individual has on them, with poverty having become a powerful tool for this over the years.
He summed up his perceived mindset of the Boko Haram sect in one statement: “We are completely fed up of this kind of leadership that we have gotten for years and years. You deceived us that western education is not good but you all got western education and you’re ruling us because of that.”
He said, “That’s the cynicism and people need to catch up with that to be able to appreciate how deep-rooted this thing is.”
He insisted that the easy recruits for Boko Haram has been those class of Nigerians who have been impoverished over the years, who are tired of the situation and are willing to fight by any means, the deprivations they have experienced.
Dr. Adedeji posited that until the leaders admit that indeed truly some things have happened in the past that have kept some people deprived, it would be hard to deal with the situation.