Media reports indicate that there are plans by the Borno State government to convert the house of the late leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Mohammed Yusuf, into a museum. The intention of the government in taking this step, the report said, is to archive all things related to that terrorist group so that future generations will have something to learn from what happened and is still happening.
This, in our opinion, is a strange development that ought to set off the alarm bells and send out warnings that the government is preparing grounds to make terrorism a sophisticated intellectual pursuit.
The Borno State government could not have forgotten so soon that when Boko Haram reared its ugly head, allegations were rife that it started as a youth movement set up by politicians in the state then to actualise their evil political intentions that did not augur well for the state and its people. It is not a surprise that it went rogue and, like the proverbial Frankenstein monster, ran out of the control of those who set it up.
The effect of the disastrous misadventure is being felt till date especially the cost in human lives not to talk of other resources as well as the humanitarian crises that resulted in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), a phenomenon that is still not yet resolved. Is that the kind of information the government wants to preserve for posterity- the abduction of the Chibok girls, the slaughter at the Buni Yadi School, the bombings and destruction that they caused- is that what the government wants to put on exhibition? .
The government of that state needs to know that its intention in trying to document and perpetuate the philosophy of that group and its inclination to terrorism is flawed. It is a bad idea that is akin to documenting and preserving a nightmare.
There is nothing edifying about the group to deserve that kind of honour. Eventually the museum, if established, will become a source of inspiration to those who are pre-disposed to violence of the type that Boko Haram unleashed on the country and there are many – pushed to the brink by religious fanaticism and egged on by bigots intent on causing mischief.
We recall that as soon as the leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist group, Osama bin Laden, was killed by the Americans, the Pakistani government pulled down the house he lived in and died. Their reason was simple, that they did not want the house to become another Mecca for terrorists in formation. It was also for that same reason that the United States of America buried him at sea in a weighted body bag – because they did not want his grave to begin to attract undue attention.
In the fight against the Boko haram terrorists, the military took over part of the Sambisa forest that the elements used as base. It was a deliberate move to take away from the group anything that was capable of evoking nostalgia. In the Niger Delta region and in the wake of the terrorist activities that disrupted the exploration of hydrocarbons in the area, the Military, in a bid to neutralise them and their motivations for the dastardly act, made it a policy to destroy not just the terrorists but also their source of sustenance such illegal refineries.
We are persuaded by the illogicality of the plan to insist that it is a project that does not deserve the kind of attention the government is about to give it let alone spend taxpayers money on. Boko Haram and all that it represents are altogether an aberration. The government should be more concerned about what to do to restore normalcy in the state in the aftermath of the destruction brought upon the people of Borno state by that rascal group.
Instead of a museum facility that will teach the young ones how to be a terrorist, the government should use the money to reconstruct and rehabilitate schools, health centres and, better still, rebuilt the lives of the people whose standard of living was cut short in mid trajectory. There are many things that the government can do without embarking on a project that has the potential of influencing impressionable minds to begin to imagine that crime and terrorism are lofty ideas worth exploring. They are not.
A museum is where people go learn about old things that can make them build new lives. There is nothing of benefit to learn from Boko Haram, a group that represents death.