On Thursday 30 July 2009, Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram was captured by the Nigerian Army following a 5-day manhunt in Maiduguri. He hid in a goat pen in his parent-in-law house in Kernawa. He was thereafter handed over to the police, topless, with his hands cuffed.
The next the nation heard was a statement on national television by Moses Anegbode, Police AIG, that Yusuf died in a shootout while trying to escape from custody. How logical it was for a most prized detainee in cuffs to attempt to escape from an obviously fortified detention left a great deal to be desired.
Not a few believed that Yusuf was 'murdered' to forestall an imminent rigorous judicial process that might follow his capture.
That was the moment Nigeria crossed the Rubicon in respect of Boko Haram insurgency.
Yusuf's death triggered off a bloody, long-drawn and sustained offensive by his followers. The rest, as they say, is now history. We pray it remains history.
Would things have been better if Yusuf went through a proper course of justice? I guess yes. Information from him would have been of invaluable use to the security forces in dismantling his terror network and blocking their source of funding.
In everything, decorum is essential.
Credit: Dotun Oyeniyi