Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan may have augmented the fears of an already frightened public on Thursday when he said that Boko Haram has infiltrated all levels of society.
Boko Haram is everywhere, in the executive arm of government, in the legislative arm of government and even in the judiciary. Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies, Jonathan said, according to Nigerian newspaper Vanguard.
Some continue to dip their hands and eat with you and you won't even know the person who will point a gun at you or plant a bomb behind your house.
Boko Haram is the Islamic militant sect that has been terrorizing Nigeria for over a year. With the stated mission of abolishing the secular system and establishing an Islamic state, the northern-based rebels have unleashed a series of deadly attacks across the country. In just the first half of this month, Boko Haram has opened fired on Christian prayer services, a town hall meeting, a beer hall and attempted to carry out car bombings. Dozens of people have died.
The latest development in this conflict is that Nigeria's Christian population is beginning to retaliate. A mosque and two Islamic schools -- one in Benin City and one in Delta, both part of the Christian-dominated south -- were attacked and set on fire. Across the country, tens of thousands of people of both religious groups have fled their homes in fear.
African newspapers this week have run stories with headlines likes Nigeria: Worse Than We Thought, Boko Haram: Enough is enough, Nigeria: A ticking time bomb and Nigeria: Armed and dangerous.
And Jonathan is certainly no longer taking the threat lightly. After 18 months of near-constant militancy, the President has declared a state of emergency in 15 areas and sent more government soldiers to regions in the north where Boko Haram is traditionally active.
Already calling the unrest worse than the 1967-1970 civil war, Jonathan is apparently doubling-down on his efforts to crush Boko Haram by force. So far, Jonathan's decision to send troops and police into northern cities has done little to stop the rebels, which seems to have confounded the Nigerian leader.
During the civil war, we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from, Jonathan stated.
You can even know the route they are coming from, you can even know what caliber of weapon they will use and so on. But the challenge we have today is more complicated, the President added.
During the Nigerian civil war somewhere between one and three million soldiers and civilians were killed. Much of the violence was ethnically motivated, as well as the result of the recently discovered oil wealth in the southern Niger River Delta region.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru on Tuesday, and U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay pleaded for Nigeria's Muslim and Christian leaders to condemn all violence and retaliatory attacks to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
But despite his most recent statements, Jonathan is still trying to project a strong and fearless self-image to the public.
I assure Nigerians that we shall get over it. We are meeting everyday and we are planning. We are going to increase the strength and the capacity of the security services to confront the modern challenges we face, he promised.