As President Buhari Prepares to Rescue the Chibok Girls as 'Women'

The night of the 14th to 15th of April, 2014 stripped the conglomerate of all the security operatives in Nigeria as well as the Federal Government Unclad under a harsh weather condition of winter.

276 girls were successfully abducted by ill-trained members of the Boko Haram sect from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State without any prompt response by security operatives at least from the volatile Borno area of the north-eastern part of the country that has been technically engulfed in a guerrilla war with insurgents. The capacity of the Nigerian Army, National Intelligence Agency, Nigerian Air force, Police, and Directorate of State Security to gather credible intelligence that could forestall any sort of national tragedy of this magnitude was mocked by an amateur emergency militia whose members may not be smart enough to write down their names correctly.

The vulnerable girls were heartlessly left in the hands of monster terrorists to ensure their own survival and improvise their escape based on instincts which about 60 (Amina Ali Mkeki  inclusive) successfully did leaving about 217 in captive according to This Day newspaper.
The lives of the poor girls became a viable weapon of political brickbats between the then ruling People's Democratic Party, PDP and the main opposition party - All Progressives Congress. The APC saw the kidnap as a golden opportunity to score cheap political points and distort the popularity of the then President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan while the latter initially disclaimed the report to save the face of his administration. This was a clash of selfish interests which is not far from the egocentrism of African leaders at the expense of human lives.

The 'ping pong' game between the PDP and the APC degenerated so low that the general public was left in a state of limbo about the true state of the Chibok girls. Till date (two years after the massive abduction), a large section of Nigerians even in the face to video recordings by Boko Haram, intelligence reports from the British and American governments, interview of escapee Chibok girls, parents and school principal of the Chibok school believe the abduction was a coordinated ruse to oust Jonathan. A vivid example is Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti who dishonoured the second year anniversary of the ill-fated school girls viciously defiled by Boko Haram fighters day in day out with fading hopes of freedom. Fayose, the self-acclaimed 'voice of the masses' rubbished the Chibok girls' heart-rending story clearly in an act of politicking.

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno claims it took former President Goodluck Jonathan 19 days to contact him about the status of the abducted girls.
Another startling and disheartening revelation by the All Progressives Congress chieftain was that the girls were held at a river bank for 2-3 days in the forest (as the commanders sought directives in Sambisa from their masters) while being transported to an unknown location. While the source of the Intel remains questionable, one wonders if anything is really safe and secure in Nigeria as human beings have joined public funds in pulling 'disappearance stunts'.

I am not a security official/consultant but we all have heard of emergency responses by proactive security agencies in developed countries. The reactions come in the form of military reinforcements, aerial surveillance and tapping into communication networks to monitor the movements of the insurgents and intercept invaluable information towards the rescue of the Chibok girls whose only sin was to be born as Nigerians where such a heinous affront is categorized as mere statistics. These are basic approaches employed in saner climes as a prompt response to such mishaps compared to Nigeria where non-committal press statements are swiftly made by security forces instead to hoodwink the general public.

Our leaders were caught red-handed playing expensive politics with the lives of citizens they were elected to protect by the social contract. The ruling and opposition parties couldn't abandon politics for a minute to focus on governance to liberate the people from the vicious shackles of non-state actors.

According to Aisha Wakil a.k.a Mama Boko Haram - a human rights lawyer who is famed for her friendly ties with the rampaging sect, she reiterated that the state should have maintained silence about the abduction of the Chibok girls to enable her facilitate their gradual release which the government failed to do. In as much as Aisha Wakil's magic could have worked, I still take her words to be a mockery of the security intelligence system in Nigeria.
Such ideas or intervention can only become golden in a weak or failed state; I mean situations that have reached a Cul-de-sac where all appropriate authorities have been found wanting in the delivery of their constituted services.

I will like to make reference to the prompt response of French authorities to the Charlie Hebdo shooting on January 7, 2015 involving the Koauchi brothers with affiliations to Al-Qeada in Yemen (Said and Cherif) who attacked the offices of a French satirical weekly newspaper - Charlie Hebdo in Paris in commando style leaving about 11 people dead and 11 others injured. 88,000 policemen and not even soldiers tracked the Koauchi brothers and one other accomplice, Amedy Coulibaly. Within the space of 72 hours, the terrorists were eliminated to give the civilians a sense of relief.

Nigeria seems different since all issues are politicized. Isn't it appalling that about 7 years into the insurgency war that has seen the Nigerian army and the Directorate of State Security, DSS announce high profile arrest of sect members; we still don't have any credible information about their sponsors? All those indicted are still working freely trying to amass political power in the face of concrete evidence against them.
Plugging their source of finance would have ended the war long ago and saved thousands of our people including soldiers bleeding to death in the north-east.

The All Progressives Congress once sponsored a rumour during the 2015 presidential election that their administration will defeat Boko Haram within a limited space of 3 months and rescue the Chibok girls which they debunked after the news served its purpose. Buhari vehemently hammered on the rescue of the Chibok girls but scandalously, in a meeting with the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG campaigners in Aso Rock Villa in Abuja - 14th of January, 2016, the President ordered the establishment of a committee to commence a fresh probe on the missing girls saga as he was short of information on their status 7 months after assuming power. Does this stipulate Mr. Buhari was busy making bombastic statements all over the 36 Nigerian states about the Chibok girls after being prepped by his media team? Your guess is as good as mine.

A Nigerian journalist named Ahmad Salkida famed for his close ties to the Boko Haram terrorist group faulted Buhari's commitment to the return of the abductees. He claimed that Buhari since his emergence as the first man of Nigeria has been living in a bubble with his approach to rescuing the Chibok girls. According to him, there are people the President could talk to in order to reach the sect members as the movement started in Nigeria, is being run by Nigerians and in Nigeria. Would it have been different if the abductees were children of influential Nigerian men like Senator Dino Melaye asked at a plenary session during their second year infamous anniversary? I can bet my life that their disappearance wouldn't have taken this long if Buhari's most popular daughter, Zahra Buhari was among the school girls who are fast becoming women.

In fairness to Buhari, a national newspaper report This Day newspaper has it that Boko Haram failed to keep to the end of their agreement recently concerning a proposed swap deal. On two occasions, the sect allegedly couldn't produce the agreed 50 girls for an initial swap with incarcerated Boko Haram fighters. Buhari has also openly admitted his preparedness to negotiate with the sect. He should be applauded for his frantic efforts of cleaning the 'mess' of the past administration according to the usual blame game which is the APC's favourite with the team's schemer, Lai Mohammed consistently hitting the bull's eye.

Sadly, the school pupils who left as girls will certainly return as 'women' just like the rescued girl Amina Ali Mkeki that came back with a baby born for a terrorist. They will be returning with a strange orientation about life, a change of religion, unwanted children, and chronic cases of Stockholm syndrome after being constantly defiled by the horny terrorists at the slightest instance of boredom in the forest as a replacement for lacking recreational facilities. They will be returning to the stigma and trauma of a lengthy relationship with the sect just like rape victims.
This is a painful price to pay for being a Nigerian. A price to pay for belonging to a system where politics is seen as a money-generating machinery of state rather than a channel of quality service delivery to the people.
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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