Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Chibok girls, Boko haram and the wait on September 22, 2015

IT is over five hundred days since the news of the abducted Chibok girls came to the spotlight. To some people then, it was unthinkable, even much so now. Imagine the scenario; over two hundred secondary school students, let us say at most twenty of them per truck, that will be over ten trucks. Then imagine their accommodation and feeding.
How it is possible for the girls to remain out of the intelligence radar for so long or is it another case of Malaysian airline flight MH370 aircraft that is still a mystery till date?
A British diplomat once said that their satellite spotted a group of women at some point in the search for the girls. Could these  be the wives and harems of the Boko Haram fighters? Of course, in any conquered territory, there are prisoners of war and these include women but some of these women choose to follow the fighters voluntarily and it is from this group, that women and child suicide bombers are produced.
Senator Shehu Sani again raised the hope of rescuing the Chibok girls alive in the interview he granted Sunday Vanguard in the edition of 13th September 2015.
The question is, how would the rescue mission be made possible? Only last week, the Nigerian military came out with a statement to the that they have flushed out Boko Haram insurgents from all of their known hide outs. With all of our neighbours now in full support of Buhari in the fight against Boko Haram, where will they be hiding the girls?
If all known Boko Haram hide outs have been captured, where could these girls be? Unless they are getting the support of a foreign government that is in cahoot with the insurgents, which to me is a farfetched option? Or, is it that people like Shehu Sani and others who are so confident of finding these girls know something that the rest of us do not know? It is not a question of a southerner and Christian that is at the helm of the nation’s affairs now.
We have Muhammadu Buhari, a top notch Hausa fulani and one preferred by them to rule the country, so why is the information about the girls’ whereabouts taking so long to be released? Why is information about the girls so difficult to obtain? We have over ran all of their strongholds and captured thousands of their soldiers, not one of them has volunteered information about the girls, or, is it that those in authority have more information than they ready to disclose to the public? Some have posited that the girls could have been dispersed in different directions. But, how is it possible for over two hundred persons to be distributed round, in different directions without a single trace of their movements.
Let us assume again that they are given out in marriage, out of two hundred girls, none is wise enough to reach out to their families? Or is there a possibility that they have all been killed and secretly buried without a trace? This viewpoint again is doubtful because if it is true, of all of the hundreds of Boko Haram commanders that have been captured both in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, at least a few will be in position to volunteer information on the missing Chibok girls.
It will be a big deal if the international community that includes the USA and Britain, is misled on the true position of the Chibok girls. More disappointing is the fact that their intelligence network and sophisticated equipment could not find the girls. Has Nigeria become Afghanistan, of treacherous mountains and inhospitable climate conditions that make it possible for people to disappear without trace? Even in Afghanistan, with the number of people involved, they will find traces? So, who is fooling who in this instance?
People have used the Chibok girls issue to feather their nests and gain recognition. They collected donations from concerned Nigerians and even get appointed to public offices but where are the girls? Let us all sit down and think and if we cannot think, as we say in Warri ‘let us leave everything to God’.
It is clear that even our military have not learnt any lesson in information disseminate with regards to the fight against the insurgents, because as it was under Goodluck Jonathan, so it is now. You do not speak with absolute certainty unless you are very sure about your facts on the position and condition of the opposition in all ramifications. The Boko Haram is a very mobile force, having been pushed to the wall; they have now resorted to suicide bombings and attacking soft targets in towns and cities.
We are facing a very brutal, determined and demon possessed force. The only way to silence them is with a more equal and efficient brutality, you do not use the pacifist approach, otherwise they will remain cancerous, defying all cures. Saddam Hussein applied this method when he was in charge of Iraq but the whole world brought him to condemnation, look at Iraq today, are they better off? The ISIL of today is the product of the Iraq renegade forces and opposition groups.
We need new intelligence strategies, as well as of forces that will consist of bold and determined men, ever ready to stick out their necks on the line of duty, to infiltrate the enemy lines and give accurate feedbacks, not guess work. We must no longer underestimate the Boko Haram forces or fall into the fallacy of underestimating the opposition, many great generals have fallen in battle by not according respect to the opposition.
With the sophisticated weapons and superior intelligence available to the USA and its European allies, they have not won the battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc. The solution is to adapt to the changing times, of today’s war.
Meanwhile, we wait for the Chibok girls and we wait for the December deadline to rout the insurgents.
Mr. Sunny Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.

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