On April 14, 2014, the vicious and villainous Boko Haram laid siege to a girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Borno State carrying away in a gestapo manner, no fewer than 200 school girls. Temper rose nationwide when the news of the incident filtered through. The crime instantly met with widespread condemnation by the citizens. When after 19 days, the then government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, did not take any action, believing that the incident did not happen and even assertng that it did not happen, patriotic Nigerians and civil society groups championed by the former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili began a nationwide protest tagged #Bring back our girls”. The protests gained widespread acceptance and so continued unhindered. The international community equally condemned the action of the Boko Haram in strong terms and called for strict action against the sect. Either by computation or permutation between the sect and the Federal Government, a tiny fraction of the girls were released leaving a greater number of them still in captivity up till now.
Foreign nations had signified their intentions to assist the Federal Government in cash and militarily to deal with the Boko Haram. That had been the situation as at now with most of the girls still in captivity. There was widespread anguish in the land. Most of the girls had been married off to strange men by the sect. by the end of this month, it is making about fourth year since they had been in captivity. Poor girls one would say.
“Out of sight, out of mind”, so says an English proverb. It appears the Federal Government and relevant authorities have forgotten all about these hapless and belpless innocent girls. The Information Minister, Lai Mohammed and the army had often dished out meaningless tirades and fallacies in the newspapers about the girls’ incarceration with no concrete action. This is rather unfortunate viz-a-viz the trauma the girls’ parents are going through.
At a time when Nigerians are getting over the ugly incident, these same disciples of the devil again on February 19, 2018 struck at another girls’ secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State and wheel-barrowed about 150 girls of the school. The Federal Government immediately swung into action and got all the girls but one Leah Sharibu released.
Leah Sharibu was unfortunate to be left behind because according to her abductors, she brazenly refused to renounce her faith – Christianity – thus throwing her parents into endless trauma of great magnitude. In the mist of all this, a story had it that recently the family house was raided by bandits carrying away money and property – double tragedy one would say. Leah was on the telly the other time passionately appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to hasten her release, as according to her, she was wasting away by heaps and bounds. Nigerians had been vociferous in their call on the Federal Government to engage the Boko Haram sect in the possible solution to the girl’s unending captivity. No amount will be too much for as ransom to let the girl off the hook. No amount will be too much for the government to pay for their release taking into consideration the fat salaries and emoluments the National Assembly members take home monthly. The Federal Government should consider our meaningful suggestion without further engaging the Boko Haram sect in endless gerrymanding and rabble-rousing.
On the part of the security agencies, they should overhaul their modus operandi in the fight against Boko Haram. They should stop blowing their trumpet of the perceived victory against the insurgents on the pages of newspapers because it seems the insurgents are more daring than ever before in their mad operations. None of the girls in captivity should be allowed to die prematurely; therefore the Federal Government should act fast and ensure their release to remove the general anguish in the land particularly among the girls’ parents. As an alternative to ransom payment to the Boko Haram, the Federal Government could tinker with the idea of prisoner swap whereby the Federal Government could exchange the release of a sizeable number of the detained Boko Haram insurgents for the abducted girls because the clock is ticking fast for the immediate release of the abducted girls.