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One of the hardest things one would ever think would happen in Nigeria again is a repeat of Chibok in any part of the country. But four years after the kidnap of those Chibok girls, of which about a hundred of them still haven’t returned, another set of girls have been held by Boko haram, this time around from Dapchi in Yobe State. Yobe State has had a fair share of Boko Haram’s attacks over the years, as its share borders with Borno State, where the terror group seems to have their foothold. The worst of them is the Buni Yadi massacre. Although, many Nigerians have moved on as usual, only a handful will still remember this particular incident.
On February 25, 2014, fifty-nine boys were killed at the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi, Yobe state. This is one of the worst Boko Haram’s attacks in Nigeria in its almost twenty years of terrorizing the good people of Nigeria. In April of that same year was the attack that saw the kidnap of over 200 school girls in Chibok town, Borno State. Perhaps if we ask ourselves the crimes of these innocent boys and girls, it is in seeking education.
The challenge we are facing right now is not whether these Dapchi girls would return (intact) or not, but how the Federal Government has been complicit in fueling the greed of the terror group. Of all the people that have been released (most especially the Chibok Girls) by the insurgent through the negotiation brokered by the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) as we have been made to believe, it would shock you how many millions of naira or dollars have gone into the coffers of the insurgents.
Boko Haram as it is today has turned into a syndicate organization in which certain individuals and persons in government are making money from. This truth may be hard to believe as it appears on the surface, but this is exactly what is going on. Nobody needs a magician or an angel to reveal this bitter truth. When you take a look at the whole activities of Boko Haram lately and the way they have gone about releasing some of the Chibok Girls, you wouldn’t need to go further before you accept this fact.
In 2016, the AP news agency reported that a “handsome ransom” – in the millions of dollars – was paid by the Swiss government on behalf of the Nigerian government to secure the release of 21 of the Chibok girls that was kidnapped in 2014. In 2017 as well, it was documented that the FG paid a whopping sum of €2 million to further secure the release of 82 Chibok Girls. In fact, speaking on their release, retired Military officer Col. Olusegun Oloruntoba stated “No amount of money can buy a life; how much more that of 82 young lives. The ransom paid is in favor of Nigeria and the Chibok girls’ family in particular. I urge the Federal Government to go ahead and make whatever sacrifice it takes to effect the release of the remaining Chibok girls.”
This simply tells you that President Muhammadu Buhari who has promised prior to taking office in 2015, that his administration would do everything possible to secure the release of the girls, is actually paying these monies to secure their release. He said this in an interview prior to May 29: “I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my government will do everything in its power to bring them home.” When you put these together, those two incidences of ransom payment simply explains the fact that Boko Haram now kidnap more people, most especially women and girls to be able to negotiate more money from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The truth is this administration cannot continue this way and expect to win the war against Boko Haram. What many Nigerians see on the surface is an insurgent that is attacking and kidnapping women and young girls. But underneath the whole security issue in the North east are certain politicians using the incidents to cart away money from the Federal government’s coffers. Nigeria cannot continue this way and expect a different result. Sometimes I wonder, how does Boko Haram receive their money? Which account(s) do they operate, or who receives the monies on their behalf?
Isn’t it hard to believe that for over ten years, Nigerian government still haven’t been able to track how BH gets their ammunition, which countries or persons supplies them and in what quantities, how money exchange hands? Isn’t it funny that no one is talking about the need to strengthen our porous borders, strengthening the Nigerian Military more to be able to confront Boko Haram and defeat them? It tells you that this whole Boko Haram drama is a business and politicians are the dealers! Now wonder it took so long for former President Jonathan before he understood the politics behind the whole drama.
This administration cannot continue to pay ransom to insurgents all in the name of trying to secure hostage release. Those monies can go into funding the military and other security agencies so that they can provide up-to-date intelligence, adequate security in the entire North East region. Schools in the region as well can be rebuilt to adequately cater for the safety of these boys and girls. These I believe is what those in Aso Rock should be considering, rather than further advance Boko Haram’s greed through ransom payment.