We need to ask ourselves, should a country negotiate with terrorists on their own terms? These same northern elders are reportedly planning to drag the federal government to the International Criminal Court for extra-judicial killings while at the same time saying nothing about the thousands of Nigerians deliberately killed by the terrorists.
How did this country come to this point of being a nation of absurdities? How can you reconcile that people who should be vexed over the pathetic state the nation has found itself are now the same people celebrating the current distress? Is it not interesting that those who were celebrating the internationalisation and the global publicity given the issue of the kidnapped Chibok girls have now turned around to vehemently oppose the involvement of foreign military and intelligence interests because it will “infringe on Nigeria’s sovereignty and human rights of some Nigerians? Haba!
Up till tomorrow, we still don’t even know the actual number of girls missing. Everyday we get new figure. We were initially told we had 234 girls still in the hands of their kidnappers which was few days ago upgraded to 276 and now 300. The first question should actually be: how many of our girls are missing and in the hands of the terrorists? How can we keep reviewing the figures of missing students of a government school? These are not trees planted to check desert encroachment but human beings grown enough to write the WAEC exam.
How do you explain that the Northern Elders Forum could oppose the use of foreign troops to free our girls? Curiously, The Northern Elders Forum in a meeting with President Jonathan on Wednesday 8 May 2014 reportedly claimed to have established contacts with the Boko Haram leadership to negotiate the release of the Chibok female students kidnapped three weeks ago by the terrorists. According to media reports, leaders of the Forum, at the meeting expressed their displeasure over the involvement of foreign military personnel freeing the kidnapped girls and also help rid the country especially the northeast region of these insurgents. Instead, they proposed two options: payment of ransom (rewarding mass murderers) and the release of terrorists currently in detention (a surrender to terrorism).
The conspiracy theorists cannot eat their cake and have it. This same people alleged that the Boko Haram terrorism is a CIA and Jonathan’s plot to “decimate” Muslim population in the north to give “electoral advantage” to Jonathan in 2015. And now that the Americans with other countries are coming to undo or dismantle their own plot by going after their “stooges” (Boko Haram terrorists), why should anybody develop extreme nervousness over the foreign military assistance to rescue our girls and rid the nation of this Boko Haram scourge? Thank God the Americans are here. The Brits, Chinese, French, Canadians, even the North Koreans should all come to help us unravel this mystery and curtail the devastation of these conscienceless terrorists.
One thing very interesting in the report was that the Northern Elders Forum leaders have established contacts with the leaders of Boko Haram. Since the Northern Elders Forum had access (as they still apparently do) to the Boko Haram leaders, why didn’t they use such contacts long ago to persuade the Islamist extremists to accept the amnesty offer from the Jonathan Administration in April 2013?
Why didn't our northern elders use their access to these murderous militants to persuade them to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue for whatever reasons? Since the beginning of this spate of senseless killings, the public face and leader of Boko Haram, Shekau, flatly rejected dialogue and disarmament, so at what point did our elders realise the terrorist leaders were amenable to dialogue? Why didn't they help the north to end the economic, material and human destruction caused by the terrorists using such contacts to talk the Boko Haram members out of violence long ago? What aroused their sudden interest in talking to the terrorists now that Nigeria has sought foreign help? You see what I mean?
If they had used their influence on the Islamist militants during the widow period of the amnesty offer to Boko Haram in April 2013, our northern elders could have probably prevented the ugly situation we have now found ourselves, thanks to the kidnapping incident at Chibok. They are now telling the world they have enough influence with the terror group to resolve the kidnap crisis. Are they fair to abandon the north to its fate or leaving it at the mercy of the Islamist militants by not using their influence long ago to forestall the sad situation we have now found ourselves? If they have enough clout and contacts with the terror leaders to end the kidnapping crisis, why can't they go the extra mile to also end the violent campaign by the terrorists once and for all?
We need to ask ourselves, should a country negotiate with terrorists on their own terms? These same northern elders are reportedly planning to drag the federal government to the International Criminal Court for extra-judicial killings while at the same time saying nothing about the thousands of Nigerians deliberately killed by the terrorists. With this attitude, can our northern elders negotiate fairly with the Boko Haram leaders on behalf Nigeria? Abeg, we need to tell ourselves the truth even if it is bitter.
Is it not curious also that Senator Zanna Ahmed is now the sole authority on news stories about Boko Haram? Why does he have such inside or deep knowledge of their activities? The other day he was quoted as saying that the kidnapped girls were married off at a mass wedding or that they were sold off at $12 each? Is there smoke without fire (except in Chemistry labs)? Is he the terrorists’ chief spokesman? Shouldn’t his professorial know of Boko Haram activities and movements be a curious development?
It was gladdening to hear the Northern Governors Forum unanimously support the federal government’s initiative of accepting help from America, Britain, China, Canada among others in searching for and safely returning our kidnapped girls and also rid the country of the activities of these insurgents. Ofcourse, the governors no doubt directly bear the brunt of the fallouts of the activities of the Boko Haram sect and so know how hard it has been biting them.
Now the same people who have championed the internationalisation of the Chibok kidnap saga are no longer interested in pushing all kinds of things in the social and foreign media. The First Lady’s alleged incoherent speech has become more important than the crucial facts and details that are beginning to emerge everyday in the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of our daughters from their school. In the first instance, was Jonathan a president or even a ward chairman when he married Patience? Was Patience a motivational speaker or a PhD holder in oral English when Jonathan married her? So what’s the fuse about her public speaking? Those whose wives can speak like the Queen of England, should ask themselves if they are anywhere near being ward chairmen or even local government chairmen so that their wives can become Wards or Council first ladies. You see, God’s ways are not man’s ways.
(IFEANYI IZEZE is based in Abuja and can be reached on: [email protected]; 234-8033043009)