Nigeria’s War in Chibok to Fight Boko Haram

   It is now a hundred days since over two hundred schoolgirls had been abducted in Chibok. In short, Chibok has become a name known to the world as Afghanistan was known in the days of Osama bin Ladin. Boko Haram has brought Chibok to the lips of everyone since the abduction of the innocent girls. 

    The parents have since been in anguish at the tormenting thoughts of what their daughters will be going through in the hands of these blood-lusted killers. Killings and bombings have become an almost daily affair, and especially in the Chibok areas. BH even now mounts its flag and recently blew up a major bridge. Thousands of people have been displaced and many (even children) have been cruelly killed in shootings and suicide bombings carried out by the terrorists. Recently, a Sufi Sheik and Buhari (a former head of state) were almost assassinated by bombers of the BH.

    President Jonathan meanwhile is engaged in an all-out war. Do not get me wrong…his war is not to put an end to the menace BH has become…his war is to get re-elected for 2015. I do not believe reports that the Nigerian army is poorly armed to combat BH. And if they were, why were the foreign support that came slowly fizzled out. Foreign support, though slow to arrive in Mali, but when it came, everyone saw the concerted effort that drove out the well armed rebel groups. Al-Shabab also lost sleep after the Kenyan Mall attack, and Central African Republic witnessed the arrival of peace-enforcement forces that checked the violence there.

    What happened in Chibok? All that came out was revealed to us was the terrorists have been identified in three camps where they were also keeping the girls, obviously as human shield. BH wants a prisoner exchange, and the Nigerian military does not want to attack for fear of putting the girls in harm’s way. It all does not make much sense. Maybe we need ‘thinking caps’ like President Jonathan to wear before we can make sense of the senselessness. 

    The recent elections in Ekiti State southwest Nigeria that saw Jonathan’s PDP party win the state from APC, resulted in filling up the state with soldiers to ensure ‘federal might’ in winning the state. Meanwhile, a place like the Chibok area is so porous for BH to sack villages and markets almost on a daily basis. If protecting the Chibok girls is the reason why no offensive is being launched, I wonder then why the area is not cordoned with a heavy presence of air and land patrol that will make incursions not an easy task for BH fundamentalists. 

    It may also sound harsh. But is it reasonable to treat the issue with kids’ glove because you are protecting 200 girls when 200 women, men and children (Nigerians, too) are being killed on a daily basis like flies in the hands of wanton boys. I am not good with mathematics but I am not sure 200 is greater than 2000. It even took our I-had-no-shoe-like-you-before-so-I-care president the coming of the Pakistani activist girl, Malala, before he could meet any of the affected parents – three months after the girls had been kidnapped – three harrowing months. 

    It is easy for us to stay behind our computers, go about our normal lives and return home from our work and just listen to the news of casualties as ‘statistics’ or talk about what the girls or their parents will be going through. But what about the president whose responsibility it is to play the filial role from Aso Rock? He finds it so annoying, or why is he not keen to keenly meet the parents and even banning any rally on the excuse that such rallies could be infiltrated? He is busy fighting another battle…2015. I do not think this kind of lack-luster approach to terrorism would have prevailed if Jonathan’s daughter were to be among the abducted girls.

Rachel Daniel, with her son Bukar, 7, holds a picture of her daughter Rose, 17, at her home in Maiduguri, north-east Nigeria. Rose was abducted with nearly 300 other pupils by Boko Haram

    Nigeria is a snoring giant. It is the heartbeat of Africa. It is the economic future of the entire continent. And it is the regional power in its hegemony. Unfortunately, it is still an irresponsible Big Brother…like what the Yoruba call ‘agbaya.’ Until we have leaders who are not shrouded by politics, religion and tribalism, the country will continue to snore. There is more than meets the eye in the Chibok case, but one thing is clear, the life of a poor Nigerian citizen to the government is as worthwhile as an ant is to a kid. A PDP senator, Ali Ndume was once found to have links with the BH, clearly showing BH was a northern thing initially to serve the interest of some northern PDP bigwigs. Now the chickens have come home to roost, like Malcolm X once quoted. Is Jonathan hence in a catch 22? Why is his government not keenly unleashing armor, tanks, long-range mortars, gunships and foreign special forces or dealing with those in his government circles having links to the group? Why politicizing, tribalizing and religionizing this mess at the detriment of the people he ought to be responsible for, all because of trying to win 2015? “There is God o!”     

 

 

    

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