THE abduction of the 110 students of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi Yobe State, has brought out the question as to whether the Chibok girls who earlier on regained freedom from Boko Haram captivity were rescued or actually ransomed or “bought back”. Hitherto, the security forces, especially the army, had conveyed the impression that the girls were rescued – a feat that connotes gallantry on the part of our men in uniform. But, Senators Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) and Joshua Lidani (Gombe South) have made allegations which, if true, portend a great danger not only in the efforts to rescue the hordes of school girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamist insurgents but also puts to question the manner in which the war on terror is being conducted by the Federal Government.
Shortly after the abduction of the Dapchi school girls, Senator Lawan, while contributing to the debate on the issue in the Senate, declared: “What happened is a lesson for us, that Boko Haram sees girls or women as value targets. What they did in Chibok earned them some funds, because negotiations were held somehow and they got a lot of money.”
Senator Lidani also observed that whenever Boko Haram suffers major setbacks it resorts to abducting school girls as a way of getting the Federal Government to negotiate with it and pay huge ransoms with which it rearms and reinforces its depleted fighters. The terrorists we claim we have defeated make dramatic comebacks. The Israeli Defence Ministry has always maintained that the country’s policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists when they abduct people is because “every time you negotiate with terrorists you become an accomplice”. When the Chibok girls were abducted on April 14, 2014, the emotional tide which it triggered worldwide forced the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to enter into negotiations with Boko Haram because the abduction immediately became an albatross on its neck in a pre-election year.
That Nigerian voters shifted their preference to retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari owed to his promise, as a perceived no-nonsense military officer, to rescue the girls and defeat Boko Haram. If indeed the Buhari administration is merely giving away huge sums of money to terrorists in exchange for the school girls, the implications are obvious. We are not only constantly rearming the enemy and recharging its power to continue to attack and kill innocent Nigerians, we are also encouraging them to keep abducting more school girls.
We are inadvertently helping them in their avowed determination to destroy education in the North East. Most grievously, we are enriching both the terrorists and their accomplices within government who obviously profit from the evil. This was obviously why the terrorists went for the Dapchi girls. This is unacceptable.