It was in this Nigeria that I wrote an article on ChibokMundo and I was criticized by many of my contemporaries over what they termed my insensitivity and political biasness. I did not worry. I kept my cool. When the jigsaw of the Chibok episode began to fit in, a lot of people called me and apologized. I am a pragmatist. I like to see things work, and more properly too. I like to question things and events.
Then this happened. In a flash, girl from the Dapchi Government Girls Technical College were kidnapped or abducted or simply carted away, to avoid long grammar. We know what English Language has caused in Nigeria. Lest I digress, it was very devastating to hear such a bit of news again.
The president went to Dapchi after a barrage of criticisms, and went there to praise himself citing his quickness to response and using the immediate past President as his benchmark. That is the height of incompetence, to say the least. It is also a mark of insensitivity for a Head of State to make such a statement to grieving parents whose children could not be protected by the army of which he happens to be the commander in chief.
Besides the insensitive nature of that pronouncement, I want us to take an objective look at the matter. If a man lost a relative and you rushed in there to say ‘look, I am here to show you that I am a better neighbor than your former neighbor..’ what exactly does that mean? It means you went there to showcase yourself and not to address his sorrow.
Days after that, the minister of Defence in Nigeria, Mansur Dan Ali said in two weeks the girls would be returned. There were negotiations going on. Right. Everything that could bring the girls back was welcome. But the question was how come he was so sure of the date of the return? Did the insurgents actually tell the minister that negotiations or not the girls would be returned?
How come he was so sure? Then like the pronouncements of a prophet, the girls were returned. Whats more amazing was that they were not returned in the night but in the day! How daring. There was no military challenge, no road blocks, nothing! Very amazing, you would say. The point I am trying to make is that these people came and went unchallenged. They were even hailed by the people, and they preached, admonishing people to avoid girl child education!
Question again is why the people should hail terrorists. Are they now being given legitimacy? Is it an indictment on our law enforcement agents? If they could spend time moving freely and enjoying freedom of movement and waving flags, does that mean they are now free to do as they like in that axis?
And since when did terrorists become so benevolent to drop off their victims in their hometown? We have heard of what this same Boko Haram has done to people in the past. We heard how they burned down entire villages. This set of hostages must be very special for them to be driven to the center of their village and dropped off.
Then about the girls, pictures from the scene of the return revealed a very disturbing snag in the whole saga. The girls were dropped off with bags. Where did they get the bags from? Could they have packed their bags ready to be kidnapped or their abductors told them to pack their bags because they were going for a long walk for days and being ladies they would need sanitary pads, change of under wears and clothes? And so the patiently waited for them to pack or it was while they were being brought back that their abductors quickly decided to compensate them by buying stuff for them? More questions that need answers.
Finally, I want to ask why one girl was not released. Liya Sharibu, her father, Mr Sharibu said, was not released because she was a Christian and had refused to convert to Islam. So the question for the negotiators is what did they tell Boko Haram to make them release the muslims and retain the Christian? Why is the president basking in such a victory instead of jailing the negotiators who are bigots?
In the whole of this drama, I want to urge the Federal Government to be up and doing and please provide honest answers to the above questions. More importantly, allow the girls to talk to journalists independently before they are taken to see spin doctors.
Meanwhile we have not heard anything from the Chibok girls. They are still in captivity. This government came with the promise to release them. Except if the president is by his speech telling us that ‘I released my own hostages, the ones that are left are for Jonathan, so vote for me…’ in his usual ‘Jonathan’ songs.