Just recently, on the 7th of May to be precise, news got round about the release of 82 Chibok girls. Subsequently, the events surrounding their release unfolded, and it turned out to be that the Nigerian government had successfully negotiated with the terrorist group, and had agreed to release some imprisoned extremists to the group, in exchange for the girls. I would like to state first off, that I am sincerely gladdened by the release of these girls who have been in captivity for up to three years now and counting, and it would take an inhumane level of wickedness for anyone not to feel the slightest bit of happiness for these girls and their families. The fact that they are back in the land of the sane is enough reason to be happy about this development.
However, analyzing the events surrounding the release of this girls, I see nothing to really be happy about, so while I am genuinely happy for the girls and their families, I am saddened by the situation Nigeria has found itself, and the even worse situation I perceive Nigeria is about to throw itself into if care and precaution is not taken.
Study my analysis of this situation very closely, you would find a reasonable amount of sense in it.
So the government succeeds in bringing back 82 of our girls, but only after agreeing to, and then releasing some extremists of the group who were imprisoned by the government. We have ourselves a trade by barter situation here, a win-win situation for all parties involved. The government secures some of its girls, and the terrorist group secures some of its lost soldiers, everybody goes home happy.
What should be our utmost concern however, is what this single action of our government in negotiating with terrorists in order to achieve its objectives would spell out for the nation in the coming future. This action of the government in agreeing to bend to the will of a terrorist group, if care is not taken would be what would birth a new wave of violence and terrorism in our nation, a wave that would even be stronger than the current one, and with more bloodshed of course.
Once we as a nation give terrorists the slightest hint that with a certain level of violence and pressure, they can get the government to listen and then play by their terms in order to attain peace and relative security, then we need to be ready, because violence would soon gradually be the sole means of communication, and this new mentality would be a virus that would spread disastrously fast among the already distressed populace of Nigeria. Perhaps if the Nigerian people and government would agree to look into its past and consider it in all its mistakes, shortcomings and achievements when making present decisions, it wouldn’t be making this mistake again. Our history has shown us what happens when we listen to people who employ violence as a means of achieving its aims.
Flash your minds back to the militancy era that witnessed the uprising of MEND in the Niger Delta region and the violence that followed, with the explosions of pipe lines, and the kidnapping of foreign expatriates for ransom, climbing way above the roof. Of course their reason for the outburst was good in its originality; it was an outcry against their abandonment by the government, the unfair and inhumane manner in which the government treated them, despite the fact that their lands were largely what supported the economy of the nation with its rich oil wells and all. However plausible their reason for violence was, it doesn’t change the fact that violence was extreme and wrong, but yet, back then, the way the government thought best to handle it was with an amnesty program. The amnesty program saw these militants being pacified with educational/vocational trainings, and a monthly stipend of approximately $300 to $400, and so they dropped their arms. In reality despite what was claimed to be a victory against militancy, the real underlying issues behind the outrage in the first place weren’t really dealt with; The Niger Delta region is still sadly underdeveloped, and the revenue from oil going to this region wasn’t significantly increased. The federal government still has control over the oil in this region, and the region doesn’t have any more autonomy than it had before the insurgency arose. All we can say the amnesty did, and only for a short while, for alas, the avengers are here, was to bring about relative peace. And to think that those that benefited from the program were only the former militants. This makes me wonder if the message is that those who maybe for sane reasons refused to resort to violence were the foolish ones as they were left without anything, and those who chose violence to be their means of achieving, were the sages. I’m sure I am not the only one who did the wondering, because once this news of success spread round, kidnapping and vandalism has become a more rampant and pronounced activity up to this moment, now no longer for the purpose of fighting a nationalistic course, but for the sheer fact that people have discovered it is a way to make good money. They watched and saw as the government picked up violent men and transformed them into millionaires! (I am referring specifically to the likes of Tompolo who got ushered into the world of power by being given lucrative contracts to offer pipeline security). What is the message then?
Just for humour sake, let me add that the issue of kidnapping became a sealed business when my Igbo brothers heard that there was money in it, and entered the business. They have privatized the business.
Let’s face it, all amnesty did was offer relative peace in the region by pacifying the agitators, in exchange for their oil. Mind you, these agitators weren’t even the voice of the people, and this can be proven, because when they began to get the ego, they kept their mouths shut, no longer bothering with the fact that not much of their so-called ‘objectives for the region’ were met.
The compromise of the government in a situation where they should have solidly stood their ground against violent uprisings only brought peace for a temporal period, before the issue escalated even more severely than before. How valuable can a solution to a problem be, if it does not deal with an issue at a more permanent level?
The militants who introduced kidnappings and vandalism can be argued to have had a purpose in all their extremist approach, what can be said of those who now kidnap everybody and anybody? And where did they learn it from?
As devilish, impossible and irrational as Boko Haram’s objective is, they can be said to have an objective, and they use bombs to pursue this. What would happen when other mad men waiting to hatch discover that Boko Haram is successfully manipulating the government through this means, and hence begin to randomly orchestrate bombings.
Just for humour sake, what would happen if and when my Igbo brothers…
Now we’re noticing the first signs of compromising and negotiating with Boko Haram; a more deadly, enraged, debased, extreme, and repulsive terrorist organization. How long before they are motivated enough to throw another disastrous stunt, and then get the government to do some more of their bidding, and then some extra more? Let’s not forget that their overall objective is to eradicate western education in its entire entirety, and bring about a full Islamic state. And also, what groups in the minority now, are watching and seeing as Boko Haram secures this little victory in the war?
More important, would this victory of Boko Haram in securing the freedom of its members through negotiation be the first of many more?
The number of unsatisfied and aggravated groups in Nigeria is quite a number, and if it appears tomorrow, that a recognized language that can be used when conveying messages and desires to the government is violence, what a tale of bloodshed and death this would lead us into.
I am happy that the Chibok girls are out, despite the sad and desperate means to which their freedom was secured, but this is a call; let’s watch this little things and beginning of new tactics before they get out of control.
Of course I cannot have possibly aired every view about this situation, or said the minds of everybody, so I would love to hears yours in the comment box. Use it the way you like, they are all yours!