The video sparked mixed feelings. Mrs Esther Yakubu wept for joy of seeking her daughter alive and for the heart wrenching reason that she cannot hold or touch her. And her daughter Dorcas, a christian, had become fully decked in an attire that clearly depicts her as belonging to another religion. The recent Video released by what may now be a faction of Boko Haram gives hope that some of the girls abducted from Government secondary school Chibok, Borno state are still alive. The insurgents say some of the girls have been killed via aerial bombardments from Nigeria forces. That would send jitters down the spines of the parents who did not see their daughters in the video. They would rather prefer their daughters was carrying babies, like some of those in the video, than the horror of not seeing them again because they have been sent to the great beyond by the same people detailed to rescue them. The thing to admit at this point is that propaganda is a vital component of war, which is why the Nigerian Army says it is studying the video of massacre released by the Boko Haram insurgents purporting same to be the handiwork of Nigeria’s armed forces. The military has the edge in telling the people that Boko Haram has been largely degraded given the decline in previous mass bombings, suicide attacks and all the bloodshed synonymous with their operations. Split in the house of Boko Haram has whittled down their operations. It would seem the emergence of another leader and the apparent split in the group and hierarchy has dealt a blow on the group.
The recent video from the arm that owes allegiance to Abubakar Shekau, is an open invitation for negotiation. Shekau did not show up in the video but the member who spoke for him had his hallmarks: the taunting, the sarcasm and the usual get-me-if-you- can attitude. A translation of his speech where he spoke about the Chibok girls read in part:
‘ you all know we have the girls, but God never allowed you to know their location and you will never know…you keep lying in your media that you will rescue them; they have been with us over two years, yet you can’t even know where they are. You have just been lying about the girls, people should know that…. about 40 of them are married; some are dead as a result of air strikes by infidels….all we want is for you to release our brethren, otherwise you will never get these girls, God willing…’’
The parents and one of the girls who spoke in the video have aided the government to commence negotiation. It is like exchange of prisoners of war. The nation is at war with the sect. The authorities have their people in prisons and they have the girls. The Army says they cannot decide on the swap. It is a political decision which has to be made at the highest level of authority, the presidency. So the authorities must take that decision now. The insurgents have had the girls for over two years, since April 14, 2014. No force and bombing had led to their release which is why the time for grand standing is over. The thing to do now is to drive intelligence into work. The authenticity of the video has to he verified, which is a few steps away. One of the parents has confirmed their girl as being in the video and spoke to the government. The insurgents say they can deal through some people known to the government, including a journalist. They have put their card on the table. It may not be as easy as it seems but they are willing to talk. An example of such exchange is evident in what United States of America did with the Talibans in Afghanistan. The Talibans released one American for five of their people. That trends implies that the insurgents would demand more of their people for the girls. The dilemma is that the government would give them more men to ignite their rebound into more attacks. That thinking should not stop the move since the military says it has the war under wrap. If the insurgents rebound, they would meet with more ferocious military.
Those girls are the symbol of defeat of insurgency in the land. The authorities must do all within their ambit to get those girls out. The sect has a tiny but significant claim to victory for so long as the girls remain with them. To put them away from school is a strong point by the sect that they detest western education and can do something to stop it. The girls should return even if the war continues.