Israel A. Ebije
Let me congratulate parents of abducted Dapchi secondary school girls recently returned after weeks of adoption. I must congratulate security operatives for their consistent absence when the girls were taken and retuned. Let me also congratulate the federal government for successful hostage negotiation, where millions in alien currencies was allegedly paid and ‘just’ a few Boko Haram militants released in exchange. I will not forgive myself if I fail to congratulate those in government allegedly involved in hostage for the ransom racketeering for a booming business venture. Let me also congratulate those who have been able to convince Nigerians that the abduction was staged for publicity stunt ahead of 2019 presidential election. Let me however condole with the losers, those whose kids died for “money and politics”. My heartfelt sympathy also goes to Leah Sharibu who is held as slave for her religious belief. Let me indeed sympathize with those who have turned the unfortunate development into a religious and ethnic fight.
We are witnessing a new low in our country no thanks to the out-of-the world propaganda stunt, which the ruling APC engaged to win election in 2015 and manage affairs of government. The lies, twists, turns of the administration is so legendary, it has managed to ridicule itself in the past three years with numerous poorly written scripts. Nigerians are forced to look deeper each time government side of a story emerges. Interestingly, the Dapchi hostage and release drama appears scripted with a lot of errors too visible to ignore, grave to defend. A lot of conspiracy theorists spread across platforms on the matter and some are so toxic, they have become cancerous in the minds of their target audiences. Most disturbing is the emerging permutation or in some quotas confirmation that the military and some government officials may be in partnership with hostage for ransom deal.
The comment of former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma of alleged compromised state of the armed forces in managing spreading terrorism across the country is drawing heated fire on social media. Those on his side are of the opinion that his position confirms permutations of some undercurrents in the Dapchi girls saga. Those on the other side of the fence dismiss him and others as problems of the country. The caliber of people venting frustration at the present administration, hints that something is not going in the right direction. These generals have seen war, they have security reports at their finger tips from generation of Generals loyal to them and they can tell when social situations are spiraling towards a crash. The issue of security is now more than a matter of concern for those who mean well for the country.
An analysis of what transpired before and after the Dapchi hostage taking should have landed those responsible for the forces in serious trouble in developed and very organized climes. Thank God, President Buhari said military chiefs have a case to answer. As usual, they will certainly get what is coming at them – a slap on the wrist, just the way the Inspector General of Police got when he abdicated his post in the Benue massacre, and that is where the Generals are partly concerned about.
The version of government when the girls were released was outright denial of ransom payment. Analysis of “intelligence” or military action before and after suggests otherwise. There was conflict in who was in charge of the area before the abduction. The army claimed the police was in control and vice versa. Army withdrew troops from Dapchi days to the abduction. The girls narrated how Boko Haram flew them in planes before driving in convoys to Dapchi.
The military disappeared for a few hours and the terrorists left without incidents after completing their school shuttle bus drop off. Mr. president and his handlers had earlier bragged they will handle the abduction better than Jonathan did for the Chibok girls. With track records of rebuttals especially on “victory over insurgency”, “the need to have N1bn to fight insurgency” to “we are open to negotiate amnesty for insurgents”, have made this administration lose value when it comes to convincing Nigerians on security affairs. Putting all these and many more together, and considering the history of publicity stunts this administration is known for, it is not surprising that Nigerians are gravely divided over authenticity of the Dapchi debacle.
It is not out of place for the APC led administration to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the role of the military and suspected government officials in the alleged ransom racketeering. It is instructive to understand that the monies paid found their way into several pockets, fortify insurgents to grow stronger and influential. The swapping of Boko Haram fighters has also made them invisible, untouchable. They can play into the hands of operatives one minute for temporal accolade over war against terror, the next they are in the trenches dishing out warnings and mocking everybody. Nigerians expected a better handling of security matters especially in the challenged areas of the north. The same rackets in Jonathan’s era, with different approach is being experienced.
Once the president is in the limelight of critical analysis, just the way Jonathan suffered, he will be tougher on officials who abdicate responsibility. Strangely, loyalists always shield President Muhammadu Buhari from responsibility. A lot of unusual helpers have diminished everything Nigerians expected from this administration, with propaganda of the lowest conceivable value.
Ebije writes via [email protected] or @ebijeisrael