I have read several comments on social media making a case that President Jonathan should refuse to accept any help from United States in the bid to rescue the over 230 girls who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since the 14th of April 2014. The expressed fears of the proponents (some of who are heavy users of the #BringBackOurGirls) of this argument is that accepting this help will be tantamount to a neocolonization by America and will undermine the sovereignty and independence of Nigeria.
I find this argument at best misguided and at odds with the reality of the (incompetent!) helplessness that has been demonstrated by the government and armed forces of Nigeria against the enemy called Boko Haram following the abductions.
FG Response to The Chibok Abductions
The response of the FG to the mass abduction of over 200 girls in school has been bewildering! I doubt if the response can be any worse that what we have seen so far. There was first silence from the government (the President himself only just spoke publicly about the issue almost 3 weeks after the event in his dour “Presidential Media Chat”). It appeared to them it was just another minor issue that was “discussed in the FEC”. The military brass later (falsely) reported that almost all the girls had been freed only to recant days after. Then we heard reports of expressions of doubt by PDP chieftains as to whether the abductions even took place. After protests and a concerted social media campaign, the government decided they will set up a “FACT FINDING COMMITTEE(!)” . At a time The British Prime minister was talking more about the abductions than our own government was. Then came the tragicomedy of the First Lady’s forum which ended with tears by her and acclamations of “…there is God o”.
You would think 3 weeks after, there should a plan/strategy to free the girls or at the very least an inclination as to where they are being held. But that is not the case. The President told the whole world he has no idea where the girls are. They don’t even know the total number and identity of the girls that have been abducted!
We saw Shakau boasting and gloating in a video he released that he would sell the girls. He taped the video with a armored vehicle behind him and tried to project strength. From stabbing people with knives and fleeing using “okada”, Boko Haram now have armoured vehicles! The abductions is reported to have been carried out by hundreds of terrorists and they inturn took off with over 300 girls. That will have been with dozens of vehicles in a convoy! All from a government boarding school in a territory under a state of emergency!!!
Boko Haram: An Ever Growing Menace
Since 2002 when Mohammed Yusuf founded his sect with the Markaz mosque in Maiduguri, the sect has grown from a band of radical Islamic preachers to a full-fledged well-armed terrorist organization. Even with a state of emergency in operation in 3 northeastern states of Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa, rather than being curtailed or contained, the threat and capacity of the group to unleash terror and mayhem is flourishing. The terrorists are showing improved tactical planning in hitting targets at will as evidenced by the Nyanya bombings with especially the second bombing which occurred in spite of the security cordon in the area following the first one 3 weeks earlier.
Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces have been reported to state the terrorists are often better armed than they are. Several changes in the leadership of the national security apparatus has not yielded any strategy to deal decisively with the insurgents. The possible complicity of members of the security apparatus is also a glaring issue.
Nigeria Needs Help
With all this facts and issues, it is very glaring Nigeria needs all the help she can get. Our government has demonstrated gross incompetence in handling the Chibok abductions in particular and the Boko Haram menace in general.
A man that is drowning does not need swimming lessons at that time. He needs to be rescued. After he has been recovered from that near death experience, he can then take swimming lessons.
These terrorists are not ghosts. They have a base(s) of operation. They are buying arms and ammunition. They are recruiting fighters for their wicked cause. They are buying trucks and vehicles and deploying them. They are getting money from somewhere and spending the money. They have a leadership structure. They make videos and distributing the videos. They are humans and can be killed. They can be defeated.
I am not naive not to know that in the interaction and engagement of nations, each nation ever seeks to protect and advance their own selfish interests above any other thing. All the nations seeking to help Nigeria, will also seek how they can advance their own interests. It is a cross we may have to bear. But today and now, this government needs help!
I am sure the fathers and mothers of this girls will any welcome help that will lead to the release of their daughters. Their cry remains #BringBackOurGirls. But to #BringBackOurGirls – Nigeria needs help.