Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Nigerian government says it is willing to negotiate with the Boko Haram terrorist group for the release of the over 200 school girls that the group has abducted and paraded as a trophy to reinforce its supremacy over the Nigerian Establishment. Shame… shame… and more shame!!
According to Cabinet Minister, Tanimu Turaki, “if Shekau [leader of Boko Haram] is sincere, he should send representatives for talks”.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said on Monday that captured girls who had not converted to Islam could be swapped for jailed fighters. (Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27398640)
I reiterate that shame be unto the Goodluck Jonathan government for being inept and irrelevant at this stage. It says that the windows of negotiation with Boko Haram remain open. Negotiations for what? When the Nigerian Establishment has looked on unconcerned for so much harm to be done and for Boko Haram to penetrate the Establishment?
[Goodluck Jonathan had some time ago admitted that he suspected members of his own government and security services to be internal collaborators of Boko Haram. What did he do to solve the problem? Nothing. Scared by the quick defection by prominent state governors and members of his own PDP to the opposition)? His political life is doomed, but at a huge cost to Nigeria!!]
Why seek negotiation with Boko Haram now that it has succeeded in a groundswell to the disadvantage of the government?
The painful realization is that the Nigerian government has flopped and is now seeking some kind of solace in the intervention by the United States and its European allies. This intervention has its own implications that Nigeria cannot lose sight of. After all, Nigeria claims to be the sub-regional superpower and the economic hub of Africa (having taken over from South Africa by virtue of a formula for calculating economic progress that annoys the ordinary Nigerian or African citizen).
So, Nigeria is now playing a backstage role in a problem that directly affects it. The US has sent surveillance aircraft to search for the kidnapped girls and other countries are collaborating in diverse ways to support the US’ efforts.
Meantime, Amnesty International has asked President Mahama “to rally his colleague Presidents in the West African sub-region to ensure the release of the 200 kidnapped girls in Nigeria.” The Executive Director of Amnesty International Ghana, Lawrence Amesu, acknowledged the efforts being made by President Mahama (Chairman of the ECOWAS) but called for more efforts to be made to seek the release of the girls.
International attention is on the matter. Members of the United Nations Security Council have also condemned the abduction of the girls. In a statement on Monday, they demanded that the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism be brought to justice.
Boko Haram is not worth negotiating with. As Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni characterized this terrorist group last week, it is “ideologically bankrupt” and cannot be negotiated with. It must be sought after and physically eradicated.
One may be wary of the lives of the kidnapped girls to caution against any physical action that might end up throwing them away with the bad bath-water. In this regard, then, it will be proper for the surveillance mission being undertaken by the US to proceed methodically and ground forces mobilized to trace the whereabouts of the victims so that they could be freed.
As the problem continues to dominate world opinion, the Nigerian government itself still behaves in too lackadaisical a manner to earn my contempt. It is clear at this stage that it has thrown in the towel, giving the frontline role to outsiders to play for it.
This Boko Haram emerged more than 5 years ago and didn’t hide its intention of destabilizing the country in pursuit of its agenda: the establishment of an Islamic state, which is why it is opposed to Western education/civilization. Even though it has carried out dastardly acts to destroy limb and property, the Nigerian government couldn’t step up the game of counteracting it. At this time, Boko Haram seems well established and can even afford to give conditions that the Nigerian government is more than willing to obey. Pathetic!!
I shall return…
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