One fine day of 2014, several final-year girls were in their hostels in a Government Grammar School in Chibok, Borno State, leading normal lives when they were all of a sudden taken hostage by the terrifying Boko Haram sect. After about two years of unimaginable sufferings, immeasurable fear, and an undying plea for reprieve by these despondent girls and their despairing parents, the sect finally struck a bargain in a heart-wrenching 11 minutes video. Their demand, ‘Your Missing Girls for Our Detained Members’. This seemed like a silver lining to the parents, an answer to all their prayers as they immediately joined hands with the BringBackOurGirls campaign to beg the government to heed this demand.
The big question became, Should the government honor this request?Should the government listen to a group that has in recent times claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Nigerians in unjustifiable attacks? A group that the government had finally had little success decapitating by nabbing some of its members? Should they now release these detained members that fearless soldiers had risked their lives to nab in exchange for ‘Our girls’?
The results of an opinion poll carried out by CITIZEN CONFIDENTIAL revealed that;
75% of the people were in favor of releasing the detained prisoners, pointing to the sufferings of these girls and their parents and trying to relate with their unrelatable anguish. One person sited an example of the case of the US trading Al-Queda prisoners for American hostages and in the end succeeding in not only saving its citizens but also eliminating Osama bin laden. Another person said, “The government should honor this request, they have tried other methods with little or no success. Unless they do not want to save those girls, then they can as well plan coordinated air strikes and decimate them, a move that will not go down well with the masses”. The argument was that, the government’s job was to protect its citizens, even if it means negotiating with the terrorists, and that if the government refuses to then Boko Haram will launch a stronger attack against the country that could claim even more lives.
Another 15% disapproved, arguing that the government should never negotiate with terrorists. “We cannot begin to understand what these girls and their parents are passing through, we sympathize with them, but the government is going to have to find another way to help them” one man had said. The stance of these group was that there is no such thing as a peaceful lasting agreement with terrorists – they will always do what they want even if the government meet their demands. And also that the government’s refusal to negotiate is a strong deterrent against terrorist acts. These group shared a common notion that Boko Haram abducted the girls in the first place to make obnoxious demands. “All that does is open us to more terrorism. It is a hard stance to take but it is one we have to take because the minute you listen to them they will keep coming back for more and the stakes will keep growing until the terrorists finish this country”
The final 10% neither agreed nor disagreed sticking to the notion that the missing girls was all propaganda. “There is no such thing as missing Chibok girls” one woman had said plainly before storming off. These group followed in the claims of Asari Dokubo, arguing that there are reasons to doubt and unconcealable pores in the narrative enough to prove the missing girls story is as planned as a stage play- either a political tool or a scam to justify the foreign aid that the country has received and continue to recieve for the rescue mission . One person had said, “The whole chibok girls thing was just a ploy set up to make the country ungovernable for Jonathan”
In any case, the truth still remains that the government has to do everything in its power to attain a favorable and relatively-safe result.
written by Ivharue Ofe