Continued from Part 7
Inconsistency is the only thing in which men are consistent (Horace Smith)
What is prudence but avarice? What is generosity but a deceit? And yet men prate of themselves as if they were deities (Herbert Wendall)
ith cautious optimism, the next days and weeks may be Nigeria’s sweetest days for so many years, if all the latest news turned out to be true. It’s likely that Boko Haram sects have agreed to embrace peace and will release the Chibok Girls they kidnapped, anytime from now, but, we have to adopt a wait-and-see attitude here, as the insurgents cannot be trusted. As Wahab noted, every option that can be explored in getting this insurgency to come to an end ought to be welcomed by all Nigerians. This is an insurgency that has destroyed valuable lives and properties. It has also impeded development and constituted a threat to the democratic process, so everybody is concerned. If there is ceasefire, it is something that all of us should celebrate because today, Nigerians live in fear.
This writer hopes that the federal government and the terrorists are not only prating again. This is not the first time the terrorists have promised to lay down their weapons for peace, but failed to fulfill it. Although we’re supposed to be optimistic here, but, apprehension is rife also, as the terrorists may be playing the government in order to buy time to replenish their dwindling weapons, some of them seized or destroyed by the Nigerian military, or to regroup by recruiting more members after many were killed by the Nigeria military, while many surrendered or were arrested. It can also be that the insurgents are buying more time by deceiving the Nigeria military into a false truce while they, the insurgents, elect a new leader, after their leader was killed few weeks ago. Supporting these points, Falana called for restraint until details of the accord were out, and a declarative commitment from Boko Haram leaders was obtained. He feared that the sect may have agreed to the ceasefire arrangement as a ploy to regroup, re-strategize, and launch more attacks later, having come under heavy bombardment from federal forces recently. He explained;" It takes two to tango. Have we heard from Boko Haram? What we have had so far was the announcement from the federal government, and the immediate cessation of hostilities by the government. This is not the first time. The other time they even announced amnesty and it was repudiated by Boko Haram. We need to know the details and terms of the agreement. It could well be a tactical ploy for the insurgents to regroup and re-launch attacks, especially when the government forces were beginning to have an upper hand in the war. They will just say there is a breach of the cease-fire agreement and capitalize on that to go back to the trenches. We can't celebrate yet."
Barely days of the ceasefire agreement, we read that Boko Haram insurgents have broken it by attacking at least three villages in Borno State. Even some people celebrating the ceasefire were attacked by Boko Haram.The Tribune had this point in its report that barring last minute changes, the sect may eventually announce the election of a new leader, if reports circulating in Borno are to be believed. According to the Paper; a member of the Civilian JTF, who volunteered the information, maintained that the sect was not ready for a ceasefire, alleging that politicians claiming to be representatives of the sect were only deceiving the Federal Government. In the words of the civilian JTF member: "The sect is only trying to buy more time to enable them to regroup and announce Mamman Nur as their new leader. Should that happen, we are far away from any peace deal, as his name rings a bell in terrorism circles from Borno to Sudan and other places across Africa. According to him, the military is better placed to overrun the insurgents now that they are operating without a leader after the killing of Abubakar Shekau in Konduga”. May be, the Nigerian government is dealing with the fake Boko Haram; may be, a splinter group that will not guarantee any peace in the north-eastern part of Nigeria, or may not be the group having the Chibok Girls. Infact nobody knows what’s going on. The next few days will tell; as of now, there’s no cause for celebration yet. Read this:
For today, both sides have broken the ceasefire agreement; starting with Boko Haram, as we just read that the sect killed no fewer than 30 innocent civilians around Gwoza town and another five in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State in the last seven days. Saharareporters reported that despite claims of a ceasefire between the Nigerian government and extremist sect, Boko Haram, soldiers on Sunday night, October 19, shot dead 25 members of the sect during an attack on Damboa town of Borno state. The attack on Damboa crystallized the doubts thousands of Nigerians expressed over the announced ceasefire deal the federal government said it signed on Friday with Boko Haram.
This writer’s skepticism over the ceasefire was invoked by what Danladi Ahmadu, who announced the ceasefire on behalf of Boko Haram, said in an interview granted to the Voice of America on Friday, October 17. Hear him: “I am Danladi Ahmadu and a member of the group and also working as internal chief security officer. Apart from security work, I am working as a senior advisor in the group. First I wish to explain to you to know that, Imam Shekau is not dead as claimed because recently there was even communication and so he is alive. On the girls that we took from Chibok, all that we want before we free the girls is to get justice from the Nigerian state because there are many of our members that their business premises were destroyed, some killed and others in detention and many other oppression. Our people under detention are too many and they did nothing and many of them are just ordinary members. The girls are fine, they are eating food and in good shape except challenges of reading in the camp. It is a lie that they are exposed to serial abuses, they are fine and in good health condition. All that we want to say is, it is not everything happening that is from us; some criminals are carrying their own act in the name of our group. Regarding the cease fire, we are talking and it will continue when some people deeply involved are back from their trips. We are discussing with Nigerian government and it is one Hassan that is leading the team. He is directly working with Nigerian President and we will continue talking when our own people return. When it is clear the girls will be free and the world will see. By the special grace of God we have cease fire and by the grace of God we will in the future create avenue and people will hear it directly from our leader, Imam Shekau”
Things which aroused this writer’s curiosity from the above interview are the deceit, lies and the inconsistency therein. First of all, Danladi may be a prevaricator who still wants us to believe that Shekau’s impostor is still alive. Secondly, Danladi wasn’t sure the girls are alright, and has started hatching feeble excuses, incase all the girls didn’t return, because, he said “All that we want to say is, it is not everything happening that is from us; some criminals are carrying their own act in the name of our group”, so if anything happens to some of the girls, he would blame it on other criminals like himself. Thirdly, who’s sure Danladi is from the real Boko Haram sect or from a splinter group that has no bearing on any peace plan, because, he sounded so aloof from the real happenings? Danladi said that the Chibok Girls are alright, eating and were not molested. Who’s he trying to deceive? Afterall, one the abducted "Chibok girl" released on Wednesday, September 24, is pregnant and mentally ill. The Cable of 26 September 2014 reported that “a girl who had been captured and held hostage by the Boko Haram sect, on Thursday, September 25, turned up in Mubi, Adamawa State, after she was reportedly dropped off by members of the sect. According to the statement given by the police, the girl is pregnant and suffering from possible mental illness as a result of the trauma she went through. Although it has not been confirmed weather the girl is a native of Chibok community, she was a student in the Government Girls secondary school were the Chibok girls were abducted on April 14”. Danladi should tell Nigerians if pregnancy and mental illness are normal health conditions, and why he claimed that the girls are being well treated when the terrorists have turned them into their sex toys. Nigerians are watching to see how many of the girls would come back alive; how many would come back with protruding stomach; and how many will ever be normal again in life after all they went through in those horror camps.
Ahmad Salkida, a journalist, and Shehu Sanni, an activist, who had been involved in negotiations with the extremist sect before, expressed doubt over the ceasefire deal. Salkida said: “I guess Nigerians are tired and as such, any news that offers respite on this protracted war between Nigeria and Boko Haram is always welcomed. Sadly, anybody that despises such good news becomes Nigeria’s enemy. But the leadership of Boko Haram is said to be miffed that a nation of the size and magnitude of Nigeria, with high level of intelligent people is being easily encased in deceit and nobody seems to be asking tough questions. What is most worrying here is that the government at the highest level and intelligence has embraced this ‘good news.’ This shows lack of understanding of the reality that this is an ideology that can only be neutralized after long hard work that has yet to start. It also appears that the government is more interested in shadows and bubbles than in substance and clear-headed engagement with the group.” Sani, on his own part, said his contacts told him Boko Haram members had denied Ahmadu (Danladi) as their representative. His words: “All my attempts to confirm the ceasefire deal did not produce any result. My sources are telling me that they don’t know who that person is. For Boko Haram to reach any ceasefire, such information must come from the leader of the group. Any statement that is not coming from the leader of the group cannot be said to be credible and will not be complied with by the group members. The leader is the only person they respect and listen to.”
Without any prejudice to the ongoing negotiations in Chad, this writer is asking the government to be careful. Just as stated above, this writer hopes that what the insurgents are doing now is not a desperate measure. Having seen that they have been pushed to the wall with the killing of their leader; and with the killing and surrendering of many of the sect’s members; and with the new vigor the Nigerian military has brought to the war; and with the plugging of the leaks through which they receive information, weapons, they had no other choice than to embrace the ceasefire agreement, as it will give many of them leeway to escape retribution, and might afford them the opportunity to be rehabilitated, until nemesis catches up with them, ‘cause, no one gets away from shedding of innocent blood without first expressing remorse, and then, seeking repentance.
When the world will know that Boko Haram is trying to pull a fast one on Nigeria is if the Chibok Girls are not released from captivity. Definitely, not all the girls will return, so the terrorists will have so many questions to answer. The military has struggled to defeat Boko Haram sect which began attack against Nigeria since 2009. News of ceasefire is not new, so, many Nigerians will only celebrate when the violence stops and the hostages are free. Genuine ceasefire will be the ultimate, as this writer agrees with Agbaje, who said: “I welcome the idea of ceasefire between the Federal Government and Boko Haram because we still have over 200 of our girls with the group. So, it will be foolhardy not to accept such an arrangement. It shows that force sometimes cannot bring the best solutions. If you check history very well, war has never completely solved any problem. Force could bring about temporal solutions, but not lasting and enduring reliefs. Fighting terrorism is very expensive and so it will be economically wise to sheathe the sword and embrace dialogue. But we are yet to see the terms and conditions of the agreement, so we must be careful how we thread. In my humble opinion, both the Federal Government and the terrorist group must be honest and honour the terms of the agreement so that peace can be achieved”. But, as Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasogie said, “we have to be cautious of this ceasefire agreement; terrorists are not a group of people to be trusted. Our people are still in the hiding, being displaced. Until they all return home safely and the insurgents surrender themselves, they should not be totally trusted.” Dr. Ona Ekhomu, was right that the terrorists are not known for keeping their end of the bargain, but let us wait and see what happens. This agreement should be matched with action. These people should not be allowed to go free no matter what. “Their flags should be burnt up. Their leader is dead and they could have agreed to ceasefire because of that. We have to take precaution. They should not take us unawares again” Expressing the hope that the ceasefire would be sustained, the leader of BringBackOurGirls campaign team, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, chipped in “ I simply cannot afford another heart shattering episode and so we are praying that what we are all reading is true.” Most importantly, the parents of the abducted girls, represented by the BringBackOurGirls coalition, have expressed doubts over the ceasefire arrangement. The parents noted that there had been similar promise of ceasefire in the past which did not amount to anything, but expressed the hope that the current efforts would yield results and lead to the release of the schoolgirls and other victims. The coalition said the negotiation should also extend to every victim of Boko Haram abduction, including men, women and girls in the sect’s captivity.
Whether there was a ceasefire or not; whether it holds or not; this serial will continue, as there are still so many points to decipher, as regards to why the Nigerian military failed or succeeded in the war against insurgency, as lessons can be learned from them. For now, read more about the bogus nature of the said ceasefire, while we keep our fingers crossed. Read more:
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!
Continued from Part 7