By Kissinger Ikeokwu
For two years now the whole world has carried the burden of the 219 teenagers purportedly abducted by one of the world’s most deadly terrorist organisation, boko haram. The girls were abducted in their school the Girls Secondary School Chibok on the April 2014. Many have expressed skepticism about the validity of the Chibok Girls abduction.
Not because they do not believe there was no incident involving the girls or that the parents of the girls are not living without them. Far from it. The skepticism is drawn from the fact that no responsible person would believe that a group of hoodlums who move from forest to forest, desert to desert and engaged in combat with an army as large as the Nigerian Army would want to take in 219 hostages.
Perhaps not without a protected territory but also convenience that guarantees regular supply of food and other logistics to care for the 219 hostages on day to day basis. The other group on the other hand wants you not to question the story line. They want you to buy everything, hook, line and sinker just for humanity sake, especially in concern and solidarity with the families of the missing girls.
While the latter are necessary to exist, we must not also deny the skeptics the opportunity to ask questions. But even when we seem to have agreed with the entire Chibok story is true, the recent discovery of two of the girls have opened more questions than answers and it is wrong for one to expect citizens not to seek answers.
First, the delivery of the first Chibok Girl to the Borno State government within 24 hours after she was found makes a mess of the whole issue. How come a girl who is likely coming from the innermost part of the terrorist cell be released to politicians within 24 hours after her rescue? A girl who must have a clue to the existence or death of Africa’s deadliest and most wanted terrorist Abubakar Shekau is now in the hands of politicians than our intelligence organisations giving them vital clues that may lead to the end of the entire book haram vice.
In a normal society, this girl will not meet politicians or be displayed in the public for at least one year after she was discovered. What if displaying her as a trophy would jeopardize the life of the 218 others? Have we really thought about this? Or are we in a hurry to display her as a major political achievement for the first one year in office? One would expect that this girl be in custody of our intelligence agencies, giving bit by bit account of the process of their abduction all through the way.
The Intelligence agencies ought to record her account. Not once, twice, thrice etc. They ought to process it to see if she was in a good state to give an accurate account of the entire saga. They ought to investigate her coherent her story was. Other information like where they were kept would be necessary also. Are the girls all together as at today? Where they separated and married of like former President Obasanjo once claimed? Where they kept and shared to villages in lesser groups? Were they in contact with Shekau? When last did they see or hear from Shekau? About how many terrorists are still there in the areas of Sambisa our army are yet to come?
What type of military hardware, vehicles, equipments etc do they have? How do they receive food and logistical supplies? Do they use lorry, bus, Land Rovers, Helicopter to bring supplies etc? Do they see visitors in the camp? Were they kept under the tree shelter, mud, cement or thatched houses? How were they moved from Chibok? How many trucks were used in the operation? How many of their teachers were present before the abduction? If it takes the intelligence agencies months to interrogate arrested terrorists like Kabiru Sokoto and the likes before charging them to court, this vital witness ought to take over a year before she is handed over to people who may distort her story or jeopardize intelligence.
Now the information has been wrongly managed, why do we wait to rather confound those who seek genuine answers to the gaps and missing ends in their story. The Nigerian press was not left out as they joined in breaking the news that the Chibok Girl was found with her “Husband”. Soon after pictures began to emerge of the girl with her purported husband. Till date no one from the government or the military has come up to disown the pictures. T
he army shamelessly put a statement that her purported husband is being treated in line with the new rules of engagement of the operation Lafia Dole. If that man had a girl the worlds agrees was being held in the book haram innermost cell, why did we not break news of capturing the purported husband as major trophy in our quest to unlock their nucleus and established everything about Abubakar Shekau?
And the news that the second girl found was in JSS1 against the established information that only girls who were in school to take their WAEC examination was abducted, opened up more questions. One of the leaders of the Bring Back our Girls movement, Oby Ezekwesili has risen up to say the name the military released as name of the second rescued girl existed in the list.
One would expect that every question of fact about the rescued girls come from one source. Even the tiniest information about the matter, ought to be released by the relevant military and paramilitary agencies. But we have brought politics into critical issues of intelligence. This administration must take responsibility for the mishandling of the Chibok Girls rescue.
It seems we have politicized the matter and used it to further political propaganda. It is therefore foolhardy for anyone to question those who seek answers to missing links in the narrative. It is the right of citizens to ask questions in a democracy and we must continue to uphold and cherish it.
Kissinger Ikeokwu is a Law Practitioner based in Imo State
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