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Release of abducted students: Need for measured strategy

Dear Sir,

Much have been written and said about the abduction of over 200 Secondary School girls in Chibok by Boko Haram. It would have no doubt been traumatic and depressing for the parents of the girls. A common parlance in Yoruba language ‘omo mi ku san ju omo mi sonu lo’ (a situation of my child is dead is better than that of my child is missing) is apt. One cannot but sympathise with these parents who are so unfortunate.

Reactions to the abduction have been coming in different shades. For the Federal Government, repeated assurance of securing the release of the girls is the sing song, while concerned groups have been singing the duet of condemnation and demonstration. For the parents, they embarked on rescue mission to the dreaded Sambisa forest. Though a risky venture but I don’t blame them since official rescue mission seems not forthcoming.

The international community has not left the nation to her fate. While the United Nations has risen with a strong condemnation, United States of America, USA has promised to assist in securing the release of the abducted girls. Many other nations have been offering words of encouragement and solidarity with Nigeria. On Monday, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on a three-day state visit to Nigeria, advised African leaders never to succumb to the antics of terrorist organisations but instead forge ahead with their transformation agenda. All of these points to the fact that Nigeria is not alone in her quest to overcome forces bent on spreading terror and shedding blood.

Each time I reflect on the challenge of securing the release of the girls, which I know is possible but with measured carefulness and strategy, I am always pissed off by the suggestion from some quarters that the military should storm the forest. I am apprehensive of the consequences of such an action. To me, this course of action would have been appropriate if Boko Haram is not in custody of the girls. Any attempt to storm the forest might lead to the terrorists using the very objects of such military campaign as human shield, thus exposing the girls to greater harm. Some people might be making allusion to the precision with which US took out Osama Bin Ladin. But the scenario is different. As at the time of the surprise attack at his hide out in Pakistan, Bin Ladin had no captive that could have been used as a human shield. This calls for careful situation analysis and adoption of the right strategy. We want the girls secured alive. Nobody including their parents will rejoice at any other news different from this.

Though it is not the right time to begin to trade blame but truth be told. The reaction or inaction of the Federal Government is late. Also worrisome is the way the first lady is carrying out her intervention. What NTA Network news is feeding the nation with is embarrassing. I don’t think the first lady should constitute herself into another investigation bureau drilling her invitees. It is good to express concern as the mother of the nation, but to carry on as if she has any legal backing to conduct her court as being done now, is insulting the sensibility of Nigerians.

‘Femi Akinwande Aguda- Surulere, Lagos.



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