Boko Haram Ceasefire: Dead at Birth! By Funmilola Ajala
Recently, I mean as recent as last week, I watched the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, toiled to shield whatever is left of the hyped ceasefire between federal government and pugnacious Boko Haram. Okupe has lately become a face that needs no monograph on America’s Cable News Network (CNN), where he appeared for the umpteenth time.
However, the final nail on Okupe’s endeavours at damage limitation was hammered by elusive Abubakar Shekau – or a man who claimed to be that fugitive – a day after. Dancing Azonto gawkily somewhere – tentatively – within Sambisa, the psycho told whoever cares to listen that the so-called armistice between his legion of murderers and Jonathan government is but a subterfuge. He denied and denounced a certain Danladi Ahmadu – the alleged Boko Haram representative in the purported negotiations – as an impostor.
But nothing appears more disquieting and irritating in Shekau’s latest rant than his revelation that our missing over 200 girls from Chibok have joined the league of teen Amariyas!
Apparently, the federal authority has inadvertently exposed itself to caricature in the eyes of international community. Many would easily consent that the ceasefire was dead even at birth. Many have always queried the sacrosanctity of the ceasefire when the terrorists were still unhindered in perpetrating their nefarious course. Even while the ceasefire was supposedly still active, the Boko Haramites took their expedition to Mubi (now ‘Madinatul Islam’, according to them), ransacking Vintim, the hometown of Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh; reportedly torching his residence and few other ‘significant’ structures within view. What could be more ridiculous?; if one may ask.
At this instance, camps for Internally Displaced People (IDP) are springing up in states like Gombe and Bauchi as villagers-turned-refugees take to flight in search of safety, daily. The fate of Bama and Gworza (in Borno) remain practically in limbo months after the terrorists allegedly hoisted their flag within these swathes. Suleiman Abba, the Inspector-General of Police, had just inundated Nigerians that the whereabouts of 30 missing policemen from Boko Haram’s attack on a Police Training Academy, located in Gworza, is still unknown, a month after. And to shamefully cap it up, some 300 Nigerian soldiers, yet again, caught the bug of ‘tactical maneuvering’ as they reportedly bid a retreat into Cameroon when Boko Haram came calling in Mubi.
Nothing could be farer from the obvious. Facts on ground suggest something acutely contrasting to the comforting official lines being churned out by Nigerian power custodians day-in day-out. Perhaps, the federal government may have to provide Nigerians with further explanations on who exactly Mr. Danladi is, in consonance with his level of relativity within the terror cult.
This is more important if one puts the horology and antecedence of Boko Haram through a microscopic assay. What precisely gives the federal government the confidence that there could be a genuine extension of olive branch from a group which had all-along maintained its allergy to amity? Is this not the same Boko Haram that made mockery of Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Reconciliation in times past? The queries seem continuum indeed.
And come to peruse further, the decision of the Nigerian government to go into dialogue with the terrorists is nothing but antithetical; to say the least. History has taught us that in military conflict of this nature, it is often desirous for either of the antagonists to exude crave for a hold in fire whenever it appears defeat is stirring them in the face. That the Nigerian authority concludes to espouse a ceasefire when all available calculus point towards a possible conquest especially in the aftermath of the Gamboru episode – where hundreds of the belligerents were fell by our armed forces – leaves one with a bitter taste in the mouth.
It is equally painful and pathetic that the leading political class might have lost the initiative to Shekau and co, one more time. Whilst the Nigerian state has – so far – failed to secure the release of the kidnapped girls, we may have to worry even more with reports of another 60 from our vulnerable female folks, who recently became the latest war ‘loots’ of Boko Haram.
Therefore, at this perilous juncture, it becomes pressing to speak truth to power. And in doing so, one would have to align with the position of opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), whose spokesman, Lai Muhammed, called for a thorough audit of what he termed “domestic and international embarrassment.” We, as a people, must deny this one-too-many official farce ample space to fully integrate into our way of life. We cannot continue to compensate failures apparently caused by overt goofs and inactions with endless opportunities for repetition. It is more than apposite for someone(s) to take responsibility for leading the nation down this mortification route.
We are at a stage where confusion permeates the atmosphere. A stage where those trusted with public direction cannot decipher bold handwritings on the wall. Such precarious understanding of the subsisting quandary was put to fore by not least a personality in Hon. Gideon Gwani (a federal lawmaker), who – while admonishing trumatised people of Southern Kaduna – reportedly told them to take up arms in self-defence against their persecutors. The implication of the advice seems quite simple: a virtual collapse of the Social Contract which ought to customarily connect a political pyramid and its communes. Doesn’t that sound like the story of Nigeria?
Let’s hope Dr. Okupe would soon not recommend me for a visit to Aro for psychiatric evaluation!
*You can follow Ajala on Twitter: @ajalatravel07
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