21 of about 265 Chibok girls who were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents were set free today after several negotiations between the insurgents and the Federal Government (FG).
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends FG for the successful negotiation which led to the freedom of 21 of the Chibok girls. This development marks the beginning of the liberation of the girls in totality. It also showcases FG’s genuine commitment to the rescue of the Chibok girls. It is a plus for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although it is not yet Uhuru, we wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari for bringing out 21 of the girls from captivity. It may be a small number but it is a pointer to better days ahead. A silver lining has appeared in the sky after cloudy and stormy days.
In particular, we hail President Buhari for his recent passionate appeal to the United Nations (UN) to come to his aid in negotiating with the Boko Haram insurgents. We believe that it was this transparent and highly pragmatic approach which brought the Red Cross and the UN into the negotiation process. It is needless to say that the insurgents saw credibility and sincerity in FG’s latest negotiation moves because international agencies were involved.
However, the release of the 21 girls has effectively punctured the conspiracy theory of a few doubting Thomases led by the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who alleged that the abduction of the girls was a phantom. The reunion of the girls with the rest of Nigerians is also a serious indictment on the former president who dilly dallied for 18 good days after their kidnap before lifting a finger. Had he acted early, the girls would have been rescued before the insurgents did so much harm to them.
Former President Jonathan must therefore live with the moral burden of official and deliberate neglect in the case of the abduction of the Chibok girls for the rest of his life. It was sheer dereliction of duty at the highest echelon of power. No more, no less. Jonathan’s moral nightmare must include the trauma experienced by the girls and their parents over the single parent phenomenon to which some of the girls who came back with kids are unjustly subjected.
We are saddened by the fact that some of the girls came back with children of their own but we thank Allah that they are alive. We charge FG to come up with a programme for the full rehabilitation of the 21 girls, their kids and others still in captivity whose release we are eagerly anticipating.
MURIC appeals to the parents of the Chibok girls whose children are yet to be released to remain hopeful, to exercise patience and to have faith in the efforts of the Buhari administration to bring back their daughters.
On a final note, while we commend the efforts of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group in putting pressure on governments of the day on the subject-matter, we appeal for decorum and rational behavior in the methods adopted. While public demonstrations in the days of Jonathan can be rationalized in the face of official lethargy, the same cannot be said about the Buhari period.
We therefore advise the BBOG group to stop public demonstrations henceforth. Public demonstrations are capable of being hijacked by hoodlums who may loot shops, attack innocent motorists and commit other atrocities. BBOG should divert its energy to peaceful advocacy on the issue through press statements and humanitarian efforts aimed at improving the standard of living of the Chibok girls in particular, their education, their kids, their parents and the Chibok community in general.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)