New Telegraph

February 23, 2024

Abduction: Shekau, Salkida, and the rest of us

As a tenet of its false constituted ideology and business model, the insurgents had taken thousands of young Nigerians, many of whom were raped or conscripted as fighters. Most of these abductions went unnoticed, and it took the security forces unaware. For long, this name has always send shivers down everyone’s spine, whenever Boko haram is being mentioned.

Unlike the tragic abduction of the 276 teenage Chibok girls, which took place on April 14, 2014, that sparked a global outrage with sequential futile effort in rescuing all of them but could only get a handful number after rigorous negotiations that went back and forth, President Muhammadu Buhari sprang into action on hearing of the abduction of hundreds of children by gunmen from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, on December 11.

Muhammadu Buhari had strongly condemned the attack on the school in Kankara and charged the military and the police to go after the attackers to ensure that no student was missing or harmed. Knowing that authority and responsibility goes together, the President also directed the reinforcement of security at all schools in line with the safe schools policy of the administration.

In a joint effort to secure the safe release of the students, and to prevent imminent occurrence, the Governor of the state, Aminu Masari, also ordered the immediate closure of all boarding secondary schools in the state and pleaded with parents to remain calm as efforts were being made by the government to ensure the safe return of the students.

These students were delivered in Tsafe, Zamfara State, and transported back home.

Despite this successful news that deserves a great applause from home and diaspora, and with the risk taken by the Nigeria armed forces, by putting their lives on line in battlefield just to rescue these boys, I am still struggling to come to terms that some disgruntled elements would even be angry that the kankara boys were released, and there abduction was in the disguise of transferring money secretly. We need not to look further in search of those that have inhumane heart for this country. We can easily pick all these dissenters and antagonists.

The governors of Katsina and Zamfara states have affirmed and maintained their stand that no money exchanged hands to secure the release of these students on Thursday, which now raised the question of whether the kidnappers suddenly became charitable in the course of their modus operandi that we have always known them with.

Buhari is the president. If he wants to fund terrorist or bandits, all he has to do is transfer money to them from the treasury accounts via some secret transaction, or through any of his aids. Why would he need to go through all these public and international embarrassment of kidnapping 300 kids from one school in order to pay terrorists a ransom of whatever peanuts was supposedly given? There is no iota of wisdom in that.

Abubakar Shekau had suffered lots of casualties in the past during their confrontation with the Nigeria armed forces on many occasions. This has laid their camps desolate, and they were not ready to lose the few they have left. This is also the more reason why they orchestrated the abduction of the boys, to gather fund and increase their war hands.

Meanwhile, in a video of the school children released by the Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram faction, one of the schoolboys urged the government to pay their abductors a ransom and stop military rescue efforts so they could be released. It was the only request that was publicised by the terror group. They tried using his emotional manipulation as bait for the armed forces, so that they can get away easily, but they never fell for it.

In their wiles, they made the abducted boys to do video that reveals they were being held by Boko Haram. Unfortunately, the military had rounded up the bandits and the only thing left was to release the boys to government, which would allow them escape.

In my considered opinion, I believed that intelligence reached them that, the well-trained military men under President Buhari’s order, have been closing up on them very fast, and they needed to resort to using another tactic in buying more time to abscond. It is so unfortunate that the ever knowing Boko Haram right handed man, Ahmad Salkida, who claimed to also have the interest of the country at heart still could not prove his patriotism by exposing this one, but remained blind to giving any report or intelligence as regards the abduction. This further proves that he has been a tool for siphoning vital information for Boko Haram insurgents. Boko Haram had to contact untrained bandits to carry out their dirty jobs for them. Even Shekau has remained in his hiding chamber, and therefore, has been speaking from his shadow ever since.

With these steps taken, it shows that the president has the passion and commitment for the vigorous fight against this abduction, and also ready to rescue the country from what can be described as malady. President Buhari has shown his capability for rapid response improvement on security challenges facing our dear Nation, Nigeria. What we are witnessing in recent times, is as a result of the act of politicians with greed for money and power; people that are not ready to see beyond the immediate, but only care and seek after their own self-gratification.

I urge everyone to dismiss the reported claim by the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau that the school children were abducted by his men, observing that it is the usual propaganda of the terrorist group, they like to take credit of every notable attacks perpetuated to cause distress and unrest in the country. They have failed once again, and are brutally defeated in their bid to cause trepidation in the heart of the citizenry.

I will tell you this; “a fight against corruption is not a one stakeholder’s affair.” We need to work together to fight insurgency and banditry. We refuse to be defrauded by this cheap tactics. Boko Haram is defeated and gone forever.

I stand with President Buhari to say that “We have a lot of work ahead of us and some of the things not said is to not compromise the security and the efforts being put by the law enforcement agencies. But, really, we are acutely aware of our responsibilities. Our responsibility is to secure the country, so we have a lot of work to do.

By Idoko Ainoko

Ainoko is a public affairs analyst based in Kaduna.

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