By Dr. Peregrino Brimah
A man purported to be Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau released a video Sunday in which he displayed some of the abducted Chibok school girls. The video was obtained by the usual source, the French AFP media. In the video, the girls were seen sitting in a clear patch in a forest and holding al Qaeda banners. In the full, 27 minute version of the video released by AFP, some of the girls were seen made to stand up, looking extremely frightened and reciting Islamic verses while proclaiming their conversion to Islam after having “realized” as they were made to say, that Christianity was not correct.
This video and its contents, violates all human and religious laws. The production of such video by Boko Haram further cements the global recognition of the group as a vile, demonic organization. That Boko Haram violates all principles of decency and humanity is no news; however that such a video that denigrates people’s children and faiths is propagated by global media is concerning.
We are unable to confirm if all of the parents of the 234 victims consented to their children and wards being displayed in such a humiliating state to the entire world. We hope AFP sought the approval of all the parents. But regardless of such approval being given, the purpose of the display of such denigrating video to a limitless global audience bewilders and perplexes family people and people of the religions.
What is the essence of releasing and broadcasting such sick videos from Shekau? Does this assist in building an appropriate global reaction to the terror crises? Does this help the everyday viewer in appreciating the desperate situation of the girls and the nation under Boko Haram? Is this merely broadcast as entertainment?
We petition all news media and social media involved in the hawking of Boko Haram terror, promotional and all otherwise despicable material, to abide by the best international journalistic practices and act in full responsibility in the propagation of only the information that is useful and safe to the general public.
The affected Borno state government had recently responsibly published a press release in which they explained that it was in consideration of the rights of these children that they had refused—despite public demand and query—to release the list of names and pictures of the abducted girls. This was the responsible and reasonable approach to handling information of victims of terror. We petition the media responsible for this shameful release to do likewise.
It is also noted from the video, that the “Shekau” personality who was filmed on a Hollywood green screen, complete with the light effects in the video was startlingly different from several “Shekaus” of the past including the most recent video released a week ago where the persona claimed responsibility for the abduction. This new Shekau was the fat version of Shekau, back to the main screen. We have previously described how Shekau maintains immortality by using several doubles in various locations and electronic manipulation, to produce “his” videos many of which are spread by media without the necessary disclaimers.
The general public is advised to refrain from seeking out videos of Boko Haram and from entertaining the information and worthless messages contained. Terror is not entertainment.