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Saatah Nubari: Mr President, Now Not Later

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I woke up today to a rather sweet-sour news, that the Cameroonian army successfully planned and executed the rescue of the wife of the Vice Prime Minister from her Boko Haram captors. Before you come all Hitler on me, I’ll do good to expound on what I mean when I say the news was sweet-sour. That the wife of the Vice Prime Minister of Cameroon was rescued without ransom and unscathed barely 48 hours after her kidnap is sweet news in itself, but let me bring you back home, our girls are still not free. You get the drift now right? Well, I had virtually forgotten about our very own Chibok girls, till I came across that Cameroonian piece of news.

Our girls have been gone for how long? No! No! No! No! Don’t google this or go check on Mrs Oby Ezekwesili’s Twitter page; think, you don’t remember right? That we’ve forgotten how long those girls have been kidnapped is typically Nigerian, we’re not doing anything new, we’re just being ourselves. How many girls were kidnapped? How many escaped? How many are still in captivity? You don’t have the slightest idea do you? You should be ashamed of yourself—yes, I’m already ashamed of myself too. I’m no fan of Oby Ezekwesili, but I’ll give it to her that if not for her effort and strong stance, we all would have forgotten about the Chibok girls, just like we’ve forgotten about the pupils whose throats were slit.

Let me not bore you with so many combined alphabets, and get straight to the reason why I decided to write today. The fact that since the Chibok girls were kidnapped, Boko Haram attacks exponentially increased shouldn’t be doubted. From village invasions, attacks on our military, bomb attacks and the new addition to their arsenal—young female suicide bombers, Boko Haram has grown bolder. I’m of the opinion that the increased spate of Boko Haram activity in Nigeria boils down to two things: 1. they see the Nigerian Government as weak. 2. They feel they’re in control. These two points can only be argued, but not entirely disproved.

The recent use of young female suicide bombers by Boko Haram frightens me, and it frightens me for very good reasons. One of those reasons being that the Chibok girls who were kidnapped months ago by them also fall between the same age brackets. This might sound like another conspiracy theory, but it’ll be wise if we treat every possibility as the word implies, possible.

I do not have any military or hostage rescue knowhow, but I’m of the view that we can’t and shouldn’t wait any longer in using our military and intelligence capabilities to execute a rescue for those girls. If the modus operandi of Boko Haram is anything to go by, keeping those girls there and waiting for them to escape might be the greatest undoing of this government when it comes to handling this crisis. That the girls have been or are been indoctrinated should be a source of serious worry to every concerned or unconcerned citizen of this country. That there is a probability that Boko Haram might have succeeded in adding about 100 girls to their suicide bombing arsenal shouldn’t be treated with a wave of the hand, because we might not have a hand to wave if that arsenal is ruthlessly deployed.

I commend the military for the time, energy and lives they’ve put on the line to safeguard Nigerians, and I’m aware of the limited choices available to them and our Commander in Chief. But now is the time to get those girls back. The Nigerian army might not be Israeli Sayeret Matkal Commandos that landed at Entebbe on the 4th of July 1976 and freed 100 hostages; this is going to be far bigger than that, this is going to be bloody and it’s going to test our unity but we’ll need them to put everything on the line.

The President needs to give that order now. Those girls need to know that their country cares for them, that their country will always come for them when the need arises for them. Mr President, there will be casualties, but there will be much more casualties if the Boko Haram sect succeed in imparting into those girls that their country doesn’t give a damn about them. Mr President Sir, time is running out. If we lose our girls now, Boko Haram would’ve gained about 100 mobile female IEDs with each one capable of taking the lives of another hundred or more. Mr President, as the Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, need I say more, but I’ll leave you with a quote from John F. Kennedy which says “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction” and as Mahatma Ghandi said “Action expresses priorities” Mr President, what is your priority?

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Saatah Nubari is on Twitter @Saatah

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