We were still suffering the prints and remnants of the hazard in 2014 when the boys revisited. As is the custom, the other boys in the military were commanded by a Big Man to make way and this made us think they had a common goal. They said they didn’t work together, but it seemed like they worked together. They said they had no prior knowledge of the exercise but they acted like they had prior knowledge. By the time the boys against Western Education came for oversight in Dapchi, the road was full of the bodies of human beings who have refused to die. Human bodies dismembered by flatulent leadership. We are the victims of a system kept homeostatic by creating imbalance in the mitochondria pool—the masses. We are like zombies, except that to the visible eye, we appeared human. We are the potpourri of all the gloomy songs of antiquity. We had eyes that can see but we couldn’t see the picture seven blind men painted.
Just like what we had in Chibok four years ago, the Dapchi girls were loaded into trucks like Sardines, driven round town, passed military checkpoints but there was no one to rescue them. This time, their vehicle broke down as they toured the city, a mechanic was called to do a fix, they spent hours but still there was no challenge. There was no chase or an attempt to pursue and recover all. There was no intelligence or an attempt to be intelligent. In fairness to the God of logic and commonsense, the scene wouldn’t have played out if it wasn’t an Inside Job, a case of teammates or to put safe, sheer incompetence. This republic has shown that anything is possible and human nature is not inherently good either. The consistency of human beings in showcasing inconsistency and the certainty of Nigeria(n) (Politicians) to disappoint embraced the inside-job-teammates storyline. If you can’t help the poor, you leave them alone but politicians who won’t help have refused to let us be. If you can’t help a drowning man, just let him be but they wrap stones around our waists as we drown and let us be.
So, after they toured the city with the girls for hours, after their trucks had a flat tire and they spent hours repairing it, after they passed several checkpoints without military or security confrontation, they finally used a plane to carry them to the other side where Shekau’s archenemy, Mus’ab al-Barnawi, was waiting to receive the package. They were 110 human beings. The school said 110, the government said just 105 were missing. Earlier the school said some girls were abducted but the government said nobody was abducted in Dapchi. The state Governor lied to the people, the locals pelted him stones. Anger was mixed with the long term hunger and smiling or listening to foolish talk provoked the spirit. We have been here before. Actually, we are here now but because of our collective amnesia, we forget the root of evil, the scourge of evil, we become evil and when it happens again the process restores reality. Hash tag Bring Back Dapchi Girls was trending. Buhari is playing games, we said. The northerners are playing games again, we said. We’ve been here before. The terrain looks familiar. Truth is, the terrain has always been there. I only wish this was fictional.
Instantly, activists were born. Men who couldn’t manage the events at Chibok or listen to the human voices that spoke, borrowed the tactics of the opposition in the last leap year. Men who proposed calm, care and tact made hypocrisy very proud. Men and women who used Hash tags to grow their twitter followers capitalised but the Dapchi girls were still nowhere to be found. Shekau didn’t show up for a broadcast to show off his new assets like he normally does and what was deduced seemed right. Boko Haram has broken into factions and Shekau’s power divided. That was what it looked like. On the air waves, ridicule poured in and On-Air-Personalities worked tirelessly teaching morals. Ridicule for the ridiculous statement by the President and Army that Boko Haram has been defeated. It was a poorly thought declaration and people asked why and the motive. Wars end only when we feel an atmosphere of peace not when a man says it has ended.
On the streets, anguish was noticeable again. In Dapchi, the soldiers patrolled the place. They were returned after the deed has been done and were told to guard the place against further attack. The checkpoints worked again and there were soldiers ready to prevent abductions by any terrorist sect. The mothers of the girls and the boy kidnapped were in tears. Their hearts opened, a dagger went in. They sent their kids to learn, to be better than they are, to bless the society with their education but now it seems like they killed their babies. Boko Haram, like most terrorist groups, had argued that the girl child is not built for (western) education and are trying to drive that message in. They are only good as housewives and workers. Not just any housewife but the second, third, fourth wife, routinely satisfying the men as their preference go. The mothers were in pains and the fathers reacted violently to the men in charge from a place of pain. This shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Negotiations shouldn’t have been allowed to start by providing adequate security and a little honesty.
The search that could have been prevented had begun and someone might get hurt. We hoped, prayed for the best, but even though we aren’t natural pessimists, we’ve found out we are safer expecting the worst. Whose child will die like we saw in Chibok? What if they don’t make it? What if the terrorists had them brainwashed and the girls called their abductors lovers? What if the boy is recruited and used as bait for more bloodshed? What if they had an argument superior to the defense the kids were equipped with and they fall? Their families and Nigerians only prayed that God be with them. The government also used the same line even though they knew what should be done. They knew what needs to be done to get them and when they did, their antecedents, the modus operandi and many other loopholes, made it difficult for same people who prayed and wished for their release, to buy the story. It looked like something you will find in Alaba International Market. The people lost trust and like a relationship without trust, it became easier to agree that what looks like a lie is actually a lie.
The girls returned two weeks after and the mixed feelings it generated wasn’t surprising. The terror gang moved into Dapchi in the morning to drop the girls and the sight was horrifying. On sighting the group, the people fled but were told by the terrorists to return as they came in peace. They dropped the girls and the only boy among them before proceeding to give a lecture on good behaviour and true principles of Islam. They returned 104. Five had died, unfortunately, and one girl, a Christian, Leah Sharibu, was held back for refusing to drop the Bible and pick the Holy Koran. They said the 5 died of heart attack and stress and it was news even before Boko Haram returned to Dapchi with the other 104. It was terrible. While other parents were celebrating a reunion, the parents of the five were in mourning. While the mothers and fathers of the other five were still in deep grief, the Federal Government was hosting the others and celebrating victory.
The family of Leah was in a mixed grief too. They received the message of the strength displayed by their daughter and they were full of sweet and pain. She is strong for standing for what she believes in, she is her mother’s daughter for sticking with the Christian religion even when surrounded by guns and ugly looking monsters, she is what every Christian and child of God should aspire to. They took comfort in her faith and resilience and the belief that she is going to a better place irrespective of whatever happens, massages their wounds. They have a strong belief that her life, the way it is, is already in safe hands. They are hurting and their mortal bodies are giving way but the spiritual aspect of their beings strengthen their almost atrophied bodies. A reasonable government would have mourned the five but what we have, what we’ve had, is nothing close to the government of the sane.
An empathic government wouldn’t have created a language of victory when one is not back or acted as if the five that died are just mere chickens. No apology but blames for irresponsibility. No sympathy for the families of the dead. No sympathy or word to the parents of Leah. The sight the Boko Haram team left was horrific. As they dropped the abducted and made their way back they were cheered by the same masses that cursed the day their paths crossed. Two weeks ago, the story was brutal, there was no happiness in the same place and anyone involved by incompetence and kidnap was cursed. But as the abducted were returned and the people served a terrorist’s version of Islam and the abduction of Leah, kidnap and death of the five justified, they saw good in the demons who have killed thousands across the country. They were infected with hero worship and a cocktail effect was observed. They worshipped the same people who killed their brothers, their sisters, fathers and mothers. They worshipped and hailed a terrorist group. Is this madness, cowardice or subtle allegiance? The truth is, this is Nigeria and it can be all of the above.
The entire picture is sickening. The deal struck allowed the group to return the girls without military confrontation. They stayed back for about twenty minutes giving lectures on morality after returning the abductees. Basically, Nigeria’s and West Africa’s deadliest terrorist group was in Dapchi preaching of salvation and nothing was done about it. There are many loopholes to be ignored in a logical class. Some girls and a boy is back and we appreciate it, but if we don’t ask why, or know why, or find how, it will keep repeating itself. The reason same things keep happening is because the mechanism of actions and mechanics behind the actions were poorly understood and left unterminated. First, who commanded soldiers to leave the town before the girls were abducted? Where did the order come from? Immediately the soldiers left, the boys entered Dapchi and did damage.
Where were the Nigerian soldiers or security team when the terrorists’ truck(s) broke down and they had to change tires? Acting like they are in control when they are not in control will make escape difficult but what they displayed suggested control and trouble. Why were the terrorists so confident and seem, from what was narrated, not to be in a hurry? Even a petty thief who steals biscuits is in a hurry to leave the enemy zone. Could it be that our army is compromised and Boko Haram now have representatives in high positions? Is Boko Haram a religious terrorist group, a political terrorist group or an ideological terrorist group? Soldiers had had so many revolts in the war and recruits have been punished for uprisings against cunny commanders. Does the unfortunate statement by former President Goodluck Jonathan that Boko Haram are in his government still holds true? That could explain the intelligence gathering level of the group and we are doomed if that cannot only be logically explained but also practically proved.
Could it be that some men in the military, top men I mean, who benefit from this war don’t want it to end? Generally in war, men at the top siphon and steal any nickel they can get their hands on. Could it be that the current government is trying to play to the gallery to make the reelection of Buhari possible? The President once spoke of Amnesty for these terrorists who have murdered many Nigerians and days back, gave orders for the release of arrested Boko Haram members who repented. The law court said Justice but he didn’t see any need for that and accorded them rehabilitation instead. He also said an attack on Boko Haram is an attack against the north and wondered why Amnesty given to the Niger Delta militants cannot be given to the Boko Haram terrorists. He was also appointed by the group to lead the dialogue for peace which he turned down but there are many likely scenarios and all are possible in the logical world.
Could it be that the terrorists simply needed money and had to do the kidnap? Most terrorist organizations kidnap to raise money for more weapons and to help with leverage. We learned nothing from the abduction of the Chibok girls four years ago. We didn’t ask why, how or what happened and it happened again in Dapchi. The President has promised to deal with those responsible if he finds out it is all arranged. That would be nice but considering that the President admitted in Benue that he didn’t know the IG he sent to Benue only visited for a day two months after he gave the order, makes it more of lip service. Are we playing games with human lives or this is just plain stupidity and incompetence? To be frank, I don’t know but anything is possible.