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Published On: Sun, Mar 11th, 2018

Waiting for another Dapchi girls’ abduction


Last week’s protest at the National Assembly by parents of the kidnapped girls of Government Girls Science Technical School Dapchi, the headquarters of Bursari Local Government Area in Yobe state marked a watershed in the ugly and shameful development since February 19, 2018 incident. The sad part of this drama is that nothing practical has been done by this government to effect the release of the 104 girls. For a government that championed security as one of its cardinal policies to be so caught napping is very instructive and disheartening.

Dapchi School Girls courtesy dailytrust.com.ng

Having used the release of the Chibok girls as its promise to upstage the previous regime, it is painful and a betrayal of public trust that the government has not only failed to rescue all the Chibo girls but has remained clueless and confused since the Dapchi kidnap, thereby prompting the public protest by the parents. It would be an understatement to say that government was caught unawares by the action but its response has been quite disappointing to say the least.

Simply put, we are back to April 2014 when the Chibok girls were first kidnapped and everything seems to be replaying itself once again. After almost a month in trying to establish the cause of action with committees and panels being set up, it is unlikely, like the Chibok girls, that the girls would ever be rescued. All the directives to security agencies to relocate operational base to Yobe state are mere blowing hot air and cosmetic gestures intended to dramatise a very serious problem.

What comes out of this challenge is the obvious lack of coordination among the different security agencies involved in tackling insurgency in the country. Like what has been amply demonstrated in other aspects of this government, there seems to be a multiplicity of interests contending for supremacy and the clear absence of leadership. Hence none of the agencies charged with this mandate has accepted responsibility for this failure. Worse still is the finger pointing and trading of blames by these agencies.

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Noteworthy is the fact of possible sabotage and filtration of the security outfits by the insurgents, which created the confusion in the deployment and withdrawal of troops from the area prior to the attack. Furthermore, the lack response from the agencies several hours after the attack suggests a level of complicity. This was also the case with the abduction of the Chibok girls. Although government is claiming victory over the insurgency, it is becoming abundantly clear that the group may be regrouping in other forms.

It is evident that abduction has become a lucrative business for the insurgents because of its financial incentives as demonstrated by the negotiations for the release of the 87 Chibok girls, following the payment of ransoms. Having lost most its means of raising revenue with the recapture of their previously controlled territories, kidnapping seems to be the only viable option for their continued survival.

The surprise is not that this strategy has become inevitable for the group but the fact that security and intelligent agencies did not anticipate such change. Whatever anybody says about the performance of this government, the Dapchi debacle is proof of its unmitigated dereliction of duty and failure. In fact the conflicting reports by both the military and state government following the abduction further fueled speculations of complete breakdown in communications between the security agencies.

In what has become his policy President Buhari showed no sign of concern about the dastardly act except a few meaningless expression of outrage and empty directives to the security agencies to deploy to the state. And rather than show solidarity with the people, parents and government of the state with a visit, he preferred to attend a wedding party in Kano, when a hundred of our young girls were missing.

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The Dapchi tragedy is emanates from the argument by those who supported and indeed encouraged negotiation and ransom payment for the release of the Chibok girls. Although no effort should be spared to free our girls, paying ransom to terrorists for hostages is an incentive that will encourage and further promote their criminal activities. The argument that it has been used elsewhere does not validate the fact that it should be used here also.

One thing is certain and conclusive in all this: The end to the Boko Haram war is not in sight, indeed the war may be unwinnable, in spite of the chest thumping claims of government to have defeat it. Such claims are not only suspicious and spurious but politically motivated and counterproductive. This war has become an industry and may continue for a longer period of time as evident in other countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen etc. because the war is constantly evolving and metamorphosing into new and different   phases.

The lesson is simple: We are not well equipped for this military engagement in terms of intelligence gathering, operational equipment, and command and control. The Dapchi show of shame happened especially as a result of the failure of intelligence and command and control. Government must admit its incapacity to prosecute the war and seek help, because after Dapchi, we might be waiting for another attack on a soft target as no one ever thought that after Chibok there would be Dapchi.

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