There are many reasons why we may fail and will continue to fail in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria and the sahel region as it seems. Lack of coordination between the military and the police are just one part; another is mismanagement of information by the security. Almost when it seems like the war is over; you will suddenly realize that such news is only a painted picture of information from the security. Immediately in a characterized mode, will either be breaking news of unstoppable sporadic suicide attacks and bombing by the insurgents whom the military claimed have been completely wiped out. And the cycle goes on and on till then.
How many times have we not be told that insurgent in the North East of Nigeria has been wiped out? So many times I can recall. The wrong idea is, when it seems like the insurgent group is defeated at Sambisa forest, we assumed that the war is over. And that is where and how we fail. The war is actually not in sambisa forest but more in the minds of people living in our communities every day. It is not only a war that would be won by guns alone if you don’t know. This hard way approach of militarization used within the Lake Chad Region will not solve this issue, rather continue to escalate and spread, winning sympathy and empathy for new recruitment into extremist group. I wonder why we are yet to explore fully the soft ware approach of citizen engagement. That can solve the problem more than guns.
Why are they helpless
Do you remember the abduction of 275 Chibok girls? If you do, another abduction of 110 schools girls in Dapchi in Yobe State, Nigeria just happened again days back. And I tell you truth, others may still happen if we continue the way we are doing. Surprisingly, two most pronounced abduction on record by the insurgents in the North-East of Nigeria for instance, happened in a broad day light, where community members watched helplessly as these school girls are loaded into trucks and driven away. My fear is that very soon; girls in the region will refused going to school out of fear of being abducted and I bet you to mark my lips. And by that time we will be in messier situation. Remember that the North East Region of Nigeria is where girl child education is at ebb from immemorial. I tell you we are in for it.
But I have drawn a map of the two abduction incidents of Chibok and Dapchi school girls as mention and came up with some similarities when the insurgent stroke. I only realized that on the two occasions, the insurgent stroke on the very day the military were withdrawn from vulnerable communities. In this case, I am tempted to suspect if there is no leakage of security information to the group. And if that is the case, we are but playing the ostrich.
Getting to know that security is everybody’s business was something I never thought of. How citizens can actively involved in security of their communities. I am imagining how citizens will always watch the scene of abduction of these school girls helplessly. I am imagining why we will wait for insurgent to strike before we cover up. I then noticed that whenever school girls are abducted, we start running around the group in pro and anti- dialogue style in attempt to rescue the girls.
What beat my imagination is how the insurgents have used the same tactics for abduction successfully for the Chibok girls and again, with the Dapchi girls. And they will use it again because we have refused to learn. First at Chibok , 275 girls were whisked away, and now it is at Dapchi with over 110 school girls carted into truck like sardine even as citizens watch the scene helplessly. Till then, we feel it is not time to put in place programs that would build these vulnerable communities on resilience, or create safe escapes routes in future for girls at schools. Rather, we are waiting for another abduction to happen so we can begin to cry foul like this and play the ostrich as usual.
It’s not girls against the world?
Take a look at how boys and girls especially in the North-East of Nigeria are facing brutality arising from the mismanaged conflict of insurgency. My heart bleeds when I see confrontation of children, whom are recruited into armed violent groups to fight with security forces. Such confrontation has resulted in at least 3,900 children being killed and 7,300 more maimed. It is disheartening to see children failing as either victims of attacks or they are used to perpetrate the attacks. The end result of it all is death and nothing less.
Can you imagine that children as young as four years are recruited to join armed violent groups in Nigeria? And it doesn’t end there, even the security forces are also not exempted from recruiting and using children to role-play militarized information gathering as informants. The Civilian Joint Task Force aka CJTF is another, they also recruits children too for related intelligence purpose and these children are used in most security posts as mounting guards. It is on record that at military detention centers as at 2016 in Nigeria, more than 1,100 children were detained and reprieved of liberty for reason you will find difficult to explain. But prime about it was simply because, these children’s parents are/were traceable to insurgent group -Boko Haram. That is just how these children pay price for their parents.
So I asked if that was the crime those children committed to deserve detention? Up till now I couldn’t get an answer. But to be précised, 68 boys between 12-17 years were detained since September 2015 for reason(s) I mentioned earlier. However, as at December 2016, 1,058 children were released.
Beginning from 2014, children especially girls were seen in the front row of so called “suicide attacks” in Nigeria. That started after the abduction of the chibok school girls. Something before now was un-think of in Nigeria but now here we are. Have you ever wondered who those suicide bomber girls are? To clear your doubt, last night I dreamt they are schools girls abducted by insurgent group. And immediately I woke up I felt feverish and I am suspecting malaria. Still yet I can infer.
So far 90 girls can be verified used in suicide attacks in Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad and Niger. These girls are dressed beautifully as brides. Remote by manipulation and radicalization against their wish, to move into densely populated locations; like market square and worship centers to detonate explosives/bombs, killing self alongside innocent unlucky targets. These kinds of brides though dressed beautiful, yet are extremely destructive and deadly. They are what they are because they went to school and were abducted with no help. They are abducted and recruited to become tools of destruction of lives and properties throughout the Lake Chad Region. These girls are innocent and who know who could be the next abducted school girls?
My heart will always bleed on this.