© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
The human side of Boko Haram
By Fredrick Nwabufo
The phrase, “human side”, was given a Nigerian tinge and notoriety by Femi Adesina, spokesman of the president.
On December 24, 2017, Adesina announced that a 55-minute documentary entitled the ‘Human Side of Buhari’ would air the next day. This was at a time of chronic petrol drought, and when Nigerians became tenants of fuel stations.
Adesina said the documentary aimed to show the soft interior of the president against the background of his vaunted steel exterior; hence the title the ‘Human Side…’
I hope I have given enough credit to Oga Adesina because I intend to appropriate his phrase here.
On Wednesday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said the government did not pay ransom to Boko Haram for the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls. In fact, he said the girls were released unconditionally.
I would have given the minister the benefit of the doubt. But he said exactly the same thing when 85 Chibok schoolgirls were released in October – only for facts of how the government paid the insurgents a ransom of millions of Euros to surface.
Perhaps, Boko Haram has a “human side”. But it shatters the grail of reason that a band of murderous renegades will walk a treadmill of danger to abduct a group of schoolgirls only to return them without any condition. Maybe Boko Haram has had an epiphany.
However, I believe the Dapchi abduction is not a scam or a political orchestration. Though I think Boko Haram is sympathetic to the Buhari administration.
The reasons for this are obvious. The government has released a multitude of Boko Haram suspects; even the wives and children of the insurgents previously incarcerated. I doubt if any Boko Haram member, tried and convicted, has been sentenced to death or even given a life sentence under this administration.
The government has been temperate with them in this regard. This is not entirely a bad or immoral approach because the insurgents are still Nigerians. And there is the other issue, which is purely sentimental.
Also, hundreds of Boko Haram members have been released for purging or deradicalisation by the Buhari government. Most of these insurgents were captured by the military under President Jonathan, but they were left to rot in diseased prisons.
In conclusion, I think the government has been able to secure the trust of the insurgents by its approach; hence the breakthrough. But the Jonathan administration could not achieve this.
Fredrick is a journalist, writer and media entrepreneur. He can be reached on @Twitter: FredrickNwabufo, Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo.