Chibok Girls: Nigerian Military On Course, By Chukwudi Enekwechi
…it needs to be restated that armed forces are well grounded organisations that are not disposed to utilising propaganda in carrying out their operations, and neither do they engage in frivolities. These are all in consonance with their professional calling and rules of engagement.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian military has been widely acknowledged as having exhibited a high sense of professionalism in the fight against insurgency in the North-East. Prior to his assumption of power, there were several reported cases of troops abandoning their tasks and withdrawing from the war front due to their being ill-equipped or for lack of motivation. Of course this was an aberration and went a long way to undermine the war against Boko Haram.
Now we know that the military has been reorganised and they have substantially degraded the ability of Boko Haram to attack communities and occupy territories.
On the Chibok girls, it is a well known fact that the President Buhari administration is focused on rescuing them safely. He has provided necessary incentives to enable the military accomplish the task and these efforts are still on-going. Furthermore, the Nigerian military is making efforts to rescue not only the Chibok girls, but all Boko Haram hostages, Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.
It suffices to say that the military’s determined efforts have led to the successful rescue of over 20,000 hostages, including men, women and children who have been in Boko Haram’s captivity.
It is therefore unbelievable that despite these concerted efforts, some groups and individuals continue to base the success of the military in the fight against insurgency on the non-release of the Chibok girls. Already the point has been made that the military is not relenting on successfully rescuing the unfortunate girls.
The Buhari administration has also shown empathy and concern for the plight of these abducted girls. On several occasions, the president has met with the parents of the girls, as well as other stakeholders, with a view to fashioning out ways and means to safely rescue the girls.
A critical evaluation of the fight against Boko Haram will clearly show that all territories previously occupied by insurgents have been liberated by the Nigerian military. If this is not a milestone of success, then we need to invent another word for the word “success”.
It is pertinent to point out that it won’t be easy to restore complete order to a region that was ravaged for over five years by dare-devil Boko Haram terrorists, yet our military continues to record significant progress in the war. We must realise that the military is making great sacrifice for the security of the country and all they require is the cooperation of all, including the Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG).
Have we stopped for a moment to ponder about the sacrifices the armed forces personnel make in fighting for our freedom from the insurgents? It is understood that some have died in the course of the war, and many others are separated from their families and loved ones for many months and even years.
For the avoidance of doubt, it needs to be stated that it is practically impossible for the military to release sensitive information relating to their operations to the public. It is only common sense that information regarding the Chibok girls or indeed other military operations ought to be managed in the national interest and in a manner that does not compromise national security.
Therefore, as the military continues to stabilise the North-East region for an enduring peace, it is important that we eschew mischief and politics in our quest to rescue the Chibok girls. It will be foolhardy for the military to allow some groups or individuals to undermine national security under the guise of campaigning for the release of Chibok girls.
It is indeed commendable that under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and the diligent supervision of his service chiefs, all monies meant for the war against insurgency are being utilised with sincerity and honesty of purpose.
We must admit that the Nigerian military has exhibited a high level of competence and ability in the war against insurgency but that does not entail meeting with the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners. First they are not answerable to BBOG and their mode of operations does not leave room for such interaction.
That the military has gained significant mileage in the war against Boko Haram is no longer in doubt as even the United States has attested to that fact, hence the human and material support they are offering the Nigerian military to ensure a successful final outcome in the war.
Is it not surprising that some people are criticising the military for declaring three Nigerians wanted on matters related to the whereabouts of the Chibok girls, without even knowing the amount of credible intelligence at their disposal. Obviously such unwarranted intrusion into the activities of the military will do more harm than good. As an institution, it is meant to operate within prescribed norms and codes of conduct, and any deviation usually attracts commensurate reprimand and punishment.
It is high treason for any state official to leak military secret, as it is capable of attracting severe punishment. Even an American President was once jailed for disclosing military secret, while a former CIA director was placed under probation for leaking such.
In conclusion, it needs to be restated that armed forces are well grounded organisations that are not disposed to utilising propaganda in carrying out their operations, and neither do they engage in frivolities. These are all in consonance with their professional calling and rules of engagement.
Chukwudi Enekwechi, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached via email@example.com.