The government’s dedicated scheme in redeeming Boko Haram members and bandits is not only sketchy but an insult to the victims of their violence. To see how several citizens are actively suffering to feed themselves yet the government is insisting on handing out money and new garments to murderers is quite callous.
Recently, over 300 schoolboys were abducted from a Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina. A week later the boys were reportedly retrieved and rescued by Nigeria’s military. While many were happy about the boys’ arrival, the details were sketchy, and it raised several questions. Did the government pay a ransom? Why were bandits not captured or killed?
On Tuesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said that repentant bandits played a role in securing the schoolboys’ release.
He answered some of the circulating questions; insisting that no ransom was paid and that negotiations were made between the major actors. He stated that while the talks were on, the Nigerian Army troops encircled the Zamfara forest where the hostages were held.
“All of the leading actors said no ransom was paid. The governor of Zamfara State, who had a policy of engagement with the bandits leading to the surrender and renouncement of bandits, used reformed bandits –repentant bandits – to gain access to those that were in the forest and they had them (schoolboys) released,” he said.
Why are we budgeting several amounts of money to combat insecurity issues, when we still have to depend on ‘repentant’ bandits to come to our aid? His comments only succeeded in raising even deeper questions. If anything at all, it shows that the road to solving Nigeria’s security problems are a long way off.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
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