In an execution ceremony that has gone viral in the social  media, the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group has executed five abducted aid workers in Nigeria. In a pre-execution statement in Hausa, the group berated the aid workers for rendering their services to organizations that didn’t care a hoot about their safety and wellbeing.

Reacting to the dastardly act, the President, through his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, condoled with families of the five aid workers as well as the respective aid agencies, for the gruesome fate and loss of the innocent humanitarian workers. The Presidency has also identified the aid workers to be those from State Emergency Management; Action against Hunger; Rich International;  and International Rescue Committee, abducted a month ago.

In a related story, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters have discharged 602 ‘repentant Book Haram terrorists’, after swearing an Oath of Allegiance to the federal government. According to the Defence Information Coordinator, Major General John Enenche, the repentant Book Haram members relinquished their membership of the terrorist group and underwent a program of deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR), by Operation Safe Corridor. The oath of allegiance is to emphasize their unalloyed loyalty, discipline and obedience to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The implication is that if they subsequently default and rebel, they would be liable to charges against the state. So far, a total of 882 ex-Boko Haramites have been discharged back into the Nigerian population.

Pursuant to the above, and without prejudice to the security consciousness of the Nigerian military, is it not rather hasty and counterproductive to allow these ‘ex-terrorists’  to  the mingle with the masses, especially when the war against Book Haram is far from being over. That should have been done when victory has been achieved, in order not to endanger the lives of Innocent civilians. How do you monitor the individual lives and activities of nearly a million ex-terrorists in a motley crowd of over 200 million Nigerians?

Since the year, particularly from March through to the lockdown period,  there has been an unprecedented downward movement of able-bodied young men from the North to the South. They travel mostly in the night and their large numbers, either disguised or in non-passenger trucks, with no identifiable destination. Some of them were apprehended and turned back from Abia, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu and some other states. Defence intelligence did not offer any explanations to that, to allay the fears of the people.

The murder of five aid workers still shows that Book Haram is not an easy push over. The border states of the Northeast and Northwest have been seriously infiltrated. It is obvious that the sect gets useful intelligence from their men inside Nigeria because whenever they strike they achieve discomforting results.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan once shouted that he had members of Boko Haram group in his government. He could not specifically identify them, but the truth remains that ‘the parasitic killers of the tree still live inside the tree’. And one may ask, why is it that the local sponsors and financiers of Book Haram , their sources of arms and logistics supplies have not been unraveled up till now? Who are the high profile individuals behind them? The fight against the Islamic sect grown to a full-blown war, and should be seen as such. Does it mean that if we’re fighting a neighbouring country they would be ridiculing us like this since 2009? 

Therefore, all the necessary armament, intelligence, material and human capacity needed to defeat Boko Haram, should be professionally deployed, without sentiments attached. We need victory and not propaganda.

By John Daniel Obioma

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