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Before The Boko Haram Swap Deal

Boko Haram Swap Deal
Posted: Aug 24, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)



The recently reported release of a new video by the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram, in which the sect proposed to release the over 200 Chibok girls that have been under its captivity for over two years if the federal government would in turn release its captured commanders in detention in a swap deal, has raised some wary questions about the authenticity of the swap proposal.

There is no doubt that the issue of the abducted Chibok girls has remained an albatross for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. As it were, the swap proposal seems to throw the federal government into a confused situation. On the one hand, it is one of President Buhari’s campaign pledges to ensure that the girls are rescued and brought home safe; and on the other hand, there is a question of whether or not  it is right to negotiate with terrorists.


However, there are concerns suggesting that if the swap deal will get the long awaited Chibok girls home, then government would have no other option than to comply with the swap proposal. Moreover, more than two years military option had failed to see to the rescue of the girls.

Already, there are media reports that suggest that government has commenced the process of negotiating with the representatives of the sect to fashion out ways to facilitate the swap deal effectively. According to the report, the negotiations, which were witnessed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials, Boko Haram representatives proposed a piecemeal release of the girls. The Federal government also reportedly offered to release 6 of the 18 leaders of the sect in detention.  The report also stated that the terrorists’ sect proposed that the outcome of the deal would determine the end of the insurgency.


Recall that this is not the first time the option of negotiating the release of the Chibok girls is coming up.  The administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan also made some efforts to negotiate with the terrorist group but ended up being stalled considering it was not sure of the genuineness of the possible Boko Haram representatives. Besides, the current administration, not long ago, declared that it lacked enough intelligence on the location of the girls.

We are, therefore, worried that the sect is proposing a swap deal with the federal government at a time when the administration does not have enough intelligence about the missing girls. Indeed, in as much as it is crucial for government to do anything to secure the release of the Chibok girls, especially as it seems a lot of them are still alive following the recently released video by the sect, it is imperative for it to beef up its intelligence gathering apparatus before any swap option with the terrorists is considered.


For sure, engaging in any swap deal with Boko Haram without enough intelligence may have far reaching national security implications.  We are, in fact, wary of their trustworthiness and genuineness considering that the sect had reportedly claimed that the girls had been shared out.  Suddenly, they have been showcased together in the newly released video. This development speaks volume. The question is; is it possible to have kept these girls together for more than two years in the forest and still maintained their feeding and state of health as was seen in the video?

If, therefore, the Boko Haram swap deal is anything to go by, it is absolutely important that government must, first of all, engage in an aggressive and comprehensive intelligence gathering to ascertain the validity of the deal and ensure that the sect does not renege on the agreement and play a fast one on the federal government. Ultimately, it is our hope that this administration does something urgent to ensure the release of the Chibok girls.