Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chibok girls: I am satisfied with Jonathan’s efforts - IBB explains why they cannot be rescued now

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida

Former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida says he is satisfied by the efforts being made by the federal government to rescue the over 200 chibok school girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram.

IBB said this today in an interview at his hilltop home in Minna to mark is 73rd birthday.

He said that it is very difficult for government to fight and negotiate with Boko Haram because "you go into negotiations with the people you know and people whom you can identify, but in the case of the Boko Haram sect, whom do you negotiate with?

"That is the problem. I do not believe that the federal government or Mr President should throw open his doors to continue to negotiate with people who have gone into hiding and have not identified themselves ; so whom do you talk with?" he asked.

"You can only negotiate with identified persons who, for one reason or the other, everybody knows them and that they are fighting for a particular cause by saying this is what they are doing, and I think that is fair enough. But we don't know these guys; so we have to be fair to the federal government about this conflict. Let them come out and say this is the leadership, this is the structure, these are our grievances; this is what we want and then they can sit down and talk. But so far it has not happened."

On the aim of the group,IBB explained: "If you have an insurgence, let's get one thing correct: the insurgents know one thing: they don't have the strength, they don't have the power to confront a regular army; that is why they involve themselves in bombing, suicide bombing. The whole purpose is to strike fear in the minds of the public to such an extent that if it continues the people will begin to doubt the capability of government to protect their lives and properties."

While saying that the military needed the support of everybody to combat the Boko Haram, the former Nigerian leader said it would be counterproductive if the military forcefully went into Sambisa forest and the lives of the Chibok girls abducted were lost in the process.

"I am aware of what the government is doing now and I know that thereare a lot of complications. It is no longer an issue that you could ask the military to move inside Sambisa forest and release these young girls. I think what Nigerians want is that they want them released and come home alive, but not dead and not through anything, but they want them alive. And this is a very genuine thinking. From my experience as a professional soldier, we need a lot of planning; a lot of cooperation; a lot of studies has to be done to achieve this objective," he stated.

He continued: "Either 217 or 219,or whatever the number is, is a lot ofpopulation to lose just like that. ButI think the government is trying from what we got during our last briefing and I am quite satisfied that efforts were being made to get them released. You see, the objective is to get them out of that place alive, because the operative word is alive; if we enforce any military operation, we can get them all killed . So, the objective could be defeated."

Do you think the federal government can rescue them? Share your thoughts by using the comment section.

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