No one saw it coming –perhaps those involved did. But it is not an understatement to say that they chose the right time for the release: a time pervaded with power tussles and controversies between the Legislature and the Executive, when the war on corruption was almost imploding on us; a time when the country is beclouded by the President’s ailing health; when the terrorists refused to die, but kept paying us a visit on a daily basis with their messengers of death- the fearsome suicide bombers!
And then it came, a whooping 82 of our beloved Chibok School girls were released after three years in the forest of a thousand terrorists, a virtual and impregnable forest that the armies of four countries could not pull down; perhaps because it is a mobile forest, a forest on the move.
One must give kudos to the present administration for its persistent and unrelenting effort at bringing back our girls and so far they have successfully negotiated the release of 103 girls in all. Their release is a wonderful distraction, a needed one at that.
Does it matter that Boko Haram prisoners were released for these girls? No, for the first time it does not matter to anyone except to the opposition who thinks that being opposition means being ready to drop the sledge hammer on every policy of the ruling party even if it is commendable; or to our unbelievers who after three years refused to be converted, for they are yet to believe that there was actually a kidnap, well na only them waka come.
But what choice do we have, what choice does the Federal government has? When the 21 girls were released in October last year, I argued that the Federal government should resort to negotiation to secure the release of the girls, especially if they feel that, militarily, it would be difficult or impossible to secure the release of the girls, and that was already obvious to us all. Being unable to secure the release of the girls through other means before now was a failure on the part of our intelligence organization, and the military.
There was no doubting the fact that it would take forever to bring them back especially if the terrorists had also considered using them as bargaining chips. It is wise of the Federal government to have realized this and then explored the best option of negotiating with the terrorists.
It has perhaps dawned on the government that the life of a Chibok girl is worth more than that of a thousand Boko Haram prisoners. Having realized that the failure of government and its institutions, irrespective of who is at the helms of affairs, is responsible for the prolonged stay of the girls in the terrorist den, it is then important to explore the most expedient, even if it is not necessarily the best moral option which is negotiating with the terrorist. But this time, international organizations and the strategic state department were brought in, it was kept secret for as long as possible and finally, the FG exchanged the girls for notorious BH prisoners.
Therefore, it does not matter the means, the most important thing is the end that was achieved, because eventually the end would always justify the means, and then we would always have a second chance to correct the ills that put us in this mess.