Its more than 2 years since the chibok girls have been abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram sect. The Nigerian Government have been engaging the terror group in a bid to end the over 4 years war against insurgency in the North east part of the country where the sect operates.
The Buhari's Government is said to be 'winning the war"! But without the release of the Chibok girls, the world won't be convinced of this claim.
A prolific writer Mr Seun Awogbenle (@Primebaba) writes on the chibok girls and the way forward on how they might regain their long lost freedom.
Perhaps the Nigerian Government might "swallow their pride and negotiate to get the girls released" - He opined
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Perhaps, the time is right to negotiate.
- Seun Awogbenle.
Without fear or favour, Provocation or ambiguity, the dreaded islamic sect "Boko Haram" is an enemy of the young and old, muslims and christians alike.
The radical offensive by the terror group which has taken it's toll as a major threat to national security, creating fear, anxiety and palpable tension with it's corresponding economic implications has been unprecendented in ramification and unimaginable in magnitude.
In 2015, the sect was ranked as the world's deadliest terror group by the global terrorism index after it had successfully maimed 4780 people across the country.
In 2014, armed conflict location and event data project (Acled) a group which monitors reports by media organisations, civil society groups and human rights watchdogs to compute information on deaths in African countries claimed that the group successfully unleashed horror on 6,347 innocent citizens.
An estimated 20,000 people have been reportedly killed since it began it's campagn in 2009 in North Eastern Nigeria, displacing about 2.6 million people leaving them homeless.
Earlier in the year, theBorno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima declared that the troubled region had suffered destruction estimated at N1.782 trillion ($9 billion).
Notedly, the Nigerian government has made remarkable progress in it's counter insurgency operations against the sect, pointedly was the relocation of the central command of the military to maiduguri Borno state by President Muhammadu Buhari, to intensify the fight against the group and combat the menace.
The development ensured a near total decimation of the sect and plausible was the reclaim of territories and regions which had earlier been seized by the insurgents, ensuring the integrity of our lands and territories.
The progress however prompted the government at the end of 2015, to declare it had technically defeated the extremist group .
But on the contrary can we claim to have defeated the group without the rescue of the chibok girls and other innocent people held hostage by the insurgents?
Clearly, military action has been inefficient in the fight against the terror group, although the group appears to be a dilemma as a result of the leadership tussle rocking the group, the battle for supremacy between Abubakar Shekau and rival Abu Musab Al-Barnawi over who the genuine leader of the group is, seem to me like their greatest albatross and that should be Uhuru for us in disguise! Our military should be smart enough to thrive on such loophole!
The hostage-negotiation video which was recently released by Abubakar shekau seem like a watershed in the our resolve for the rescue of the chibok girls and other innocent Nigerians who have been in the custody of the radical sect.
The situation affords us the singular chance to rescue the girls by giving concession.
Moreover, continued military action would not guarantee a total wipe out of the group nor terrorism as it is on record that terrorism can only be defeated technically never ideologically!
Terrorism is not exclusive to Nigeria, it is but a global phenomenon.
For those that are not disconnected with history, Robert Bowdrie " Bowe" Bergdahl is a United States Army soldier who was held captive by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in Afghanistan and Pakistan from June 2009 until his release in May 2014. Bergdahl was released on May 31, 2014, as part of a prisoner exchange for five Taliban members who were being held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
The taliban originally demanded $1 million and the release of 21 Afghan prisoners and Aafia Siddiqui a Pakistani scientist convicted in a U.S court on charges of attempted killing of U.S soldiers in Afghanistan. Most of the Afghan prisoners sought were being held at Guantanamo Bay, the taliban later reduced it's demand to six taliban prioners in exchange for Bergahl's release.
After Taliban commander Awal Gul died on february 2, 2011, the demand was reduced to five Taliban prisoners. Ultimately, the united states agreed to the prisoners swap deal allowing Bergahl to be released on May 31, 2014.
The need to negotiate has become imperative as development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
It should be noted that every form of terrorism has it's own peculiarity and method of resolution. Truce talks would enable both parties reach a compromise by giving concession where necessary since army airstrikes and millitary offensives have not done so much in the rescue of the girls, negotiation has however become almost inevitable.
I should be quick to add that such negotiation must be done with proper and adequate intelligence. History has shown that Negotiation is never a show of weakness, it is rather a dynamic form of conflict resolution. Perhaps, the time is right to negotiate!
Seun Awogbenle is a student of the university of Ilorin, he's a public policy analyst, student leader and a global citizen. He tweets @Primebaba.