Here’s something you don’t see every day. A sovereign government taken in by someone who claimed to be negotiating for an armed terrorist group, announcing that a cease fire had been agreed upon, and then after realizing they had been fooled, tried to keep the public from finding out about it.
The Nigerian government has some explaining to do. Two weeks ago, they announced a cease fire agreement with the terrorist group Boko Haram along with the return of the more than 200 young girls who had been kidnapped by the terrorists more than 6 months ago.
Boko Haram continuously denied that they had struck any deal with the government with their leader, Abubakar Shekau, actually making a video in which he sneeringly taunted the parents of the girls, informing them that their daughters had all converted to Islam and been married off.
There are indications that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan discovered the deception but continued to insist that the deal was valid.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said Nigerians will like to know how the Jonathan Administration got swindled by an impostor, who the major players were and what the government plans to do to address what has now become a monumental national and international embarrassment.
”President Jonathan owes Nigerians an explanation on what has now turned to be an unprecedented global faux pas. Engaging in cheap damage control by insisting on the genuineness of the deal will only amount to taking Nigerians for a ride,” it said.
The APC said the saddest part of what has now turned out to be a fake deal is that it gave false hopes to the parents of the 218 school girls who remain in Boko Haram captivity that their children’s release was imminent, especially as the government even announced a specific date for the release of the girls.
”Now the parents and indeed all Nigerians have been victimized for the umpteenth time by the same government that has failed in its main reason for existence, which is the security and welfare of the citizenry,” the party said, recalling its earlier warning to the Jonathan Administration not to use the girls as pawns on its political chess board.
It wondered whether the government sought to buy time and gain political mileage by knowingly negotiating with a man who has no authority to do so on behalf of Boko Haram, as claimed by the sect’s leadership, in which case the government will be guilty of political fraud, or whether the government was not competent enough to know who to negotiate with, which will only reinforce the perception of the federal government as being blatantly incompetent.
”The ceasefire deal with Boko Haram was announced at the highest level of the military and supported by the political authority on October 17th. Now that it has been described as a fluke, there is every indication that the Jonathan Administration was swindled by someone masquerading as a Boko Haram negotiator, while the Administration itself went ahead to fool Nigerians as well as the international community. Whatever happens, the sole responsibility falls on the Administration.
Even more incredible, the Nigerian government had been snookered before:
n July 2013,one Imam Muhammadu Marwana, who claimed to represent Boko Haram gleefully announced a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram.
On the Hausa Service of Radio France International where the agreement was unveiled, Marwana not only sought Nigerians forgiveness for the sect’s past murderous activities, he absolved the sect from the attack on Government Secondary School, Maudo, Yobe state. Described as an influential Boko haram member, Marwana said:
“WE are seeking forgiveness from the people over the number of people killed in the country.
I appeal to those who lost their loved ones to our activities to forgive us and on our side we have forgiven all those who committed atrocities against us. I want to state clearly that we have no hands in the unfortunate attack on the secondary school (Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Yobe State).”
The so-called agreement came exactly 82 days after the Federal Government raised a 25-man committee to work out modalities for granting the amnesty to the sect.
The ‘agreement’ was signed on behalf of the Jonathan government by Minister of Special Duties and Chairman of the Peace and Dialogue Committee in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki. It was the eve of Ramadan and Nigerians wanted peace.
“We have sat down and agreed that Jama’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad, known as Boko Haram will lay down their arms as part of the agreement so as to end the insurgency. Government agreed with ceasefire and will look into ways to ensure that the troops relax their activities till the final take off of the ceasefire,” Turaki told his interviewers.
As it turned out, the agreement was not worth the piece of paper it was written upon.
One ironic thought: Considering how much email I get from purported Nigerian sources trying to scam me, it somehow seems like justice that the Nigerian government themselves got hoodwinked.