By SaharaReporters, New York
Comrade Shehu Sani has warned the Nigerian government and military against using force in the battle to get female students abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno state.
Sani, president of Civil Rights Congress in a statement said the government should set up a committee that will involve respected Islamic leaders, journalists and people like Dr. Ahmad Datti, a move he said will open a channel of communication instead of using force and putting the girls at danger.
He also blamed deliberate attempts in scuttling dialogue with the insurgents.
Sani argued, “The abduction of the over two hundreds girls from Chibok by the insurgents is not the first time girls or children were abducted by the insurgents, as a nation we simply hesitated to take preventive action when it happened earlier in other schools until Chibok happened in a larger scale. We have failed as a nation to protect ourselves, end the insurgency and now we have failed our children. Each day spent by the Chibok girls and other children held in the custody of the insurgents, our heart bleeds and our spirit is chained down. Our future generation has become innocent victims of the ineptitude, docility and infamy of the present generation. We have failed to provide for our young ones a worthy future and now we are denying them the opportunity to live a free life.”
Asserting his disposition that they are hostages and cannot be freed with force, he opined, “The Chibok girls and other children in the custody of the insurgents can be freed, should be freed and will be freed. The use of force or the threat of the use of force to free them can only lead to a tragic outcome by putting the lives of the innocent children we failed in greater danger. If the nation had taken serious lessons from earlier brigandage by the insurgents, we could not have been talking of the use of force to free our children. For over three years, the insurgents have been burning schools, killing teachers and abducting children,’ why did our outrage waited for Chibok?” The use of force or threats of the use of force is not meant to free the children of Chibok but to save the face of our security forces, the government and the nation. The children of Chibok are clearly hostages and any attempt to free them must be through channels that will not put their lives in further jeopardy. Anywhere in the world where children are used as human shields by gun men, use of force has always proven to be fatal.
“We must not bow or surrender to terrorism but we have a moral duty to free those children we failed to protect earlier and deliver them safe and alive to their parents. Every new day the children spend in captivity, we as citizens of this generation share the collective guilt for our inaction. The anger and pains in the minds of those girls now in the grip of the insurgents is not just against a government with a constitutional duty to protect them but also against the nation with a moral responsibility to free them.
“Some of us have made independent efforts and made countless advises towards ending the insurgency and restoring peace to our country which was ignored. Some credible peace makers I know of were frustrated, blackmailed and threatened to the point of giving up. The insurgency in Nigeria is sustained by merchants of war who profit from heavy security budgets and merchants of peace who profits from costly, false and misleading dialogue funded by the government.
“My simple advice to the Government and the nation is that to free the Chibok girls in detention, there’s the need to set up a panel of respected Islamic leaders and should also comprise facilitators of the Dr. Datti Ahmed peace talks, few selected insurgents currently in detention and few journalists from Maiduguri whom the insurgents will listen to. The clear term of reference to this panel is to open a chanel of communication with the insurgents and secure the release of our children held hostage.”