‘We have paid dearly for and learnt bitter lessons from Chibok girls’ abduction’



Mr. Aliyu Umar is a retired military officer and security consultant. He spoke on the two-years of the abducted Chibok School girls.

It is two years now that the Chibok Schoolgirls were abducted and they are yet to be found, don’t you think that the government, security agents and the people have failed them?
Two years and still counting, we have not found our daughters, the Chibok girls should not come as a surprise; there is no gainsaying we stand a failed nation in that respect to date. As things are, no miracles or magic should be expected today of a situation which was badly handled yesterday.

While there is no doubt the girls exist and are alive, what must be done and how it is done will largely determine if the fortunes of these girls will change or not.

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said recently that the girls may never be rescued again. Do you agree with his position?
Yes and No; if the situation is handled in the same reckless and unprofessional way it was handled two years ago, then nothing will change, they wont be found. If we see an improvement as we have in the fight against the insurgents in North East of Nigeria, then chances are they will be found.

Do you agree with Senator Shehu Sani’s revelation recently that he knew where the girls are?
That is best known to the Senator Sani and Government. I want to believe persons who know the whereabouts of the subjects of such a sensitive matter will not declare such publicly, lest they appear to be asking the insurgents to relocate where the girls are hidden; the senator, if indeed he knew where they were, did not act wisely.

What do you think has been responsible for the inability of the government and the security agents to rescue these girls since their abduction?
Two things inform their inability to find the girls, which in my opinion is:
First, a clear lack of understanding and acceptance that those who kidnapped the girls are not as unintelligent as our law enforcement like to think; in fact, ours are intelligence and law enforcement agencies that have in the past particularly pre- inauguration, May 29 shown a discerning propensity to overestimate their own capabilities, while underestimating the adversaries.

We have paid dearly for and learnt bitter lessons there from. Next is showmanship and ceremony which are used to beg the task at hand and hide ineptitude and mediocrity; we tend to believe that a uniform and an office confer savvy and versatility on the bearers… we know better today…the National Security Adviser (NSA) saga is still fresh in our minds.
There lies the bane of successful security and intelligence operations and administration in our recent past.

In your own view, what is the way out of this dilemma and what advice do you have for the parents of the girls two years after?
Finding those girls is a task that requires specialist skill set, persons with proven hostage negotiations and intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities need be sought.

I remain ready to assist in this regard. Intelligence gathering is not about being an intelligence operative and wearing a badge alone; it requires a level of experience and proficiency in bodies of knowledge that require intellectual rigour, meta-cognition and a healthy imagination-ability to acquire and dispense with. It is not for everyone.

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