On April 14th 2014, the entire globe was greeted with the news of the abduction of over 200 girls who were preparing for an examination, from their school in Chibok, Borno- State. As expected, the barbaric act was greeted with widespread condemnation especially when the abductors were confirmed to be the deadly terrorist sect: Boko Haram.
Here in Nigeria it marked the hallmark of a new chapter in our politics and in fact our national life. Nothing was going to be the same again after that episode, it rattled the government. The military and other security agencies were criticized heavily for failing to protect the citizenry, it was chaos here.
In my opinion, the issue of the missing chibok girls was a major factor in determining the outcome of the last presidential elections. The tortuous feeling that over two hundred girls forcefully snatched up with little hope of ever seen alive again, the traumatic and extremely depressing and long-lasting negative psychological effects for their families and friends ,and what about the girls themselves? The unimaginable agony they will experience in the hands of their abductors? Any human with blood flowing through its veins will and should be terribly worried. Those who committed this heinous crime are nothing but savages. Their actions can never ever be justified by any form of sense. They cannot be considered as homo sapiens let alone humans.
Many people from across the world lent their support to the rescue of these girls , heads of governments , religious leaders , celebrities, Leaders of the United states, United Kingdom, France, Germany and many other countries pledged different forms of assistance to help get the girls back. Such was the level of uproar that the abductions generated that even pressure groups were formed in Nigeria to heap some pressure on the government to ensure that the rescue of the girls is given top priority.
It is therefore really baffling when with such International and national focus to rescue these girls off the hands of the deadly Boko Haram Sect, some individuals continue to act in ways impeding the rescue of these young girls , Whilst claiming to be journalists, such has been the behaviour of Ahmad Salkida.
I have followed with keen interest, Mr Salkida’s disposition to the entire Boko Haram issue from inception, and my perception has been of extreme discomfort, though I have always sought to give him the benefit of doubt and want to believe he is only doing his job. However, I guess there should be a line between what we call a job and what endangers other people’s lives or even takes the lives of others.
Haven read several articles by this young man criticizing the government’s approach in dealing with the Boko haram Issue, (don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong in criticizing the government’s handling of any issue , that’s in fact quite important to keep the government on its toes.) It however becomes worrisome when you do that with the intent to malign the government and tactically endorse the actions of the terrorist group.
Salkida’s access to top leadership of the sect has been suspect to me for some time, but recent actions by this man and emerging details is beginning to confirm my suspicion that he may indeed be a Boko Haram sympathiser, a terrorist accomplice, or even perhaps the intellectual head of the deadly sect.
I was gladdened when the news broke that Mr Salkida has been declared wanted by the military authorities, following his refusal to show up and honour several invitations in the past. The declaration, in my opinion, is indeed long overdue.
In the world over, there have been instances of journalists’ gallantry efforts in obtaining valuable information from terrorist group and making such information available to relevant government agencies and the populace, but this is usually done to help reduce the act of terror or totally eliminating same. It however, appears that Mr Salkida is not interested in gallantry journalism but rather in self-enrichment!
If there is any man that knows the details as much as Shekau the purported leader of Boko Haram on the issue of the missing girls then it is Salkida Ahmad. Almost if not all the info he has given about Boko Haram activities has been accurate. This goes to proof that he indeed has the right links
I understand he sought to lead a negotiation between government and Boko Haram sect under the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan which I learnt collapsed under suspicious circumstances with several millions of dollars alleged to have been swindled off the government at the time.
I hear he has also approached this new government to play the same role again, which this government is not in a hurry to indulge him due to his record with the last government.
The latest release of a video showing the Chibok girls alive should be a relief to many of us. We however, have to be very strategic in digesting information released by terrorist.
Terrorist organisations mostly release info to the public that they consider will be to their advantage and will help further their course. In this case, the video shows bodies of some of the Chibok girls that were purportedly killed by airstrikes of the Nigerian air force jets.
This assertion in the video is an attempt to change the narrative and distract attention away from the progress being made by the military against the now fleeing terrorist. This narrative claims the air force are killing the girls, but rather takes away the fact that Boko Haram like many of these cowardly terrorist organisations are in the habit of using women and children as human shields and many times waste their lives out of anger.
This latest video is part of the Boko haram’s propaganda, circulated to get the public to put pressure on government to stop the successful air campaign by the Nigerian air force that has greatly decimated the Boko Haramn terrorist.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is some benefit in this abduction saga for Ahmad Salkida, the vigor with which he seeks to be the government’s negotiator , plus his self-exile in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) is suspect. Who is footing the bills of his life in Dubai? Why does he and the terrorist group come up with videos that attempt to change the narrative any time the terrorist group is getting a beating down?
All of these questions are what I think the security agencies should consider.
The UAE should as a matter of urgency deport Ahmad Salkida back to Nigeria to answer the very important questions that has been put to him. No serious country in the world would joke with its national security.
Attempting to take advantage of the democratic system of government to support terrorist activities will not stand . The security of the lives of our citizens is equally as important if not more important than the “ethics” of Salkida’s profession. We will have to navigate that thin line between national security and Journalism once again.
***Ibekwe a security analyst contributed this piece from Agbani Road, Enugu.