A renowned security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has advised the federal government to maintain healthy skepticism over the offer of dialogue made by the Boko Haram terrorist organisation in relation to getting back the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from Chibok, Borno State, April 14, 2014.
He said the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau did not have a track record of honesty and had previously used deception in running terror campaigns against innocent citizens and could therefore not be trusted to keep his promise to release the abducted school girls, even if Boko Haram detainees are released by the federal government.
Ekhomu said Shekau had promised in the past not to attack school children, explaining that this was why schools were torched at night time. However, the terrorists in a volte-face have consistently attacked and killed school children, changing recently to a new tactic of kidnapping school girls.
Reacting to the video released by Boko Haram showing some of the schoolgirls, Ekhomu who is also the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) said it was sad that innocent little girls were being used as pawns in the terrorist game plan. He said the girls should be released by their abductors without conditions.
He urged the terrorists to let the girls go as a sign of good faith in order to enable negotiations begin, adding that it is apparent that the federal government is anxious to bring the terrorists attacks to a halt through a negotiated settlement.
Ekhomu, who is the first chartered security professional in West Africa praised the United States government for promptly sharing satellite intelligence with the Nigerian Military, and commencing manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights. He also praised the British government for providing security resources for the search of the missing girls. He urged the Nigerian government “to stay the course as the high-tech investigative help from the foreign partners are likely to lead to a quick resolution of the abduction saga.”
According to him, it is conceivable that Boko Haram is blinking given the enormous technological assets deployed in the search for the girls. He said that given the sparse vegetation of the Sambisa forest, the satellite assets deployed by the Americans would detect nocturnal movements by Boko Haram elements and make it possible for government forces to engage and neutralise them.
Ekhomu praised the Nigeria military for their courage and effectiveness in enforcing the emergency rule in the past 12 months. He said it was praise-worthy that the military up-rooted Boko Haram fighters and their jihadist flags from all eight LGAs of Borno State where they had held sway prior to emergency rule.
He also lauded the military for putting Boko Haram on the run. He advised that emergency rule should be continued for another six months in order to consolidate the gains made so far, and “bring back our girls.”
The Chairman of the School of Management and Security, Ekhomu, said that the military “should not be discouraged that the enemy has now chosen to attack soft targets such as schools, markets and rural communities such as Chibok, Izhe, Buni Yadi.” He said this was a sign of desperation and weakness. He urged the military to double up their efforts in eliminating the scourge of Boko Haram in Nigeria, adding, “Boko Haram should not be allowed to threaten the West African sub-region.”