By Sharon Faliya Cham
It was a sweet relief when the Jangebe schoolgirls were freed from their captors after spending less than a week in the cold company of those brutes.
And it wouldn’t be out of place to commend the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for its usually prompt responses to such matters, which often lead to quick rescues, unlike the bitter experiences of the past where the federal government would be steeped in denials until no one could be rescued.
On the Jangebe schoolgirls matter, there was an attempt by some unscrupulous online news portals to deliberately mischaracterize what some of the rescued girls told newsmen, especially the part where one of the girls said she saw her abducted father and some other abducted family members in the camp of the bandits where they were all taken to and kept.
She narrated the horrible ordeal of watching her father being beaten and tortured by their captors, and that earlier on, she had a very brief opportunity of speaking in whispers with him whereby he cautioned her against exhibiting any emotion that could show they were related, otherwise the bandits could kill him.
But for reasons that aren’t clear, some online junk portals twisted it to suggest that some of the girls’ fathers were members of the bandits without regards to the fact that if this twisted narrative was allowed to fester and gain grounds, it could double the grief and psychological trauma of the freed girls concerned and their families. And this is one of the reasons why people ought to be careful about their sources of news, especially if it’s on the internet.
However, there’s a particular conversation the freed girls had with newsmen that particularly struck a cord, and which ought to serve as a tip for our security and intelligence agencies to latch onto in order to weave a dragnet that could haul in a large number of the heinous criminals.
And that is, the sensational claim by the girls that the bandits took the phone numbers of some of them for the purpose of continuing to converse with them about the possibility of marriage. Apparently, the bandits were lovestruck, and this angle can be carefully harnessed and exploited by our security forces to track them.
With this angle, and with the treasure throve of information about the financiers and enablers of the bandits, which Governor Bello Matawalle sensationally announced he will reveal shortly, it is hard to see why this shouldn’t be a major breakthrough in the war to crush these criminals.
While Governor Matawalle should be prevailed upon to expose the godfathers of these bandits, our security forces and intelligence agencies should swiftly swing into action using these leads, and then permanently bring an end to this gory trade that has put the nation on edge, and which Nigeria’s criminal class is using to distract from the news of the gargantuan achievements of the Buhari administration.