Boko Haram leader, Shekau, in a still from an undated video The Boko Haram crisis in North-East Nigeria means different things to different people. While to some, it is a war against Nigeria, few others perceive it as propagation of their ideals. For another category, however, it is just a business venture that must not come to an end.
The recent audio purportedly released by the factional and delusional leader of the Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau and its rabid interpretation by Ahmad Salkida, leaves a lot to be imagined. For starters, it smacks of a puerile attempt at changing the narrative since the Nigerian troops launched an offensive against the Boko Haram group because of their avid interest in ensuring that blood continues to flow in fulfilment of their evil desire against Nigeria.
I stand to be corrected; Ahmad Salkida needs to tell Nigerians more stories on the fact that the Boko Haram group is not decimated and that they are hinting on dialogue instead of surrender. The sensibilities of some of us conversant with the operations of the Nigerian troops in North-East Nigeria will be insulted if this narrative pushed by Salkida and his gang is allowed to gain traction.
While his actions might not be entirely new, Ahmad Salkida has, in times past and on numerous occasions, acted as the mouthpiece of the Boko Haram group. He has displayed an impeccable sympathy to the group, which is manifest in audios and videos when the chips are usually down. This time around, Ahmad Salkida again interpreted purported audio with the voice of Abubakar Shekau claiming that the Boko Haram group is in strong spirits and its commanders and fighters are not on the verge of surrender but instead disposed to dialogue.
While it is commendable that they admitted to the dialogue option that in itself indicates that all seems not well in the camp of the Boko Haram group regardless of the propaganda Ahmad Salkida is pushing on their behalf. There is also no doubt that the offensive launched by the Nigerian troops has indeed left the group in disarray hence this face-saving measure by Ahmad Salkida and those that do not want an end to the Boko Haram insurgency for apparent reasons.
Two things struck me in the treatise by Salkida. He stated thus: “The Boko Haram leader also derided social distancing measures against COVID-19, saying members of his group were observing congregational prayers and engaged in trading in their hideouts.” I am sure he didn’t think through this strategy before going public.
How can a group of people holed-up in their hideouts be engaging in trading? What are they trading in and whom are they trading with? Are they trading with Nigerians, Chadians, Malians or Cameroonians? Your guess is as good as mine. He also stated that Abubakar Shekau had urged his members to be patient and resilient in the face of trials.
I agree with this position because the Boko Haram group is indeed faced with trails of immeasurable proportion since the renewed offensive against it by the Nigerian Army with the active collaboration from the Multinational Joint Task Force consisting of troops from Chad, Mali, Niger, and Cameroon.
It is obvious that they have reached a point of no return as their escape routes have been taken over by troops from the Multinational Joint Task Force and as well as cutting off their supply chain for arms and ammunition as well as other logistics supplies. These are critical questions that must be asked by discerning minds when the likes of Ahmad Salkida attempt to push forward a misleading narrative.
However, the beauty of it all is that indeed times have changed as far as the war against terrorism in Nigeria is concerned. The tide has turned and the end of the Boko Haram group is around the corner, and this much the likes of Ahmad Salkida must come to terms with. This is not the time for propaganda as the only option left for the Boko Haram group is to surrender in this circumstance. It also behoves on Ahmad Salkida to take this message to Abubakar Shekau that there is a need for him to surrender as it is evident that all his commanders are disillusioned and not willing to fight anymore.
This much has been in the public domain and an indication that indeed the Boko Haram war is about to end. So, this feeble attempt by Shekau through Salkida cannot fly as the rational thing to do is to surrender in the interest of all and sundry. It is indeed a situation of the voice of Shekau and the hand of Salkida and indeed the cry of a drowning man whose only rope he has to hold unto is to attempt to use proxies to paint a picture of a fighting force, but in truth, a group that is holed up in hiding with nowhere to run to as troops have surrounded them with no escape route spells doomsday.
The efforts of the Nigerian Army in this renewed onslaught against the Boko Haram group are indeed commendable. They have somewhat put pains in the hearts of those that do not wish the country well by seeking an elongation of the war that has rendered millions homeless and hundreds of thousands dead. That the Boko Haram group has been rendered ineffective in recent times spells doom for this category of people that sees their nefarious activities as the propagation of their ideals, as well as those that see it as a business venture that must not come to an end.
Whatever the case may be however, a special commendation must be extended to the leadership of the Nigerian Army that has been relentless over the years. The recent news emanating from the theatre of operations indeed corroborates the fact that indeed top Boko Haram commanders are seeking a truce with the federal government. If this is not the case, I wonder why Abubakar Shekau himself is muting the option of dialogue as a way out as propagated by Ahmad Salkida in his recent outing.
The Boko Haram group has been placed on the edge regardless of the feeble attempt by Salkida to change the narrative for whatever it is worth. It is indeed time for all and sundry to rally support for the Nigerian Army in this final push as we are all in one way or the other victims of the nefarious activities of Boko Haram. Ahmad Salkida should also do well to understand that the Boko Haram war is coming to an end, and there is no need to push further narratives that they cannot sustain. He should do the needful by advising his friend to toe the line of his commanders and surrender. This war has ended. Business too.