Boko Haram Ceasefire: Greek Gift and Gullibility

A Greek Gift is an offer made or a favour done with a treacherous purpose. Put differently, it is a gift from one party to another with an ulterior motive or sinister purpose to trick and cause harm to the recipient. In the ancient times, the Greeks, a war-mongering people with the quest to dominate their neighbours, for ten years, even with the sheer bravery, stellar qualities and cunning of their mercenary, Odysseus, found Troy, whose military forces were led by Prince Hector, impregnable. With Achilles and Hector dead, the Greeks and Trojans (people of Troy) thus attempted to even scores or possibly outdo each other.

Odysseus however devised a measure that would finally break Troy and bring about the ultimate victory for Greece. The Trojans woke up one morning to find a carved giant horse, which would be known as the Trojan Horse, in front of their gates, with no sign of anyone around there. The Trojans had concluded that the Horse was a parting gift and a form of olive branch from the war-weary Greeks that they would love to sheathe their swords, make peace, and give up on Troy. The war commanders and princes of Troy decided to open the huge gates, which enemies had not been able to break for decades, through which they took the “Greek Gift” and settled the giant wooden horse right in the heart of the city of Troy. The king, princes, generals, soldiers, men, women, boys and girls all came to behold the object of Greek “surrender”, singing the praise of, and eulogizing the monarchy for a rare “victory”, drinking and dancing wildly in celebration into the night.

The Trojans got drunk in wild ecstasy and all went to a careless sleep. In the dead of the night, when all was grave silent and even sentries had gone into deep slumber, the doors of the Trojan Horse quietly opened and from the belly of the beast came hundreds of fully armed Greek soldiers, who finally shattered the myth of Troy’s impregnability and found their way into the kingdom. They killed nearly everyone (king, queen, princes, princesses, soldiers, citizens) with relative ease, thus bringing the worst calamity ever on the kingdom of Troy. The Greek Gift (Trojan Horse) thus became the Achilles’ Hills and nemesis for Troy, which was destroyed and eventually occupied by Greece.

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If War Generals and Great Leaders with the benefit of hindsight take anything out of past mistakes and read their history books passionately, they will not repeat the error of Troy and accept just any kind of offer, and when least expected. There is no doubt that the Boko Haram offer of ceasefire is similar to the foregoing story of the Greek Gift. With the rattling of the sect seven weeks ago, persistent pounding and decimation of the members, leading to the killing of the man in the infamous sect hate YouTube videos, the so-called Abubakar Shekau, it was apparent that the soul, spirit and body of Boko Haram had been annihilated. They were surrendering in their numbers and had even started fighting among themselves, with reported cases of killings in their camps. Boko Haram had lost grounds and had started fleeing into different directions and just could no longer withstand the military assaults. For weeks, there was no clear video or image showing that another Shekau had emerged. The only YouTube upload was showing a certain Shekau impostor who had not mastered the trade like his dead predecessor. It was clear that Boko Haram was in a desperate, pathetic and very laughable situation. Nigeria had become not only impregnable but also offensive to the final point of crushing the group out of existence.

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But it was at this time of great victories and sweeping arrests of the terror members two weeks ago, that news of ceasefire and proposed release of the Chibok girls abducted 202 days ago came through. Some Federal Government representatives were meeting one unknown sect leader, Danladi and his team in Saudi Arabia, where the latter begged for a ceasefire and offered peace deals that would immediately lead to the release of the Chibok school girls. Before Danladi could say “Jack”, the military authorities had sent orders down to the military forts in the war-weary areas to drop their guns and embrace the new ceasefire agreement. Anyway, the girls were not released that day, or the next day, or the day after and certainly not up till now. Talks resumed in Chad with promises and hopes of release of the girls. They have not been released.

For two weeks, the military formations have sheathed their swords and have probably gone to sleep in the belief that the war has been won and lost. But two days after the Saudi peace agreement, some sect members pounced on hapless communities and abducted about sixty girls and women. Days later, another thirty persons were adducted. The next day, there was an attack on some villages with some persons shot dead. A week later, Borno and Adamawa came under vicious Boko Haram attack with scores of persons killed. Few days ago, rampaging Boko Haram members sacked Mubi in Adamawa State, forcing thousands, including armed soldiers who had probably relaxed following the “ceasefire deal and order”, to flee in different directions. Three days ago, Gombe, an erstwhile peaceful and predominantly Christian state came under Boko Haram under attack, in which an uncertain number of harmless civilians were killed.

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The Chibok girls are still in the Boko Haram cells. There has not been any ceasefire from the sect. Only the Nigerian military ceased fire and just few days ago, 100 of the soldiers were reportedly feared killed in an unanticipated Boko Haram onslaught. Also, the group has rather resumed their old suicide bombing mission and from all indications, the ceasefire was a trick to retreat, get a breather, regroup, reinforce, re-strategize, and return for more battles ahead. The Federal Government had been tricked. The military too has been lured into a catalytic duel and fears are that Boko Haram might have used the two weeks of successfully selling a dummy to the Nigerian authorities to move around unnoticed into different parts of Nigeria to hatch their deadly mission. That was why Gombe came under attack. The new strategy is to dismantle their Caliphate Republic and return to the guerilla warfare which did incalculable damage to Nigeria for four years before their foolhardy establishment of a kingdom. This had made them vulnerable and that was the reason they lost grounds, first at Konduga and later in the entire Northeast.

The Boko Haram ceasefire is thus a Greek Gift. It is never meant to end the war. But Nigeria is too filled with intelligent people not to have known that terrorists do not sit down to negotiate away what they have vowed to die achieving. Islamists (extremists) prefer to die for the cause of realizing their Eldorado Sharia State, even if it is clearly unrealistic. Dying in the course of it is considered a privilege to them as it is preferable to become martyrs for extremist Islam. As they are martyrs in the world, they are part of the nobility in Aljanah (Islamic paradise) where they have variety of damsels from who to pick as many virgins as they desire to cater for their insatiable libido. It is a cause for which they are ready to hit their heads on the walls and die, than for a soldier to capture them alive and force them to humiliatingly renounce their belief.

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Government had been warned too many times that dialogue and negotiations do not work with terrorists. These guys are “terrorists”; only they can change their orientation and mind. Terrorist, as the name suggests, is someone who derives satisfaction from the pain of his target or victim. What makes him sad is when his targets are happy or free from calamity. He will not negotiate his joy away for your own happiness. Let government stop fooling itself and pull out of the negotiations. Moreover, the Nigerian State was already on the verge of total victory over Boko Haram before some enemies within again urged it to accept the ceasefire (Greek Gift) of the terrorists. Soldiers and warriors I have read about, do not retreat when they are about just giving the knockout punch. They ensure the jab crushes the enemy and then after a well advertised victory, they can now begin to do some post-conflict placation PR of “No Victor, No Vanquished”. This is when it is clear who the winner is.

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