US security forces could rescue Nigeria’s suffering poster-girl, Leah Sharibu in 24 hours, but under Nigeria’s President Buhari she has been in captivity for two and a half years. Are we still supposed to believe he can just wash his hands of the incident for much longer?
Just the Saturday before last, American special forces freed a US citizen who had been kidnapped by armed men in southern Niger and taken over the border with Nigeria into the north of the country. So not only did President Trump’s squad free his own citizen within days of capture, but he did so in a cross-border operation. No US troops were hurt. The success was one of 55 rescues in 24 different countries by the Trump administration.
Yet thousands of innocent Christian and Muslim girls remain captive to Islamist terrorists in their own country, as their own President Buhari looks on with seeming indifference.
Dr Gloria Puldu, of the LEAH Foundation, which represents Leah’s grieving family, decried the fiasco which President Buhari has allowed to take place in his own country.
“It is totally unthinkable that any respected leader of a democratic and free country would allow this to happen on his own turf”, she said, “Yet Mr Buhari thinks that with words and empty promises he can continue to deceive a people devastated by domestic Islamic terrorism.
“The results are clear. After two years and eight months, Leah Sharibu has not been returned from the grips of Boko Haram. In light of America’s impressive operation in northern Nigeria, we demand an instant review of Nigeria’s special forces operations, and a decisive short-term improvement in how they serve their citizens.
“I might be so bold as to invite the same expert team sent by President Trump to come and free Leah, seeing how much more quickly and professionally they would do the job than our own leadership.”
As many outspoken critics have noted, the US rescue operation has seriously demonstrated President Buhari’s own failings. That a foreign government can execute a such a successful operation in your own country within hours, and you fail to conduct the same practice within two and a half years speaks volumes.
For a while, the families of victims such as Leah have suspected their President, an ex-military general, can do so much more. After last weekend’s rescue, they may now start to suspect the root-cause of the lack of action as well. Indeed, the resulting lack of trust between Government and people is fertile ground for the kind of social unrest we are starting to see in Nigeria over SARS.
If the President, endowed with the responsibility and equipment to protect his people from the bloodshed spawned by multiple forces, including foreign-backed caliphates such as Islamic State, is to exact the respect that his office deserves, it will be precisely by proving to his people how much he cares about the most vulnerable and victimized.
Bringing back Leah Sharibu will not be the end of this journey, but the beginning. It’s about time he gets moving.