A former Director at the Military Defence Headquarters, Brigadier-General Ayodele Ojo, has advised President Muhammadu Buahrti against facilitating a rescue mission for the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko haram insurgents in April 2014.
Speaking to Punch, Ojo said that it would be better for the Federal Government to negotiate with the terrorists to release some Boko Haram leaders in exchange for the girls.
It would be recalled during a live chat with the commanders and troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, shortly after the wreath-laying ceremony of the 2016 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Abuja, President Buhari was quoted as saying: “I had a meeting with the mothers and fathers of the Chibok girls. The nation is anxiously waiting for you to provide intelligence on their whereabouts and then, the ground forces developing the strategy and tactics to recover them.”
Speaking against the idea of a rescue mission, Ojo said: “I personally will not canvass for a military rescue operation. Such operation is fraught with danger, no matter how meticulously or painstakingly planned. Take, for instance, the United States’ military attempt in 1980 at a rescue operation of its 52 diplomats held hostage in Iran.
“Despite the planning that went into it, the rescue operation not only failed, but it resulted in the death of eight American soldiers and the destruction of two of its military aircraft.
“Having this (botched US rescue operation) at the back of our minds and relating it to getting the Chibok girls back alive, the best option is to negotiate for their release. In doing so, the government should consider the possibility of swapping. Fortunately the President is not averse to negotiations.”
He also suggested that the Federal Government release bomb experts to them in order to have the Chibok girls back home alive, noting that the American government once swapped five top Taliban commanders in exchange for the release of its soldier, Bowe Bergdahl.
He said: “The Jordanian government was also prepared to swap its pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh, captured by the Islamic State with Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber in the Jordanian government custody since 2005, whose release ISIS had demanded for.
“Please note that the failed suicide bomber had been in Jordanian custody for nine good years. Yet, they were prepared to swap her for their pilot. I am, therefore, pleading with the Federal Government to swap the Boko Haram bomb experts with the Chibok girls.”