Why we doubt Boko Haram ceasefire – Chibok principal, Borno residents

The missing Chibok schoolgirls held captive by Boko Haram

Several Borno residents have expressed doubts about the ceasefire deal announced by the federal government to have been reached between the government and the Boko Haram insurgent group.

The federal government announced on Friday that it had reached a temporary ceasefire with the group, which would also lead to the release of the over 200 teenage girls kidnapped by the insurgents from Chibok in Borno State. A formerly unknown man, who claimed to be the Boko Haram secretary, also told the VOA Hausa service that the group had accepted the ceasefire.

Borno residents, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES in Maiduguri, the state capital, however, gave diverse reasons for their doubts.

In her reaction to the ceasefire, Asabe Kwambura, the principal of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, where the girls were kidnapped on April 14, said she had doubts about the ceasefire.

“Many of us are still forced to doubt government,” Ms. Kwambura said, “because we thought since our last meeting with the president in Abuja, these girls would have since been rescued and reunited with their parents.”

She however described the ceasefire as news that would gladden her heart if it is true.

“If what we hear is true, I will be the most grateful person to God today and always I will be the happiest person in the world to see these girls of mine return home in one piece,” she said. “Nothing will supersede my joy. But all this will not be possible if the federal government does not follow this declaration with action, honesty and sincerity.”

Ms. Kwambura added that “Government must see to the fact that the parents of these girls are suffering, some are dying many have died of high blood pressure and post trauma stress disorder. I was in Chibok with the parents yesterday, and their plight is beyond words.

“We need to have these girls back; this is another opportunity for us to do so.”

Like the principal, other Borno residents spoken to also expressed some reservations about the ceasefire.

The Coordinator of Peace Ambassadors in Borno State, Ahmed Shehu, said his concern about the ceasefire was with the timing of the announcement.

“My concern is on the nature of the present crisis and it’s timing,” he said “it would be very difficult for people and humanity to forgive Boko Haram and allow them to integrate to the society just like that, considering the atrocities they have committed.”

He added that “the timing for the cease-fire is suspicious. Why now; why would they wait for the four African countries to step up the fight before they announce a ceasefire; why would they wait until their capacity and strength be weakened before they announce a ceasefire? For me, there is more to it than meet the eye. It’s suspicious, and I don’t want to sound as a pessimist; (but) it is ill timed and it’s not feasible”.

Mr. Shehu, however, said his group had always called for dialogue with the insurgents.

“It’s a welcome development if it’s a genuine one,” he said. “Conventionally, we are always advocating for use of dialogue to bring an end to this lingering security challenges; because in the history of world crisis, no war was won comfortably through warfare. Dialogue is the key.”

Abu Ismail, a civil servant, was more concerned about the implications of the ceasefire.

“What happens to the Boko Haram insurgents after the ceasefire and the possible release of the Chibok girls,” he asked. “Are we supposed to pat them on the back and say well done for shedding the blood of all these innocent Nigerians and thank you for helping us to kidnap our school girls for six months, causing their parents to die of trauma and then releasing them now.”

In his reaction, Zannah Mustapha, proprietor of Future Prowess Islamic School, Maiduguri, said “something is logically wrong with the whole ceasefire issue.”

“This is not the first time that we are hearing declarations of ceasefire or its proposal by the Boko Haram,” Mr. Mustapha, whose school offers free education to children orphaned by the insurgency, said.

“There was a time when some members of the Boko Haram, though unknown, came out to say if we must cease fire, the federal government had to arrest so and so personality and even rebuild their destroyed central mosque in Maiduguri. The pattern with which such declarations were made was very unique and consistent. But from the tone of the declaration made by the federal government as well as the manner with which the so-called secretary of the group had spoken in the radio, one tends to have some doubts.

“There is doubt because there had never been a time in the life of the Boko Haram leaders where we hear them lamenting loss of members or admitting the magnitude of pains they have suffered. If Shekau is to speak, his message is all about the doctrines of his group and what they stand for. He would emphasise that dying in the course of what they are doing is a thing of pride to them.

“But the problem is that we don’t even learn from history; if we are to follow the trend of these kind of announcement, right from the time of Abukakar (the erstwhile spokesman of Boko Haram) period, there wasn’t a time where any persons speaking on behalf of the Boko Haram, be it Shekau or any other Amir would come and talk without reciting some verses of the Holy Quran first. But here we have one coming out to say he is the Secretary of the group and they have decided to ceasefire. It is really difficult to believe; but we all hope for a true ceasefire, anyway”.

Just like Mr. Mustapha, some security personnel in Borno also expressed doubt about the ceasefire.

A top security official in Maiduguri, who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity, said, “We are in the dark about this whole issue; how could it be possible that we on ground in the frontline don’t know anything about this ceasefire issue, only to wake up one morning to hear about it?”

He said though a ceasefire is “a welcome idea, but we need to be very much coordinated in our doings; we are not in the picture of the whole thing, but we pray it is true so that all of us can go and rest once and for all.”

Perhaps the Borno State government’s reaction to the ceasefire also perpetuates the doubt in the state of the ceasefire.

Though his state is the most affected by the insurgency, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, simply declined to comment on the ceasefire.

Borno, which is the major base of the sect, has witnessed the death of thousands of residents while hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, with several property destroyed.

In his reaction to the ceasefire, Mr. Shettima, who spoke through his spokesperson, Isa Gusau, said he had “no comment for now” and “would speak at an appropriate time.”

“Governor Shettima has always believed in a tripartite approach that involves dialogue for peaceful resolution, military and economic strategies in addressing the Boko Haram problems and he has been a strong advocate of these measures through his practical efforts and sustained public appeals at various fora, which was why he firmly supported the efforts initiated by the President, Goodluck Jonathan through the setting up of the Tanimu Turaki led committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of security challenges, in 2013, which worked actively and remained in force,” Mr. Gusau said.

“Governor Shettima is permanently committed to all genuine efforts that would bring the insurgency to an end especially given the fact that Borno State and its people have remained the worse hit by the unfortunate killings and destructions since 2009.”


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  • j4p

    Good posers. The military should remain on guard. This might be a strategy to catch them unaware. Don’t trust any one including the military hierarchy because many of them are of doubtful allegiances which have perished many fine soldiers.

  • Wise Head

    After this, never again would a group of Northern political, business or religious elite attempt to use terrorism or insurgency as a tool for gaining political power. NEVER! The attempt with Boko Haram has been very costly, and I am sure those behind it are regretting their gross indiscretion so greatly. If they had foreseen its grave consequences at the onset, they would not have even contemplated it.

    • tundemash

      Really ? so it isn’t USA again trying to make their 2015 prediction come true ?

      Timelines
      Davis exposed Sherrif and Ihejirika
      USA refused to sell arms to Dumbo Jo suspecting he’s the one arming Boko Haram
      Sherrif and Jonathan met in Niger Republic
      Dumbo attempt to buy arms for Boko Haram thru the black market is blocked and exposed by South Africa.
      The Nigerian army suddenly started having the upper hand in the war against Boko Haram.
      A man suspected to be Shekau is captured alive but killed by the Nigerian Army to stop him revealing the Boko Sponsors.
      Dumbo announces a ceasefire with himself.

      Any guess who is actually behind Boko Haram ?

      • Tawandah incommunicado

        People stopped taking your demented comments seriously a long time ago !

        • Wähala

          Who ordained you, VOP – voice of the people? That timeline is irrefutable and bcos you have no answer to it, that’s why you’ve made yourself the vuvuzela of the people. When was the last time you read a comment from @tundemash? Be glad, for our lost brother is back! Hahaha, Dumbo is taking a pounding even according to Reno Omokri… hope he tells your crumbs-giver the true state of the nation’s heartbeat. No evil prevails over good, Dumbo is an evil jinx Nigerians will flush into the toilet. Shikena!

          • Tawandah incommunicado

            Hallucinations and pipe dreams are not forbidden by law,you are entitled to live in your make-believe world of fantasies !!

        • tundemash

          and yet you responded. What a clown !

      • Wise Head

        GEJ must be too lucky then, that even the Northern Elders Forum had at several times been protective of the terrorist group he founded. They must also be party to the formation. And those Northern leaders who have called for amnesty for BH comparing them to Niger Delta militants may have also joined hands with GEJ to form Bok Haram. Then if the Northern elite could easily try to plead for safe-landing for the group formed by GEJ, then, he is popular in the North and might even defeat all the Northern candidates put together . Yeye the smell! I am sure too that just like he formed Boko Haram which existed before he became president, he was the one too who goaded Yerima to launch political sharia in Zamfara. No, he was the one who launched it. Case closed

  • Wise Head

    I wonder why the media still gives this Chibok principal some public to talk. Given her role in the whole kidnap saga, and the inconsistencies in her account of the event, a more discerning security outfit should have thoroughly investigated her, to know what she knows and how much. She should be transferred from Chibok to another place

  • Chintua

    When some people talk about rescuing the girl from the den of terrorists, they make it sound as if the soldiers will just enter boko haram camp and hold the girls on their hands and just walk away.

    • Otile

      You are right, bro.

  • Otile

    This people have to be optimist. It has been said that with good arrangement the devil can see God.

    • Guguru

      LOL.

    • larry

      Otile the great! you go kilme with lafo!

  • amazing2012

    Jonathan is Boko haram, now election is near he want to gain popularity using cease fire ! Why the Boko haram leader did not announce the cease fire ? What are the conditions ? Why now ?
    The cease fire is simply because their arms suppliers have been interrupted in South Africa two times and no much arms for them. And other neighboring nations have step up against them, while those accused are still living comportably and free.
    Time heals and time reveals, what was concealed today one day will be exposed and God will punish those behind this.

    • Guguru

      Well said

  • Okey

    It baffles me the star role being given to this woman to play at this hour. This was a woman who ran away with her own daughters after arranging to hand over the poor Christian girls to Boko Haram for political reasons. In sane societies she would be treated as pariah.

  • tundemash

    Timelines
    Davis exposed Sherrif and Ihejirika
    USA refused to sell arms to Dumbo Jo suspecting he’s the one arming Boko Haram
    Sherrif and Jonathan met in Niger Republic
    Dumbo attempt to buy arms for Boko Haram thru the black market is blocked and exposed by South Africa.
    The Nigerian army suddenly started having the upper hand in the war against Boko Haram.
    A man suspected to be Shekau is captured alive but killed by the Nigerian Army to stop him revealing the Boko Sponsors.
    Dumbo announces a ceasefire with himself.

    Any guess who is actually behind Boko Haram ?

    • segun

      Oh my God! Tundemash, how did you put this profound thought together to hit the nail on the head! May God of wisdom continue to add to your wise head!!! You got this right on the nail or is it on the head!!.
      Thanks a lot sa. This is enlightening! And I’m loving it!

    • Guguru

      tunde, tunde, tunde, how many times did I call your name? Why are you shouting the truth this loudly? LOL! My brother, God will bless you everyday for saying the truth.

  • Ovie Obaro (JP)

    Dear continent Nigerians, There are millions of people who do not believe in this Nigeria. Why not give them the opportunity to decide?

    …a ‘country’ that destroys its own technology bcos of mutual suspicion & lack of trust, only to turn around to depend on the technology of
    foreign countries does not deserve to be called a country and will find development and innovation eternally elusive.

    It is no longer news that the engineers and scientists of the Niger Delta/South South have developed advanced technology in refining their own resources even in very unfriendly conditions in the wilderness no matter how remote. Rather than invest funds in such technology, the uninformed JTF will apprehend such scientists deserving of Nobel prize, and go ahead to destroy the technology by burning or confiscating……and the same govt relies on foreign technology to refine our own crude. Isnt this stupidity?

    …again you hear now & then that a secret gun manufacturing location has been uncovered in the East and some persons arrested in the
    property. Their equipment are destroyed and the men sent to prison without trial…yet the same govt sends $9.3m on a private jet looking for where to buy weapons. If we were manufacturing our own weapons will double standard US be making shakara for us & refusing to sell guns to us? Nonsense!

    Give the Aba or Onitsha scientists only $1m and see whether they will not manufacture more than sufficient AK47. In fact, they will even
    manufacture AK48, AK49 or AK anything. Nonsense! Why are we wasting our potentials? Why? Lets disintegrate and achieve our respective
    potentials without mutual suspicion. Nonsense!

  • Ilesanmi

    Every rational person has a reason to be pessimistic of the ceasefire agreement. But whatever trick the Boko Haram may be up to, the military is up to the task. But wait a minute, did I hear the Chobok principal saying something? What is she saying? Please don’t ever try to provoke anybody or don’t you ever see yourself a suspected accomplice in the abduction saga? I have no time to explain that now.

    • Tawandah incommunicado

      The only pessimistic persons are those who actually sponsor the group and use the violence as a reason to undermine the government . These opposition party and their religiously extremist supporters engage the Boko-haram violence as a political weapon, they are upset because of the peace deal and are presently running helter skelter and sponsoring negative publications like the above !!

  • Johnson Omale

    Asabe, na you and who come? You don come again? deeri is god ooooo

  • Newsbreak

    CEASEFIRE BROKEN: BOKO HARAM LAUNCHES FRESH ATTACKS

    Despite the purported declaration of ceasefire by both federal
    government and members of the Boko Haram leaders, various communities in
    Borno State have come under attack as the (Boko Haram insurgents sustain reportedly
    slain (?) about 40 persons including the father of immediate speaker of
    Borno State House of Assembly, Goni Ali Modu.

    On Friday, the terror group attacked the town of Shaffa in Hawul local government area

    of Borno State where they killed eight locals there, and injured several others, even as

    hundreds of others were said to have fled their homes. The gunmen returned back to the town

    to fight members of the Civilian-JTF who went to pick corpses of slain persons for burial.

    A bloody gunfight was said to have ensued and many may have been killed including a member
    of the Boko Haram.

    …..Leadership Newspaper
    (October 18, 2014)

    • Newsbreak

      ….100 Boko Haram Killed in Cameroon; Cease-Fire Fails There Too

      “Cameroon army reportedly kills over 100 of the Islamist militants after group murdered civilians.

      Cameroon says its army killed 107 Boko Haram fighters, while a police
      officer told AFP at least 30 civilians were murdered by the Islamist
      guerrilla group before the ambush. The combat occurred Wednesday and Thursday after militants from the
      Nigeria-based Boko Haram drove into the border towns of Amchide and
      Limani, Cameroon’s defence ministry said in a statement read on state
      radio.”

      ……….Agence France Presse (AFP
      (October 18, 2014)

    • Guguru

      I asked people how possible is it to talk to ghosts and no one gave me an answer.

  • the truth

    No matter the negativity this deal will go through.some people wish and pray this insurgency continues but they have failed.God willing our girls will be returned safely and their prayers and propaganda will fail

    • Guguru

      The truth,

      Assuming you are willing and able to hear the truth, I want to assure you that we want Jonathan to succeed in eliminating BH from Nigeria. Why should any rational person not want such a goal to be achieved? The problem we have is that we think less than sincere efforts supported by inklings of incompetence may be making any success seem outright impossible. For example, have you asked why the sponsors of BH, many of whom are Nigerians and are even known, have not been brought to book and publicly shamed? But we do not hear this sort of thinking and talk from Jonathan, and as a result, any rational person would wonder if they are really serious about ending the scourge called BH. BH has to be fought using many tools. So far, the Jonathan administration prefers to use only the military option, which we find strange and questionable.

    • True Nigerian

      Positivity that has no realism is more dangerous than a negativity that is realistic in its reflections. It’s just like the misguided Nigerians here who often think that patriotism is to turn a blind eye to the most risible and despicable things that are happening around them or to pretend that such things don’t change anything about their country and who they are or how they are regarded.

      People are raising genuine concerns here and instead of reasoning with them, you are suggesting rather vaguely – with no other evidence of your own – that “this deal will go through”. If you don’t know, please learn now that there is something called credibility, consistency, integrity, trustworthiness, etc. You are looking at a government that has a horrible and proven reputation for always lying “stoopidly”, for always trying to manage or manipulate people’s opinion about reality rather than managing those realities that people hold opinions about. People are asking serious and reasonable questions about a government that has never been truthful in 5 years, and you are here making them to look as if they are want these poor innocent girls to be killed.

      The fact that you are positive doesn’t mean you are real or honest. I might as well feel great about my chances of becoming a billionaire by tomorrow morning simply because a habitual liar and unreliable fellow has called me to a meeting this morning to tell me that he will give me an diamond mine before the day is over. You often say you are neutral, but you are far from it. Neutral people don’t see things this way.

      From one obvious lie to another not-so-obvious lie, but all totally unnecessary lies. That is the character of Jonathan and the unthinking fellows that surround him. Is it the needless denials about the 1st Lady’s treatment in Germany and then a sudden thanksgiving speech where Madam Jonathan suddenly starts saying that she died nine times in Germany and Jesus resurrected her? Is it the malicious e-mails and documents circulated on the internet against the person of Lamido Sanusi by Reno Omokri undera false identity of one Wendell Simlin? Is it the rather laughable somersault of posting a picture of Mr President in a meeting with Ali Modu Sherrif in Chad and then shockingly posting a denial that there was no meeting with the President, after people questioned the glorification of a terror sponsor by giving him a seat next to the President of the country his minions are destroying with impunity? Or is it the claim of job creation figures which the government refused to verify with records when asked to produce the records? Is it claim that the Chibok girls had been rescued when the army did not send even a soldier on a rescue mission? Or is it the endless repeated claims that Bama and other territories were not captured by boko haram and then a sudden claim by the army that it is preparing to retake the territories? Is that the government that anybody and everybody should be believing? Is that the kind of government that people who do not want to believe it should be regarded as negative or pessimistic people? You are looking at a government that habitually lies without battling an eyelid and you are calling those who question their words “negative people”. You are reading reports – verifiable reports – of attacks that happened today and you are here writing this gibberish in the name of patriotism and being positive. I think you are the extremely unrealistic fellow in the equation.

      • The Nigeria Future Project

        Wow! An amazing write up. Please give us permission to edit and share this on our blog…All credit will be given to the writer

  • Strong System

    We should all be optimistic about this cease -fire.
    This time around the government needs the cease -fire more, because of the daily embrassment the #Bringbackourgirls are causing Jonathan.

    • The following is from my article “Islam’s Jesus”:

      … In Islam, hiding the intention to expand Islamic territory is a virtue. When Muhammad didn’t have enough soldiers,
      he agreed to be peaceful with Mecca (Peace Treaty of Hudaibiya), but after he gained more followers,
      he sneaked-up on Mecca and took it during Ramadan (a pre-Islamic pagan fasting month).
      Following the example of Muhammad, Muslims (even today) advocate and follow Quranic and Hadithic verses
      that speaks of making peace with infidels when Muslims are the minority in a society.
      Examples of such verses are: Surah 2.256 “Let there be no compulsion in religion …”

      … The Qur’an and Hadith doesn’t limit the expansion of Ummah al-Islamiyah,
      the lands over which Sharia’s Theocracy must be administered;
      in comparison to the Torah’s Theocracy over a specified land: Eretz YisraEl.