EXCHANGE OF BOKO HARAM MEMBERS: TOO HIGH A PRICE

Chibok Girls

After the release of 82 Chibok girls to the Nigerian Government, in exchange for some Boko Haram members, the political system has been evenly divided, with supporters of the Government defending the prisoner swap, and the opposition condemning it. In his defense of the swap, Senator Shehu Sani said ‘no price is too high to pay for the release of the girls’.

I couldn’t disagree more with him. In a democracy such as this, the safety and security of the majority are always a priority. This is the very reason our democracy is determined by the simple majority. If majority of the people make a decision, for instance, it is adopted, whether in general elections or in an Assembly. In the same way, the safety and security of the majority always come first. This is exactly why the international community holds a reputable standard of not negotiating with terrorists.

If a terrorist is captured and imprisoned in a sane society, whatever facilities any form of non-judicial freedom of said terrorist invalidates the sanity of such society. The purpose of incarceration of a criminal is primarily the safety of other potential victims in the society, justice for the victim of his crime, and rehabilitation of the criminal (in that order). Releasing a terrorist where all three of these have not been achieved can be best described as barbaric.

Chibok girls are important and should never have to go through such a traumatizing ordeal. Their release is top priority and we ought to do everything sanely possible to get them back, but the emphasis is not just on ‘possible’ here, but ‘sanely possible’. There are many ways to secure the release of the abducted girls, but many possible ways are simply insane, and this was one of them. For example, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I strongly believe the abductors would accept to release all hostages (and even some of their members) in exchange for our president alone. But that would be insane… just as this was.

These terrorists have committed heinous atrocities which claimed many lives. They’re toxic, and releasing them back into society is worse than exchanging the girls for the president. Making room for such negotiations only gives the terrorists more leverage. What’s to stop them from abducting more people as collateral for when they might get caught? We may just be validating their enterprise. Again, this is why developed countries do not negotiate with terrorists in the first place.

The point here is that, while we work to secure the safety of 276 young girls, we can’t afford to jeopardize the safety of a thousand other younger girls, women and children, by releasing terrorists into the wild.

With these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to convince Senator Shehu that, indeed, some prices are too high to pay for the release of 82 Chibok girls, not because they’re not worth it, but because we have better options. Thank you.

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