1/ Four years ago, a middle ranking BH commander led dozens of fighters in search of food and other supplies in the remote town of Chibok, like an afterthought, they saw a chance to abduct school girls in GSS Chibok, the girls at the time were preparing for their exams.
2/ The dozens of BH fighters faced no opposition during the abductn, as they struggled to convey their captives to the forest of Alagarno, the insurgent’s first war capital, which they named Timbuktu. It was in Timbuktu that they organised most of the horror we experience today.
3/ Some of the girls were lucky to have escaped on their way to Timbuktu that night, because there were fewer fighters to hold more than 200 girls. At the beginning, the group didn’t know what to do with the girls, at least, not in the first one month of their captivity.
4/ However, what many people did not know was that two weeks into the abduction, the Jonathan administration was already in touch with me for the peaceful release of the girls. By the way, I was in self-exile after pressure from the same Govt..
5/ I took an excuse where I was doing a menial job in the UAE (but still reporting the insurgency), to see the president, which was facilitated by Aliyu Gebi and Labaran Maku. By the 3rd of May, I was already on my way from Abuja to Madagali, Marwa and finally to a BH camp.
6/ I got a proof of life for the president and another for the media in case I didn’t get back. The demands of BH then were simple, they wanted detained members taken to Damaturu and they will move the girls to Buniyardi for swap somewhere in between. There was no word on ransom
7/ I was provided with full military escorts frm Abj to Damaturu, Govt was supposed to make sure that 70 detainees were ready on my arrival in Damaturu to meet 30 there. The rest of the negotiating team was in Abj making sure the prisoners were on a plane before my arrival…
8/ On arrival in Damaturu, the military commander there was not briefed about my work. He was merely told to expect a VIP? At that time, the girls have been moved by BH, but there was no prisoners for exchange and I got a call from the former CDS to abort the operation.
9/ The president later said before me that he did not call off the swap. There was a credible window, but zero Will to rescue the girls. BH were angry. I returned to the UAE to continue my hustle, but received invitatns not only by the former administratn, but the current govt.
10/ 4 out of 5 process that I was involved in, we came close to a swap deal, but Govt in most instances did not provide the platform I presented with the required expertise. And whenever Govt dragged its feet, Shekau will shift the goal post.
11/ I continued my reporting on the crisis, often critical of govt & BH, with both sides raising concerns. For me, I am a reporter before anything else, many officials consider me as somebody who was too independent minded for a process that needs to be shrouded in secrecy.
12/ Govt began to look for alternatives to conclude what I’ve started & my former couriers stepped in as the primary ‘negotiators.’ It was a break for me bcz it is no longer negotiations, but mere transaction. Another reason was my insistence that the process must be domesticated
13/ I was a prickle in the flesh of our leadrs wt my counter claims of official narratives. A day after I exclusivly released a video of the girls, something I’v done in the past, I was declared wanted by same military tht provided me wt escorts, military aircraft for assignmnts
14/ I was amazed to learn later that the terms that saw the release of some of the girls was unfavourable than what I presented, but as my friend will say, even if we come up with a cure for cancer, the war economy and elites would rather die than accept a cure from a talaka.
15/ Today, my painstaking investigations on the
#Chibokschoolgirls revealed that just a handful of the 113 #ChibokGirls are alive. Many of the girls have died as a result of cross fires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them.