Boko Haram: Money, truth that dare not speak its name

You wanted Barack Obama! Since, much as we may lament it, the West has bottled the real issues about Islamism and the threat it poses, how about just getting real: If we're going to get those poor girls back we're just going to have to pay

He wants his money Barack!
Robin Mitchinson
On 13 May 2014 15:33

It’s time to get a sense of proportion over the Nigerian schoolgirl-abductions. This happened more than a month ago and yet suddenly the story has got legs, with Obama, Mrs O, Cameron et al declaring their shock-horror.

To put this episode into perspective, the murderous primitives who call themselves ‘Boko haram’ (books forbidden) have killed more than10,000 people with little reaction from the West. They massacred another 300 at about the same time as snatching the girls; this failed to get equivalent media coverage.

What is to be done?

Boko Haram is apparently demanding a prisoner exchange. If international public opinion forces the Nigerian Government into this, expect many repeat episodes. This is just not going to happen. Neither is force; there will be no Western boots on the ground nor a UN ‘peace-keeping’ force.

The Nigerian military has already demonstrated that it is totally ineffective. It has the reputation for being very good at the ceremonial stuff but not so good at fighting, perhaps because squaddies are reluctant to put themselves in harm’s way when the officers dip their fingers into the soldiers’ pay-packets.

The President and political leaders seemed to have been quite relaxed about the episode until the story caught fire in the West.

A more likely outcome is that the girls will be sold-off as slaves in Chad, Niger or the Sudan. There are many thousands in these states about which the rest of the world has very little to say.

The selective consciences of the West will not admit that much of Africa is a killing-ground. The butcher’s bill in the Congo has been colossal. The West looked on when the Rwandan massacres occurred. The Lords Day mob in Uganda have been at it for years despite the best efforts of the military to defeat a rag-tag of boy-soldiers.

Murders and mutilations in Sierra Leone went on for years until a small force of British soldiers put a swift end to it. And so on.

The answer is money.

Given the Nigerian addiction to the stuff, a reward of $10,000 per girl returned and per head of Boko Haram should just about do it, however appalling this is from a moral point of view. But, heck, you all wanted Barack Obama. So, live and breathe in his world.

Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world

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