Perhaps blogging is the worst thing ever invented since the creation of nuclear warheads. But even the use of nuclear warheads is regulated, tightly so while the same cannot be said of blogging. This of course is not to say there are no positives to blogging which has been deployed for social mobilization, development and freedom fighting and a tool for exposing the shortcomings of governments and public institutions same away there are medicinal and industrial application of nuclear technology for the benefit of mankind.
This positive attributes are perhaps what blogger, Dr Aliyu U. Tilde sought to abuse in his write up, “Salkida, Buhari and the Chibok Girls,” in which he took umbrage at the decision of the Nigerian Army to declare his co-Boko Haram Sympathisers wanted for their roles in the recently released video of hapless school girls abducted by the terrorists over two years ago. On the face value the article is replete with scare mongering and an informed reader could read in between the lines to understand the implied threats from a terror organisation has been forced into hurriedly launching its non-combatant operatives that are handling its propaganda efforts.
Tilde’s deception was clear from the onset as he sought to hook in the maximum number of readers with the pretext of acknowledging the efforts of the Army in finishing off BH’s fighters but the true aversion he has for this military success could not be hidden for long as launched into the actual intention of demonising the institution.
His grouse? The Army jumped to declare a one-time journalist that now publishes contents for terrorists, Ahmed Salkida with two others wanted when his address is publicly known. He also suggested, maybe rightly so that there would be a blowback because a “journalist” has been declared wanted in the fashion of what happened to Al-Jazeera and the US government over the airing of Bin Laden videos.
It would have been great if Tilde could offer Nigerians insights on how the Army or any other of our security agencies could possibly walk up a street in Dubai and escort Salkida into a waiting squad car. His second premise of Salkida enjoying professional privileges that allows him be a conduit for Boko Haram borders on setting a dangerous precedence – anyone that wants to be a terrorist needs only start some free blog and voila there is a journalist that cannot be touched regardless the magnitude of the crimes committed.
It is definitely logical for Boko Haram to decide who to entrust their messages with, which makes sense they are either opt for their member with the message or at least find someone who is sympathetic with their cause. In Salkida they found both and in Tilde they found a possible successor – the group had avoided naming one of theirs as propaganda chief since the digital fingerprints left by electronic communications means their official spokespersons are easily apprehended. The cover of a ‘journalist’ provides just what is needed to ensure it is difficult to nail down an outsourced spokesperson.
Salkida may not be an agent of government nor is he obliged to disclose his sources same way he is not expected to twist content to suit what the authorities wants. But did it occur to Tilde while cooking up his defence of Salkida that the man was first a Nigerian before he was a journalist and that as a human being, ending the suffering of those girls should have naturally be his first consideration as opposed to swimming in their tears to gain notoriety that he misconstrues as popularity?
Did Tilde figure out that a journalist is not supposed to make insider gains from the information that comes his way in the course of working, the contrary was exactly what his charge has been doing by trying to earn money as a negotiation broker. He has even earned grants from neocon destabilization agents for his ongoing assignments in the name of “grants” and “funding”?
The law is a double edged sword. The same countries that Tilde would like to reference as practicing the concept of protecting journalists not to reveal the source of their information have zero tolerance for terrorists’ sympathizers. If he is in doubt, he should enter Israel as journalist and then begin to support terrorist; he would discover in no time that being a double agent is not covered by this international norm as he would likely be blown sky high with a hellfire missile while meeting his accomplices.
He may want to do a fact check on Edward Snowden and Julian Assange to see how much protection the international law provides when one’s activities are seen to be furthering the interest of terrorists.
To now begin to attempt blackmailing the Army on the strength of an issue that have been dismissed severally by the relevant agencies shows that those that want to see a revived Boko Haram are more in number than we originally thought. Anyone in doubt should read the main thrust of Tilde’s write up in the following quote taken from his piece:
“So let our galant soldiers continue to fight Boko Haram and let Boko Haram continue to send its videos to different channels. Let those channels convey them to the public once they are convinced that the message is worthy of our attention without being restrained by anyone. On this, I am on the same page with Salkida.
“The military should be careful in how it treats Salkida. Any harm against him may backfire on our girls. Those BH guys believe in “an eye for an eye” to the letter; many times they will pluck many eyes for just one. Unless the military wants to be reckless with the lives of the remaining girls, it must not choose to send even a fly against the journalist.”
Here he asserted the right of Boko Haram to exist, terrorize the rest of us and be free to publicize its activities. He went on to insinuate that nothing must happen to Boko Haram’s asset, Salkida or the Chibok Girls, get it. What manner of man would conjure such threat against a state on behalf of a terror group?
Even Tilde knows that directing his threats at President Muhammadu Buhari is the wildest shot in the dark. According to him, “The path to rescuing our girls is now known: it is through negotiations that will end not in the establishment of a BH caliphate in Nigeria as the insurgents were previously demanding, but in just the release of some BH members from our prisons.”
Nigerians should please note that Tilde thinks setting free these mass murderers that displaced millions of people in addition to the thousands of deaths should “just” be set free to continue their evil.
If Tilde is feeling bad that the game is up for his friends running the Boko Haram media he seems angrier that their efforts at opening another destabilisation front with fanatical members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) was nipped in the bud as he peppered the latter half of his treatise with imagery to invoke more fear among the population.
He is offering two choices of wiping out the terrorists and losing the girls or freeing the girls and releasing thousands of Boko Haram fighters back into circulation to abduct more girls. Tilde made his pick out of the two. But who said there cannot be a third option? An option the military must have perfected and would of course not disclose for obvious reasons.
Apparently, it is not a choice for Nigerians to make but we do have the choice to stop ourselves being brainwashed by the likes of Tilde or being recruited as Boko Haram sympathisers by Salkida.
Okanga writes from Agila Ad’Oba, Benue State.