Many Nigerians have lost hope in the country. They expect the country to fail and crumble. In fact, they await sad information about the country everyday. To them, every bad thing that happens in Nigeria is expected but the good ones are suspicious. They believe nothing good happens in Nigerian government unless the leaders want to push an agenda. And so, when news of the rescue of the Kankara boys came in, many Nigerians received it with disdain.
When information about the kidnap of hundreds of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara Katsina State, which took place on 11 December, 2020, filtered in, the country was thrown into mourning. People, once again, remembered how incompetent the government is and called on the leaders to act fast and rescue the children. Protests were held, especially by Katsina residents, to demand for answers from the government.
During the heat of the matter, information filtered in that the military has located the hideouts of the kidnappers and engaged them in gun fire exchange. When Nigerians did not hear anything more regarding this, they felt they were lied to by the military. However, confirmed news of the boys’ rescue came in on Thursday, 15 December 2020. But, surprisingly, it did not receive expected jubilation.
The rescue of the Kankara boys was greeted with suspicion. All of a sudden, the wind shifted from #BringBackourBoys to #OurBoysAreBack . The sudden turn of events was unexpected. But this suddenness isn’t the only problem here. The truth is that many Nigerians became suspicious of the government, believing there were more to the stories than meets the eye.
Some people first believed the news was fake and, when it was confirmed, they began to wonder how possible it is to rescue hostages from kidnapper’s den, especially when Boko Haram is involved. Even though the government insisted that Boko Haram was not involved in the kidnapping, Nigerians refused to believe them. So, instead of rejoicing that the boys are back, Nigerians asked for clarifications.
You might be surprised to learn that many Nigerians believe the kidnap was a hoax. While some said no kidnapping took place, others believed the government organised with the kidnappers to carry out the operation. The reason the government will engage in such a ludicrous act, according to them, is to fund insurgency, to loot public coffers, and to appear competent before the international community. It is quite alarming to see the sudden change in the behaviours of many people, who initially acted as if they wanted the boys rescued at all cost. But their behaviour pointed to one thing: they believed these boys will not and cannot be rescued.
The major thing that shocked Nigerians and caused them to doubt any kidnap happened was the fastness of the rescue. According to a friend of mine, Nigerian government is never fast in anything, so how come they acted fast here? Another person said top government officials want to prove their capability in order to restore their lost glory; hence they kidnapped those children and released them almost immediately to look professional and competent. So, whether the government acted in good faith or not does not influence the attitude of people like this. As far as they are concerned, the government has failed and will continue to fail in everything.
Note that the reaction of people towards this rescue is not because they are not happy the kidnapped boys have been rescued. For instance, if you accuse any of them of being a sadist, he will quickly remind you that he is happy the children are safe but that he is not happy they were kidnapped in the first place. If you ask him whether he would have still accused the government of staging a kidnap if these boys were not rescued on time or even at all, believe me, he will have no direct answer to provide.
Some insist the government was wrong to have negotiated with kidnappers instead of bringing them to book but they would want the government to do the same thing for them if they find themselves in Kankara boys’ condition. Others believe the government is supporting insurgency by using Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association as the mediator during the negotiation process without specifically saying why. Most of the grievances and criticisms that follow the Kankara Boy’s Rescue do not hold water but Nigerians cling so hard to them. These and many more point to one important fact: Nigerians no longer believe in Nigeria.