Last week, a statement by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, that the location of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram at Chibok, in Borno State, had been found grabbed national and international headlines. It sounded like cheery news, especially for parents of the girls. But it also attracted sharp criticism from those who believed it was a needless expose capable of endangering the lives of the girls.
The fact, however, remains that Badeh is an experienced officer who cannot be said to be flippant. His remarks may be part of a well thought out strategy to confuse and destabilise Boko Haram with the aim of freeing the girls. His emphasis might perhaps not be that the girls’ location had been ascertained, but the fact that force would not be used to free them. That may be the assurance the abductors need to keep the girls from harm.