With a series of spectacular resurrections that can put raised-from-the-dead-Lazarus to shame, leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has proved to be a persistent man of many lives.
It was in 2009 that he was first declared dead; killed during clashes between Nigeria’s army and Boko Haram. He showed up in 2010, in an interview, to remind people he was still alive and well.
Again in 2013, Shekau was declared killed, the only difference is, this time, by the Cameroonian military. A photo was released on social media, allegedly of Shekau’s body. Shekau showed up again, in true form, in a video to debunk allegations of his death.
This cycle repeated itself in 2015, and then again in 2016. Each time, Shekau popped up; taunting Nigeria’s forces with a smugness that can only translate to; ‘You thought, suckers’.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian Army released a list of 86 persons wanted in connection with an act of terrorism; Shekau notably on the list. With many reported ‘successful’ murders of Shekau by the military, it is quite surprising to see that the Nigerian army is still embarking on a fresh manhunt for the notorious terrorist.
As with many things in Nigeria, this incident is tragically humorous. It is also quite disheartening as it has been 11 years since the fight against Boko Haram began and we are yet to make the necessary strides to see its end. Every other day, we hear of killings and massacres of innocent Nigerians in the Northern states and yet the government has insisted on rehabiliting these terrorists and releasing them back into society.
It is obvious we still have a long way to go if we want to successfully squash insurgency in Nigeria. And one can only hope that when Shekau is caught and ‘killed’ again; he remains dead.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks