The delay in freeing the over 200 girls seized from Government Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State, may have exposed them to radicalisation by their captors, who are now using them for suicide bombings, a source told Sunday Vanguard at the weekend.
The source spoke about the possibility that the girls had been indoctrinated by the terrorists in the last three months of their captivity, hynotised and sent into various parts of Nigeria and beyond with a view to carrying out deadly missions.
Serial attacks carried out by female bombers in Kano, last week, lent credence to the claim.
The source, who has contacts with the Boko Haram leadership, pointed out that it may be difficult to change radical orientation of the girls, who may now see their malevolent disposition as an act of righteousness.
“It may shock you to know that some of the girls being used for suicide bombings in parts of the North are among those taken from Chibok in April this year,” the source said.
Continuing, the source insisted that “it is rather unfortunate that government wasted precious time in rescuing the girls either through negotiation with Boko Haram or other means possible.
“It was clear from the outset that the girls would not come out the same, after being kept with their unwanted hosts for a long time”.
Although the Federal Government said, last Wednesday, that the Chibok girls were not among the female bombers, its spokesman did not provide any evidence to prove his claim.
At a media briefing in Abuja, Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr. Mike Omeri, tried to ward off the suggestion that the 219 school girls currently in the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents could have turned suicide bombers.
It will be recalled that few days after the abduction of the girls, a human rights activist, who had taken part in failed bids to broker a truce between the Federal Government and Boko Haram leadership, Shehu Sani, had raised the alarm that the girls could be indoctrinated if not urgently freed.
Sani told Sunday Vanguard, in an exclusive interview in May, that the prolonged detention of the girls by the terrorists could dramatically alter their fate and orientation.
According to Sani, the longer the girls were being kept by their captors, the higher the potential of their being brainwashed to accept radicalism and terrorism.
He said:”But the danger of keeping these girls, without either using negotiation or force to free them is that, everyday these girls are being brainwashed by the insurgents.
” If we are not careful, the Chibok girls that would come out of captivity would not be the same girls that went into captivity. They would be indoctrinated, they would be hypnotised and brainwashed to the point that they would be transformed into insurgents themselves. And of what use would they be?
“These are very young girls in their teens with very open and vulnerable minds but open to dangerous ideas. You can see how a man would abduct a girl whose parents don’t like him and, by the time the girl comes back she is ready to fight her parents.
“So, the danger is that as the clocks ticks, it is ticking for us , for the girls and for our reputation and integrity as a country”.