Friday, 15 April 2016

CHIBOK GIRLS: 48 MONTHS ON

276 girls abducted by boko haram from their boarding school. If that was bad, what was to follow was worse: (many more women were later to be abducted, raped, made forced brides, and suicide bombers). The government that failed to protect these children did not know what had happened, and when it found out, it did not believe it had actually happened and this directed their reaction and subsequent handling of the situation. The doubt and conspiracy theories led to two things: a reminder that “there is God”, and a prolonged search for these children.

According to Tom Joyce, a Lieutenant, Commander (Retired), 79th Precinct Detective Squad and Cold Case Homicide Squad, New York City, New York, Police Department; and Director, Law Enforcement Strategy, LexisNexis Risk Solutions “the chances of rescuing an abducted child decrease significantly after the first 24 hours” (http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2604&issue_id=22012); after 336 hours (2 weeks), it was still being contested, debated, and theorized. Fast forward 17,544 hours (2 years) and we still are no closer to finding majority of them today than we were on the day they were abducted.

Shamefully, it took the emergence of groups: Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), made up of several selfless Nigerians and other individual campaigns to get the government to accept and act, and also bring the issue to the notice of the entire world.  

As we mark 48 months of pain for these families, 48 months of the struggle to continue to keep the issue on the front burner, and 48 months of government’s haplessness on this issue, we should remember the girls and their families in our daily prayers, we should salute the courage, and tenacity of the members of the BBOG and those like it that have continued to push for action by government, and avoid the issue being swept under an already excessively bulging carpet (a place already occupied by the likes of Clifford Orji, ALUU 4,and many other “questionable” happenings in our environment).

14 April, a date that should live in infamy in this country should not be a day of merriment in any form or guise in government quarters or its proxies; it should be a day for empathy, for great sensitivity to the plight of these parents. A day to prick the government’s conscience that a great wrong is yet left undone. A day we all should rise with one voice that never should this happen in our country again, a day for national introspection.

While the slow and denied response by the past government to the events has brought us here, we cannot continue to blame the past for the lack of a present solution; after all, the present government knew the Chibok girls had not been found before they agreed to take the oath of office. The government should have realized the buck will stop at their table when they came into power if they had not already deemed it an urgent agenda. High is our expectation of this present government and higher will our disappointment be if they fail to deliver.

The government needs to ramp up its efforts on this issue and get this over with; and if it cannot get them back, let us know. The deed has been done, prolonging its effects without any solution in sight only serves to exacerbate the pain, agony, and disappointment that is associated with it. There needs to be closure on this issue. The families need it, the country needs it, and the world needs it.


God bless Nigeria.