Home Political Notes  THE CHIBOK GIRLS AND THE CONSCIENCE OF A COUNTRY

 THE CHIBOK GIRLS AND THE CONSCIENCE OF A COUNTRY

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This moment, close your eyes

and imagine for one minute:

your daughter, or your female

or sister, in her teens, taken

hostage by gun men. The first day, there

was no word from her abductors. The

situation continues and it is now 20 days

without any hope of seeing her. Is this

not high degree trauma? In this case, 235

young girls were taken from a school

by armed men. The girls had only one

dress no extra under wears. The gun men

stormed the school with sophisticated

weapons. They whisked them away. Some,

during the captivity may be having their

menstrual “period”. Some may be sick,

too traumatized to eat or even speak.

In the cold night of the northern

hemisphere, without any clothe covering

them, they have been left to rust in the

hands of men that could kill them if they

so desire. Some of the girls reputedly

have never slept outside the comfort

of their parents’ warmth, treasured like

roses by their parents. But now, darkness

has fallen on these gentle souls. How

about their health? What kind of water

are they drinking? What kind of food are

they eating? Beyond the fear that has

gripped the nation and the little girls, is

the appalling response to their plight by

the federal government, which makes

one to shiver.

It looks as if we are a country without

conscience. One day after the brutal

bombing of Nyanya in Abuja, the President

of the country was in Kano, dancing.

He was in the northern city to draw support

for his People’s Democratic Party

(PDP) in the next Presidential election

amidst the country’s growing calamities.

The president has not, as at the time of

filing this piece, visited any of the families

of the affected young girls. He has not

expressed the cliché, “we stand with the

families in grief”. He is yet to visit Chibok,

where the girls were forcefully seized by

gun men.

While the controversy was on-going,

a group of shameless women were in

Abuja, drumming support for President

Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.

They were so vicious that they added salt

to the injury of the nation when some of

then lifted a banner that indicated that

the people of Nyanya support President

Jonathan’s second term aspiration.

Nyanaya was the spot attacked by Boko

Haram on April 15. The attack left over

70 people dead. Only last Thursday in

the night, Nyanya was bombed again by

Boko Haram with many lives lost. To say

there will be more bombing is to assert

the obvious.

The kidnap of the over 200 girls

has raised serious security issues. For

instance, to kidnap 234 girls, the armed

men needed at least 5 luxury, 45-capacity

buses. If they had used “danfo” buses,

they needed at least 20 of such buses. If

they used a trailer, they needed at least

four. Loading 234 girls in buses in an average

of two minutes per person will take

minimum of seven hours. The convoy of

the kidnapped girls at least needed three

hours to be at the base of the insurgents

in a state said to be under emergency

rule. How did the buses evade the normal

security check points? Does that

mean there was no radar to pick images

of the girls and alert the security operatives?

Does it mean there were no responses

for close to ten hours after the

raid ? When was Mr President informed

about the kidnap? Was it immediately or

hours or days after the ugly incidence?

These are critical questions calling for

answers. Both the Federal Government

and the PDP have shown a clear lack

of empathy, lack of human feelings and

a complete lack of tact. From all indications,

there are no promising military or

political strategies that will lead to the

eventual freedom of these young girls.

What then is the future of Nigeria? Will

this bombing continue? What are the

implications for the unity of the country?

One thing is certain: the impoverishment

of the people of this country, the

crass opportunism of the political class,

corruption, the collapse of law and order

and the lack of public confidence in state

institutions are factors that will make it

difficult to end the campaign of terror.

Many Nigerians do not have hope in the

country. Many of us are disillusioned.

Nigeria has become a country that no

one believes in, no one owns it and no

one is ready to defend it. It is becoming

a jungle, where institutions of law and

order are collapsing and everyone is at

his own peril. There is a strong feeling

that the rise of Boko Haram could be

linked partly to the murder of Mohammed

Yusuff, the group’s founder. This

merely reflects the repercussion of an

ineffective Nigerian justice system which

spurs most people to take laws into their

hands. One aspect of Boko Haram is

the fact that attempts are being made to

link the insurgency to the loss of power

by the Hausa-Fulani North. While this

might be a political propaganda, the truth

is that even if a Northerner emerges as

the President today, there is no guarantee

that the insurgency will halt. In

reality, Boko Haram is also a maddening

response to the brutal political system

that shuts its doors against the poor but

at the same time enriches the strong and

the rich.

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