It’s been almost a month since more than 200 girls (aged between 16 and 18) were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, while waiting to write an exam, and still nothing has been done.
If you’ve been too absorbed in the recent buzz over election results or the Oscar trial and you’re not quite clued up to what’s been happening let’s fill you in.
Nigerians condemn the government for their lack of aggressive action as it’s not doing enough to locate and rescue the girls. Not only has the government not done enough but they also gave people false information over how many of the girls were actually kidnapped. The government initially said 129 girls were taken and that 52 managed to escape, but the numbers don’t seem to be adding up as there are still so many of the girls missing.
The international media was also criticized for its lack of coverage on the matter. The incident has been compared to Malaysian Flight MH370 and the South Korean ferry accident, in that it deserved as much if not more media attention so that the world can help the government of Nigeria to find and rescue the girls.
The radical extremist terrorist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. In a 57-minute video, where its leader, Abubakar Shekau, who is obviously not mentally sound, rants incoherently, “God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions,” he said.
The girls have allegedly been raped and abused and forced to marry the insurgents for the price of 2 000 Naira ($12), as a reward for the fighters, “We would also give their hands in marriage because they are our slaves.” He’s threatened to “sell them in the market, by Allah.”
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, why were these girls targeted? Basically Boko Haram, which is loosely translated as “western education is sinful”, believes that the girls shouldn’t have been at school in the first place, they should have been married.
I don’t like to conform to anti-Islam ideology/propaganda that America sold us for years. I hate how Islam has become synonymous with/to terrorism. It’s as if all evil and war in the world boils down to religion- Christianity vs. Islam.
The Power of Social Media
After taking to the streets in protest of the lack of action, Nigerians thought it wasn’t enough and called on the rest of the world to get involved using social media. The#BringBackOurGirls campaign has spread like wildfire, with people all over the world showing their support. I’m sure you’ve seen countless celebrities from actors, sports stars, television personalities and foreign statesmen endorse the campaign.
President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife Nigeria’sFirst Lady, Precious Jonathan allegedly accused Chibok protest organisers Saratu Angus Ndirpaya andNaomi Mutah Nyadar of fabricating the incident and working with Boko Haram and called for their arrest. Seems like she was suffering from all the shade that was being thrown on her husband, and felt cornered, fortunately all seems to be forgiven/forgotten and the focus is back on the bigger more important picture/issue.
President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised by people-specifically the parents and relatives for not doing enough to actually find the girls and bring them back. Only after the protests that inspired the world to get involved, did he actually sit up and take notice instead of brushing it under the rug, which many Nigerians say he’s been doing for long enough. The president shot back by saying the parents have made efforts harder because they haven’t been cooperating with authorities. “What we request is maximum cooperation from the guardians and the parents of these girls, because up to this time, they have not been able to come clearly, to give the police clear identity of the girls that have yet to return,” he said.
“Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out” he said, acknowledging that officials don’t know where they are. The President criticized the girls’ parents for not cooperating fully with police.
What happens now?
“I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,” I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this campaign will bring all that much change. Maybe I’m being pessimistic but I doubt that this incident will stop terrorism. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning. Acts of terrorism- abductions, bombings, rapes, etc- have been happening throughout history and they’ll continue to happen. I think it really boils down to an issue of tolerance, if the world is constantly at war over ideology- religious, political, I don’t think anything will change.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that people are showing support for this cause; it shows that we are not oblivious to the fact that this is wrong. I appreciate that the whole world is not turning a blind eye to the plight of innocent women. But is showing your support enough to change the world? Some say that this campaign will only make things worse, that Boko Haram (and other associated terrorist groups) will only up the ante and do something unimaginably worse.
I don’t know what needs to be done to #BringBackOurGirls, but I can’t wait till they finally return to their homes and their classrooms. I will definitely rejoice with the rest of the world when they do finally come back home.
Follow me on Twitter @CallMeAfriKa