By Ahmad Sajoh
When the abduction of over 200 girls took place in Chibok a day after the first Nyanya Bomb blast my heart bled. My heart bled for the girls. My heart bled for the parents and relations, and my heart bled for Nigeria my country. I remembered my good friend, brother and classmate Dauda N. Iliya. We grew up together in Mubi. Had our primary Education in Mubi before going to Federal Government College Warri for our Secondary Education. He is today at the National Secretariat of USOSA, the umbrella body of all old students of Unity Schools in Nigeria. He is as much a son of Mubi as myself, perhaps even more since he has direct telephone contact with the Emir of Mubi. But his roots are in Chibok.
His middle name is Ndirpaya, and that name kept appearing among the many names that made the various lists as victims or victim’s relatives. I kept praying for Dauda Iliya knowing that definitely this unfortunate saga may affect one of his blood relations. I tried his number several times to console him and tell him how truly disturbed I was. In this madness that has engulfed Nigeria, we are all victims. It is either you are a direct victim or an affected person. It was not too long ago we finished mourning my brother in-law who was killed by the insurgents. When I reflected on the Chibok abductions, I realized that it was God’s way of focusing attention on what has been going on in the North – East for a very long time. Women had been abducted since the commencement of the insurgency, but we were all too busy focusing on the sensations of church bombings, Mosque killings, market raids, village sackings etc to notice. But in this war on terror, women have always served as booty, same times by both sides.
I recall a video clip that made the rounds recently. A young boy definitely a teenager was captured and interrogated on camera. His confessions were quite revealing. He spoke frankly and as a matter of fact. He gave details of the activities of insurgents including locations and modus operandi. When asked what they did with abducted women, he was very straight. He said “our leaders defile them”. When probed further, he said he too had defiled them. That was the truth. These women are often defiled not once, not twice, not thrice but serially by sundry persons. They are treated as war booties.
Now back to our Chibok girls. Between Chibok and Sambisa is a distance of well over 100 kilometers. Borno State is under Emergency Rule with Military Units scattered all over the place and mounting road blocks along all roads at very short intervals. How come over 200 human beings were ferried through that distance without being detected? How come some girls escaped and yet their trail did not lead to others? Why was there an open deceit at the beginning? Who was responsible for the initial deception and what actions were taken on the person?
Instead of trying to find answers to these questions, which may help in the rescue efforts. What we see being done is to convert the whole process into a Nollywood Movie. Three weeks after their captivity, with reports of possible deaths and definite defilement we are just setting up committees with the sole purpose of indicting the Borno State Government. The Officer that was exhumed from WAEC office to speak on National Television only succeeded in compounding the deceit and magnifying the lies. Why will they seek security assurances from Borno State Government that is under a State of Emergency when Security was in the hands of the Armed Forces and Police? Unless the whole appearance by the WAEC official was an arrange Nollywood Drama series, why didn’t he speak about their contact with security agents? Is he saying that if thieves bugled his
house, he will first report to the State Government? The collection of people at the seat of power, the tears and the arrests are all deceptions. The real feelings are betrayed by comments suggesting that no abductions took place after all. These are the real feelings of the powers-that-be in Abuja and they need to do more to convince us otherwise.
Aside from the demonstrations across Nigeria, there are countless prayer sessions for the safe return of the abducted girls. But will they return safe and sound? Unfortunately no. If, as we keep praying that the girls eventually return, they will surely come back with pregnancies, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, STDs and other complications. They will come back traumatized, some schizophobic. They will come back full of hate. Hate for their abductors, hate for society that did not protect them and even hate for life itself which may not be of any worth under the circumstances. They will be stigmatized, confused and unable to face their education any longer.
And to make matters worst, the Nigerian society will exploit their situation for selfish ends. Sundry dubious elements will rise to supposedly champion their causes but in reality to feather their own nests. Already we have seen examples. People trying to play religious politics with the abductions. Others are busy mobilizing themselves as Chibok indigenes calling on the Federal Government to illegally remove the Borno State Governor. I am sure by doing so they hope to reap bountifully from the Federal Authorities that are bent on transferring the blame to the Borno State Government.
In the selective amnesia of those in Authority, they believe that blaming the victim will exonerate them from blame. They forgot that this is not a time for blame games. We have dilly-dallied for too long. We have allowed our daughters in captivity for too long. We have celebrated our inabilities for too long. Now is the time to be decisive. Cut the Drama. Throw away the shadows of deceit and change the mindset. The abduction of Chibok girls is not a Borno tragedy it is a National tragedy. It is Nigeria’s sore thumb. The pain permeates the whole body. We must address it as such. This is not a Nollywood Movie; it is a real life situation.
Ahmad Sajoh wrote from Dougerei Jimeta – Yola