By Umar Yusuf, Yola
Yola – With #BringBackOurGirls we have come to a turning point in our contest against terrorism in Nigeria. It is a critical moment for us; the war will not be won without us winning this battle. In short if one is not part of the solution, they become part of the problem.
And at a moment like this we can no longer afford anything but a united commitment to stamping out a great evil that threatens the very existence of the only place we call home.
On social media I have been amazed by the outpouring of solidarity from within and outside Nigeria. While on the one hand it is sad to see Nigeria in the news for its inability to protect its most vulnerable citizens, it is also clear that in the age of social media no concerns or problems are local.
It is in light of this that I welcome the offer of military support from the United States, United Kingdom, France and others, and the acceptance by the Nigerian government. While I believe that we waited too long to get to this point of admitting our need for external help, I will also insist that it’s better late than never.
While I have had and continue to have major policy differences with the government on Abuja and its leadership, as a nation we must remain united.
We must make it clear that under no circumstances should any person, group of persons, or organization ever be permitted to prey on the children of Nigeria, or any other country.
We must make it easy for everyone who has information about this crime against humanity to contact the authorities at once.
We must make it easy for the innocent population of the affected areas to see the Nigerian military and authorities as friends, not enemies.
We must make it easy for our soldiers to be loyal and committed to this great and difficult task ahead of them.
We must make it easy for the world to see Nigeria as a country that cares for all its citizens, regardless of their age, gender, religion, ethnic group or economic class.
We must remember the people most affected, trapped on the frontlines of the battle. They need support, relief and rehabilitation.
We must remember they will need help when the are returned home to their families and their loved ones.
And we must make it difficult for anyone to play politics with this crisis. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is worth the bloodshed and the destruction we have come to associate with this campaign of terror. Not party affiliations, not the 2015 elections.
We are in a race against time. For every day we delay our response, or allow ourselves to be caught up in needless bickering, we hand victory over to the forces of darkness and despair, like Boko Haram.