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Chibok – 100 Days, Counting

WEDNESDAY, 23 July, marked 100 days since the abduction of 279 female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. The circumstances of the 14 April abduction were graphic portrayals of the failure of government and leadership at different levels.

The girls were abducted though there was a state of emergency in the North East, and assurances by the Borno State Government that adequate security was provided for the students writing their final exams.

Worldwide rage trailed the abduction that added another dimension to the terror attacks in Nigeria. Of course, the insurgency has a wider aim of destabilising the entire Sahel region, something that was not reflected in earlier measures that tended to localise the challenge.

The #Bring Back Our Girls campaign resonated around the world. Its local chapter has been having running battles with security agencies who term it an opposition platform for political blackmail.

It is most distressing that the girls are still in captivity in Sambisa Forest, which bears various dangers. The nation shares in the agonies of the families of the abductees. Global attention was momentary. The blame shifting, blame sharing and superior knowledge about what cannot secure release of the girls.

Security agencies claim they know where the girls are. World powers’ initial offer of assistance dissolved into excuses about the uncertainties of Sambisa. Obviously, it is Nigeria’s challenge; the world is looking away. The biggest international contribution to the rescue efforts is the #Bring Back Our Girls campaign.

Nigerians should support our security agencies as they go about the onerous job of securing the release of the girls. There is the additional matter of ending the insurgency.

The war on terror and the efforts to rescue the girls are complex campaigns that require the understanding of everyone. We must sink our political differences if we are to face a common enemy that is determined to destroy our society. The last four years of dealing with various degrees of terror attacks, has made the war against terror a major national focus.

Government might not have been as successful as many expected in combating terror, but it is not a failure from which to make political capital. Lives are involved. Elections cannot become more important than the lives of Nigerians.

Public ownership of security, empowering the security agencies, earning the confidence of the people, prompt trial of suspects and their sponsors would limit the capacities of the attackers.

Secret loyalty for the enemy and profiling Nigerians based on their religion and ethnic background are divisive and aids the attackers.

Government should ensure safe return of the girls soon, and an end to the frequent terror attacks



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