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Waking nightmare

By Denrele Animasaun

“When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.”-African proverb

Terror once again visited a female only boarding school and leaving in its wake, devastation and distraught families and school mates. In a run down, dilapidated school compound, it is evidently telling in the aftermath, what was left were only traces of footprints and items of clothing of the abduction, the footprints left of the girls, indicated that the girls struggled and fled in all directions. These school girls, 11-19 years old, ran for their lives, some towards the bushes, others mistakenly in to the hands of their abductors, with relief that they were the members of the army. They were dressed in military fatigues with one significant difference; as one of the escaped girls observed. This might have very well have saved her life; she noticed that they were wearing flip flops and she deduced in all the kerfuffle that army don’t wear flip flops.   Those that escaped were also helped by their brave teachers who helped them escape by assisting them to scale fences,hide in the bushes or in nearby homes until it was safe to come out. 110 girls are missing,110 children whose parents and relatives are grieving, inconsolable and beside themselves with dread of what will become of their children in the coming months or years – (some Chibok girls have been missing since 2014). We can only imagine what their parents are going through; no parent deserves this ordeal or nightmare of not knowing where your child is and no one is able to give you answers or reassurances of the safe return of your child. Dapchi, like Chibok has become synonymous with the abduction of school girls by the nefarious militants, Boko Haram.

The government has failed to address the vulnerability and security of such seat of learning robustly and they should have  continued to offer security immediately after the Chibok abduction until the threats are no longer evident. Despite what the military said, after this current event they left a couple of days prior to the abduction, there recognizance was way off and it is little comfort to the parents of the abducted girls in particular and the community as a whole. In the army’s defence, they said that they had evaluated the risks and had assumed that the school was safe from attack hence no further security was needed. Well, they evaluated wrongly and as a result 110 girls are missing. How do you tell parents and reassure them that their children are safe to go to school after this mass abduction? How do you say to them that they have been let down because they trusted that the powers that be have made the place safe for their children to go to a place of learning without the fear of abduction, rape and worse?. Any well-meaning parents will do what comes naturally, keep their respective children safe from harm and they will keep them away from schools. This is a disaster and it is playing into the hands of the deplorable and despicable murderers without a cause. The tragedy is that these parents despite, the hardship and sacrifices they made to send their children to schools, now wish they had not done so; but they did so, that their girls can be educated and lift their whole family out of poverty. The illiteracy rate in the north for women is  far higher compared to the south and the surrounding regions and this latest abduction will play well  into the hands of people who are vehemently opposed to educating girls.

The BK’s insurgency in  the north, according to UNICEF, has forced and kept more than 11 million children  out of formal education. About 1,400 schools have been destroyed in Borno State and many in the surrounding states.

Right now, these parents are experiencing a living nightmare and the coming days will be torturous and traumatic every single day the girls remain missing. This loss and absence is  not theirs alone to carry, we should as Nigerians know that, we all should help support them in their time of need and we hope and pray  to God for the safe return of these young girls.

One of the parents said,” My demand now is to see our children back. That is our demand. We are pleading, for every single community, whether it is international, Nigerian, whoever, to rescue our children in a civil manner.”

The federal government has since provided details of the missing girls;” Of the 110 missing girls, eight are in JSS1, 17 in JSS2, 12 in JSS3, 40 in SS1, 19 in SS2 and 14 in SS3. The girl’s ages range from 11 to 19 years.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, issued  a statement providing further details on the missing girls.

Mr Mohammed said the Nigerian Air Force had flown 200 hours while conducting the search at 6.00 p.m. on Monday but they are yet to locate the missing girls.   We cannot afford for the missing girls to become another hash tag, neither can we let these hoodlums create fear and terror that perpetuate the region and set back the progress for females back decades.

CNN undercover report

CNN undercover report unveiled the underbelly of human trafficking hub in Edo state and it is very revealing and shocking that after the recent exposure of the slave markets in Libya of black Africans, including Nigerians, that the miserable trade continues to flourish in spite of the dangers is beyond normal comprehension. It shows clearly that many criminals are profiting from this human tragedy. The  reporter was able to pose as potential illegal immigrant, looking for a way to leave the country. Clandestinely met with a trafficker who was to arrange a route to smuggle her out of the country. Of course for many, it is their way out of Africa and into Europe. The meeting was in a bordello, dark and dingy as the trade itself, the arranger was intimidating and he asked for $1,400 for the first leg of the journey to Libya and he warned that he did not want any undercover reporter to waste his time, that this was serious business. It was painful to watch.On embarking the bus, the arrangers called her aside and ask her if she had golden circle or Kiss kiss which were apparently condoms. He more than one way implied that she was going to be raped and it was in her best interest to carry protection and not resist when these men come forward to “assist” her.

Edo State is now dubbed Nigeria’s trafficking hub and one of Africa’s largest departure points. Each year, tens of thousands of migrants are illegally smuggled to North Africa and through to Europe, most are escaping hardship in Nigeria and others are being trafficked for the sex market in Europe. Most if not all, will be traumatised by this journey and some will die as a result of human trafficking.

From my archive Trouble with Dino

“So here we are again in  2016, if it is to be believed, a senator using language that is unbecoming of  the high office. There is no justification to threaten a woman with rape! No justification. What followed for Melaye, supposedly a damage control to put his own side of the story which failed spectacularly? I  am appalled that  some of  the people reacted as if it was nothing or that he was justified. Melaye recounted that Remi Tinubu called him a thug and then, he called her stupid! Wow!     It was a case of he said, she said. And she called him a dog, and he stood up and told her that “this was not Bourdillion and as he was not one of those senators who normally come to prostrate to them, I am from Kogi and not from Lagos” So he did not deny anything but he said” I am not a coward”

Can someone tell him that it is not what they call you but what you respond to? This is not the way any person should behave talk less a senator. So he charged towards the female senator and had to be held back by other senators, who remonstrated with him to let peace reign. Why did they not tell him that he misbehaved nor are they saying that his behaviour was acceptable?

Dino has got his temper which gets the better of him all the time. He is erratic and out of control. No man should be allowed to get away with such behaviour and it is a conduct not becoming of a senator.   He has a bully mentality and does not know how to hold a civil conversation and resorts  to use his fist and potty mouth.   He threatened to beat Tinubu up and impregnate her on the floor of the Senate and he boasted that nothing will happen! Why this man is still allowed to walk free?

 


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