By Denrele Animasaun
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other – Mother Theresa
Five years ago,on the 14th of April,we woke to the news that over two hundred(276) young girls were abducted in their place of learning by the insurgent group,Boko Haram(BH).
The shock reverberated across the world and the area where the tragedy occurred,Chibok,will forever be synonymous with the crime,its people and the missing girls. Five years is a long time and we have not forgotten. We live in hope.
Crucially,five years on, Chibok is unable to move on from the disaster nor has it properly found peace or some closure as many of the missing school girls remain missing,some died,a small number rescued but far too many remain missing . Parents of these missing girls(they are no longer girls)cannot stop grieving. The anguish faced by the relatives of the missing girls is indescribable and one can only imagine their pain and distress over the last five years.
This is every parents nightmare, not knowing what happened to their children and for them is a waking nightmare and their lives will never be the same.
George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
This is the case here and more so,the shame.
Five years ago, I wrote:
Three weeks and counting and the government is no closer to securing the missing girls’ safe return. Instead, there have been more hand wringing, posturing, mumblings and dribbling from the government. Victim blaming from some unelected individual,used the tragedy for self publicity .
In the meantime, the families of the missing are undergoing a prolonged untold agony and yet more daily insults are piled on to their agony and pain by some uncouth, despotic , deranged and disturbed unofficial and official people.
#BringBankourgirls campaign,has drawn and captured the world’s imagination and the compassionate Nigerians home and abroad are matching up and down in unison.
The world has taken notice and they can see the extent of the breakdown of law and order in Nigeria, it is clear to everyone but the government, that they are ill equipped and out of their depth to rescue the abducted girls.
I watched CNN. On the the program,Wole Soyinka spoke so passionately and eloquently about the present tragedy in Nigeria and the prolonged menace of BH. He is right. Something should have been done so long ago instead; this government has kowtowed, pleaded and bargained with this mad,ragtag and murderous group for far too long. During that time thousands of lives have been destroyed,maimed,killed,pillaged or displaced.
Millions are living in perpetual fear and dread that they will be next.
The leader of the mad and damned, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau has gone on record for all to see, ranting vile tirades boasted that they did abduct the girls and now threatened to “sell” the abducted school girls.
The psychotic despot taunted with a chilling smile: “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell.” This is not a normal person nor does he represent any Islam in any shape or form. This is the rantings of a dangerous psychopath.
The ease with which this monster makes his audacious pronouncements is horrific and alarming that it is shocking how such a rag tag army have held the people of Nigeria for so long to ransom is bewildering . The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger state, Dr Babangida Aliyu, spoke to the U.S. officials that the April 14 abduction happened in a part of the country “where up till today we still beg parents to bring their children to school”.
He made a valid point that ‘`for the abduction to happen in a school environment means that if we do not do anything, we will be taken fifty years back, because many parents would be discouraged to send their children to school. This is the sad fact. How can they break the cycle of poverty if many remain at home and are justified for not sending their children to school because of the fear of abduction?
Instead, education has always been the key to ridding society of intolerance and ignorance and this government has failed on many levels. They have diced with peoples’ lives and have played Russian roulette with the lives of our people. They have done so for so long and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. But, they have no conscience and know no shame.
Where are our armed forces? And where is the chief of armed forces? Where are the task forces and advance planning? Juno went on air to say that his government is working hard to release the girls and that he was happy and Nigerians were happy that there was no report that the girls were harmed! Can someone tell Juno that these girls were forcefully, and aggressively abducted by murdering marauders, these girls did not go willingly. I cannot begin to fathom the rationale of this man and his motley crew. This is a case of the blind leading the clueless. His other half fared no better. She had accused everyone including the parents of the missing girls, of trying to destroy her husband’s rule!! Can someone tell this woman to put a cork in it and that she has no mandate to rule and besides her husband was elected by the people and can be unelected and removed with due process. They have shown that they cannot and do not know what to do and all they are concerned about is saving their own skin.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron told the British Parliament that the kidnapping was “an act of pure evil”. He pointed out that people in Nigeria are angry at the government’s response. “There are extreme Islamists around our world who are against education, against progress, against equality and we must fight them and take them on wherever they are. They say that those the gods wish to destroy them, first make mad. We are watching the unravelling of this in real time.
We are watching a runaway train and we cannot remain silent, not while these young girls are missing. Nigeria is not working and we know it and the world now knows it.
Enough said. We would like the safe return of the girls. The world has cottoned on that; we as Nigerians must garner this support and pressure this government to do something and something quickly. If anything, the abduction of these young girls serves as a catalyst to call to action for all well-meaning Nigerians.
Now that the government has agreed to receive help from varying quarters. United States, Britain, China and a host of other nations have stepped up to assist. Britain is sending a small team of advisers – possibly including some military officers – to help with planning and coordination. However, they will not take part in operations on the ground.
Five years on,
Time to put an end to the suffering of parents waiting for their missing girls.