Jerry John Rawlings: Ghana’s Junior Jesus

By Tony Eluemunor

How on earth does Nigeria go on behaving as if nothing is wrong? How on earth do those in government go to bed at night and are able to fall asleep knowing that one Nigerian girl, Leah Sharibu, is still out there in the bush, a prisoner to the Boko Haram terrorists? How on earth are President Mohammadu Buhari and the members of his administration able to convince themselves that they are doing well in the fight against terrorism when Leah Sharibu has not been reunited with her family?

How on earth does the Journalist Deacon, Buhari’s Spokesman Femi Adesina, for instance, tell Nigerians that the fight against terrorism is fully on when Leah Sharibu is out there, somewhere out there, being kept against her personal will? Does nothing outrage us any more?

Really, when last did anybody in government talk about her? Has she been totally forgotten? Or, is she not a Nigerian any more? Does Nigeria not owe her any responsibility? What really is going on?

The facts of the case has started receding from peoples’ memories, including mine. So to remind me of the details, I had to goggle her name and these facts popped out, thanks to Wikipedia. “On February 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm, 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years old were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi,located in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government area of Yobe State, in the north-east part of Nigeria.

The Federal Government of Nigeria deployed the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies to search for the missing schoolgirls and to hopefully enable their return. The Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, blamed Nigerian Army soldiers for having removed a military checkpoint from the town. Dapchi lies approximately 275 km (170 miles) north-west of Chibok, where over 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.

Five schoolgirls died on the same day of their kidnapping, all others were released in March, 2018 except the lone Christian girl Leah Sharibu as she refused to abandon her faith and convert to Islam.”

Should that be the end of the story? It shouldn’t if we take ourselves serious as members of a republic. Hey, who has avenged the death of those unlucky five, who died during that dastardly abduction? Have we ever captured any Boko Haram terrorist and charged him with the death of those five girls?And what about Leah Sharibu?

After the authorities had safely brought home the others, and Nigeria celebrated, not minding whether they were monetarily ransomed or not, one would have expected that Lear Sharibu would now have be sprung from the hands of her captors who should have been treated as the criminals that they are. But no, nothing like that has happened. Such feat would have reassured Nigerians that they are living in a real republic, not a fake one.

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Leah Sharibu was just 14 when she was kidnapped in 2018; three years ago. Three years during which she has not set eyes on her parents and siblings. Three years in which she must have been hoping that her country Nigeria would come to her rescue as she rescued the other students. And in those three years, she has been thoroughly, terribly and soundly let down. What would be her thoughts now about Nigeria? What really? And we have gone loving the members of our families, celebrating birthdays, school graduations and the like.

According to the German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant, a nation under anarchy is not really a state because the law is only an “empty recommendation” if force is not included to make this law efficacious (“legitimation”, etymologically fancifully from le -gem timere, i.e. “fearing the law”) the rest is meaningless.  For there to be such a state, force must be included while law and freedom are maintained, for a state to be a republic.

Kant identified four kinds of government: One, “Law and freedom without force (anarchy);”two, “Law and force without freedom (despotism);”three, “Force without freedom and law (barbarism)” and lastly, “Force with freedom and law (republic).” Nigeria cannot be a Republic if a Leah Sharibu has been kidnapped since 2018 and nothing is being said about her now.

Have I forgotten the Chibok Girls? Wikipedia tells me that “On the night of 14–15 April, 2014, 276 mostly Christian female students aged from 16 to 18 were kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School at the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.

Fifty seven of the schoolgirls escaped immediately following the incident by jumping from the trucks on which they were being transported and others have been rescued by the Nigerian Armed Forces on various occasions. Hopes have been raised that the 219 remaining girls might be released, however, some girls are believed to be dead. Amina Ali, one of the missing girls, was found in May 2016. She claimed that the remaining girls were still there, but that six had died. As of  April 14, 2021, seven years after the initial kidnapping, over 100 of the girls remain missing.”

And Nigeria calls itself a Republic? Kai!!!!

Apart from recognising the sovereignty of the people as the source of all authority, a republic in law and in truth, and in deed, stresses liberty and inalienable individual rights as its central values. So how hard is Nigeria right now fighting to protect the rights of the Leah Sharibu or the Chibok Girls? How will the citizenry believe that a fight is on when citizens are being abducted daily and life has become the cheapest commodity across the land?


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