Mothers are sad and depressed because of their missing daughters. Days are still counting and no news about our girls. Thursday, August 27th, marked another tragic milestone in the evolving barbaric narrative of the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency that has, over the last five years, claimed thousands of lives, particularly in the North-East of Nigeria, and rendered the region economically prostrate.
According to The Nations, it was exactly 500 days that day since the extremist sect invaded the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on the night of April 14, last year, abducting 276 girls who were preparing for their end-of-year Senior Secondary School examinations and carried them away in several trucks into the evil bowels of their Sambisa Forest fortress. But for about 57 of the abducted girls who were lucky to escape from their captors, nothing has been heard till date of the remaining 219 girls.
That horrific incident shocked the entire world and exposed not only the depth of evil symbolized by the Boko Haram sect, which claimed to be waging a war against western education, but also the utter irresponsibility, insensitivity and incompetence of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration. For one, it was simply incomprehensible how the insurgents could operate with such abandon and audacity in an area that had been placed under a state of emergency by the Federal Government.
Even more exasperating was the inexplicable initial lethargic and unserious reaction of the Jonathan administration to the girls’ abduction. The administration only bestirred itself to act almost two weeks after the incident, and then only because of the international outcry that ensued. That squandering of valuable time is certainly a key reason why the insurgents were able to successfully spirit the girls away and their fate remains uncertain and unknown over 500 days after.
The girls and their families heroically insisted on their obtaining western education despite the murderous threats of the Boko Haram barbarians. Unfortunately, the Nigerian State failed in its prime responsibility of providing them with adequate security to safeguard their lives. The sheer agony that the relatives and loved ones of these girls have been put through since the commencement of this ordeal can best be imagined. For, they have no way of knowing what fate has befallen the helpless girls. The parents of at least 17 of them have reportedly died during the ordeal. It is improbable that even if they are eventually rescued, the girls’ lives can ever be the same again.
Messages of solidarity from across the world on the 500th day of their abduction show that the plight of the girls continues to haunt the global conscience. The Bring Back Our Girls movement deserves commendation for its tenacity in keeping the issue at the forefront of international consciousness. Even though it did not create the problem, the challenge and responsibility of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is to mobilize all the resources at the disposal of the Nigerian state to locate and rescue the girls. Luckily, the administration enjoys tremendous international goodwill and support, which it should draw upon to achieve this objective.
‘Even though it did not create the problem, the challenge and responsibility of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is to mobilize all the resources at the disposal of the Nigerian state to locate and rescue the girls. Luckily, the administration enjoys tremendous international goodwill and support, which it should draw upon to achieve this objective’
Clearly, President Buhari has been very cautious not to create an impression that he has some sort of super powers to find and bring the girls back home. It would be cruel and dishonest to raise the hopes of their loved ones on unrealistic premises only to have them dashed eventually. But no matter how faint the situation looks, we must never give up hope of rescuing and returning the girls home. We agree with the sentiments of the Pakistani human rights activist, Malala Yousafzai who in a letter to the girls said:
“…Today and every day, we call on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to do more to bring you home. We will not rest until you have been reunited with your families”
Help spread the word. This movement in bringing back our girls should be showing results, because the heart of the weeping mothers are growing weary and depressed as the days go by without seeing their girls. We hope that whatever super powers (or intelligence) our president is using would bring back our girls sooner.