The girls were taken away in the dead of the night from their dormitory in Chibok,
a small town in the crisis ridden Borno State located in the Northern part of Nigeria. Borno State itself was hitherto a very peaceful one regarded as the food basket of the nation.
The basket has long been engulfed in the sulphuric fumes of the Boko Haram sect’s
Current realities is a pointer to the fact that the kidnapped girls are in danger of
being completely forgotten with the waning tempo of the #BringBackOurGirls
campaign which marked the early days and which succeeded in arousing the interest of the international community.
Also as the nation prepares for the 2015 general elections, it ominously appears
that greater effort is being channelled into politicking by the various political parties than the current insecurity pervading the nation. Political campaigns override the urgent need to secure the country.
The girls, if they are still alive, would have been subjected to unimaginable
experiences; some may have become radicalized while some may have been brutally
killed. Their fates are indeed better imagined after more than 150 days away
A logical approach to the issue in the immediate aftermath of the incidence would
have been for the Government headed by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to move in swiftly by taking decisive actions. Among the errors committed in the handling of this grave issue was the failure of the President or designated personnel to visit the affected community and families on a fact finding mission as well as to empathize with them.
National response was slow, with the Government indulging in self-denial at the expense of the hapless girls briskly whisked away in the dead of the night. Consequently, valuable time was wasted and the hope of getting all the girls back and alive is now almost non-existent.
As reports seeped in that some of the girls may have been killed while some may
have been distributed among the insurgents as wives, the parents hope gradually
turns to despair.
Indeed, the waiting game may never end for these helpless parents.
There have also been reports from international surveillance efforts of the girls
being split up and held in different locations thereby making any rescue efforts near impossible. Similar, an Australian negotiator-Davis who was invited to negotiate the girls’ release also reported that the majority of the girls are not being held in Nigeria but distributed across neighbouring countries like Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
If there is enough intelligence regarding the whereabouts of these girls, one may
wonder why they are still remain in captivity.
The real efforts being made by the Nigerian Government may not be open for public
consumption for security reasons but what has been glaring to every observer is the slow pace of the Government as it appears that no progress has being made so far in this battle.
Rescue operations which the whole country awaits have been ruled out basically due to safety concerns. The initial offer of the Insurgents to swap the girls with some of their leaders in prison was also rejected, understandably.
What the Nigerian people have however failed to understand is why alternative manners of engaging the insurgents with a view to freeing the helpless girls have not been explored, yet.
The country is indeed past the time of denial as the insurgents continue their
campaign of terror with little resistance. They are making steady progress in their quest and have succeeded in completely taking over a number of communities in the North Eastern part of the country.
Overcoming this larger than life problem may not exactly be a pleasurable walk in the park but the people must be able to see concerted efforts being made to curtail this threatening menace and rescue the girls.
Considering the fact that the Boko Haram sect belongs to a larger more organized Al-Qaeda network, International assistance may not be out of order in putting this matter permanently to rest.
But where does this leave the Chibok girls?
No other place than their captors’ dens while the clock ticks away and the
Government meant to protect them appears to have abdicated her responsibilities. Whichever way this may end, it is clear that no winner will emerge after all.
Written by Abiola Olaleye