BRINGING BACK OUR GIRLS TO SCHOOL AND SAFETY
- 25 Articles
In mid-April this year, we woke up to the heart-breaking news that over 200 girls were taken hostage from a secondary school at Chibok, Borno state, North-Eastern Nigeria. Although, this was one in the series of the stories of insurgency in Nigeria, things took a new turn. A month after the awful event, it became global news after much protesting and campaigning-including the popular #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter. Every news media ran a story or more on the unfortunate happening, calling on local and international authorities to help resolve the situation. Almost three months after the kidnap of the girls, seventeen year old girl-child education activist-Malala Yousafzai-visited Nigeria to meet with the girls’ parents and the president. You may recall that Malala narrowly escaped death after being shot in the head by militants during her girl-child education campaign in Pakistan. It was reported that during her visit, Malala urged the president to meet and talk with the families of the abducted girls. Soon after, the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, announced his intention to meet with the aggrieved parents at Abuja, the country’s capital. Many arguments have since sprung up.
For some people, by having to be pressed by a foreign teenager before taking the decision to meet with the parents of the endangered girls, the president has put the country in a terribly embarrassing situation much like the first-when he seemed unperturbed by the situation days after the girls had been kidnapped from their school. This set of people believes that the president and the security agencies are not doing enough to rescue the girls or improve the security dilemma faced by the country, let alone pacify the affected parents and families. They expected the president to have long taken ownership of his role as the father of the country and met the parents of the missing schoolgirls. In their opinion, the president can bring forward no tangible reason why he has not met with the hurting parents of the hundreds of abducted girls three months after the unfortunate happening, despite having attended a number of election campaigns by his political party during this period.
For others, this is not an issue that will go away through petty discussions and social media activism. They have insisted that in an earlier video that went viral on the internet, the first lady had beckoned the parents of the abducted girls to come forward and meet with her but none of them responded. According to them, this had corroborated widespread opinion that the entire event is a hoax or product of political propaganda, fuelling the seeming inaction of the presidency. They have also pointed out that the president, who had intentions of visiting the affected town and the grieving families, had earlier cancelled his trip to Chibok (possibly due to security concerns) and must do everything possible to avoid endangering the lives of the missing girls and their parents. The people on this side of the argument agree that the president must focus on establishing robust political and military operations so that the country can curtail the menace of terrorism.
Altogether, I believe that while it is okay to constructively criticise the government, we must not forget to be supportive as a people, take responsibility, and stand united. What we really need to do is focus on all the ways forward. Bringing back our girls to school and a more secure life is one. What’s your take?