The lacklustre manner in which the search for the missing girls of Chibok has been conducted so far simply sums up the attitude of the Nigerian government towards the plight of the youth, who constitute the future of the country. While other countries put a premium on the upbringing of their children, through adequate investment in their security and education, it seems the lives of young Nigerians are not worth more than those of ordinary livestock. They are either slaughtered at will or are forcibly carted away as war booty by the maniacal terrorists currently laying a siege to the country. This is heartbreaking.
More than three weeks after over 200 girls were abducted from the premises of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State by members of the Boko Haram Islamist terror sect, the distraught parents are not closer to reuniting with the girls, who vanished on April 14 into a dangerous world of vampires.
In a situation akin to a betrayal of trust by those whose duty it is to protect them, the girls were surrendered to the terrorists who reportedly ransacked the school for more than six hours, during which time they helped themselves to the foodstuffs in the store before carefully loading their human booty into lorries, which then drove off, unchallenged.
Perhaps their fate would have been different if they were born in societies where the weak are protected by the government. Perhaps, it would have been a different story had those paid to provide security responded promptly to the invasion. As several reports yet to be controverted claim, one of the vehicles used in carting away the girls broke down in the course of the terrorists making good their escape. This made it possible for some of their captives to escape. This clearly gives the impression that if the security operatives in that area, which is currently under a state of emergency, had responded fast enough, many of the abducted girls would have been rescued. It took a whole week for the government to react, by which time a lot of damage had been done in a situation where time was of the essence.
In his usual lethargic approach to issues, President Goodluck Jonathan has left the pragmatic approach to a rescue operation and opted for the setting up of committees. Why should a committee be preferred in an issue that requires intelligence gathering and cooperation with the international community to resolve? Of course, this is not one of the issues which the President thinks would soon subside with the passage of time. These girls must be found, by whatever means, as should the 25 other girls earlier kidnapped at Bama and since abandoned by the Federal Government.
For the girls of Chibok, there are still hopes that they may be rescued and brought back home to their parents. But the fate of the Federal Government College pupils in Buni Yadi, Yobe State, was more cruel and irredeemable. No fewer than 40 of them were dispatched to their early graves by these merchants of death in another midnight operation on February 12, 2014. The mass murderers had reportedly set the dormitory ablaze while the pupils were sleeping. For those who managed to slip out through the windows, a different fate awaited them; those who were not gunned down among them had their throats slit open, just like a butcher going about his normal routine of slaughtering cows in an abattoir. It was as appalling as it was bizarre.
Before their unsolicited visit to Buni Yadi, the Islamists, who are actually living up to their name, Boko Haram – meaning Western education is forbidden – had invaded the College of Agriculture, Gujba, also in Yobe State, where over 40 students were killed. In a manner not unlike that of Buni Yadi, they sneaked in on the students in the dead of night, before opening fire, leaving many dead and injured. That was in September 2013. In a similar invasion of Mamudo in July 2013, no fewer than 41 students were reportedly killed after Boko Haram sprayed their dormitories with explosives and bullets.
The question then arises; how many schoolchildren will be killed, maimed and abducted before the government deems it fit to protect their lives? Quite sadly for a country that no longer values lives, it has taken the promptings of outsiders to move the Nigerian government into action in the case of the abducted girls.
Protests have been organised all over the world, including in the United Kingdom and the United States. Yet, the President told Nigerians that he did not know the whereabouts of the girls, three weeks after they were taken away. The Guardian (London) says, “Nigeria likes to present itself as the face of Africa rising. But its response to the kidnapping has belonged firmly in the other African narrative: hopeless Africa.”
That is just it. What it means is that Nigerians should now be mindful of their own security as this government will not be there for them in their hour of need.