It is over 730 days the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state. Sadly, two years after, it is the same old promises assurances from government. In this piece, DOZIE EMMANUEL writes that it is time Buhari led-government translated these promises into concrete action.
Thursday last week made it exactly two years the over 200 schoolgirls were forcefully abducted by gun-wielding terrorists from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state on April 14, 2014. The ugly but unfortunate incident happened while the poor innocent girls were writing their West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE.
One of the kidnapped girls who escaped from the Boko Haram insurgents into the forest on that fateful night had revealed that the militants initially promised to protect them when they arrived their school compound, but only for them to discover later that they came to kidnap them. The teenager stated that they realised that the gunmen were unfriendly elements when they started burning their school buildings while they were gathered inside cargo trucks.
What is the story of the Chibok girls two years after? Have they been found? Are there genuine efforts being made to rescue them? Is this another failure of governance? These are some of the questions the parents of these girls and other well meaning Nigerians are asking.
It is a pity and quite unfortunate that after two years, the story of this abducted Chibok girls still remain the same despite deluge of promises and assurances to their parents.
As expected, federal government has again promised to rescue the girls as the nation commemorates the two years the girls had been in captivity, They went further to assure the parents of the girls not to lose hope as efforts were being made to recapture them.
Similarly, as part of the two years anniversary, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has charged the President Muhammadu Buhari to give clear deadlines to security agencies to return the missing Chibok girls to their families.The speaker said the deadlines had become necessary in view of the long time it is taking to rescue the girls.
He said: “I sincerely believe that from contributions on the floor, that time has come as an institution of government, that the executive sets targets for the security forces so as to ensure that we do not lose the sense of urgency that this great tragic incident, which has been described here as a national shame, has brought upon this country.
“We must insist as an institution that targets are set so that we don’t lose the sense of urgency in our efforts to ensure that the girls are rescued and brought back to the warm and loving embrace of their families”.
Nevertheless, the Green chamber unanimously agreed to send a high powered delegation to Chibok to commiserate with the parents of the abducted schoolgirls.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on matters of urgent national importance titled: ‘Need to Intensify Search and Rescue of Abducted Schoolgirls on the Occasion of two years Anniversary’ sponsored by Hon. Asabe Bashir.
In her argument, Asabe expressed concerned on the plight of the kidnapped girls and the agony their parents go through each day they remain in captivity.
The abduction of the girls followed a national and global condemnation by prominent leaders of the world. Many had thought that such concern and solidarity would have rapidly translated into rescuing these girls even when the military said it has located where the girls were kept.
Moreover, in the last two years, so much controversies, lies and politics had trailed the abduction to the extent that some people have started doubting if really such incident happened, especially after the Sambisa forest has been ransacked by the gallant soldiers.
Come to think of it, the kidnapping of the girls was highly politicized by the All Progressives Congress, APC during its campaign when the party and its flag bearer, Muhammadu Buhari promised that if voted into power, they will rescue the girls within the shortest possible time. Almost a year now, Buhari led-government has no clue on where these girls are not to talk of rescuing them.
Perhaps, this is why the former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili recently said the case of the abducted Chibok girls symbolised the failure of governance. Ezekwesili said if the Chibok girls were the children of the elite, the distress call about their abduction would have received speedy response.
Echoing similar tune, the General Overseer, Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, lampooned politicians and political parties for using the abduction of 219 Chibok schoolgirls to score cheap political points.
He noted that the nation has not given the issue the necessary thoughtfulness and seriousness it deserved, stressing that those who are in a position to act have not taken sufficient action towards addressing it or even towards calming the anxiety of the waiting Chibok parents.
He said, “What do you think I would have done extra if my girl was involved? Have I done those things? What could have happened, if these were daughters of Emirs or the Prelate or Primate of the Anglican Church or Methodist Church? If any of them happen to be son of Pastor Adeboye not to mention sons or daughters of governors or president, what do you think would have happened on that issue?
“Am just asking a question, what do you think would have happened? We would have done more than we have done, the whole nation has failed these children and we must repent and that is why we must honour those of you (BBOG) who have made it to be on the front burner.”
It has indeed come to a point where the federal government should be thinking of paying ransom or going into a genuine negotiation for the girls with leaders of the sect, Abubakar Shekau.
Shekau had initially demanded in exchange for the girls the release of jailed top commanders of the sect. However, the deal failed along the line after Nigerian prison officials said that commanders on the list given to them by Boko Haram were not in their custody. Again, the sect demanded for N10 billion ransom. Details of the new ransom request emerged ahead of the second anniversary of the girls in captivity.
Obviously, it is now over 730 days these girls were abducted and one cannot imagine the kind of pain and agony these young girls had been subjected to these two traumatising years by these die-hard terrorists. In fact, there are no misgivings saying that they must have been abused sexually, emotionally, physically and otherwise while in captivity.
Unarguably, these girls would have been rescued long before now if their parents are the high and mighty in the society. Nigerians would have seen more proactive and prompt response towards rescuing them. But sadly, since they are children of the poor, the fight towards rescuing them has left much to be desired.
Furthermore, it is important to reiterate that no amount of assurances and promises will assuage the parents of these girls if their daughters are not rescued as soon as possible. This government must fulfill it promises to the parents of these girls and on time. Now is time for the Buhari led-government and indeed all well meaning Nigerians should join hands in rescuing these poor innocent girls alive.
“Obviously, it is now over 730 days these girls were abducted and one cannot imagine the kind of pain and agony these young girls had been subjected to these two traumatising years by these die-hard terrorists. In fact, there are no misgivings saying that they must have been abused sexually, emotionally, physically and otherwise while in captivity”.