Missing Chibok Girls and Nigerian Intelligentsia melodrama

Have you ever seen a cripple fall? 
And you stand by, 
unable to help?

Few weeks back, I watched in sadness as intelligent people from my country fought one another verbally and almost getting physical over the abduction of missing girls in Chibok town of Borno State, Nigeria. From high and the low, everyone joined hands and contributed softly or hotly into the debate on missing Chibok girls despite the eyewitnesses accounts. Protests were organized nationwide and globally while the opponents organized their counter protest calling the abduction a fraud.

The president initially ignored the news as he used to do with past such news until the international community joined in the call to free the girls from their abductors. The Presidential spokesmen and foot-solders on social media dissipated a lot of energy to convince the world that the girls were not missing but were part of Northern agenda to unsettle the president. The Wife of the President even joined the drama and enacted a scene which has now led into the popularization of the catchy phrase "dearis god ooo". Not only did she cast aspersion on the news report, she was also reported to have tongue lashed community leaders, WAEC officials and put the blame at the doorstep of the Borno State Governor. At a stage, she threatened to match into Sambisa forest if the girls were not released. It all turned out to be part of the drama used to divert attention from the basic issues. To some extent, it worked as the nation and the world slowly began to stop caring about the Chibok Girls.

While the political parties, first danced around the denial and attempt at killing the news like they did in the past, (or taking advantage of it depending on whose side they are) they soon found vocation in blame game. The opposition asked the FG to act, the FG asked the opposition to go to Sambisa forest for the hunt. This soon become a subject of media brickbat between them. They eventually decided to convene security meeting over the incidence and avert future occurrences. This too, was not be simple task as parties frustrated one another in a bid to win over the public attention and sympathy generated by the success of the mass campaign to free the girls. They were mostly concerned about profiting from the girls travails as an advantage in the race toward 2015 elections.

The most pathetic of the drama, came from the supporters and opponents of #bringbackourgirls campaign. When it was crystal clear that there was indeed abduction, the energy dissipation was then channeled into debating the number of the missing girls. They can’t be 200, how could Boko Haram have over 200 girls in a forest? Who is taking care of them? Who was the tailor that made the uniform for them? Who is feeding them? Why are their parents not coming out to grief publicly? Why didn't Borno Governor provide security for the girls? These arguments tend to make sense yet overall, it only succeeded in generating confusions. Even security agencies were not helping matter by clamping down on people who call for action toward finding the missing girls.

In an attempt to disprove the fact of the missing girls, and deflect the blame away from Commander in Chief, many people lost valuable friends while many gained new friends depending on where they stand. Many of impeccable character who joined the call for release of the girls and pressed FG for action, were tagged unprintable names. Suddenly, the good men become bad! The same people they used to idolize now become blackmailers, attention seekers and what have you, overnight. Their sins? They dared to ask Government to bring back the missing girls by all means possible, I was quite saddened at the fact that many boosting long years of friendship could be torn apart because someone disagree with the other on an issue which neither of them would have any direct gain or loss; while they could easily made friends with total strangers who think they are the "correct guy" for standing with them in stupid debates. All of a sudden, our empathy and humanity were no longer the driving force in drawing attention to the plight of the innocent girls abducted in their school. Our focus now hinged on politics, tribalism and religion differences,

At a stage, the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria was reported to have spew conspiracy theory that the girls were abducted because they are Christians. Notwithstanding the fact that both Muslims and Christians were affected.

I can see some many supposed clean people, with clear mind who couldn't tolerate diverging opinions. They either block you on social media or blacklist you as someone never to be trusted again for daring to have your own mind. And in real life, they will disown you until you repent.

Now that FG committee has released report detailing their findings and confirming the abduction of the students, it is hoped that all those who were in denial all these while will raise up to the challenge and join hands with those who are calling for the release of the girls and demand cogent action from the FG. It is also hoped that FG will put politics aside and recognize that its first and most important job is to protect lives of every Nigerian home and abroad regardless of their religion, location or political affiliation.

Anything that brings results is welcomed, we must join hands together to identify with the plight of the girls whose fate we do not know. My heart cringe at the thought of having my daughter abducted by blood thirsty group of men, whose only desire is to die, and take as many with them as they could get. They (the girls) waking up daily with guns pointed at them while watching those who dissent brutally dealt with. Emotionally, I can imagine the kind of situation they currently are. But those of us who are free and save, we should at least show empathy to their plight rather than compound their predicament through damaging utterances. There should be an end to this melodrama, what the nation need is unity and focus in times like this. We cannot defeat common enemies while we are divided among ourselves.

.... Isqil Najim

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