You don’t have to be a parent to have your blood boiled and/or your hair raised: the Chibok story would make anyone cringe. I saw a documentary of a mother and child in Florida, where the child was riding his bicycle in front of his mother while his mother was trailing behind him. Florida is surrounded by water with wild animals. All of a sudden the boy veered off into the water and was attacked by a wild crocodile. Immediately the woman went after the crocodile to engage it with a fight of supremacy, to save her baby boy.
The woman put up a brave fight and save her child from the fangs and claws of the beast. Looking at the woman and what she did for her son made me ask if I could have done that for a child. I shared this story with a friend of mine and asked if I could have done that and she said that I would understand when I become a parent.
When I became a father I then understood what the woman did and what my friend told me about doing all it takes to save a child. BaBari is three now and I love her so much that I could not imagine her being kidnapped or in the mouth of a wild animal.
I could not imagine the ordeal of the Chibok kidnap. Boko Haram has been unleashing bedlam in the Northern part of Nigeria for a long time now and Jonathan administration has not seemed to have a grip over the situation. What is atrocious and incomprehensible is the fact that Jonathan seems to know the people who are behind the incessant massacres and blood lettings and has not lifted a finger. President Jonathan had publicly declared that Boko Haram has planted molds in his administration! With the sophistication of the Boko Haram, it would be hard to believe that they are acting in a vacuum.
Boko Haram claimed that western education is against Islam and women should stay home and marry. What is caustic is that the same Boko Haram which is saying that are the same people who are using western technologies manufactured with western ideas. Posting videos on YouTube is western, an Ak47 is western, speaking English is western, using a cell phone is western, television is western and so is riding a car. I would have expected the Boko Haram to ride on donkeys instead of driving cars.
Kidnapping these girls in Nigeria is a double jeopardy given that Nigeria is an “everyone for himself” country, where suffering is endemic and life is a survival. Imagine the horror and the trauma faced by the family and the children that are being kidnapped. Nigeria is one of the worst countries when it comes to the Government protecting its citizens. The family would not have any emotional or psychological therapy after this ugly episode to soothe their emotional pain. More than anything, the US Government would have gone to Nigeria with hundreds of therapists to deal with the victims of this heinous crime. What had happened to Chibok calls for therapy: Imagine the depression, sleeplessness, post traumatic experience and even suicidal ideations that will haunt them throughout their whole lives. Not only for a short term but on a long-haul, even after the girls are rescued, as we hope. Obasanjo once said that social workers were not that important in Nigeria and no one dared challenge him that average Nigerians needs a daily dose of therapy to survive the sufferings on the streets.
Before Chibok there have been incessant cases of bombs and vicious killings of innocent people and one would have expected the Government to put its house in order, develop a government apparatus along that line. Before Chibok, there was Nyanya, Abuja bomb blast and the response was preposterous. The evacuation process was archaic. A country like Nigeria does not have a good response network. The EMT screw members went to the scene of the bomb blast in a flip-flop; some of the victims were picked up in a pick-up truck, which means that they did not have any first aid trauma treatment. As sad as it maybe, Nigerians are not treated with any ounce of human dignity by their government except if one is a politician!
Every politician has scores of bodyguards following them everywhere even to Church: politicians can order a police officer to escort his or her distant relations to anywhere, but the ordinary citizen does not have any safety guarantee. The Amnesty International claimed that the Nigeria’s security had heads up four hours to the kidnaping, but as always did not do anything to forfend the sad story. The question is: does the President of Nigeria get security briefings? And does Nigeria have any intelligence gathering unit? It is not sad that the world would come to Nigeria to look for missing girls in our own forest, when we have military?
What had happened would have called for heads to roll but just don’t get the noose yet. In Nigeria no head rolls for any crime. You remember the customs job recruitment exercise that killed scores of people? If it were some country where people have conscience, someone would have been axed. A South Korean Ferry which sunk with 302 mostly students, dead or missing, prompted the Prime Minister Chung Hong Won to resign. This happened just last month.
The Chibok affair seemed to have opened a window into the government of President Jonathan. He is in a bubble: he operates in a fog and does not seem to grapple with reality. For a President to go on a political tour a day after the kidnap of about three hundred girls is reckless and at best a gross maladroitness. His advisers have been known to rain abuses on any critic as if that is the way a Government is run. Perhaps it’s high time that the President pruned some of his advisers and surrounds himself with more competent people who can chew gum and walk at the same. At what time did he think that kidnapping of about three hundred girls was a joke?
This is the same attitude that the President has been treating the Ogoni people with regards to the UNEP report. Hearing and knowing the damning reports about the deplorable living condition of the Ogoni and the President chose to ignore it speaks volume. Imagine a people had been determined that they can’t drink water from their only source of water, and yet a Government that is supposed to be for the entire country could not do everything and anything to making sure that the Ogoni People have water to drink. According to the UNEP report, the Ogoni people are drinking water laced with high levels of hydrocarbon. It’s a known fact that Shell had operated in Ogoni for well over three decades and since then the lives of the Ogoni people had changed for worse. The environment has been rendered useless due to oil exploration and extraction.
After the report came out, the President set up HYBRID in place of the UNEP and still yet lacked the political will to tackle his very own initiatives (HYBRID). What the Ogoni people want is for President Jonathan to visit the UNEP report and implement the recommendations therein.
There are things that could be learned from this Boko Haram madness.
Jonathan and his administration can tighten the borders of Nigeria bordering her neighbors, build a stronger intelligence gathering unit of the Police, and modernize our current road networks for easy and quick EMT response. It should be noted that President Jonathan has been pandering to this group, releasing them after they had been arrested in the past. This is a situation that calls for blame on the part of the President. While all these may not stop our tears and blood, perhaps that would curtail them to a degree
Now all eyes are on Nigeria and more so President Jonathan. We know that President Jonathan is bent on continuing his rule to eight year’s term. And my advice would be that he should be alert and not ignore important issues that affect lives of the people. Jonathan should also build a regional coalition to harness the security of not only the Northern axis but the whole of Nigeria. And as we wait for that, #Godbringbackourgirls.
Toate Ganago is an Ogoni, and can be reached at [email protected] and Twitter: @TGanago
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters