Chibok: Just in case there are no more girls to bring back

The show of solidarity for Nigeria very recently over the missing Chibok school girls have strengthened the hope of most stakeholders in the Nigerian project, that after all, Nigeria could still be noticed by world powers, and not just leave us to our fate, with a wave of the hand comment that ‘leave those people, abnormality is become normal to them’. First from the United States proclaiming their interest in coming to help search for the abducted school girls, United Kingdom, France and several other countries have moved troops down, with the latest being Iran. All parties have always expressed optimism about finding the girls, just as the Nigerian government has promised that it will stop at nothing to find the girls. Clerics have also joined in, calling for prayers and fasting, with the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor proclaiming in a recent news report that the time for the girls to return is very near now. The sect has remained adamant to all the #BringBackOurgirls campaign, instead the leader of the Islamic sect, Abubakar Shekau has released more videos, claiming in one that the girls will only be released in exchange for their detained colleagues, and in another that the whole world put together cannot find him or the girls. For a man who speaks with such boastfulness and assuredness, we would have been forced to pause and think again that; it is either they are no girls to find as Asari Dokubo had campaigned or the girls have been conveniently disposed of(God forbid). One writer I love so much is Chinua Achebe. His works are usually laced with proverbs that can match all circumstances, but now is not about proverb but about his entire work; Girls At War. No one has bothered to think that the Islamic sect may have wiped out the girls, the reason they boast that the whole world put together cannot find them. We simply hate to think so, but we must weigh all options available, so that it will not be a shock to us if it comes. Beyond having wiped out the girls, do we not also think that the ‘our girls’ whom we clamour so much for their release may now have become ‘their girls’? Since the #BringBackOurGirls campaign started, our whole idea of the girls is one of a chaste, harmless, innocent little girls who were studiously studying to sit for an exams but were rounded up in one fell swoop and taken captive. The picture above may not be far from the truth, but with the long stay with the rudderless bunch called Boko Haram, what is our assurance that the girls we clamour for their release will on their release still see themselves as our girls? What is also our assurance that the girls we shout ourselves hoarse for their release are still safe and could be released in one piece? Lets wonder about these too. Not to instill fear in parents, but because the parent of a little bird which constitutes itself into a nightmare to farmers told it, “if you eat the farmer’s yams, also do well to eat a little of the root of trees, so that when the farmer harvests his yams you can live on roots’. See a summary of the short story Girls at war, written by Late Prof Chinua Achebe. It could be described as the first #BringBackOurGirls campaign ever embarked on, but this was done by a character in the story, Reginald Nwankwo. The first time Reginald met this girl was while traveling from Enugu to Onitsha. She was a fresh school leaver and was hoping to join the military service to assist in the Nigeria/Biafra war. He had given her a lift and had advised her to pursue her education and shun joining the military. Reginald liked her, he may have been a womanizer, but he felt this was a small untainted girl, and since fate had brought her his way, he owed it an obligation to help direct her future and nurture her. The next time they met months later, he was travelling from Onitsha his base on a weekend to Enugu to see his family. It was in Awka that he ran into this checkpoint, and his usual flash of his identity card and short introduction at checkpoints in a deep throated voice, ‘Reginald Nwankwo, Ministry of Justice’ did not do the magic. The civil defense lady who flagged him down searched him thoroughly before introducing herself as the girl he gave a lift the other time. She explained that she could not get into the military, so she was making do with Civil Defense. Reginald could not help but like her even the more for her tenacity. That she insisted on searching him even though she knew him made him like her the more, he offered advice to her and sped off, but his mind was still preoccupied with her. The next time they met was just some months after the second meeting, and Reginald had given her a lift while travelling from Onitsha to Owerri. She was no longer the little innocent girl Reginald knew, she wore a wig, and a high pair of shoes, and Reginald wondered how much transformation could have happened in just months of his seeing her last. Though she was going to see a friend as she claimed, she ended up in Reginald’s place, and he was so surprised when after a night party she entered his bedroom and asked him, ‘you want to shell?’, a slang word among soldiers during the war for having sex. She proceeded to tell Reginald, ‘don’t pour troops’, another slang for; don’t ejaculate in me. Reginald concluded that such is the harm war can do to young innocent girls. There was famine everywhere and as the war bites harder, the cheaper girls were becoming. Reginald, moved to tears about the state of a once upright and innocent girl decided to rescue her. Availability of food he thought in this hard period would be the first step, so he took part of the food stuff he had brought home that was meant as relief to soldiers and gave her. He was thinking of other packages that can help #BringBackHisGirl, but food was number one. As he drove her back to Onitsha, suddenly there was an air raid, the driver parked the car and ran out to save his life, and Reginald did the same. The girl never succeeded, and so all of Reginald’s effort to #BringBackHisGirl wasted. We hope that such will not be our lot with the missing Chibok girls, but now that Boko Haram has written principals of Secondary Schools in Borno, threatening to met them with the same fate as the Chibok Girls secondary School, then we must begin to also see how we can stop further reoccurrence as well as bring back the already kidnapped, instead of concentrating on bringing them back and leaving our flank wide open for others to be taken.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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