As we settle into the month of June, we are reminded that the missing Chibok schoolgirls have still not been rescued or found since their capture in April. The constant media attention has gradually decreased as more events around the world take higher priority. Meanwhile Boko Haram continue to show their flagrant disregard for human life, after another twenty women were reportedly abducted this week, with Boko Haram as prime suspects.
The hashtag ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ started by Nigerians brought the attention of people all over the world and led to a major social media movement; most notable of those involved was Michelle Obama. However, the Nigerian government appear to be unmoved by social media, or the constant stream of protests that also gained media attention since their start in April. Their utter incompetence has astonished the world.
The ironically named Goodluck Jonathan has shown himself to be an incapable leader in times of crisis. The fact that his wife first lady Patience Jonathan could order arrests of protestors as well as organise a conference with journalists, shows a lack of leadership, direction and concern for the welfare of these girls.
In recent weeks, Nigerian police officers have been sent to disband these protests which appear to be a thinly veiled attempt to stop attention being brought to the issue. Many have pointed out that if any of the children of governors in Nigeria were missing, there would be no delay in their rescue. The disregard for the lives of our Chibok girls by those in power in Nigeria will have repercussions beyond what any can imagine.
Those in Nigeria and outside of it have cried out for the assistance of the U.S and other Western superpowers, and they have obliged in some capacity. Though it seems to be a natural reaction to the situation, the issue of foreign intervention is divided. On one hand, those in support of intervention argue that Nigeria is incapable of handling this situation on their own and have demonstrated their ineptitude. While those against it state there is a strong chance that neo-colonialism will follow the foreign intervention, and will lead to Nigeria being drained of its natural resources more than ever before. It is no secret that Nigeria is one of the most oil rich nations in the world.
An additional reason to be weary of foreign intervention from the West is the selection process of who they come to the rescue of. The ‘Stop Kony 2012’ social media campaign may be a distant memory to those who followed the story, but U.S military bases remain in Uganda up until now, with no sight of the warlord they promised to have captured. This is in stark contrast to the Central African Republic that has no hope of intervention in their crisis where many Muslims and Christians are being killed in sectarian violence. As they possess no vast amount of natural resources, they have been left to suffer and flee for their lives. According to BBC reports, a 12,000 strong peacekeeping force will not be deployed until September.
The presence of Western military bases in Nigeria may also do more harm than good. It may lead to an increase in terrorist attacks as Nigeria will be seen as an ally to the Western super powers. In addition to this potential problem, there will be a stronger influence on Nigeria’s military from the West’s orders. Those with military power essentially can hold power over what they feel is necessary, all in the name of defending the country. Nigeria may cease to have control over itself without the go ahead of the West.
The missing girls are the ones that have suffered the most from the beginning and continue to suffer in captivity. The longer they go missing, the more rehabilitation they will need to recover from the trauma of kidnap and other potential atrocities they may have faced. Please #BringBackOurGirls
Words by Halimat Shode // Edited by Ayo Adepoju