By Dr. Prince Charles Dickson
All idiots are morons, but not all morons are idiots.
It’s the International Women’s Day 2021 and the theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’. So today I choose to challenge us, the people of Nigeria, hoping that someone is reading and listening, a quick caveat, I will be sometimes uncomplimentary in my choice of words, phrases and conclusions but that’s the essence; a challenge and yes a choice.
Over the last decade, I have done a sizable amount of work on not just Boko Haram but also the Chibok girls, killings, abductions and Nigeria’s conflict torn Northwest region.
So listening to Leah Sharibu’s father, Mr. Nathan speak touched all the wrong cords, hear him, “He has promised several times to the family, he promised the nation, he promised the whole world that his administration will do his possible best to see that my daughter returned home safely. So, I’m pleading to him to be a father, a grandfather, to do his possible best to see my daughter return home safely. Please, I’m begging him”.
Buhari in 2019 said officials would ensure the release of everyone being held by Boko Haram and other armed groups. But I choose to challenge this government what promise has this government kept.
Boko Haram alone is believed to be holding more than 100 captives, almost all of them “Chibok girls,” the group abducted seven years ago. All we have been treated to regarding the entire episode of domestic terrorism has been a pot pourri of “Lori Iro”
So for those that don’t know the stories, let me scratch it, on February 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm, 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years old were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC). Dapchi is located in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government area of Yobe State, in the northeast part of Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria deployed the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies to search for the missing schoolgirls and to hopefully enable their return. The governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, blamed Nigerian Army soldiers for having removed a military checkpoint from the town. Dapchi lies approximately 275 km (170 miles) northwest of Chibok, where over 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.
Five schoolgirls died on the same day of their kidnapping, all others were released in March 2018 except the lone Christian girl Leah Sharibu as she refused to abandon her faith and convert to Islam.
Initially the Yobe governor stated that 94 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the school and that 48 had returned to their parents and that only 46 are still missing. While, Bashir Manzo, the chairman of the Forum of Missing Dapchi Schoolgirls Parents said that 105 girls were missing. The police commissioner of Yobe, Abdulmaliki Sunmonu said that 111 schoolgirls were missing. Same thing with the chibok girls, a government of irrepressible lying leaders, till date continues to give excuses and do nothing.
As in the recent Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping, so too in the Dapchi kidnapping, the Nigerian government took days to respond at all, and then responded with several assurances that the kidnappers would be promptly apprehended and that all of the girls would soon be returned safely to their homes. In the Chibok event, seven years later still approximately a third of the abductees remained in the hands of Boko Haram, with those girls who have been released, for the most part having been released via ransom payments, and with only one low-level kidnapper having been apprehended and standing trial to date. Meanwhile, Boko Haram continues to enrich itself via the millions of dollars thus far paid to it by the Nigerian government in the form of ransom payments.
So, I dare challenge, if El-Rufai, Tinubu, Bala, Zulum, Amaechi, Dangote, Rochas, Wike, Jonathan’s daughters were abducted would we still be doing countdowns, would we be debating regarding how they were kidnap, or shortly celebrating the Nigerian Police and its unsung bravado.
If two American, or Britons were missing in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, what do we think would have happened? We saw a tip in our own Niger state when kidnappers choose to challenge US might.
So, here’s the challenge, what if the Chibok girls, were the Ijebu girls, or the Kaduna girls, or Lagos girls, we even celebrated or marked the Intl’ day of the girl child, very little mention of these innocent hearts. Now it’s women’s day and all the paparazzi would come and go, who is challenging the government?
Have you lost a daughter, a sister, a wife, mother, or an auntie, have you been in situation where you don’t know if you sister is dead, or alive, about the parents, and families of these abducted girls, I challenge our leaders, do you know the trauma and continuous unease and torment of being in a state of neither here nor there. Sure if I said now, to many of us, may your daughter be abducted—a loud and religiously and fanatical “God forbid” will follow.
For a highly religious nation, what prayers do we offer every weekend on behalf of the Chibok and Dapchi community, communities that 98% of us had never even heard of until the abductions, you ask God for rent money, tuition, money for vacation, but have you asked for some miraculous release of these girls, where is the renowned voodoo hunting experts, or the champion miracle working T. B. Joshua and prophets littered everywhere, why wont Sheikh Gumi negotiate for the release of Leah or the Chibok girls still held hostage?
We have expanded energy on corruption talk, how the economy is failing and falling, bailout for criminals, and spent more energy on assessing politicians that should have been hanged in the first place. So, on this women’s day I choose to say may the daughters and sisters of the enemies of Nigeria be abducted: May all they hold sacred be denied them…
Fact is that little recognition has been granted to the various integral functions that Nigerian women have performed throughout history.
Today our women are endangered species, from domestic violence, to gender based violence, the continuous abductions of the girl child that should be in school, the latter being aided by a total neglect of the most powerful agency of change for the modern woman which is Nigeria’s formal education system, from which a large number of elite women have emerged.
You need no soothsayer to tell us that there is an intention, on reducing at worst and at best stopping the production of intelligent, educated, and confident women, truth is that in Nigeria, being a woman means if you graciously cook food & take to work for male colleagues, you must clear their dirty plates too. If you own an SUV, it’s your sugar daddy/ married lover that bought it for you. If you do well, your state of origin becomes a problem. Your kids do well, they are your hubby’s kid, they mess up, they must have taken your genes.
You can’t go to a club on your own to have a solo drink, you’re a prostitute. Having to bear the trauma of your rape alone because your rapist is a highly respected family member. You can be successful but not more successful than the man in your life, your biography must end with loving wife and mother, there’s nothing to you other than a butt and mammalian glands.
And let me end how I started for being a woman “You get kidnapped and killed because you are being educated.” For a nation that wants to make progress we need to treat our women right, and from the looks, that is still a far way off, but time will tell.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org