As the month of March, 2014 remains unforgettable in the minds of the families of passengers in the missing Malaysian plane MH370, so also the month of April 2014 will remain the month of nightmare and mystery in minds of the parents of abducted school girls of Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria. The abduction of these Chibok girls has received world outcry and condemnation, as people all over the world have been organizing protests to demand for the immediate and unconditional release of these girls.
However, the whereabouts of these girls have remained unknown like the missing Malaysian plane. The only different about these missing Chibok girls was the claim by Boko Haram Terrorist group leader that he is holding the girls whom he has threatened to “sell”. How can Boko Haram leader “sell” what it does not own or give out what he does not have? It is well known fact that one cannot give out what one does not own. Giving out what one does not own is criminal. Again, selling of human being is an act of slavery. Slave trade had been abolished for years. In fact, any tradition or religion that encourages slave trade will be declared repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
Like missing Malaysian plane, different countries of the world have offered to assist Nigerian Government to locate and rescue these girls. More than fifty countries of the world are involved in the search of missing Malaysian plane, yet, no progress has been recorded. Thus, confusion and claim upon claims became an order of the day.
As the whereabouts of missing Malaysian plane remains elusive, so also is the whereabouts of abducted Chibok girls. The Nigerian government is helpless in the search hence appeal for international help. No example demonstrates the government’s helplessness and confusion than the President’s media chat where he revealed that he did not know the location of the girls. It was a shocking revelation. The question that came to mind was; if the President and his security chiefs do not have an idea of the girls’ whereabouts, then who will? So why search if they don’t know their location? What technology has been deployed in their search? In the end, Jonathan will have to admit that his failure to respond quickly when the news broke weeks ago is the reason why we are in this mess.
At the time the President was dancing away in Kano, the girls were being driven deeper into the Sambisa forest or across the borders. If the authorities had treated the situation with the urgency it required a few days after the abduction, perhaps the terrorists could have been intercepted. But the terrorists had gained enough time to disappear without a trace. What is the use of a fact-finding committee, which the President characteristically set up, when the girls were long gone? In a vast and porous border that connects Nigeria with its neighbours, it would be easier to find a pin in a haystack than to find the girls.
Like the missing Malaysian plane that was alleged to have been diverted and changed course, so also there is fear that Chibok girls may have been “diverted or changed course“. The is based on the intelligence report by the American government which shares the State Department concern that the girls may have been moved out of the country. If this is true, then any hope of finding the girls will be seriously jeopardized. Intelligence report such as the one shared by the US is crucial in the war against terrorism. However, this is one area the Nigerian government has failed woefully. If there is any hope of finding the girls, it must be when they are in a group. But such an intervention should have happened as soon as they were abducted by the terrorists. Now, more than two weeks after the abduction, what hope do we have that the girls are still kept together?
I do not see the possibility. That is why I consider it difficult that the girls will ever be found as a group. With American intelligence assessment, the girls would have been taken to different locations separated from one another.
The American intelligence assessment also confirms Jonathan’s revelation that the military do not know the location of the girls. To underscore the point that the abducted girls may never be found at least as a group, the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, in a video release earlier in the week, said that he had a divine duty to sell the girls. Experts have suggested the video may have been made shortly after the girls were abducted. That was more than three weeks ago. Shekau boasted that the girls would be sold. If the video is true, then it is likely that Boko Haram may have already carried out its threat of marrying off the girls. So, what hope of finding the girls if they have been shared to the warlords in different locations? One thing is certain, that is when these girls are found they will be like missing Malaysian plane that can never be the same it was when it departed from Malaysian airport, only time will tell.
Kingsley Nnajiaka Esq
Centre for Social Justice Abuja
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters