Date: August 23, 2014
The abduction of over 200 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno State, by the Islamist fundamentalist group Boko Haram sparked international outrage. The global community came together under the slogan “Bring Back Our Girls,” urging Nigeria and the world to press for their release. However, despite extensive search and rescue efforts, the girls remain in captivity, leaving many to wonder: Where are our girls, and what more can be done to find them?
Nigeria’s constitutional responsibility is to ensure the security and welfare of its citizens. Yet, the government’s response to the Chibok abduction has been criticized for its lack of effectiveness and transparency. Weeks have passed with little progress, prompting questions about the authorities’ true efforts and commitment to resolving the crisis.
Boko Haram has demanded the release of their comrades in detention in exchange for the girls’ freedom, but the government has refused to consider a prisoner swap. This unwillingness has further dimmed hope for the girls and their families. The situation raises doubts about the government’s priorities and its willingness to protect its citizens.
In a country plagued by various violent conflicts, expectations for a swift resolution may be unrealistic. Nigeria appears to have lost its ability to guarantee the safety of its people, and violence has become a disturbing norm. To bring an end to this crisis, the government must face the truth about its limitations and consider alternative solutions, including negotiating with Boko Haram for a prisoner exchange.
Prisoner swaps are not uncommon in dealing with terrorist groups, as evidenced by the U.S.’s actions in similar situations. Embracing this option could provide the military with more leverage to combat Boko Haram effectively. Attempting a forceful rescue could be perilous and could put the girls in harm’s way.
Despite any concerns about national pride, the government must prioritize the safe return of the kidnapped Chibok girls. Time is running out, and pragmatic action is required to bring them home safely. It is a duty that must be fulfilled without hesitation.
The “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign remains a powerful global call to action, urging the Nigerian government to step up its efforts and employ the most effective means to rescue the innocent girls. The world is watching, and the fate of these girls is in the hands of those in authority. It is a non-negotiable task that demands immediate attention and resolution. Please, Bring Back Our Girls!
Founder/Executive Director, CPPBI