IS IT MERRY CHRISTMAS IN CHIBOK?

Amidst the wining and dining that characterises the mood of today, a friend spares some thoughts for the over 200 girls that were kidnapped in Chibok. Enjoy this selfless piece sent in by Opeyemi Tegbe.

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All over the world people desire to be part of the joy and fun that is always associated with the celebration of Christmas. As the world celebrates the Christmas today, in fact, in a more narrow sovereign definition, as Nigeria celebrates Christmas today, it’s unfortunate that the Chibok community is celebrating Christmas without their 216 daughters. The girls, who were kidnapped by the Boko haram sect (meaning ‘western education is evil’) from their school on the 14th day of April, 2014, were reportedly 219 in number as at the moment they were kidnapped but reduced to 216 after 3 of the girls miraculously escaped from the camp of the Islamic sect. 

During an interview, the chairman of Chibok community in Abuja, Mutah Nkeki said: “We are saddened. Our girls are not back with us. It is devastating that we can’t celebrate this day with them. In a community, 219 girls are abducted. How many of us are remaining then? These girls are in their productive stage. Their absence is affecting on the community and it is like an entire tribe has been wiped out.” He also made it known that the community had lost hope in the government of the day – “ We have lost hope in the government. The way the abduction of our girls is being handled has shown us that we are not regarded as important people in the country. Compare how our Chibok girls’ abduction was handled to how Pakistan handled the case of 141 people including 132 children who were killed by the Taliban at an army-run school in Peshawar. Its response was immediate. If our government had responded immediately, our girls would have been back with us by now.”

Going by his utterances, Nkeki, like many other Nigerians, is disappointed in the government for failing in its responsibility of securing lives and properties of its citizens. There is no doubt, the Nigerian government has not only failed to rescue the Chibok girls, it has also failed in putting a stop to series of life-claiming attacks launched by the Islamic sect.

Honestly, it is about time we approached any issue that has to do with ‘the state of our nation’ in a more philosophical manner. By blaming insecurity on government, we also blame it on ourselves because we elected the people in government. Insecurity and any other contemporary matter facing our great nation emanated from fundamental and foundational errors which we have committed prior to this period. The problem is not just surfacing, it has only grown worse over the years. I believe the first step to extinguishing our smoke pipes as a country is by taking collective responsibility for the cause of the flames. President Obama said: “the #bringbackourgirls project is a global issue and not a Nigerian issue,” if non-Nigerians are willing to take responsibility, why should we Nigerians blame it on the government alone? Apart from using ballot papers to reposition our leadership structure in the country, we must take full responsibility for the current state of our nation and also put up the mindset that the solution to our problems can only come from us. Do not forget that elections come up once in 4 years but our contribution to the well-being of the nation as citizens is a recurrent activity.

A lot of questions are hanging in the air, questions like – are the Chibok girls not entitled to celebrate Christmas with their respective families? For how long will Nigerians suffer from the untraceable attacks of the Boko Haram sect? Don’t we have security agencies that can tackle the forbidden dominance of the Islamist sect in Nigeria? On a frank note, we are all responsible for providing answers to these questions.

Finally, please permit me to expand the scope of this article by altering its topic thus: IS IT A MERRY CHRISTMAS IN NIGERIA? Considering the pathetic situation of the Chibok girls, I am sure the answer that will come from every selfless Nigerian is “NO.” Therefore, as we celebrate the season, let us pray, meditate and also take selfless decisions for the sake of our beloved country. Merry Christmas and happy new year in advance.

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