In the movie “Airforce One”, the US president only gives in to the hijackers’ demands when his wife and daughter are taken hostage. The matter had become too personal, and the macho mighty president is no longer but a father, a husband, with two of the closest women in his life at risk of death. The heart took over from the head.
So to Nigeria. The innocent school girls in Adicho, in Nigeria’s Borno State, who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorist thugs last month, remain nameless numbers to the world: a statistic, imprecise, but simply ranged: “over 200” or “nearly 300 schoolgirls”.
To their parents and siblings, these are individuals, dear and cherished. They are human beings, with a life no less valuable than that of any other human being on this strange planet.
And one of the cocktail of initiatives (including “expert” air searches), was that of West African leaders flying to France to seek a solution to a domestic problem back home. They were not much different from desperate unemployed young West Africans risking the desert and the Mediterranean to seek a good life in Europe. Interesting continent, this Africa!!
Me thinks a meeting held in Boko-infested Borno State, would help frame the abduction crisis better. It would change the conversation about Nigeria’s and its neighbours’ determination to find the girls, and present a different picture to the world.
Other simple things could be done: President Goodluck Jonathan, is it impossible (after a whole month) for your government to compile the names and photographs of the abducted girls and spread them over the Internet? This would have a bigger effect than placards and t-shirts.
And, if I may ask a naïve question: how did ordinary citizens in Borno State managed to ambush, capture, and kill scores of the Boko Haram thugs? Are these the same Boko Haram the mighty Nigerian army is scared of confronting, ostensibly due to their “superior” arms? Strange things do happen in Nigeria, and Africa!