By Nayaba Arinde
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News
A myriad of stories is swirling around the Chibok girls.
April 14, armed men of Boko Haram (meaning “Western education is a sin”) kidnapped 276 school girls aged 16 to 18 from the village of Chibok in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno. There were reports last week of a cease-fire between the Nigerian government and accused kidnappers. Then hopes were dashed. Then there was news that the girls were about to be released. Then they weren’t.This past weekend, Boko Haram killed many villagers as they took another town in Borno State.
“Deal. Wait, no deal. Yes, deal. No, maybe,” mocked Ruth Evon Idahosa, lawyer and international activist. “In the wake of recent conflicting reports about the Nigerian government’s alleged cease-fire with militant group Boko Haram, those of us in the campaign to #BringBackOurGirls have been caught in the awkward arrhythmic dance between hope and hopelessness on the emotional roller coaster we have been forced to ride.
“As one of the campaign’s organizers, it is unfathomable that a little over six months later, the Nigerian government is still no closer to rescuing our daughters from what some of the 56 girls that courageously escaped their abductors described as a living hell.”
“The Nigerian government continued to contradict itself. Today it will talk about dialogue, tomorrow it will say it will destroy the sect, or that the sect does not exists at all,” AllAfrica.com Abubakar Umar Kari as stating. His comments come after six months of confusion. First Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan took weeks to acknowledged the kidnappings. Then the government said it never happened. Then they said they knew where the girls were but feared the girls would be used as human shields if the military went in with guns blazing. Then they said the girls had been freed, and then they said the girls were not freed. Confusion.
In the midst of this is the concern that Boko Haram may be an internationally created or funded organization set to undermine one of the most powerful countries on the African continent, especially as the controversial 2015 presidential elections loom.
Idahosa said, “Back in May when the Nigerian government brazenly announced to the world that ‘we know where the girls are,’ I, along with many other protestors around the world, were filled with hope that the nightmare would soon be over. However, as the hours turned to days, the days to weeks and the weeks to what has now been six months, the dance between hope and hopelessness continues to force an imbalance of unhealthy emotions that no human heart, especially the hearts of grieving parents, should have to endure.”
She concluded, “According to Nelson Mandela, ‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.’ On the heels of Boko Haram’s apparent breach of the alleged cease-fire less than 24 hours after it was negotiated by the Chadian government on behalf of Nigeria in Saudi Arabia, we are left with what arguably reflects the tortured soul of failed government and despicable extremism. We are left to continue to grasp for hope in light of the apparent darkness which sometimes shrouds uncertainty. Nonetheless, we are also aptly reminded that faith in light shines brightest in this darkness and that although caught in the tangled web of hope and hopelessness, we can still choose to believe, even if solely for the sake of children who can likely no longer believe for themselves, in the annihilating power of hope.”
The #TakeMeOffMute campaign was recently launched in Nigeria to amplify the voices of young women and girls, along with the #NoChildSexAbuse and the #NoRape campaigns.