Still in captivity
•More than four months after they were abducted from their school, the Chibok girls appear to have been abandoned by federal civil and military authorities
The hope of rescuing the Chibok girls soon seems to be fading as the Defence Headquarters has ruled out plans to storm the Sambisa Forest where they are said to be kept. While the military authorities have attributed the reluctance to act to concern for the safety of the abducted secondary school girls who have been in captivity for about four months, recent development involving the morale of the fighting force seems to suggest that the state could not psyche up its men and officers to undertake the assignment.
In denouncing reported plans of attacking the terrorists believed to be holed in the forest, the military also denied the statement credited to it that the captors and captives are in view. It could not come up with any alternative plan for effecting the release of the girls.
It is unfortunate that the poor girls have been left with the kidnappers and every extra day they spend imperils their lives, puts their families through torture and suggests that no Nigerian is actually safe. While the whole world is aghast that so many young ones could be so abducted and driven into one forest or other location, it appears that neither the federal authorities nor the military high command thinks much of the development. Major-General Chris Olukolade who speaks for the armed forces has been quoted as saying, “As it is now, let the sleeping dog lie peacefully.”
This may be so simple to the military top brass in the comfort of their homes and offices in Abuja, but not so with the poor people of Chibok and its environs. The parents wake up in agony everyday and could only wish and pray for the safe return of their children. Some of the parents have since died of heart attack and related ailments traceable to the heart-wrenching incident.
It is sad that leaders at the federal level still consider contests for political offices as more important than the lives of these girls and the country’s image. Groups have started moving round the country propagating the ‘gospel’ of the President-Must-Run again. There is perhaps nothing intrinsically wrong in groups mobilised to do the job for as long as they are so convinced. What is surprising is that, at a time when the country is trying to combat enemies of the state, the President and his men in and out of uniform think campaign and jostling for power the most important thing. There are no clear-cut policies and strategies for effecting the rescue. The authorities have even ruled out making such moves.
As a newspaper, we cannot support any policy that directly or indirectly abandons innocent children whose only sin was heeding the call of government to seek education. Any country that abandons the vulnerable and gives no hope to the innocent does not deserve patriotism and is unlikely to excite development. Nigeria has been so mismanaged by the governing elite that it is a crime to expect the people to repose confidence in her. When taken with the collapse of social structure, we are faced with a possible failure of the state and its attendant consequences.
For as long as the Chibok girls are in captivity, the soul of Nigeria is seared and the future is bleak. We call on the federal civil and military authorities to do everything to rescue the Chibok girls now if only to assure Nigerians that they are not walking alone.
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