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Oluwaseyi Sodeinde: For the Chibok Girls

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A favourite prose from secondary school illustrates that Joys of Motherhood include anxiety, obligation, and pain. It has indeed been pain for some people who have prayed ceaselessly, cried without limits, heard consolation news of sorts and even done the unimaginable for a year now. No one prays for the disappearance of a child, let alone to see that happen in this environment where we have been wired to believe that the death of a child is a better piece of news than a missing child.
When did a country filled with people who talked, sang, wrote, prayed, chanted and fought their way out of dictatorship and colonialism become this tongue-tied to human issues? Yes, tongue-tied to the issues of lives, tongue-tied about our missing sisters, tongue-tied about the Chibok Girls.

With each passing day, you make a mention of Chibok Girls and the nonchalant reactions from most Nigerians would make you ask if these girls are less than humans. Then you stumble on people brooding over relatives who passed on naturally years ago. I’m not judging, but at least you know they are late. What exactly can we say about these girls? Sold? Married? Converted? Dead? Sick? Used as Suicide Bombers? We don’t know. You think if it were your sister, daughter, niece, wife, girlfriend or even acquaintance the reaction of the government would have been better? We need to wake up.
You think these Chibok girls’ issue only affects the economy of the country, right? Wait until an “Oyinbo” asks you where you’re from. With shame I reluctantly answer the question. Not because I wish, but because the answer to this question evolves to other series of questions which are obviously embarrassing. A British friend of mine once said to me “How come these girls are still missing and you guys are saying little or nothing? It ain’t right mate”. I practically used up my saliva explaining things to him and all I said never seemed enough. I kept quiet when he said “Would you be saying this if Nike, your sister was a casualty?” It is not as though racism has been totally eradicated, these incidences and the interpretation on the international scene not only tarnishes the image of the country, but forms the basis through which some people perceive you as a Nigerian. In this situation, where some people have moved on, numerous non-Nigerians are still passionately standing tall for these girls.

I remember our brothers and sisters all over the world calling the Nigerian Government to action with the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. Marches took place in all states in Nigeria; questions were asked and till date no answer gotten. On several occasions, our hopes have been raised about the return of the girls. Yes, this could be discouraging but no retreat, no surrender. One thing I remember clearly is that our actions made the government to take actions. Don’t get me wrong. No one is victimizing any administration. In this dispensation and next we can’t afford to be silent or move on so easily.

As Nigerians, we need to know that no one is absolutely safe. We should treat lives importantly and not place value over that of our close relatives than that of others. These horrible things do not have to come close to us before we know that there is fire on the mountain. We’ve gotten to a point where we do not only need to prove our spirit of nationalism to ourselves but to the whole world.
As we remember these iconic missing girls a year after their abduction, I urge us not just to see it as another ordinary day or talk about it today and sleep over it. Let the fight for the girls continue. Let’s keep the fire burning. To all the fallen heroes in the military who have fought for the girls and the insurgency as a whole, I doff my hat. To every living activist and solution finder, I perceive victory.

We all complain in our little corners that the Government is not efficiently performing its duties. Now it is time for us to perform our duties as patriotic citizens, to make positive and useful contributions to the advancement, progress and well-being of Nigeria, to participate in and defend all democratic processes and practices, as stated in our constitution. Remember some parents cry and wallow over their losses day after day. Please let us not give up on these girls until we put smiles on the faces of their parents. Dedicate your time to asking questions and proffering solutions. We need our girls back and I surely see light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

33 Comments

  1. wagamama

    April 13, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

    Been one of the accidental activists ignited by the #BBOG campaign. Which is one of the reasons (among very very very many others) i voted against this current administration. #NOSHADE! The beginning was the most painful. i thought i was alone. Would lament and curse BH on every social media platform available. Tried to engage sooo many people at work in the discussion, but then thats all it ever was **Just another topic**.

    When #BBOG drew international attention and support, we all felt a moment of euphoria #Nigerian.Lives.Matter #Pen.Not.Penis #He4She. We thought something would actually come out of it, ……… nada! Just conspiracies upon conspiracies.

    The weeks before the election gave a glimmer of hope tho. News around was that the girls would be found and released. I couldn’t have been happier, even tho we all knew it was a political gimmick. My take, who cares? As long as they find the girls! 150? 100? 50? even 10 sef! Anyone is better than none!

    Well, now elections are over. The brouhaha from our army has died down. The girls are still not yet back. Might i add many more young girls and boys were abducted after the girls as well. A lot of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers are sad right now. A lot of families have been torn apart. Many more are being fractured by the second.

    Where lies our hope as a country?
    Where lies our hope as a people?
    Where lies our hope as a nation?

    #Bring.Back.Our.Gilrs!!!!
    #Bring.Back.Our.Boys!!!!
    #Bring.Back.Our.Females!!!!
    #Bring.Back.Our.Family!!!!
    #One.Nigeria!

  2. BBC

    April 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Nigeria’s Chibok Girls ‘seen With Boko Haram In Gwoza’

    More than 50 of the girls abducted by militant Islamists in Nigeria last year were seen alive three weeks ago, a woman has told the BBC.
    She saw the girls in the north-eastern Gwoza town before the Boko Haram militants were driven out of there by regional forces.
    Boko Haram sparked global outrage when it seized more than 219 girls from Chibok town a year ago.
    The US, China and other foreign powers promised to help find the girls.

    However, the girls have never been traced, and little has been heard of them since they were taken from their boarding school.

    The whereabouts of the remaining girls is not clear.

    ‘Big house’

    Campaign group Bring Back Our Girls organised a silent march in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday to raise public awareness about the abductions.

    In an open letter, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai called on Nigeria’s authorities and the international community to do more to secure the release of the girls.

    Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls have been converted to Islam and married off, fuelling concern that the militants had treated them as war booty and sex-slaves.

    Mr Shekau has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), which is also notorious for carrying out abductions in Iraq and Syria.

    The Nigerian woman, who lived under Boko Haram’s rule in Gwoza, told the BBC she saw the girls in Islamic attire, being escorted by the militants.

    “They said they were Chibok girls kept in a big house,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

    “We just happened to be on the same road with them,” she added.

    ‘Treated better’

    Three other women also told the BBC they had seen the girls in Gwoza.

    Boko Haram was believed to have turned Gwoza into its headquarters after it captured the town in August 2014.
    Nigeria’s military, backed by troops from neighbouring countries, recaptured the town last month.

    The militants were suspected to have fled to the nearby Mandara Mountains, near the border with Cameroon.
    It is unclear whether the girls are with them there.
    Another woman told the BBC she last saw some of the girls in November at a Boko Haram camp in Bita village, also in the north-east.

    “About a week after they were brought to the camp, one of us peeked through a window and asked: ‘Are you really the Chibok girls?’ and they said: ‘Yes’. We believed them and didn’t ask them again,” the woman said.
    “They took Koranic lessons, cleaned their compound, cooked for themselves and they braided each others’ hair. They were treated differently – their food [was] better and water clean. ”

    Nigeria’s outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan has been widely criticised for not doing enough to end the six-year insurgency in the north-east, and to secure the freedom of the girls.

    Incoming President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to “crush” the insurgents.

    He is due to be inaugurated on 29 May after defeating Mr Jonathan in last month’s presidential elections.

    Boko Haram at a glance:

    Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education
    Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
    Launched military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic state
    Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria
    Has also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
    Abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
    Pledged allegiance to Islamic State

    Turning the tide against Boko Haram?
    Who are the militants?

  3. tunmi

    April 13, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Some Nigerians still care. They still remember them and still hold out hope. They will never be forgotten. There was recently a march or walk for them

  4. nene+

    April 14, 2015 at 1:11 am

    This is one emotional stories that ruptured human conscience.

    A despicable act that lies in-between was is concocted? where these demons born of a woman?do they have blood run in them?do they have families? do they have wives and children? do they die?do they breath? endless question……

    Much more surprising to learn that at the night of that WAEC examination, they had the boys too from the Boys college in that same Chibok Girls School building. The principal children and other teachers wards where in that school but no account that these VIP children where missing.

    Not forgetting that security advise was given to that school to move those children to Maiduguri for that exam. Kashim Shettima said they where safe to write the WAEC exams in Chibok Town that he will provide them adequate security.

    Then the demons came in Lorry bus and took these helpless girls away without an interruption from any security for Kashim Shettima(Governor) provided non

    It is well i will say. Whether is the girls are missing due to GEJ carelessness or it was a political point, God please let them re-unite with their families who have been traumatized overwhelmingly.

    May they come back safe and alive. I have heard they have been sighted in Gwoza, may God bring them back safely.

    I speak this because Jonathan was too reserved, he swallowed most of the things he saw and heard- His initial response made him the heartless president that he is not. Cos he sensed mischief but failed to vocalize it-A major disadvantage of being reticent.

    The Chibok girls was a very strong score dropper for you.

    I say to anyone,who was part of these abhorrent act , you have murdered peace,your generations will know no peace until a confession is made and broadcasted world wide and the whole world will hear and a forgiveness granted by all Nigerians and the rest of the world.
    Again we need our girls intact ,whole,alive and back to their families.

    • anonymous

      April 14, 2015 at 9:07 am

      A state of emergency has been imposed in the state, the governor was no longer in control of the security of the state, you can’t give what you dont have. Shettima claimed he replied their letter and told them he was no longer the chief security officer of the state, waec claimed they did not receive the reply. Lay a curse on the perpetrators and their sponsors, and all those by their actions or inactions, could have stopped them and didn’t and I will say a big amen to it. May Boko Haram and their sponsors, those who by their actions and inactions did nothing to stop them never know peace, may all the tears, sorrow, pain and sadness suffered by their victims be visited on them in multiple folds, may all they hold dear bring them nothing but sadness and sorrow. AMEN

  5. Bhee

    April 14, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Nice article

  6. truenigerian

    April 14, 2015 at 1:32 am

    @ nene dont go far the aim of Chibok has been achieved.

    God’s firm judgement will come upon them quickly.

  7. Busola

    April 14, 2015 at 9:49 am

    The President Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari promised that his government would rescue them if they were still alive. let’s be hopeful and prayerful……..it is well with our dear country

  8. Rev. Ademola Sodeinde

    April 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

    A well thought out and written position. This is a situation of an unfortunate manifestation of human nature exhibiting the “they” the “them” or the “outside groups” mentality.
    All lives matter.
    I pray that God’s mercy will prevail.

  9. Ayomitunde

    April 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Nice piece! I only hope the( incoming ) government is hearing and seeing and not acting like they don’t know what’s going on. I pray that the voices of all that have reached out to these girls would not be in vain. #GodBlessNigeria.

  10. anonymous

    April 14, 2015 at 11:52 am

    First, let me say that it is quite commendable that someone has decided to put such a piece together about a year after the Chibok incident, it means the safety of the girls is not too far remote from our minds just yet. I do not think the people are becoming less concerned because their children, grandchildren, nieces or cousins are not among these girls, we all witnessed how different groups stood up to challenge the government even up till the end of last year. However, it will take more than conscious ‘activism’ to see our prayers answered. The people, the media, we all have a role to play on the #Bringbackourgirls mission. The bulk of the responsibility unsurprisingly lie with the government but all indications show that the government has breached its primary obligation to its citizens. The day the government starts regarding the safety and liberty of its citizens as paramount, the day the phrase “Accountability of the government” begins to manifest in its true sense, the Chibok girls will return home!

    • Oluwaseyi Sodeinde

      April 14, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      Since you agree that we all have our roles to play and that the government has breached it’s primary obligation to its citizens, how then do we make them accountable? It all comes back to Us all. We can’t fold our arms and hope the government would start regarding the liberty and safety of citizens. If we keep quiet and not make them see reasons why they should take our lives and safety seriously, they wouldn’t.

  11. Jolaoso bode

    April 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hmmmmm……its been over a year. A year and a day to be precise, yet our sisters still lie in the chest of the dragon, far away from the warmth of a room. They live everyday in fear, doing nothing but wait……twiddling thumbs in anxiety. They wait for you and I to come for them, but its quite crestfallen that we fail them on a daily basis. All they do is wait for that siren and a voice telling them its time to go home, its been 367 days and yet that voice only lives in their imaginations.
    So we can chant “”CHANGE” and have it, we can stand in unity and change a government that seems not working, but we cant bring back our little girls? I put it to everyone reading this, we have all failed the CHIBOK GIRLS.
    Always remember before you pop that bottle of coke, spread the mayonnaise , turn on that Air-conditioner , watch that favorite soap opera, that your sister is out in the cold, probably screaming after being raped by a dead drunk monster.
    As for me, I would bury my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich ,go cap in hand to ask my creator to please help intervene because its been one-wait-too-many for the little angels.

    #MayGodbringbackourgirls

  12. Tolu Omoyeni

    April 14, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Since we can no longer rely on the government to #bringbackourgirls, lets all unite in prayer that #MayGodbringbackourgirls

  13. Olatomi

    April 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Very well said Seyi! As Nigerians and as Females, we should not let this matter rest! It is our duty to keep bringing it up on a daily till the girls are brought back safely!

  14. W.F. Oluyemi

    April 14, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    This is a very intelligent piece on the plight of the missing #Chibokgirls that were adopted one year ago. The whole world has been asking the government #BringBackOurGirls and insisting that they can #neverbeforgotten despite the seemingly cluelessness of the outgoing government in Nigeria. Today, at the Lagos Falomo Roundabout, many dignitaries came to join the prayers for our missing girls. There was a similar session in Abuja. There were several similar sessions across the world. We look forward to when our girls will return back home.

  15. Bliss HOSPITAL

    April 14, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Surely we remember them with shame and tears! Knowing fully well that, as a nation, we did not put in sufficiently gallant efforts at rescuing them. Our conscience cannot sleep until we find them, at least some of them.
    Now that a new administration is coming into office, we hope that the voices of the people will be heard, crying for rescue. As individuals and groups, we must continue to engage all means of communication and social media to impress it upon our government at every level, that it is the fundamental responsibility of government to protect the lives and properties of her citizens.

  16. Bliss HOSPITAL

    April 15, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Surely many Nigerians do remember them with shame and tears; we are helpless as individuals. As a nation we did not put in sufficiently gallant efforts at rescuing them.
    Now that there is a change in administration, we pray that the change will get to the girls.
    As individuals and groups, we must continue to engage all means of communication and social media to impress it upon our leaders that it is the foremost responsibility of government to protect the lives and properties of the citizens.
    #MayGodbringbackourgirls

  17. olubuse ayodele

    April 15, 2015 at 8:18 am

    a wonderful and thought provoking piece from a friend. let me contribute by starting this way, it was like the thunder spoke to me a year ago when i heard this news, so heartbreaking and worrisome. i had a group discussion and youth proffered different panacea to the unimaginable action of the insurgents but i declared in the discussion that, the only yardstick to discuss about the girls is to have it at the back of our mind that they are our “blood sisters” immediately the mood of the conversation changed. It was crystal clear that if we see this girls as our sisters, we put more pressure on the government to fetch them out. Yes! the government is not doing enough but are we(the youths) doing enough to pressurize the government to bring them back? the ball is in our court. A year ago and still fresh. #bringbackourgirls

  18. Ogunbona Olanike Olawunmi

    April 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    This is a nice piece. We remember these girls with tears but I pray that God will help our government to bring back these girls.

  19. Banshy

    April 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

    This is a lovely article I must admit! But personally, I think nearly everyone are already weary of this tragic incident which in turn has led to non-chalance. Being a year now, hopes have been dashed serioulsy. I will rather advice that we go beyond the ”physical” into the supernatural, we should invite the heavenlies for back-up on this issue for there is a LIMIT to our strength. I believe this could be done by not only praying for the victims(girls) but also for our Leaders to have the wisdom, zeal and strength with which they can deal with this issue effectively. With the knowledge of how immense God is powerful and merciful, He will surely oblige us and eventually put smiles on our faces.

  20. Oluwatosin

    April 15, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    This is definitely an excellent piece. One that should ignite the fire of the Biblical ‘be your brothers keeper’. We all know the effect of the abduction of these innocent girls. I think the word here is empathy. If we can put ourselves in their parents shoes, we’ll know what it means . Let us all make no mistake, it is the Chibok girls today, it can be the Lagos or even Abuja boys tomorrow. If this menace or Atrocity is not stoped.

  21. Samuel Morenikeji Ogunbona

    April 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    This article, no doubt, is a masterpiece.! You have indeed said it all!! Meanwhile, everyone continues to pray for the return of these girls to be reunited with their parents. We hope God will listen to our supplication and bring back the girls. Once again,I cannot agree less with the writer of this article. More grease to your palm!!!

  22. Akintomide Taiwo

    April 15, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Baby girl, this is quite impressive! It is outrageous and very saddening that over a year now the over 200 school girls abducted by Boko haram from their college hostels in Chibok are yet to be found! All over the world, calls have gone out n yet our government has failed. The president elect has promised to find them if only they are still alive! As a mother,I can only imagine the level of pains,traumas and expectations being experienced by the families of these girls. I know God is still on the throne and will perform wonders!

  23. Gbenga Oluyemi

    April 20, 2015 at 4:39 am

    This is an excellent piece on this unfortunate topic. Yes, we must not keep quiet until they bring back our girls. I was at Duomo in Milan, Italy and my children called my attention to a banner “Bring back our girls in Nigeria”. I was emotionally touched that Italians are not quiet on this issue. Then we Nigerians must not be silent until the government bring back our girls. Let’s keep on asking daily and let’s not stop praying.

  24. Daniel Ehinome Okonoyi

    April 20, 2015 at 9:11 am

    So many interesting comments that we all have contributed towards this blog. The most fascinating issue was that the government said that it was working with the US, China and French military to carry out some surveillance on the hideout of these girls and offered some hope then that the area has been identified.

    But the question still remains, what ended the mission that showed so much promise?

    Where all those activities done to take away the eyes of the international community and protect the image of the Nigeria government, UN or whatever?

    Or was there any hidden agenda that the government never wanted the public to know about?

    Where they afraid that names of prominent individuals will be exposed?

    The mystery still remains to be unravelled.

    I must also commend all that has shown interest and concern in one way or the other. We might think we are not making progress, but someday the truth behind this lingering story will be told.

    1
  25. Abidemi

    April 20, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Great article,
    May we find strength to keep on campaigning and doing all else we can do to help bring them back. We can not forget them.

  26. Daniel Ehinome Okonoyi

    April 20, 2015 at 9:38 am

    If am going through a pain as a result of a surgical operation on my spine, who bears the pain? I or the doctor? I am still surprised that prominent figure like the Nobel prize winner, Malala Yousafzai is the one feeling the pain and the burden of a nation which the government has paid deaf ears to. To prove the intent of the heart of individuals, we can see the difference between her and the first lady who has been silent ever since the issue died. But the voice of this lady is still loud. Seven up says, “the difference is clear”. Well, I believe this regime is coming to an end soon, which has been highly criticised. Nigerians in diaspora and at home have been monitoring the campaign that has promised so much hope. I just pray it is not like other campaigns that was done to tell the people what they wanted to hear just to be elected into the seat of power.

  27. Chibueze Okonoyi

    April 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Our country made record by entering the World Guinness Book of Record as the most cursed President in the world. I believe the incoming president will want to present itself as the saviour of the nation and salvage this situation. All I have to say is no matter how you try to cover a flame of fire with a cloth it will burn it and surely reveal itself.

  28. ifediora

    April 20, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Now I want to first of all commend you sodeinde oluwaseyi for this piece. It goes a long way to show that you have an interest in this case. I am not going to aportion blame to anyone. But I want to draw your attention to the role of in the life and welfare of its citizens. When a government whose duty it is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens cannot confidently say where, when or how these girls are going to get back, it leaves me asking them what they do with the security funds. Looking at those under whose care these kids were committed including the then governor of the state who at this time cannot tell us efforts being made to rescue these girls. We talk about those with the hash tag of “bring back our girls” who were busy making money out of the whole noise. Or do we talk about the ordinary citizens who cannot come out to say where the kids were taken because of fear of being killed. Everyone is to blame for the disappearance of these girls and I wonder how the leadership goes to bed for a goon night sleep and not see the image of these girls in their dreams. It is really time to rise and take responsiblity for our actions and mistakes and most importantly ensure these girls are brought back. I just hope our new leaders will take the cry of the masses much more seriously.God bless Nigeria and bless us all

  29. babalola james

    April 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I carefully read 2ru dis write up & some of the comments. I don’t even know ow to express ow I feel………buh lemmy just say dat we are all in dis together. Everything may seem to be in shambles but somebody has got to kickstart the rebuilding process, not minding the cost

  30. James Oyedele

    April 22, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    BRING BACK OUR GIRLS!!!
    Many are they that were taken
    Few return, more yet to be seen.
    They were hijacked from our embrace.
    Oh! By the blood sulking demons
    Men with wanton desire for calamity
    Cursed by the gods, yet claim to aid same
    From our bosoms they took our girls.
    Where they convey them,we know not.
    But we want our girls back.
    Don’t kill the lights of our tomorrow
    Even as darkness consumes our body.
    Mothers stands as watch guard through the night.
    Fathers are bowed with grief and sorrow.
    Anguish spread like winter breeze in the streets
    With this one plea
    BRING BACK OUR GIRLS!!!
    Hear our plea,take appropriate action
    We are tired of propaganda without action
    As a nation, we shall arise
    As one voice, we shall be heard
    No religion, no ethnicity.
    No tribalism, no division
    This one plea of ours is
    BRING BACK OUR GIRLS!!!

  31. Adeyemi

    May 9, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Of a truth, majority already lost hope in resent times on the girls than when it was fresh. We however know that to God nothing is impossible. God can raise even the dead to live. Nigeria and the whole world will be lively when the positive eventually happen

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