On April 14, 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their classrooms in Chibok, Nigeria, by the terror sect Boko Haram. Two years have passed, and the missing schoolgirls have still not been rescued or even located. There is speculation that some of the girls have either been displaced by Boko Haram to neighboring countries or forced into marriages with Boko Haram members. Based on the accounts of girls who escaped, we know that many of the girls were raped and now bear their captors’ children.
Nigeria’s response to the crisis has been disheartening. When the United States offered the much-needed intelligence and support in finding the girls, the Nigerian government flatly rejected them — Nigeria was perfectly capable of finding the girls themselves, they claimed. One year into a new administration, no progress has been made. In fact, there has been no concrete executive statement from the by President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration showing their commitment to fighting for and protecting the girls’ lives.
That is not to say the United States has been faultless in handling the crisis. Recently, the United States made a commitment of $40 million in humanitarian assistance to the four African nations — Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria — affected by Boko Haram. Although this sounds great, it could ultimately prove counterproductive in rescuing Boko Haram slaves. More often than not, foreign aid dumps fail to achieve their goals. Often, the aid fails to even reach its intended recipients. Every dollar has to trickle down past corrupt government officials and local leaders who each take a little bit for themselves.
In the wake of the second anniversary of the 276 missing Chibok girls, the international community must hold Nigeria accountable. As a Nigerian, I have witnessed on numerous occasions the voices of the masses being ignored by the world at large. Without a focused and appropriate response, this transnational crime against humanity could easily be swept under the rug. The international community, especially the United States and Great Britain, needs to put pressure on the government when it comes to getting our girls back — not only to keep up military efforts, but also to make sure that corruption and bureaucracy do not get in the way of justice. Nigeria must be at the forefront of the effort, but the two foreign giants of intelligence should provide ample support to military personnel on the ground.
There is not much time left for these girls, and more wasted time and resources will do nothing to help the problem. The time for humanitarian assistance has come; however, it is important that we channel our resources in finding these girls before proceeding with other steps.
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Email Tegan Joseph Mosugu at [email protected]