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Collins Uma: We need less protests and more answers (Y! FrontPage)

by Collins Uma

Collins

Another question nibbling away at a corner of my mind is “Where are these girls?” Some say they are in Sambisa forest and that is why our soldiers have refused to blow the place to smithereens so as to avoid collateral damage. 

It is no longer news that President Goodluck Jonathan is way out of his depth as regards the (in)security situation in Nigeria. But he is not alone in that boat. The Chibok issue has shown that we are just a terribly confused lot in Nigeria. Two questions:

1. What are the ages of the kidnapped girls?

2. How many girls were kidnapped?

Where there is pausity of information, rumours and speculations are bound to thrive. It has been over three weeks since the kidnap yet there has been no official information from the school authorities regarding the kidnapped girls’ identities. Information flying around has it that some of the girls are as young as 12 years old. And they were in the school to write the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE)? Pardon me, but the way the Nigerian educational system is structured, 12 years is an unrealistic age for a kid to be writing SSCE. It is not impossible but any case would be an exception.  It is logical therefore to state that if 12 year olds were part of the kidnapped girls then they were definitely not there just to write SSCE. Why then were they there when schools in the area had been ordered to shut down due to insecurity? This is a question only the school authorities and the parents can answer. When a school principal decides to flout security directives it is not binding on the parents of the kids to tag along. The parents must have made a decision to release the girls to the school based on the information provided to them. What was this information? Protests and sit-ins are not enough, the effectiveness of these notwithstanding. We need to see these parents and the school authorities address a world press conference where these questions will be asked them directly and answers provided.

I do not know how we arrived at the conclusion that 234 girls were kidnapped. The truth is nobody knows how many the missing girls are, sans the ones that escaped. From the information the head of WAEC provided to First Lady Patience Jonathan at a meeting with her, 530 students registered for SSCE in the school. Out of this number, 135 were boys (it was a girls’ school that had been, well, rebased), leaving us with 395 girls. Now, bear in mind that no boy was kidnapped. He went on to say that after the kidnap the remaining 189 students were moved to a school in a different location to write the rest of the SSCE. If no boy (out of 135) was kidnapped, and 189 students were relocated, it follows that 54 girls remained and were relocated out of the 395 that registered which leaves us with 341 missing girls. Except if he is saying no boy was relocated and the 189 were all girls. Which leaves us with 206 missing girls. So, were the boys left in the school at Chibok? I am as confused as you are.

Another question nibbling away at a corner of my mind is “Where are these girls?” Some say they are in Sambisa forest and that is why our soldiers have refused to blow the place to smithereens so as to avoid collateral damage. Others say they have been sold at N2000 each to some men across the Nigerian borders who will use them as sex slaves. This is a horrific possibility. But nobody knows for sure. Not even President Jonathan. Except if he lied to the entire nation, but what he said, in essence, at the last Presidential Media Chat was that with all the Billions of Naira he appropriates to himself for security and regardless of the oath he swore to ensure protection of the lives of all Nigerians and with all the intelligence and intelligence-gathering apparatus at his disposal and despite being Commander-In-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he has no clue as to the whereabouts of over 200 girls who were kidnapped and have possibly been moved around for about one month.

Actually, we don’t care whether Jonathan knows where the girls are or not, we just want him to #BringBackOurGirls alive. The buck stops at his table.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

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