by Mark Amaza
Contrary to many supporters of this government that insist the protests should be directed at the terrorists, need we remind them that Boko Haram does not owe us anything – it is the government that we elected that owes us everything…
Three hundred days ago, about 276 students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State getting ready for their Secondary School Certificate Exams (SSCE) had their preparations disrupted when armed men they initially mistook for soldiers of the Nigerian Army, came and took them hostage.
By the time they realized the armed men were members of the dreaded militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, it was too late, save for the 54 girls that managed to escape.
Without doubt, by now, you have heard about the intrigues surrounding the abduction, and the hashtag campaign, #BringBackOurGirls which raised awareness about the missing girls, forcing a lackluster government to finally start acting, albeit after series of denials from top politicians and even by the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience.
While the rest of the world has largely moved on, Nigerians have not and will find it hard to ever move on with these girls still missing. The fact that they are yet to be found remains a blot on our conscience and an insult to our nation. It is clear evidence that we have failed to provide security to these girls, and to hundreds of other girls that have been kidnapped by Boko Haram in the North-East, to the people that have been killed, maimed and displaced by their dastardly activities.
The bravery and resilience of the #BringBackOurGirls protesters who have for 288 days have been holding daily sit-outs after the protests across the country and the world had petered out cannot be understated, especially in the face of various intimidation attempts from, sadly, the very government that ought to take the forefront in fighting for their release and its supporters.
This represents a large turning point in our history, where ordinary citizens have awoken to the immense power they wield, and are using that power to force a government to stand up to its responsibilities.
Contrary to many supporters of this government that insist the protests should be directed at the terrorists, need we remind them that Boko Haram does not owe us anything – it is the government that we elected that owes us everything, especially the responsibility of securing our lives and properties.
Our support of the protests for the girls should not be misconstrued as a lack of support for the government – it is our way of reminding the government that Nigerians expect it to not disappoint it and let these girls and other Nigerians living in constant fear of Boko Haram succumb to terrorism.
In conclusion, we want to remind the girls that we will never forget them, and we will continue to speak for them till the day they return home alive. Stay strong.
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