Opinion: #BringBackOurGirls – Lessons we must learn



We should not let this happen again to any Nigerian in any part of Nigeria. We are our brother’s keepers.


There is nothing so terrifying to any parent as the horror of not being able to keep his or her child safe.

It was therefore with shock and consternation that, on April 15th, 2014, we, as a nation, received the chilling news that over 200 girls had been abducted from a government school in Chibok, Borno State.

The “Chibok” abduction has finally done what the previous 10 years of killing and destruction failed to do.  It has galvanized public opinion in Nigeria and worldwide and it has united us as a nation to condemn and confront the Boko Haram menace.The facts of the abduction are horrific and the plight of the girls heart-breaking but the full implications of this incident go far beyond the immediate outcry it has caused.  It raises profound and disturbing questions about our beliefs and values as a nation. It has raised a mirror unto our society and forced us to look ourselves and ask who we are and what we stand for.  What value do we place on human life?

The girls must be found and brought back but these and other lingering and deep questions will not go away.  The issues the incident has raised must be addressed by all Nigerians as we join hands to build a better nation where the life of every single person is precious.  A nation where every individual, male or female is protected and nurtured.  A nation where every citizen is given the scope to fully develop his or her potential.

Efforts are being made to bring back the girls with international help and support but despite the outcry and all the attention, no tangible progress appears to have been made in securing their safety and release.

What lessons should we learn from this?

The outright violation of human life by this sect of insurgents has given birth to the worldwide movement aptly named #BringBackOurGirls. It is unfortunate that the solidarity of world citizens is often only engendered by tragic conditions and situations such as this. Nevertheless, we must as a nation and a people seize this opportunity to all lend our voices in condemnation of the Boko Haram cancer that has infected our nation. EVERY NIGERIAN must speak and act as one in this matter.  This lingering menace affects all of us, and cuts across religion, ethnicity, economic situation or political affiliation.

We should not let this happen again to any Nigerian in any part of Nigeria.

We have the power to determine how we wish to be governed. Therefore, we must fulfil our civic responsibilities and show our elected officials what true leadership means, to stand with the Chibok community and to get involved in whatever capacity that we can to help bring back our girls and fight the scourge of Boko Haram. We must move from dialogue to action, to ensure that our children are safe and secure.

We believe that to combat the several ills that bedevil our society, including the growth of terrorism, corruption and the bestial immorality practiced by Boko Haram and others of its ilk, we must begin to guard our rights as citizens more jealously and carry out our civic responsibilities more resolutely. Politics is far too important to be left only to politicians.

In a democratic setting, it is the involvement of citizens that produces enlightened leadership.



Established in 2006, ALIWA is a joint venture of the Aspen Institute (USA), Databank Foundation (Ghana) and LEAP Africa (Nigeria). We seek to capture the energy, the talent and the resolve of an emerging generation of leaders in Africa — leaders who have already realized a certain level of success — and to inspire them to move from success to significance by engaging in the foremost challenges of their countries and their times.

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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