Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's Way Past Time To #BringBackOurGirls

By Gideon Arinze Chijioke
Junior Reporter
Youth Journalism International
AGYARAGU, Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria – “Promise my sister Amina that our sisters abducted by Boko Haram will be brought back, that girls will be able to study in safety,” activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's said at the UN Sustainable Development summit.
Her September speech reminded me of the April 2014 capture of more than 200 girls at Chibok, a community in Nigeria’s Borno State. While some escaped, many girls remain missing.
Sometimes, life could turn out to be something else. Something one least expects is the abduction of these schoolgirls who had gone to acquire knowledge. They knew how important education was.
With it, they could impact positively on the nation and the world at large, where knowledge is power and commands respect. The abduction was so reprehensible that it sparked off worldwide outrage.
There were demonstrations everywhere by civil rights groups, non-governmental organizations and others. Women took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction at such an ungodly act. On social media, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign went viral.
All were visible pointers to the fact that the act was unacceptable. It was a crime against the girl child, a grave disregard of her right to acquire quality education.
More than a year and a half has passed since the girls were captured, yet no one has heard from or seen them. Where could they be? Are they hale and hearty? Are they alive?
What have they endured?
Obviously, they must have been exposed to the harsh realities of life, to hunger, thirst and disease. How about their parents? Who knows the pain and anguish they live with? It hurts to the core to wake up one morning and discover your child is not there.
There is an urgent need to step up measures to rescue the girls and re-unite them with their parents.
Nigeria's former President Goodluck Jonathan tried to rescue the girls but his efforts failed. We expect a better result from the current administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
That the military is doing its best has almost become a monotonous singsong.
We want a positive result. Our girls must be rescued and the country liberated from the shackles of terrorism and religious fundamentalism.
Editing by Youth Journalism International Correspondent Linus Okechukwu.

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