By Osmond Ekwueme
“I abducted your girls and will sell the girls as slaves in the market, by Allah”, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video provided to the world by AFP. Observing this depth of human depravity is really a horror beyond words. Looking at the video, my eyeballs nearly popped out of their sockets. Abubakar Shekau is the worst combination of ignorance and arrogance. He snidely chides and actually sneers at education. He is described by the BBC as a “fearless loner, a complex, paradoxical man….part intellectual, part gangster”. He even threatened more attacks saying “We are in your city, but you don’t know where we are” Disgusting! He wants Nigerians to assume a fetal position. How does one confront manifest evil and total ignorance without resorting to language that will not be published in a paper? As a human being and as a father with a daughter, I am out of words to describe my feeling about this.
This terrorist group has killed some 5000 Nigerians, both men and women since it emerged in 2009. In the first few months of 2014, it has already killed 1500 people. Boko Haram has abducted school children before, but this time the scale is unprecedented. It is time to end Boko Haram by whatever means necessary. This is a clearly defined evil group and they have no place in this world. They should have been taken out years ago. It has been argued that certain individuals within the Nigerian government had been frustrating the efforts of the Nigerian government. Well, high time to swallow our pride and outsource the hunt for these terrorists and rescue our girls.
We are glad that President Jonathan Goodluck has at last decided to seek global help. The US Secretary of State John Kerry vowed that US “will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice. That is our responsibility and the world’s responsibility” he said. Israel has offered to mount a rescue operation too. The Nigerian government should deeply consider that offer. Many of us still remember how the Mossad went into Uganda and rescued all the passengers from a fully loaded airliner. (Plane had been hijacked by terrorists). Perhaps the Mossad could go into Nigeria and get these young girls. The US and every other capable country should be helping get the girls back because it’s the right thing to do. This is an issue of over 300 young girls being captured for the crime of becoming more educated than their troglodyte captors. They are more than likely being beaten and systematically raped. This is an excellent opportunity to employ US surveillance Drones in order to assist in locating these poor girls and affecting their timely release with surgical precision. How about sending some Drones to ferret out those murderers? We understand that the porous border enables the free flow of these terrorists and arms with Cameroon, Niger and Chad…all transit routes but the US Drones could effectively monitor this problem.
Where is the outrage from other Islamists? Millions of good Muslims should take to the streets in protest of how Boko Haram is embarrassing Mohammed and Allah. I have not seen or heard anything from them. The pictures we have been seeing (like the one above) and demonstrations say all you need to know. There is a lot of talk from the Muslims about loving Nigeria, but it would appear they don’t love her enough to protect her from one of their own. They aren’t patriots. It is time they are called on it. Many Nigerians, both Christians and moderates Muslims should be writing to the media more about this inferno. This should get more news attention and global outcry. The Nigerian Students’ Unions everywhere in UK, USA, Europe and cultural associations like Igbo World Forum, Oduduwa Union, Oodua People’s Congress and other southern organizations should take a stand on this now. It is high time we instilled fear in them that they dare not attempt such terrorism down south. Let them hate, so long as they fear… Oderint dum metuant, a powerful Latin saying. We should not shrug or sleep when we should seethe.
Since we know these girls are still alive, Africans and all people of goodwill should tell the media to spend at least the same amount of time on the story as the Malaysian airplane disappearance. It is amazing to think that millions have been spent by many countries to find the 300 people from the Malaysian airplane that vanished as they track the dimmest of radio signals, but almost 300 young girls are missing and the world cannot find a trace of them. Unbelievable! It’s not a matter of not knowing where they are, it is a matter of the will of the world leaders. These girls need to be found as soon as possible. The deafening silence and inaction is damning. Send a message world. DO SOMETHING NOW!!! As has been known “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing” Edmund Burke.
However, if they did slaughter these innocent young girls, perhaps Nigeria should have a plebiscite and decide if to break into two countries— progressive Christian nation from Plateau down south and a regressive Muslim nation up north. Then we could finally determine whose policies make humans flourish. We are sick and tired of taking it on the chin. The Boko Haram is insane with power, arrogance, haughty indifference and false conviction of utter superiority. Their psychotic sociopathy is advanced with NO eye to civilized thought or social responsibility. It is scorched earth warfare.
The fact that what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on track is plainly obvious while being politically impossible demonstrates just how great our peril is. As a Nigerian in diaspora, it strikes me that the spirit of the country is steadily degenerating, social solidarity lost and Nigeria’s once inspirational light being allowed to be extinguished by Boko Haram.
Osy Ekwueme MD. Ph.D.
Medical professional and policy analyst