For over two years now, the girls abducted from Chibok have been missing with little to no hopes that any one of them will ever be found, at least alive. There were lots of noise about their disappearance, ranging from doubts and aspersions from NIGERIANS who do not believe there was an abduction in the first place. The plight of the Chibok girls was not helped by media reports as well, due to poor reporting – understandably so because the North East of Nigeria was technically at war and communication masts have been largely destroyed by Boko Haram elements. To further increase the hopelessness of the Chibok girls is the delayed response from international community in addition to the very disturbing delay in reaction from the very government (the then Nigerian government) which was tasked with the responsibility of protecting them. It took at least 3 weeks before there was any formal response from the then Nigeria government. Against this backdrop, you would agree that the fate of the return of these girls back to the loving warmth of their families alive and any time soon is almost near zero. It will also not be far from the truth to say that Chibok girls are no citizens of any human community, due to the fact that there was no one (in the immediate periods surrounding their abduction) along the chain outlined above who spoke up for their inalienable human rights.
Notwithstanding, gallant men and women of the Nigerian armed forces that have been battling the Boko Haram insurgency, under the most challenging of conditions, refuse to give up on any leads – even if it meant giving up their lives. There were reports of Nigerian soldiers being made to fight a well equipped enemy (Boko Haram) with substandard equipment and under morale damaging conditions. Here is a link to a CNN interview with some Nigerian soldiers in the frontline of the war against Boko Haram who tell a very bleak story about their experiences in the frontline. There were reports that soldiers pay out-of-pocket for kits they use in the war against Boko Haram, including having to be responsible for treatments of injuries sustained in the war front. Many soldiers died (including friends of mine and people I knew from university days) living behind families and loved ones. Some even died not being sure of what exactly they were fighting for as there was a lot of inconsistencies at the early periods about the truth of the abduction, something the then Nigerian government did not do much to help. We saw horrific videos and pictures of Nigerian soldiers who were murdered in cold blood by the terror group Boko Haram and we wondered if at all any of the girls from Chibok will ever be found alive. If only one of these girls is identified and returned back alive, only then we can be sure of the truth about what could well be the most controversial story in Nigeria’s recent history. The return of one of the Chibok girls is also important for dispelling falsehood and mischief as some forces within the country are bent on ensuring this very tragic event remains in the shadows of doubt, only to be discussed on social media for cheap political points.
Days went by and soon days quickly turned into weeks and weeks into years, with nothing substantial heard concerning the whereabouts of the Chibok girls. Then, a few days ago, we have the first case of the return of one of the Chibok girls! I thought social meida, especially accounts of Nigerians, will be awash with praise for the gallant troops who have ensured this happened. I also assumed that Nigerians will, at the very least, unanimously join in the joy of the parents of Amina Ali to celebrate this great event. However, I have observed with shock how that in some quarters of the country some elements have again taken to social media to douse this incredible story by asking questions that are only relevant for destroying the credibility of the Chibok abduction.
One thing remains clear though, the return of this Chibok girl, alive, remains a strong victory for the many Nigerian soldiers (and true heroes) who died trying to bring back these girls and restore peace to the North East of Nigeria. When I see pictures of Amina on social media, what I see is the many faces of true Nigerians (from all parts of the country) who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of this one Nigerian girl child from an ideology that should have no place in modern day Nigeria. I see the definition of true sacrifice in Amina and it is the sacrifice of our armed forces. The return of Amina signifies the victory of truth over falsehood and it is this very story that some disgruntled elements (in Nigeria) would wish was never told nor remembered. Rest in peace true heros of Nigeria as today we have a confirmation that your labours of love was never in vain. We hope and pray that as the days unfold, many parents in Chibok will see the return of their loved ones.