America Will Know and other stories…
It has been a grueling week for the women of Borno and Nigeria generally. A week which adds to previous weeks filed with protests, uncertainty, a terror attack and continued silence over the state of the 276 missing girls.
Getting off the phone with Yusufu Sadia, our Abuja correspondent, he confirmed that he has the names of 180 of the abducted girls. While this is welcome news, it is an absolute shocker that the public has had to wait three weeks for any significant information. The protests poured in last Friday through to Sunday all over the country and the pressure only doubled as international news agencies – CNN and ABC became more actively involved in the media call tagged #BringBackOurGirls. This pressure coupled with more protests on Saturday, only made the government cave in and break its silence through a press conference called – the presidential media chat, which was live on television on Sunday, 4th of May, 2014.
If Nigerians were angered by the Government’s apparent silence and inaction following the abduction of the 276 Chibok girls, the media chat only seemed to have infuriated the people more. President Goodluck Jonathan appeared on television flanked by Cyril Stober and Funke Fadugba and appeared to be just as confused about the situation as the populace. His comments were a meal sprinkled with too many “I don’t knows” and “I am not sures”. A meal that went down badly with Nigerians, particularly as questions directly relating to the situation were either unanswered or completely misunderstood and a tangent so unnecessary was waded into, by the President. The result? Two hours of dissatisfaction – in which the most bizarre answer to the issue of the $20 billion missing from the Nigerian National Petroleum Council (NNPC) account was given – If you steal $20 billion, America will know and tell you where it is. The broadcast, according to many, was a waste of television time, a waste of the public’s time, and if everyone was confused about the situation, the confusion only doubled.
International observers were as diplomatic as they could be on the issue. While the clamour for answers has continued and the intensity of the unrest is piquing to burning point, the government has responded by setting up two committees – an action committee made up of Borno elders and a dialogue committee to discuss with the action committee, impressive action if what was missing was a few cattle.Unfortunately, 276 females in possibly what is the worst condition bearable, is something that requires more sturdy response –which has not been offered by the government.
The odd event, which saw the country’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, join in on protests with tears and screams for government action, was made all the more abnormal, when in a turnaround, she declared that protests should be halted. The First Lady was reported to have ordered the arrests of protesters and a Mrs. Naomi Mutah Nyadar, who also joined in protests, was arrested yesterday in Abuja.
The situation has certainly done a handstand and the growing concern is certainly more evident as the hours go by. Rumours of deaths amongst the hostages is one that has been greeted with trepidation and coupled with a government which has somewhat confirmed its cluelessness, the clamour must certainly continue. Contrary to the president’s remarks, these incredibly heartbreaking events and government’s lackadaisical attitude is certainly something America will knows nothing about, and till the people see action that births results… #BringBackOurGirls.