More than a month ago, a Malaysian airline was somehow lost between its point of take off and it’s scheduled point of arrival. In the past weeks the whole world has practically invested time and resources to look for this plane and its total of 239 passengers from 14 nations.
Barely a week ago there was a bomb blast in Nyanya, Abuja that left Nigeria devastated over the loss of lives and injured parties. On the same day of bombing there was yet another blow to the nation with an abduction of over 200 school girls. While Boko Haram has never come out to claim the bombing as their act (which in itself is another political debate that I do not want to go into today), they are linked to the abduction.
They shot guards and abducted about 200 students, who were loaded into trucks and, it seems, taken off into the forest. Two groups of the girls, perhaps 30 in all, managed to escape. The rest have simply disappeared.
My problem is that the area where these girls were abducted is said to be a large expanse of thick forest between the borders of Nigeria and Cameroon. For all we know these girls are already in Cameroon but we are seeing minimal or no effort from the Nigerian government when it comes to searching for these girls.
Who exactly is looking for these girls?
To a large extent we expect the government to get up and do something proactive. Let President Jonathan himself get up and go with his security aides into the forest and it might not be enough manpower to be honest. But it really does seem like nothing is being done and even the parents of these children are threatening to go into the forest themselves. It seems like nobody cares about this issue.
The Nigerian media is focusing on other random events instead of dedicating air space and thereby applying pressure on the nation as a whole – the government, the parents, the people living around that area who could be of immense help and more.
Simphiwe Dana, a Xhosa Singer and song-writer in South Africa who is known for her unique combination of Jazz, Afro-soul, RAP and Traditional music took to Twitter a few hours ago to ask quite valid questions, she asks, “Why are black journalists everywhere not reporting on the girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria?”. Black journalists – not only Nigerian journalists – are the best people to make the most noise about this issue so that the world can get some action.
Why are black journalists everywhere not reporting on the girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria?
— Simphiwe Dana (@simphiwedana) April 24, 2014
Adara Achumba, eNCA News correspondent in West Africa, replied her tweet but her reply did not seem to satisfy Simphiwe Dana.
So are @YvonneNdege & @VladDuthiersCNN The are black journalists so not sure what ur point is @simphiwedana [email protected] @eNCAnews — Adaure Achumba (@adaure) April 24, 2014
@adaure @YvonneNdege @VladDuthiersCNN @eNCAnews thank you for this info. The question remains. Because 3 journalists are hardly enough — Simphiwe Dana (@simphiwedana) April 24, 2014
My point? We have to be more vigilant in elevating the importance of our existence in a world that chooses to see largely otherwise
— Simphiwe Dana (@simphiwedana) April 24, 2014
The missing plane is still being actively searched for while girls that may be in a neighboring country are not getting enough attention.
It is sad. Pitiful even.
The fate of these schoolchildren has gone unreported and these girls might suffer the consequences. As at this morning Boko Haram has reportedly threatened to kill the girls as well as their parents if they fail to discontinue their personal search and rescue mission. The parents had reportedly hired over 100 okada (commercial motorcyclists) to aid in their search in Sambisa Forest, where the kidnapped girls are allegedly being held. However, they were unable to make significant progress in their search.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has assured the aggrieved parents that their kids will soon be found but one has to ask the question of how? Is it only Borno State that cares about these children? The first appearance of the Borno state governor in Chibok came yesterday, eight days after the attack.
We have to actually ask ourselves why nobody seems to be looking for these girls. Simphiwe Dana released a single “Nzima” a few hours ago that speaks to the tragedy that all this violence is causing. Her song, even though in the South African Xhosa language is sober and thought-provoking. According to her the song is drawn from centuries of pain and violence. It is essentially a prayer for a people who have had a history of violence inflicted upon them.
The effect of this media inattention and disinterest is that many innocent people will die. Some of these girls will be turned to sex slaves and some of them will simply be murdered. These 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds will be robbed of their future and Nigeria will be tainted, yet again, because we would rather report on the Lagos Carnival and a smiling President in Ibadan than show grief-stricken parents who can prick consciences.
Who is looking for the abducted school girls? Why does the media not care?by