Opinion: Nigeria’s #BringBackOurGirls War Of 2014

The yorubas in Nigeria sa ??nà ??fun ò gba egungun ?ja. Meaning the throat cannot accommodate fish-bone.

One of my weaknesses is history, reason being that I often do not understand why we often either make light of it or refuse to learn from it. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, and most populous black nation is at war and the frontiers are as confusing as can be.

It’s now one month since the reported abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from their school in #chibok. They were writing their final exams. As of my penning this admonition, nothing has been done. The Americans have a dozen or so men of expertise, UK is helping with all the satellite tech and expertise too. France and China has promised ‘promises’ and as long as this sad drama continues, even Togo would promise help to Nigeria.

So what is this #bringbackourgirls war, most wars are fought over serious issues like territory, resources or political freedom, but others arise from bizarre and even comical circumstances. Over the years, armies have mobilized and blood has been shed over everything from tragic misunderstandings and perceived slights to petty border disputes and even sporting events.

The Jenkins war
In 1738, a British mariner named Robert Jenkins displayed a severed, decomposing ear before the members of Parliament. As part of a formal testimony, he claimed that a Spanish coastguard officer had sliced off his ear seven years earlier as punishment for smuggling. Spurred on by this stirring testimony, the British had soon declared war on the kingdom of Spain. Thus began the outlandish “War of Jenkins’ Ear.”

The Pig War
The controversy began in 1859 on San Juan Island, a chunk of land located between the mainland United States and Vancouver Island. At the time, the island was home to American settlers and British employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and both parties had laid claim to its fertile soil. The first and only shots of the Pig War came on June 15, 1859, when an American farmer named Lyman Cutlar gunned down a British-owned black boar after he discovered the animal rooting through his potato patch. The ensuing argument over the dead hog increased tensions between the two groups of settlers, and Cutlar was eventually threatened with arrest.

After the Americans reported the incident to the military, the U.S. Army dispatched Captain George Pickett—later a Confederate general during the Civil War—to San Juan with a small complement of troops. Pickett upped the ante by declaring the whole island U.S. property, and the British responded by sending a fleet of heavily armed naval vessels to the coastline. An absurd standoff ensued, and the situation remained on a knife-edge for several agonizing weeks. The two nations would finally negotiate a deal allowing for joint military occupation of San Juan Island in October 1859, ending the Pig War as a bloodless stalemate—save for one unfortunate hog.

The Dog War
In one of the most bizarre conflicts of the 20th century, a dog inadvertently triggered an international crisis. The incident was the culmination of a long period of hostility between Greece and Bulgaria, which had been at odds since the Second Balkan War in the 1910s. Tensions finally boiled over in October 1925, when a Greek soldier was shot after allegedly crossing the border into Bulgaria while chasing after his runaway dog.

The shooting became a rallying cry for the Greeks, who soon after invaded Bulgaria and occupied several villages. They were even set to commence shelling the city of Petrich when the League of Nations finally intervened and condemned the attack. An international committee later negotiated a ceasefire between the two nations, but not before the misunderstanding had resulted in the deaths of some 50 people.

The Pasta War
In 1828, angry mobs destroyed large parts of Mexico City during a military coup. One of the victims of the rioting was an expatriate French pastry chef named Remontel, whose small café was ransacked by looters. Mexican officials ignored his complaints, so Remontel petitioned the French government for compensation. His request sat unnoticed until a decade later, when it came to the attention of King Louis-Philippe. The king was already furious that Mexico had failed to repay millions in loans, and now he demanded they pay 600,000 pesos to compensate the pastry chef for his losses. When the Mexicans balked at handing over such an astronomical sum, Louis-Philippe did the unexpected: He started a war.

In October 1838, a French fleet arrived in Mexico and blockaded the city of Veracruz. When the Mexicans still refused to pay up, the ships began shelling the San Juan de Ulua citadel. A few minor battles followed, and by December as many as 250 soldiers had been killed. The famous general Santa Anna even came out of retirement to lead the Mexican army against the French, and he lost a leg after he was wounded by grapeshot. Fighting finally ended in March 1839, when the British government helped broker a peace deal. As part of the treaty, the Mexicans were forced to shell out the 600,000 pesos.

The #bbog war
Finally the #bringbackourgirls war has not been fought. On the contrary, though relegated to the background, another 8 women have been abducted, we have forgotten those abducted in February. The Boko boys have killed more, and blown a few bridges in barely a week, yet the Nigerian government’s best statement of intent is “we shall get them”.

The war has been fought in protests in cities away from chibok in Borno, the war has been fought by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Obama, and stars on the social media called twitter while there’s no electricity in chibok. We have fought a Jonathan war than tear the evil called Boko Haram down.

Rather than a war, we have conspiracy theories on the abduction itself, the number of girls, the mode of kidnap, the principal’s waka, the first lady’s discovery that “dia riz God”, where the parents are; we simply have refused to acknowledge there is an enemy and there is a war to fight, everybody and everything has some limitation, are we ready to face the menace, to face the aberration called shekau or fight boko haram–only time will tell.

Yours In High Regards


Written By Prince Charles Dickson
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