BBOG: Was it all for the Chibok girls?
The internal questions at the time have been the same. Was the group displaying their grievances at the government’s handling of security situations, was it attempting to raise the consciousness to the senseless deaths in different parts of Nigeria, or was it determined to sit and protest till the girls were released?
A recent report by the Guardian has cited interviewees saying that some of these girls had been brainwashed to such terrible states that they administered flogging to new captives as well as oversee beheadings. One girl reported that she saw a Chibok girl behead someone.
One deadly paradox is this; the girls may never return to their families. Another is that the girls may be returned to their families; and they will be the Chibok girls, but not the girls that had been kidnapped over four hundred days ago.
The idea that over 200 girls could vanish into thin air, even in a place as hostile as Borno was too much to bear, it stunned the world. Placards with the #bringbackourgirls slogan urging the Nigerian government to intensify its efforts appeared in several countries of the world. In America one ardent supporter of the cause was Michelle Obama. In Pakistan, a young girl who had stood alone against terror: Malala Youssef. And in Nigeria the face of the movement was a former Federal Minister of Solid Minerals, former Federal Minister of Education and former Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division: Obiageli Ezekwesili.
The group quickly began organizing sit-outs and fervid talk shows where it lashed at the government of the day for its lapses against the deadly group Boko Haram. It marched to the parliament, attempted another to Aso Rock, and another still to the residence of the Borno State Governor, seeking answers to its questions of where the girls were, and when they would be returned to their parents.
For the last administration, this was sheer negative publicity. For one, while the group kept up its protest for the release of the girls, more villages and towns were being captured and thousands more were being killed and kidnapped. Another worry for the last administration was the group’s openness to all who supported the cause. Faces of opposition party members began to appear at the sit-outs which led a great many to believe that the group was welcoming to even partisan politicians with political agendas.
Recently there has been a wave of discussions regarding the BBOG movement in the Nigerian internet space. These discussions and criticisms in some instance have been sparked by the decision by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, to appoint a founding #bringbackourgirls supporter Hadiza Bala Usman as his Chief of Staff.
The underling question for most has simply been the motives behind the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. Even as many agreed that the security situation in the country that allowed for such an incident was terrible, many still felt that it was a staged political tool directed at capitalizing on a weakness in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
In truth, Hadiza Bala Usman has an impeccable record. The position of Chief of Staff, which will mean for some, placing a founding activist of a pressure group on the ‘side of the government’ is a moral issue for Hadiza to deal with. But it is sure to raise eyebrows.
It is as well going to inspire curiosity over what the group was all about. Or perhaps, at least, leave questions unanswered. Questions like whether the protests were meant to actually return the girls, or remove Goodluck Jonathan. And with a new administration, and the girls still in captivity, would the sit-outs and talk-shows continue against the President Muhammadu Buhari administration?
Article written by Tahir Sherriff, in-house freelance reporter with NewsWireNGR in Abuja
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