Our Responsibility - Bring Back Our Girls


For over two weeks, the world has mourned with us, Nigerians, over the abduction of about two hundred teenage girls from a high school in northern Nigeria. As blood chilling and unimaginable as the thought of what the girls must be going through in the hands of their abductors is, perplexing is the fact that no one seems to have an answer to where they are or what became of them, we are talking of what must have been truckloads of children considering that a full luxury bus carries about 60 persons. It’s as if they just disappeared into thin air. I appreciate alien fiction movies every once in a while and i do know that they are not real but I’m too old now for the Nigerian government to make me believe that our girls were abducted by aliens. I mean, someone needs to tell us something tangible.   

I marvel when I watch movies depicting the selfless heroic acts of the United States Marines. It ignites some valiant passion in me, so much so that if I was not as energetic as Garfield the British cat, I would have definitely applied to become a U.S Marine (Hua!). What intrigues me most is a philosophy they perpetuate, a psychology they propagate, a commitment the soldiers depend on as they face what looks like insurmountable odds, which is that “No one would be left behind”.

This mindset is enforced in us as we sit glued to our TV screens and watch the blood chilling plot of a dozen daring soldiers breaking into a highly secure enemy military base just to rescue a captured comrade, or how a solider would risk his own life carrying a wounded mate to safety in the middle of sever gun battle. I used to wonder why twelve solders would go to rescue one captured guy at the risk of the twelve getting killed or captured. It makes no mathematical sense, why risk more to save less, but I later understood that it wasn’t meant to make mathematical sense but psychological, civil and moral sense.  It is the sense of security, the confidence that someone is looking out for them, that enables these soldiers walk into deadly situation without questioning.  They know that it is someone’s responsibility to bring them home alive, broken or in a body bag.

This military impression of not leaving anyone behind is not a recent one, and I doubt if it was originally a military idea anyway. I believe it was first a social responsibility concern and is still one today. There is a very popular parable about a shepherd that had responsibility over a hundred sheep, and losing one, left the ninety-nine to look for the lost one until he found it. Over two hundred teenage girls were abducted by conscienceless hoodlums in the middle of the night. It was the right of these girls to be protected and cared for, it was their right to be rescued even if abducted.

In the post My Life, My Responsibility - Real Life Fulfilment, I elucidated that among the responsibilities we have as human beings are social and relationship responsibilities. Both these responsibilities depend on a symbiotic relationship where the members of the relationship owe certain duties to their partners in the association. The individuals in the relationship have both written and unwritten duties they need to carry out to maintain the life of the relationship. In this case, it is the responsibility of the society to provide a comfortable environment for its citizens, and chief among these responsibilities are the protection of life and property. On the other hand, it is the duty of the citizens to elect leaders charged with organising and enforcing the duties and responsibilities of the society to its citizens. This the Nigerian people have done faithfully in electing a president and other public officers.  It is not out of place then, if we expect or even demand the protection of life and property, benefits of living in an organised society. It is the responsibility of the elected President and his appointed officials to protect the lives and property of the citizens, not private body guards. These innocent children with their whole lives ahead of them have been denied the right to be protected by their society

The aggravating thing about this whole state of affairs is that the people entrusted with the duty to protect these lovely kids have not deemed it fit to leave the ninety-nine in safety and go after the one.  I may be poorly informed on the efforts of our government to rescue our sisters, but I am not feeling the heat in the air. All we have are the outcry of the citizens who cannot stand this injustice, and I wish to commend everyone who has raised their voice or made an effort in one way or the other to lend a voice in condemning this heartless outrage, whether on the airwaves, rallies or physical efforts. Unfortunately, I feel like those who have been burdened with the responsibility to make this rescue possible are basically uninterested, at least that is the way Mr President appeared to me on his media chat last night or who knows, it could be that he has amazing control on his emotions so while looking like the presenters were boring him to death, he may have been bleeding in his heart for the girls. As cold as the president’s disposition was, it did not prepare us for the act put up by the first lady of the federation, who after an intense interrogation of the school principal and other parties present, spread her hands and, like in badly produced Nollywood movies, wailed “there is a God ooooooo” (her movie director should be fired).

It is unfortunate that the responses we are getting from our leaders are not very inspiring, but when there is no one to lead; society must learn to lead itself. It is time for us to lend our voice to awaken the lethargy gripping our government. Everyone should join to bring the challenges facing us to light. As much as we must be mature enough to be constructive in our criticisms and realistic in our advising, we shouldn’t fold our hands and just watch. Remember the saying attributed to J.F. Kennedy that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. We should not join in perpetuating the evil but stand against it. We must use every means possible to force our voice to be heard; blog it, write it, post a comment, join a rally, call into a call-in-programme, Facebook it, tweet it, fund a campaign, put up an ad, go on air, give intelligence to security officials if you have one, anything, but just do something. Let us all note our displeasure and force our government to hear and act.

I resent that a bunch of people would think that they can commit such an atrocity and get away with it. I resent the fact that the government would talk about the kidnapped girls in casual expressions. I resent the fact that the president would be seen at rallies or functions while his children are missing. I resent the fact that a national day of prayer has not been declared by the president and everyone made to sit at home. I’m amazed that certain security officials still even have their jobs. I resent the fact that the impression I am getting concerning such a national tragedy is cold and uncaring. If Mr President feels any pain for the missing girls like he claims, let the nation feel it. If we have a national conscience and human empathy, let us tell these girls and their families by our actions, that in Nigeria, “no one is left behind”. 

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Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

4 comments:

  1. The most important thing we can do as the elect in this nation is to exercise our mandate as Christians and pray: complaining may not produce much i do not think the president was unconcerned. More needs to be done but we are the only ones with the responsibility to uplift the hands of Moses and not call him lazy but help him keep his weak hands up thru whichever means.
    I am happy the Nigerian people spoke out infact i commend them but let us not get carried away. By the way, my perspective is not supposed to make sense to all but the people concerned would connect with it. 1Tim 2:1 says let us FIRST of all.....
    Salt and fresh water can not proceed from the same source.
    Thanks pk for writing this piece.

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  2. Nice one. Prayers with out work is dead bro think it's time we take action. That's out responsibility. Pray all u want if you do not act then noting will happen. Martin leather Jr didn't just pray, he acted. Christians should start acting oooh.

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  3. Nice one. Prayers with out work is dead bro think it's time we take action. That's out responsibility. Pray all u want if you do not act then noting will happen. Martin leather Jr didn't just pray, he acted. Christians should start acting oooh.

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  4. Someone argued with me that I cannot really be sure whether the display by the first lady was genuine or not, and i agree. I cannot prove it, because I cannot judge the heart of any man, that is God's purview. So I do apologies for judging her if her outburst was genuine. Nevertheless, genuine or not, it was hilarious.

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