Where is the national outrage over 94 kidnapped schoolgirls from Yobe?

As Boko Haram kidnaps 94 schoolgirls, Nigeria goes worryingly quiet. Where on earth is the outrage?

According to media reports, the gunmen went straight for the school hostel where about 700 students and teachers were camped. As gunshots rented the air, a few fled to the surrounding bushes. Others weren’t so lucky.

Left unprotected

SaharaReporters writes that; “Boko Haram terrorists came into Dapchi town with trucks mounted with high caliber weapons shooting sporadically and later headed to the girls' hostels at the school where some 740 girls were resident. The sound from the sect’s militants explosives and gunshots alerted the students and their teachers who immediately scampered into nearby bushes for safety”.

In another paragraph, the online newspaper reports that the school had been left vulnerable after soldiers were withdrawn from the community; a worrying piece of information if true.

“Residents and civilian militia groups in Dapchi say they believe Boko Haram had carefully planned to kidnap schoolgirls in their town over some time.

“A week before the attack, soldiers protecting the town were moved elsewhere, leaving the town vulnerable. Nigerian security forces backed by military jets later arrived Dapchi and "chased away" the terrorists who had continued on a looting spree”.

Like Chibok, like Dapchi

News of the latest abduction of schoolgirls in a war ravaged northeast region of Nigeria, arrives four years after 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their hostel in Chibok, Borno State—a kidnap saga that sparked global outrage, spawned social media hashtags and daily sit-ins by the Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG).

In contrast, three days after schoolgirls from Dapchi remain unaccounted for, there’s been no commensurate outrage from the media, no street marches, no social media hashtags and worse, no statement of clarification from the presidency or the military authorities.

We have carried on as though kidnapping of school kids is the new normal. We have become inured to Boko Haram attacks, abductions and killings, it appears. We have become perniciously desensitized.

It’s a worrying state of affairs for our country when we begin to regard kidnappings as nothing worthy of outrage.

Learning in the northeast

On a recent trip to the northeast, I visited an all-girls school to have a firsthand feel of what it is like to acquire western education in a restive part of the country.

In every classroom, the girls looked so excited to learn. Their eyes shone brightly as we waved, most spoke fluent English as we interacted.

I recall cringing at the thought of terrorists arriving on trucks to corral them away and what that would do to their psyche and their chances of securing better lives for themselves.

That lot has befallen the students of Yobe and many other Boko Haram abductees now holed up somewhere in a vast Sambisa forest.

For starters, all towns in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa should be heavily policed and manned by military personnel. The military apparently dropped the ball in Dapchi.

The Nigerian presidency has to lead the charge in getting these girls back to safety and ensure we hear of no more abductions across the country.

We all have to ratchet up another round of advocacy to get these girls freed; because those 94 are us and we are them.

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