Four years after Chibok

April 16, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Prince Charles Dickson



All idiots are morons, but not all morons are idiots.



Over the last four years I have done a sizable amount of work on not just Boko Haram but also the Chibok girls, killings, abductions and Nigeria’s conflict torn Northwest region.


For the purpose of this admonition let me quickly share what I would like to call some quick facts of the matter as it is. I do not expect it to go down well with many, but truth be told, what’s the essence of an opinion if it is made so that it goes down with everyone?


Some of those quick facts include, but are not limited to, the following: That girls were indeed abducted from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, and that the figures are conflicting, it is even safe to conclude that no one knows the exact number of girls abducted not even the government, even Boko Haram has lost count of their damage.


Before Chibok, Boko Haram had established a tradition of abducting girls and women, for countless reasons, the authorities were quiet, the media reported a few it could, and let me tell us many parents equally kept quiet and took it all in their stride.


This writer had interviewed several girls and women who were victims; they escaped one way or the other.


I equally know that for a fact many believe that Mr. Buhari and the ‘North’ however defined was and is Boko Haram, and that with Buhari now as president, the girls would be found. And many still don’t understand the whole Dapchi episode and Leah who was left behind.


Others are also firm that the whole Boko Haram thing was PDP, a political arrangement, after all it was the late Abacha who propounded that theory of “if killings go on for so, so and so time, the government knows about it, or are behind it.”


Did the late Gen. Azazi not even help by stating it was PDP and he was “killed”?


Okay, another fact I know is that some are equally certain it is an Islamic quest, or conquest and jihad. The same as those who believe it was Jonathan and his Christians bent on killing all Muslims in the North.


The cruel fact is that several hundreds of girls, who are victims of this terrible group, have paid the ultimate price. A few have escaped with almost irreparable damage, others have become part of them, and we have not done much.


It is equally a fact that one of the many reasons Boko Haram may continue for a while is because many still do not know what the group is all about; does it have an ideology, what is it really about…a CIA conspiracy or a thing about poverty?


I also know that based on what is out there, many experts on the subject matter are foreigners and one wonders.


The questions are many, but as we continue to run commentary on the #bringbackourgirls advocacy, reminding us of the Chibok girls, I cannot but feel for the real parents, how many are now making money out of them. How a part and not all of the campaign has become like many a CSO thing–a source of income, with the Nigerian factor at work.


I also pray knowing for a fact that there are those space and security won’t allow me to mention their names because they have remain dedicated to the cause–like Bukky, Oby, Rotimi, Dayo Aiyetan of ICIR, true men and women of our security forces.


I do not always believe former Olusegun Obasanjo, but I agree with him when he asserts, “many, most, half of these girls will never come back…” That is a fact! A sizable number have passed on, sadly so.


You and I know that after drama such as that of the one time Defence Chief’s statement that the girls’ location was now known but as usual, bla, bla, bla and bla.


And the drama of what I call the international week of Boko Haram—the week where the United States, UK, France, China, Togo, were all willing to help, and how the drones were droning. Nothing happened!


As it hits four years, I recall the dramatic negotiation and Chadian ballet between Modu Sheriff, Idriss Deby and Jonathan, for a fact it simply occurred to me that we are not really a serious people on matters that we should be serious. The fact is, one simple answer, many of our tales of nationhood look like that of morons and idiots…


Its four years now; the Chibok parents continue grieving and mourning, but it is really more of bewilderment and pain as they do not exactly know the situation of their wards.


In four years we have lost men and officers, more villagers have been killed and loads of propaganda, half-truths, misinformation and sheer falsehoods, fights between the now opposition PDP, and governing APC; even the air force has accused the army of taking their shine. The army has had a mutinous situation, local media vs. foreign media, and Christians/Muslims. But the fact is that we do not have the Chibok girls.


In the last four years, until recently, the daredevil Boko Haram group seems to have had the edge sadly, making all sorts of demands, releasing videos and creating more confusion.


Meetings were held in Paris; committees were set up, ‘dia was god’, Obama spoke, Michelle added her voice, so many stars, celebrities and a few nobodies like me but as we mark the four year anniversary, the fact is that some girls just disappeared.


They were abducted because our institutions are not working the way it should. The girls will/may not be found because we are not sincere people, and because many of them are dead, and because we are largely, and easily divided by our selfish motives.


We all engage in blame games, but let us remember that the longer we are on this Chibok saga we only portray ourselves as morons and idiots. Will we be talking about Chibok by December 2018, or will we hear the real story, the true story—only time will tell.






Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

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