African Outlook Online

Letters to the editor

Bring Back Our Girls: A Call for Urgent Action

Bring Back Our Girls: A Call for Urgent Action

 

By Damola Morenikeji

It was unexpected. More than a week ago, over a hundred girls were abducted from the gated Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a town in Borno State, north-east Nigeria. Till date, their fate is still being laid on faith.

I am disturbed that not only are there still conflicting data as to the number of girls – any of whom could have been our sister, daughter, niece or cousin – abducted, but the adverse effect of that incident on qualitative education and learning.

 

UNESCO’s Education for All 2013/4 Global monitoring report informs that about 5.5 million Nigerian girls are not of school. With over 10 million Nigerian children missing out of basic education, there has to be proactive urgent action to ensure that our children - who are reflections of our future - are not only in school but educated in a secured environment that encourages continuous learning and education.

 

The psychological trauma caused by this abduction and its consequential adverse effect on the abducted girls, their families and other young people within our country calls for huge concerns. Every additional day used in detention increases their risk of suffering from confusion, impaired concentration - and memory - hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety, fear, emotional imbalance, depression and withdrawal from the larger society.

 

While it is assumed that the Nigerian defence systems are making frantic efforts to bring back our girls, there is an urgent need for a consistent change in strategy – as situation demands. Bringing back our girls involves red-alert actions to be taken by government, both at the state and the center.

 

The Nigerian government should - if need be - involve other stakeholders in proffering a solution to this menace. Result oriented actions have to be taken urgently. The inaction, or late actions of all concerned tend to pose serious danger to national security, security of our collective lives and properties, and may make our environment devoid of increased creativity, fueling ignorance, illiteracy and poverty.

 

If decisive actions are not taken now, another generation of young Nigerians may be exposed to civil unrest, unemployment, poverty and increased vulnerability.

 

The life of every young person is important to our future; please bring back our girls.

 

Damola Morenikeji is a Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School and Team Leader of All for Development Foundation. He writes from Abeokuta, Nigeria and tweets via @DamolaMore