Chibok schoolgirls: What government should have done

Missing School girls - Chibok youths protests in LagosBy Onyinye Ough

It has been three weeks (23 days) since over 200 young secondary school girls were abducted in Chibok, Borno state. The government’s response has been disappointing resulting in nationwide protests. There are many immediate actions that the Nigerian government should have taken to demonstrate its commitment as well as help in bringing back the girls home. They include the following: A nationwide presidential broadcast should have been given immediately after receiving the news of the abducted girls.

No time ought to have been wasted. The military should have been mobilized immediately to go into the Sambisa forest (where it is believed that the girls were initially taken) rather than allowing parents with no military training to do so. The government should have urgently requested for help from the international community to join forces with its military.

A counselling center should have been set up for the families of the abducted girls. The government should have briefed Nigerians daily on progress being made to bring back the girls. It should have worked with the school and families of the abducted girls to determine the names and numbers of the missing girls and not blame traumatized parents for being uncooperative. Immediate responses like these are what Nigerians expect from its government. Setting up a committee weeks after the girls had been abducted is not the solution. In addition, arresting protesters fighting for the release of the girls is unacceptable and insensitive.

The Nigerian government needs to improve its intelligence gathering and the military’s capacity to handle terrorism issues. One of the main functions of government is to provide security for its people. It is the right of every Nigerian to have good security. Nigerians need proper action now from its government. Please bring back our girls home.

Mrs. Onyinye Ough, a development expert, anti-corruption blogger, and publisher of the Step Up Nigeria blog

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