The over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014.According to recent revelations, the United of States of America and the United Kingdom knew where some of the abducted Chibok girls were kept for a while, but did nothing to save them.
The over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014.
The disclosure was made by former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocockwhile speaking to The Sunday Times.
“A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American eye in the sky spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa Forest, around a very large tree, called locally the Tree of Life, along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment,” Pocock said.
“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed, an air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so to the girls.
“You might have rescued a few but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment — 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” he added.
Pocock also told Christina Lamb, who conducted the investigation for The Sunday Times, that the information was passed on to the Nigerian government but they didn’t ask for help.
He also said that the US and UK governments felt nothing could be done to rescue the girls.
The unfortunate truth however is that the western governments didn’t rescue the girls because Nigeria did not care enough. Would the girls have been left there if they were Americans? Would they have been left there if they were British? Why should the US and the UK have cared about the Chibok girls when the Nigerian government obviously didn’t?
The ineffectiveness of the Nigerian government with regards to the girls’ rescue was highlighted by US President, Barack Obama during an interview with popular YouTube sensations, Bethany Mota, GloZell, and Hank Green on January 22, 2015.
“The Nigerian government has not been as effective as it needs to be in not only finding the girls, but also stopping this extremist organization from operating inside their territory,” Obama said in response to a question raised by Mota about the Chibok girls and their abductors, Boko Haram.
This sentiment was also expressed in December 2014 by former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo who criticized his successor, Goodluck Jonathan for failing to act quickly to rescue the girls.
“It is unfortunate. What I have said to Jonathan before and what I have said also in my letter – and I have said it several times – is that, once active and concrete action was not taken within 48 hours, a period of 72 hours was already too late,” Obasanjo said during an interview with Rosie Collyer of Radio France Internationale (RFI).
“We will never be able to get those girls again. And the story of those girls will go on for the next 30 years. Some of them will come out when they are adults or they will be sent back when they are pregnant by those who have captured them. If anyone is thinking of being able to get those girls released intact, he must be day dreaming,” he added.
“The former president heard about the kidnap 8am in the morning of the abduction but failed to act until 72 hours later and by then it was too late,” Obasanjo said again on February 5, 2016.
The Goodluck Jonathan administration first of all denied the abduction, then lied about rescuing the girls, then claimed the abduction was being used for political blackmail, then attempted to ride on the hashtag created for the girls (#BringBackOurGirls) to get re-elected, it was a grandiose and well publicized show of shame.
The governments of the US and the UK can’t and shouldn’t be blamed for refusing to rescue the girls because no one should have to help someone who refuses to help himself.
Nigeria was insensitive to the plight of the abducted girls, so what right do we have to demand that outsiders help us?
The Nigerian government has earned a reputation for not valuing its citizens’ lives, and until that culture changes, it would be unfair and downright preposterous to ask foreigners to do the opposite.