–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:
It was Dele Giwa, the assassinated journalist and founding Editor-in-Chief of the Newswatch magazine that wrote an article with a near similar title on what he thought to be strange in our clime, during his heydays.
Paul Akhalu, one of the magazine’s ace photographers was badly beaten, robbed and pushed out of a moving cab in the heart of Lagos Island by some dare-devil robbers.This was in the mid-eighties. Dele felt that the worst has happened to our collective peace and security and the freedom to move around in broad daylight was gone. He described it as “the death of innocence”.
Little did he know that in a few decades from then, peace and security will not only be dead in Nigeria but be cremated.
It is exactly four years now when Leah Sharibu, in her innocence, was adopted together with 109 others from the Science Technical school Dapchi, Yobe state by Boko Haram. While others were returned, Leah was held back by her captors on the account that she refused to denounce her Christian faith like the others did. Despite several promises by the government of the day to bring her back to the waiting arms of her emotionally devastated parents, up until now nothing happened.
Leah Sharibu has become a metaphor for state failure and neglect; a painful adjective to describe the frustration of being a Nigerian. And this has become an excruciating pain on our groin as a nation. So sad!
How can we explain to the then 14-year-old girl that her captors’ claws have become more lethal and invincible than the protective apparatus of the state in which she was born?
How disappointed will she feel to realise that she’s been forced into a marriage against her wish because of her faith in a secular nation such as ours?
As we mark the fourth anniversary of that evil, let everyone that has a conscience pray for Leah’s soon return while we continue to drum it into the forgetful minds of those who swore to an oath to protect us all.
- Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online
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