As I am prone to do with my opinion pieces, I state a disclaimer; these are simply ramblings of an overworked lawyer who gets her brain fried under the hot Lagos sun daily. Permit me to exercise my inherent right of freedom of expression.
Having gotten that out of the way, I will dive straight in; this piece is not to remind us about the length of time the abducted Chibok girls have been gone, neither is it about how well or not the Nigerian government has performed or even about all the humanitarian and human rights activists’ efforts that have been contributed towards ensuring their freedom by various organisations. Far from it, I have an impression that we have all been inundated with the on-goings of all the above;
This piece is simply an avenue to air out a gnawing train of thought that has made this writer have stray thoughts one time too many- We all clamor for our girls to be brought back altruistically and nobly, however, I would like to ask a question many of us do not think is important: Bring back our girls to what exactly?!!!!
|Credit – amnestyinternational.org
Before I have the crowd calling for my head, take a minute and think:
It will be agreed, myself being female, that the predicament of women is somewhat fragile in the society, this has nothing to do with the strength or mental acuity of women; it is a simple fact of being! Bearing this in mind, we have a group of young girls, unprotected, impressionable, young in soul and mind in an environment such as a terrorist camp; it can only be imagined the extent of horror to which they are prone to; rape, slavery, mistreatment and all sorts of inhumane treatment. Some of them will be pregnant, some of them will have their once innocent souls ripped out, replaced by hardened minds and spirits that have been molded different either through false doctrines or untold psychological hardship!
The girls who were taken away, I assure you, are not the same girls who are to be brought back.
Now, stating the stark reality before us as a nation: We are simply not equipped to handle this situation! What institution has been set up to provide the requisite psychological, physiological and mental support that these girls require? What schools will these girls attend when they return to us; a school that will nurture them, cocoon them, recalibrate their minds, a school that we will all admit we need because their impression of what a school was before they were taken, I assure you, is not the same impression they have now!! What medical help and assistance is on ground to provide healthcare to these girls? Who will stitch those who have been sore, who will give the requisite medication if they arise to treat any ailments, what tests will be carried out to ensure that the good health of these ladies have not been compromised?
Most importantly, to cut my ramblings short; to what society are you bringing them back to? I am sorry to say but as much as I am Nigerian, I do not have the requisite faith in Nigerians to say we can shoulder the necessary responsibility of providing a supportive society to cushion the effects of the trauma these girls must have been through; our society is prone to creating stigmas and labels, this is not to say we are not empathic people, we just have not learnt to be any better; if your son says he has found a wife who was a victim of the chibok kidnap ,would the average Nigerian parent embrace his decision? The community to which these girls will return, will they treat them like outcasts? What of the children of these girls for those who are pregnant or are mothers, will they be embraced wholly? Will the very relatives of these girls be patient and empathetic enough to accommodate any of the girls who have been radicalized bearing in mind that only time can heal deep wounds?
I could go on and on but I believe enough is contained here to foster a train of thought as to the structural aid we need to rehabilitate these girls and indeed, rehabilitation is what is required. To not be a doomsayer, I will attempt to voice out a solution I harbor in mind no matter how implausible it may seem: If we cannot provide the requisite structure to restore these girls, can we at least agree that we should invest in moving these girls to an environment where this can be provided? I already foresee the unpleasant reactions to this piece. Nonetheless, the truth is the truth!! We have cried #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS, let’s begin to also cry, more importantly: #RESTOREOURGIRLS!!