The warning and appeal by the Nigerian Army to the people of the North-East to stop donating their daughters to Boko Haram to be used as suicide bombers speaks to the malady afflicting African societies, especially in this case, Nigeria, on the place of women in our everyday lives. The fear of discrimination against the girl child is real. And for a parent to decide to give away his or her child to a murderous gang like the terror group shows the importance we attach to our girl-children in particular, and women in general. By this appeal, it is now clear that our people still see girl-children as dispensable. This piece of news is horrific and should arouse serious and continuous condemnation and education.
As the story goes, the Nigerian Army has appealed to religious, traditional and community leaders, as well as all well-meaning Nigerians, especially in the North-East of the country, to help dissuade people from donating their daughters or wards, to Boko Haram terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions. The shocking revelation was contained in official statement of the Federal Government awareness platform, PRNigeria on Saturday and signed by the Director of Army Information, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman. This appeal became necessary in view of recent revelations by some intercepted female suicide bombers during interrogations.
It was discovered that most of these hapless minors were “donated” to the terrorists group by their uninformed, heartless and misguided parents and guardians, as part of their contribution to the perpetuation of Boko Haram terrorism and the group’s dastardly acts against the Nigerian state and humanity.
What these parents and guardians have been accused of engaging in are not only barbaric, but condemnable and unacceptable. Nigerians have a responsibility and obligation to collectively mould our children and wards and define a better future for them rather than condemning them to certain death by Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathisers through suicide bombings. Consequently, the statement enjoined the public to kindly be more vigilant, security conscious and report any suspicious persons or those whose daughters or female wards are missing or have not been seen recently. Reports can be lodged by calling 193 on any Nigerian telecommunications network.
This information is such that should be taken seriously. Apart from the security implications, it is important that people of the North East are made to understand the consequences of their action. This unfortunately also proves that we have not done very well in winning the hearts and minds of everyday people in the general area of the war on terror. The people still seems to be beholden of Boko Haram. This is a testament that is too bitter to swallow. The country has committed trillions of naira to fund the war in that region. Lives and properties have been destroyed. Several years down the line and when it seems we have made tremendous progress in bringing closure to the war; then this sort of news pops out! It is chilling to say the least.
We are aware however that terrorism does not quite end like conventional warfare. Its an ideological war thus speaks to the belief system of the individual convert. More resources and skills should therefore be devoted to positive propaganda. We need to move faster than the terrorists. We need to tell the people the good and do good to the people. We cannot afford to be complacent about this war at any time. It is dangerous to slack, we must fix our gaze on the ball. The girls and women of this area have suffered too much adversities in the hands of the terrorists. This cannot continue, however, it is good the Army has identified this worrisome behaviour. The state governments in conjunction with the federal government, private sector and community organisations must join hands to stop this attitude from spreading and eventually contain it. We must win the war on Boko Haram and our people must elevate the girl child and women as a whole.
The public is also reminded that the Nigerian Army’s offer and reward of the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00) to anybody that brings information about suicide bombing, is still available.