This Chibok Girls Scam written by: Simbo Olorunfemi

Why not simply call it what it is? Why not simply call it a scam? Why this tortuous merry-go-round attempt at intellection in at attempt to not take a position in tandem with a conclusion already most likely made in private?

I read a friend on this platform this morning. A Journalist. And I am sad. Not at his position. Sad. At how politics can come between premise and conclusion and send a pretence at logic spiralling down the slope. Sad. That the writer is not even able to see it.

So, he says, among other things, “the Chibok story was good only for the press. And the press did their best on Chibok story given the political circumstance. Woe betides any reporter to look into the armpit of the damsel. Right from independence, Nigerian press is a protest press. The opposition always get the best of our press. Why? Nigerian press is constantly in search of good people to rule Nigeria.”

Really? Even though in his conclusion, he says that “the Chibok story is the story of the sad abduction of young women in the entire north, not Chibok town alone,” but how does that correlate with the other canvassed positions about the Chibok story being that of the APC?

First, the Chibok story is not the story of the sad abduction of young women in the entire north. No! That sounds more like an attempt to minimise what happened as in no other place did a crime of such magnitude to such group occur.

But he coming to that conclusion is not strange as he had queried much of what is in the public domain. He asks- “How many schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok school? Only God knows. The Principal was in the employment of an APC Governor. The narrative was however weakened by the disclosure that the abducted Chibok girls were writing WAEC when they were abducted. WAEC always keep recent passport photographs of their candidates for proper invigilation. But, WAEC saw the politics and wisely kept a sealed lip on whether or not 280 students were writing its papers at Chibok during the abduction….So, the Chibok story was the winning APC story. The Chibok story was the story of the opposition.”

Now, even as there was a lot of confusion about the circumstances of the abduction, numbers and all that, but a lot of that has continued to remain so on the strength of ignorance freely peddled, activities by mischief makers and neophyte-conspiracy theorists.

Now, what do we know? On the night of 14–15 April 2014, a group of Boko Haram militants attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. For those with an elementary knowledge of the geopolitics of Borno, that is a part of the state largely populated by Christians, where there is a higher inclination for Western education.

WAEC confirms that 530 students from multiple villages registered for SSCE in the school.Candidates were from 5 areas –Ashigashiya, Izge, Chibok, Waraba A, and Lassa. Following the incident, WAEC confirmed through its Head, National Office to have provided the government with picture, names and date of birth of each of the abducted girls. The information I share here is in the public domain for anyone interested enough to dig.To claim that WAEC kept sealed lips is simply false

Of course, when the incident happened, there was a lot of confusion on how many were there and how many were abducted. Not unusual, I would think. Some of the students had left the dormitories having completed their examinations. Some were day-students anyway. Not all the girls in the hostel still had papers to write. Then, given the fact that the school was largely burnt down, including the administrative building where records were kept, it is a no-brainer that there were difficulties with coming up with exact figures. But by the 2nd of May, about 2 weeks after, the Police was confident enough to say that “approximately 276 children were taken in the attack, of whom 53 had escaped as of 2 May.” Again, this information is in the public domain for anyone interested enough.

Now, a number of the people who push this narrative about a scam are people who claim to be Christians. Perhaps they do not know enough to know that the claim that these Christians in Chibok will be in alliance with some others in Borno of different orientation and persuasion to scam their hero and bear this pain for these years is a display of ignorance. It is simply callous and stupid to make light of what these people have gone through.

It is instructive that the first list of the abducted was released to the media and public by the former chairman of Northern States Christian and Elders Forum (NOCSEF), an affiliate of CAN, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, a no-nonsense man I know well enough to let people know that the major victims are Christians. An irony that many of those who call the abduction of other Christians a scam are people who profess to be Christians themselves. Rather than be at the forefront of the call to bring back our girls, they were busy spinning theories. Unbelievable.

I do not know whatever it is that motivates people to spin some of these outlandish conspiracy theories, but whatever it is cannot be from a good place. You are so smart. You are such a brilliant scam-detector that you are able to see through this scam that foreign countries, including their intelligence agencies, international institutions, NGOS, ICRC and foreign media have fallen for. You need to put this talent to better use. Sad.

I refrained from a comment on my friend’s page out of deference for his person and the muddle that is often thrown up on account of simply putting facts out that some feel uncomfortable with.

The Chibok story is the story of young ladies taken away from their families because we failed them as a country. It is the story of families torn apart, in excruciating pain, blaming themselves for daring to dream to better the lives of their children through education. The Chibok story is the story of Nigeria failing her children.

This response is only for the records.

Simbo Olorunfemi works for Hoofbeatdotcom, a Nigerian Communications Consultancy and publishers of Africa Enterprise .

Twitter: @simboolorunfemi

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