Is Nigeria Going To Witness What Happened In Iraq? Read This!!!

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Culled from PRI where they interviewed Nigerian Journalist and Lawyer Chude Jideonwo
It’s just shy of a hundred days since 276 girls in northern
Nigeria were abducted by Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group. And Nigeria
has seen more bombings and abductions since the girls vanished.
Just yesterday, Nigerian officials announced that another
group of girls and women, who were abducted a few weeks ago, actually managed
to escape. But journalist and lawyer Chude Jideonwo says it’s difficult to
distinguish fact from fiction in Nigeria’s many kidnapping cases.

“Three weeks ago, when these girls were kidnapped in a
village called Damboa, the Nigerian security forces denied the reports that
more women had been kidnapped,” Jideonwo says. “So it was really
strange to see the same forces now say that the women, that hadn’t been
kidnapped, had been released. It symbolizes the confusion behind the rescue
efforts.”
Jideonwo says the fate of the 276 girls kidnapped in
mid-April, the ones who gained worldwide attention, is equally unclear. In May,
Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said the armed
forces knew the exact location of the missing girls. But last week, another
military spokesperson admitted Nigerian officials did not know where the girls
were.
“It’s just a pretty distressing state of affairs,”
Jideonwo says. “It’s almost like they’re kidnapping the girls again.”
“It’s one thing to have these girls missing and for us
to be confident that every single best effort is being applied to solve this
problem,” he says. “And it’s another to have the girls missing and be
more convinced every day that those with the duties of finding the girls are as
confused as ever.”
Daily demonstrations in support of the missing girls are
still held in the Nigerian capital Abuja, under what Jideonwo calls “the
most relentless, shameful attacks by the Nigerian government.”
Nigerian banned demonstrations in support of the girls in
early June, but protestors took their case to court and received an injunction
against the government that kept the sit-ins going. In response, Jideonwo says,
Nigerian authorities withdrew security protection for the protestors and
shipped in counter-protestors who attacked those advocating on behalf of the
missing girls. 
But the Nigerian lawyer and journalist also blames his
country’s citizens for not maintaining sufficient resolve in the face of the
abductions and explosions that now rock the country’s major cities.
Jideonwo says he was appalled at the response to the bombing
in June in Abuja, which happened just before the World Cup. “We tweeted
for a few minutes and there was outrage, it trended and then we’re back to
watching football and tweeting about football,” he says. “We can’t
afford as citizens to let this become a way of life.”
He also wonders what lies ahead for his country. Jideonwo
recalls a conversation he had with an Israeli stranger in an elevator, who said
to him, “You see what’s happening in Iraq? It looks like Boko Haram wants
to do the same in Nigeria … the Islamists want to run down your country and
take over the government.”
Jideonwo says his immediate reaction was disbelief. “It
can never happen, you know, because it is just a fringe group in the
northeast,” he told the Israeli man.
The Israeli answered, “Well, that’s how it started in
other parts of the world. And if your government isn’t winning the war, isn’t
stopping the bombs from spreading to other states, then give me one good reason
why what is happening with ISIS in Iraq will not happen with Boko Haram in
Nigeria.”
Jideonwo says his ultimate response was stark.
“Honestly, I take no pleasure in saying this — I honestly couldn’t and
still can’t think of a legitimate, logical response to such a question,”
he says. “Because no matter what the government tries to say in Nigeria,
we are not winning this war against terror.”
Still, Jideonwo stays he hasn’t given up hope that the girls
might be rescued.
“For me, they are a symbol of a steady march toward
anarchy. I take no pleasure in using bombastic words, but that is the reality
of our situation,” he says.
“It’s a steady march. They represent for us our failure
as citizens because many of us allowed the government to get away with these
things. We let them divide us on the basis of religion and ethnicity.”
If those girls are rescued and brought back home, he says,
“then the bit of faith we have in our country and its future can begin to
be restored.”

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