The #BringBackOurGirls protest happening on social media is hard to ignore. Nigerians both home and abroad are singing the same tune; over 200 of our daughters are missing and we want them back. No fanfare, no dramatic music or special effects; just that simple message in one voice, regardless of religious or ethnic affiliation.
There are very few instances in which Nigerians have come together to speak as one voice. The 2012 Fuel subsidy protest is probably the closest thing to the current campaign going on for the missing girls. For a country divided along ethnic and religious sentiment, this is highly commendable and the first step in probably recognizing how interdependent we are on one another. The quote “united we stand, divided we fall” readily comes to mind here.
The case of the missing Chibok girls speaks to the core of who we are. It reminds us that we are first and foremost human beings. Not Africans, Nigerians, Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba, just human beings coexisting in time and space. Family is a significant part of human existence, and losing a member of the family unit is a harrowing experience for anyone. The missing Chibok girls are our sisters, daughters, nieces, friends, and future mothers. THEY ARE US!! To stay silent in the wake of their disappearance is tantamount to not caring about the welfare of your loved ones.
#BringBackOur Girls is recognition of the fact that all human life is valuable, and there is no reason why the government should ignore the plight of these young ladies. Unlike the victims of the Nyanya bomb blast that passed away, something can actually be done about this situation. To think that the initial response to the news that the girls had gone missing was silence and business as usual from the government was a resounding slap on the face of the nation, who a few days prior had suffered a tragedy.
To quote BBC News:
There cannot be many countries where the political leaders stay as silent following such a tragedy. So far, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said more about the Chibok attack than Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan
#BringBackOurGirls is a response to that silence. It is a refusal on the part of Nigerians to let these girls become another casualty figure. It is a stand in solidarity with the parents of the missing girls to let them know that Nigerians feel their pain, they are not alone, and that their daughters are ours as well. They are not “northern girls,” or “Hausa girls,” or “Muslim girls”. They are our sisters, daughters, nieces, future mothers, engineers, journalists, teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. THEY ARE US!!!