(Quora) How can we save the missing Nigerian girls?

Until we care and the nation stands still because of one death and one kidnapping, male or female, young or old, 276--or the more twitter-friendly 234--is just a number.

'Laolu Samuel-Biyi
(Quora) How can we save the missing Nigerian...

My answer here:

It’s not really a lack of regard for women; it’s more a complete disregard for people in general here in Nigeria. Yesterday, driving on my way to work, I caught a glimpse of a naked man writhing on the floor at a busy bus stop near 2 major banks and a market, 1 mile from Nigeria’s biggest bridge. He was minutes away from his death, but the multitude at the bus stop was more concerned about securing a seat on the next bus. Like the other people, I didn’t make a call. Heck, I don’t even know who or where to call.

5 minutes into my drive, I listened listen to the traffic radio and heard the reporter calling on the ‘authorities’ to ‘do something’ about another dead body on a busy highway which is very ‘offensive’ to the sight. The circumstances around his death are not offensive; he’s just unpleasant to everyone’s sight.

That’s two in one day, within a 50-mile radius, in one city in the smallest state in the country by geographical size. Multiply that by a few hundred to get a sense of the gore that Nigerians encounter every day. Take an inter-state road-trip, and your chance of encountering a toppled bus with a few dead people on the road is on the flip of a coin. Nigerians are now insensitive to bad news.

Now, >200 girls have been abducted, in a region where nobody seems to really care about. Days earlier, a bomb blast killed dozens of commuters in the capital, and another blast occurred in the same location within a week. A few days ago, 8-11 younger girls were kidnapped again… Nobody cares about the treatment of the bomb blast victims, nobody knows the names of the other 8 girls kidnapped; no official statement from the government for 3 weeks.

The case of the >200 girls went viral, thankfully, and many only jumped on the bandwagon because it became fashionable to do so. Our celebrities weren’t that vocal until American celebs began Instagramming. It was in the news, petitions were online etc., but without international attention and the general external fascination (as with the Malaysian plane), Nigerians and the Nigerian government would have long forgotten about these girls.

Personally, I feel terrible about the kidnapping.. and the dead men on the street, and a whistle-blower that was recently arrested and is possibly languishing in jail… I lament about the government and will possibly join a protest if it’s nearby, but that’s about the most I can do outside a mass uprising (Arab style). We have a government for situations like this. It’s their responsibility to muster all will to go out and protect citizens, asking for international help when needed. We can only continue to put them under pressure and make life uncomfortable for them if they don’t do their jobs.

Also, I wonder what the local and global reaction would be if we lost 276 young boys… we’d probably have written them off as the newest recruits of the terrorist group before any hashtag is created. Until we care and the nation stands still because of one death and one kidnapping, male or female, young or old, 276–or the more twitter-friendly 234–is just a number.

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  • The Cursed Bridge – My Thoughts

    […] be desensitized to absurdities. Following the abduction of the Chibok girls 8 years ago, I wrote this response to a question on Quora effectively dismissing it as no big deal. You would have had to live in a […]

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