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THE CHIBOK CHILDREN & THE MOTHERS CRY

First we need to give thanks for the efforts and concern shown by the “Mothers Cry” in the recent past. Special greetings from the Chibok mothers and their families whose gratitude cannot be expressed in words. Villages and entire communities were lifted when they heard that Nigerian Mothers had gathered in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Benin for a prayer program on their behalf. Subsequent reports and developments after the prayer session of the 28th of June show that there is indeed a God above that hears and answers prayers. We however must not rest on our oars but continue to forge forward until total peace is restored. The message that is coming directly from Chibok in this hour is a simple question. “How long does it take for truth to overcome lies?” This is a question that every Nigerian will have to answer in the days ahead because the residents of Chibok have waited and waited for the triumph of truth over falsehood but it seems now that all hope is lost. These beleaguered Nigerian citizens have been sending distress calls since last week and the simple desire of many parents in Chibok is that we must assist them in evacuating their children from the war zone so that their family names would not perish forever. The number of requests we are processing is numbered in the hundreds and fast approaching the thousand mark. The report coming from credible sources is that life has become a living hell in Chibok. The citizens sleep in the forests and the mountains at night to escape the marauding boko haram militia who are systematically looting and burning the villages and hamlets. Hunted like animals day and night these Nigerian citizens have not been able to plant their seasonal crops because the farms are not safe either.

Still reeling from the shock and emotional trauma of the demonic mass abduction of their daughters on the 14th of April 2014 the Chibokians have watched things turn from bad to worse with the passage of time. Hopes had spiked when the news of international intervention forces was announced but the hope has since been replaced by depression when the reality dawned on Chibok. The most respected of the foreign nations are jaw-jawing in Abuja and the few delegations that have made token forays into Borno state are dining with suspect officials. The murder of Chibokians and further abductions have been stepped up and it is now clear that a genocide agenda is being executed with the tacit approval of the powers that be. With soldiers in Nigerian uniform gunning down survivors in neighboring communities (Attagara) around Chibok the people living on the target corridor in the North East are truly on their own.

Working through the Gabasawa Women and Children Initiative we had done extensive work in the North Eastern States for more than a decade. Our program for the education sponsorship of disadvantaged children irrespective of tongue or creed had exceeded seven thousand scholarships before the Chibok affair broke out. We had extracted dozens out of the war zone to give them medicals and trauma counsel and most were returned to Chibok and environs at their own requests. What everyone thought was a temporary terror attack has now become an entrenched and prolonged war. The greater challenge is that the Nigerian Army troops have not shown up for the war leaving the citizens concerned at the mercy of an implacable enemy. One does not have to be a military strategist to see that the Islamist army is clearing a wide corridor occupied by majority non-Muslim populations and it is has also unleashed it terror machine on peace loving neighbor Muslim communities to eliminate protestors. The stress has become unbearable and many are dying of shock while others are developing mental disorders in the kill zone. The rising casualty toll has prompted the affected communities to accept their fate but are demanding for the evacuation of their children. The sheer numbers involved however makes it a daunting issue.

We have been in meetings with a State Governor in Southern Nigeria to explore the possibility of accommodating the boko haram victims but the processes required will take some time and the situation in Borno state in getting uglier by the second. While the processes are being perfected for the relocation of affected persons to the refuge community we are again propelled to turn to the Matriarchs of the Nation for help. We have turned to the Nigerian matriarchs because they have a reservoir of empathy that can reach beyond politics and other social concerns to secure a future for the endangered children. We seek this partnership to drive the extraction process of our people from the war zone in hope that they will be able to return to their homesteads when Nigeria wins the war against boko haram. We pray that the cry of the Chibok parents for the salvation of their children will find approval in the Mothers Cry program.

We are setting up a funding program to assist in the extraction of those who are applying for help. We are already processing requests and the design structure is such that children and women are given priority in the extraction and relocation process. One of the features we designed is an anonymous adoption program whereby participants can undertake the sponsorship of chosen individuals for extraction and relocation. We also provide the opportunity for sponsors to help resettle the partners in a location and vocation that is approved till the peace returns.

Based on our assessment of the current situation we are urging all citizens to work together across all divides of politics, religion and ethnic definitions to defend the lives of our citizens and uphold the promise of the future. At the present moment vehicular traffic to the designated villages in the North East is practically nil and we would have to arrange for convoys to evacuate the children. Burial ceremonies are now being conducted by women as the men are being killed at a fast pace. This is not the time for acrimonious harangues or finger pointing. Bridge builders need to work fast to create the synergy needed for our nation to survive this uninvited war. We also need to reassess the foreign participants in the ongoing drama and realign our strategies. It would only stand to reason that genocide proceedings should have been initiated against the boko haram so that the residents of the North East can be empowered to defend their territories to argument the military effort. The present priority is however the extraction of children and mothers from the war zone. This can be done with excellent results if God permits.

 

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