Like everyone else, I’m horrified at what has happened to these girls from Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.  I’m appalled at the way the government has – or rather, has not – handled the matter. 

But I’m also encouraged at the number of online petitions in many different countries, and the response of both the States and Britain in providing support.  Thankfully, this terrible act is not being forgotten by the world’s media.  I’m the first to complain about them:  let me give credit where it’s due.

Boko Haram is a violent, merciless organisation intent on imposing Muslim Shari’a law in its harshest form in N Nigeria, which is largely Muslim anyway.  They don’t stop at abducting schoolgirls, but plant bombs all over the country, including the capital Abuja, killing innocent civilians.  They have now abducted more girls from a different school.

They recently released a video in which they boasted of what they had done.  Their leader said that Allah was telling him to take these girls and make them into wives.  That is their purpose:  they should not be educated, and especially, they should not receive western-style education.  ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘western education is forbidden’.

I would like them to tell us where in their holy book the Qu’ran their prophet Mohammed (BAPUH) licenses his followers to abduct and enslave young girls.

Then there is the reaction of the Nigerian government and the President, Goodluck Jonathan.  He appears to have done nothing, and has resisted offers of help from the west for 3 weeks, although he is now in the process of accepting it.  He says his government has been infiltrated by Boko Haram – this may sound like a feeble excuse to us, but he may well be right.

On top of this came the reaction of his wife, who offered to meet two of the leading mothers.  She invited then to come to Abuja (a journey of 400 miles) and when they arrived, told one woman immediately that she would deal with her later.  The woman was detained in custody.

I believe this story.  These women have been at the forefront of criticising the government’s lack of action and specifically, the inertia of the President.  You don’t criticise the elite in Nigeria and  get away with it. 

Fortunately, the woman was later released.  But some of us can’t help wondering.  If the media of the world had not taken up this story, if they had not headlined it time and again, if the actions of the President were not being scrutinised and criticised at a global level …

… would anything at all have been done?  Or would the loss of the girls and the detention of the mother been allowed to sink into oblivion, like so much else?

There is also the behaviour of the army in the north.  They too can be brutal and the way they have gone about the task of hunting down Boko Haram has caused a great deal of suffering and fear.  I have found myself at gunpoint by members of the Nigeria army and we’ve experienced their methods at first-hand.

The terrorists will say, of course, that it’s none of our business.  Who are we to point the finger?  After all, we have persecuted  Muslims in the past.  Indeed, the help given by the States and our own country will simply be another nail in the coffin:  by doing so, we are once more showing them that we  are anti-Islam.

Meanwhile hundreds of young teenage girls are being terrified and abused, and thousands of people are being killed by Boko Haram bombs.

I have lived in N Nigeria, in Borno State.  My heart goes out to those who suffer.  And I feel so angry that so little has been done for the north for so long by corrupt governments who line their own pockets and do not address the dire poverty in so much of the country, and especially in the arid north. 

I wish there were an easy answer, but there isn’t.  Those of us who care about Nigeria have much to pray for.

(image from khaama.com)



  1. Yes I’ve been signing petitions too about these girls and also praying like mad for them and for their families…. and praying for a change of heart of those evil Boko Haram people….. it really is just too horrendous to contemplate…. those poor girls will be absolutely traumatised for the rest of their lives wherever and however they will spend them…. it is just so awful that the woman was locked up too….. after travelling all that distance. Can only pray…… and keep signing the petitions and supporting them.


  2. In the years of 1964-65 my husband was stationed at Kano to help with the first NASA astronauts who would be taking up the very first capsules into Space and back. We were so very near to the great desert and even the golf course was made of sand! The Kano Club had an incredible swimming pool that was rarely cleaned and we would swim to cool off. In the pool were cantharides beetles along with frogs and slime! But we were SO hot. We wives were never allowed to see our husbands during the three weeks of a launch so we would share one house with the children on one bed, and various rooms and places to sleep, hopefully in safety. We had already seen the upheaval of Zanzibar in 1960-62 when they were told that emancipation would soon be there. We Americans had to leave very quickly from Zanzibar.
    Same happened in Kano. After rather an interesting eight months we heard rumors of fighting outside the town. A month later, we wives were sent home for it seems the Muslims were fighting with the Christians. The American men had to stay behind and dismantle the air-to-ground communications which took over a month. They paid Nigerians to guard the compound until all was stripped.
    It was all very sad for I received a begging letter three months after, asking if only I could send enough money for our Christian housekeeper to leave Kano with his family. Alas, I was told not to send money for it could be a ruse. All I could do was pray. No phones or computer in 1964-65 and I lived with sorrow, as I also always lived in sorrow after leaving our ‘dearest servants’ anywhere we were sent. WE were ordered to have as many workers as we could think of for we were given permission to start an air-to-ground on their country.
    Our planet was so beautiful back then, for a lot of our places were unknown and far away from cities.
    Wherever we were sent, the working people of that country were always forgotten and without the clothes they wear now, and most of all always hungry, and forever fighting.
    By the way, dear GillyK, there is a special write-up of Shimon this week. I loved one of his sayings which you have most probably already heard but I had not: “The only reward worth knowing is personal satisfaction.”
    Love to you and yours and may you have a wonderful and safe trip. JW XX


  3. Oh well said Gilly, I too am horrified, it’s totally hideous, the poot kids must be terrified and their families must be going out of their minds. I have signed lots of petitions re this issue too and now hope to god that all the extra help pouring in helps to locate these girls.
    As others and you have said it’s a shame their will be a backlash against Muslims.xxx


    1. So pleased you’ve been signing petitions … it does really look as if the rest of the world is joining in now … I just hope and pray that they will be successful. I can’t bear to think of what’s happening to those girls :no:


  4. It is an awful situation. Every parent’s nightmare. It is sad that these extreme organisations have given peaceful Muslims a bad name. I was so upset that my Muslim neighbours felt they had to tell me that they are not terrorists. I told them I did not think they were and that most right-thinking people would not think they were either. I do hope these girls can be found and soon.


    1. Exactly – I feel so sorry for ordinary Muslims. They don’t want this either – and they too are horrified at this kind of vicious behaviour.


  5. No doubt this would affect you deeply having lived in Nigeria…absolutely horrific!! Any form of extremism lacks co-herence/rationale! Concerted effort is required to combat Boko Haram…..As you say….No easy answer. 🙄


  6. One big problem will be that from now on for all other peace loving muslims who do not agree to these views and actions have to live with even more prejudices. Extreme and violent groups do not help world peace. They make every day life difficult for the humble citizens even in their own faith group.
    Most of these actions have nothing to do with the original religious ideas. It is all about power on the expense of innocent school girls.
    It is atrocious.


    1. Exactly. This just builds up prejudice against Muslims, most of whom want a peaceful life. And yes you’re right – it’s about power. Isn’t it always?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s