WATCHING the young, rescued Chibok schoolgirl, Amina Ali, with her baby and the man who put her in the family way, Hayatu, being received first at Borno State Government House and later, Presidential Villa, Abuja, I am filled with happiness and sadness. Happy for the kid-mother and her baby, parents, friends and well-wishers, but sad for our country and humanity.
Surely, who will not be happy for a girl, who was once thought to be lost forever, even dead but miraculously surfacing to be reunited with her kith and kin? Who will not be delighted to find that your long lost loved one lives, when the fate of over 200 others hang in the balance, in the cursed forest of Sambisa or wherever, in the shadows of hooded menacing gunmen called Boko Haram?
So, we rejoice, we celebrate with the Alis and their lost but found daughter. We rejoice with Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettimah, and the people of Borno, who have borne the social, psychological, emotional and physical pains of being the state in the news for all the wrong reasons: Ravaged by Boko Haram, tortured by an ugly kidnap saga that seems unending. We also rejoice with the gallant men of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies for their no mean feat of rescue. Of course, we can’t forget the civilian local vigilante team that allegedly first stumbled on Amina.
Now, don’t ask me why I am giving kudos to anyone for the dramatic find, when there are many puzzles that don’t quite fit, with many questions, begging for answers. First, like John Donne, the metaphysical poet, we are involved in mankind so we must be concerned about triumph of man against any adversity.
Amina was in captivity, now she’s found. Amina was apart from her family and loved ones, now she’s reunited. Surely, she will never be the same again, after over two years of being sexually violated and psychologically tortured by Hayatu, the paedophile, who sits smugly with a wry smile beside the kid-mother and her kid, as if he won a medal in an Olympic games. He even flies in an executive jet, receives gubernatorial and presidential handshakes. What a country!
And that brings me to the reason I stated earlier; I am saddened at the news of Amina’s rescue: The way Hayatu, the kid violator, is being treated as some sort of hero, when he should be in security inquisition for his genital rascality and kidnap of a schoolgirl?
While Ese Oruru’s abductor, who also knocked her, Yunusa, alias Yellow, was manacled and shoved in an ugly security vehicle, and is still where he must be seeing yellow, Hayatu shouldn’t be made to feel like a rock star. Yes, the circumstances and the politics differ. But, one kidnap and violation story is not different from the other. One criminal abduction of a young underage girl, and forceful carnal knowledge is the same as the other. The authorities must move swiftly to deal with the issue for what it truly is: Abduction and sexual violation of a minor!
Now, could the treatment of Hayatu be the reason some of our compatriots are wondering and asking questions, surrounding the rescue of Amina, her baby and the Boko Haram soldier escapee?
First, many ask: How did the trio escape and for how long? What were they feeding on that baby, mother and child, and dad, looked fresh in a forest with bombs and shots booming? How come they were still found in a devastated Sambisa forest, said to have been cleared and swept by Nigerian soldiers?
There are other questions that beg for urgent answers in the Amina rescue story, even as we rejoice with the girl’s parents, family, friends and well-wishers. What this means is that the Amina Ali’s story has only been partially told. The full story is still wrapped in the embryo of suspense and riddle. The suspense should not be too long!
To be sure, the Chibok girl’s narrative is one that breaks the heart. It’s a tale that shames our nation. It portrays a nation’s depravity and lack of human feeling among the majority. I have often wondered: How can a nation be carrying on with business as usual, even when 218 of its citizens, young girls, aged 11-14 are unaccounted for, trapped amidst child molesters and hooded gunmen? How can we be playing politics with the future of our future leaders?
Only recently, April 18, 2016, I expressed this same sentiment in a metaphoric mail to the chibok girl, which I titled: LETTER TO THE CHIBOK GIRL.
Even as Amina is breathing the air of freedom, with a baby from Boko Haram rebel, the questions I asked in that piece are even more germane: Will Baby Boko Haram grow in the ways of Daddy Boko Haram? What if all 218 girls have been planted with the seeds of their abductors?
Someone said, first things first. Let them be rescued first, and then we can deal with the post-abduction fallouts. I agree. But, government must move faster to get the girls out. Every minute spent in the abductors’ den is a danger to the lives of the girls. And to think they have done two years with them? Scary!
Truly, like I wrote in my letter to the Chibok schoolgirl: “I weep in my heart anytime I see your face and those of 218 others being flashed in the newspapers and television. Recently, you were even on global news outfit, the CNN, released by your abductors just to show you are still alive. But, surely you can’t be said to be okay. No one, who has been unwilling hostage of rough fellas, clutching AK47 and high on things we don’t know, can be said to be truly fine. We hear that your abductors have even sowed seeds of the womb in some of you; and some may have given birth to ‘baby Boko Haram.’ That is quite frightening. Will baby Boko Haram grow up in the ways of ‘father’ Boko Haram? What a world we will have!