What part does corruption play in Nigeria’s failure to stop Boko Haram?
Women and men from all over Nigeria took to the streets of the Nigerian capitol, Abuja, Wednesday in what was dubbed “The Million Woman March.”
They marched through heavy rain to issue a call for the Nigerian government to do more to free 230 teen-aged girls who were kidnapped in a bloody attack on their high school on April 14. The kidnapping has been labeled the work of Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic group who has murdered people and burned down churches with what appears to be impunity for many years.
This latest kidnapping of so many young girls has outraged Nigerians and people from locations all over the world. I asked in an earlier post why the Nigerian government seems to be so helpless in the face of attacks from this terrorist group. I also asked — and am asking still — who is funding Boko Haram.
It appears that quite a few Nigerians have the same questions. Protest organizer Hadiza Bala Usman announced the protests will be on-going in both Abuja and Lagos until the girls are freed.
“We will also demand to see the president if we don’t get any commitment from government to rescue these girls,” she said. “The government has to understand that we are not going to allow this silence to continue.”
Meanwhile, the leader of Chibok’s elders forum, Potu Bitrus, says that he has learned that the girls were trafficked into neighboring Cameroon and Chad and sold as brides to insurgents for 2,000 naira ($12.)
I think this march paints a stark picture of a government that is almost certainly too corrupt to govern. The first order of business for any government is to maintain domestic tranquility. A lot of things go into that, but providing for the public safety is the basic component. Citizens must be able to rely without question on their government to swing into action when they are attacked, kidnapped, or otherwise physically harmed in criminal actions.
Can you imagine what would happen if a group started behaving like this here in America? I’m judging almost entirely by Oklahomans, but I rather imagine that this applies to the country as a whole. If our government didn’t take care of them, I think our private citizens would do it themselves.
The government of Nigeria needs to do whatever it takes to end Boko Haram. They specifically need to get these girls back. To say that this is a civil and human rights violation is weak language for it.
Public Catholic reader Ken first brought this story to my attention.