“Bring Back Our Girls”: Voices Crying in the Wilderness

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:10
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Oluwafemi BANDELE, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
More than a year has passed since the kidnapping of 276 girls by the Boko-Haram militants of Nigeria of the Chibok school girls on the 14th of April, 2014. With reports of some of the girls escaping but another 219 is believed to still being held captive and converted to Islam. Several voices has spoken and are still speaking, the government of Nigeria, activist groups, NGOs, United Nations, African Union, United States of America etc. All saying the same thing “bring back our girls” but to who is this statement directed too? The government of Nigeria or the Boko-Haram militants? Seemingly not too clear. Amnesty International says the Boko-Haram militants have abducted over 2000 girls and women to be used as cooks, sex slaves and fighters. Why are these 276 girls so special? Is it because there is a religious drama to it? According to Times, 28 April 2015, 200 girls were rescued from Boko-Haram militants but the general consensus is that they were not the Chibok girls. Several women and children have been rescued since then but still not the Chibok girls. This same saga and drama of the Boko-Haram constituted to pulling down an incumbent president to a rival party. Is there more to these stories than meet the eye? This paper seeks to uncover using a thematic content analysis of news reports and a critical discourse of power relations in the Nigerian context, to shed light into the news behind the news and the implications to the development of a nation, Christian-Muslim relationship and evolving politics of opportunists using an unfortunate event to rise to power as voices for the masses. Are they voices of the masses? Who is benefiting more than a year after? Thus a journey into the voices crying in the wilderness.