General News of Sunday, 11 May 2014
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), John Mahama is questioning why the world has been slow in expressing outrage at Boko Haram’s abduction of 276 girls in Nigeria.
The Ghanaian President wrote in an article published by Ebony Magazine that the World must be concerned about the terrorist activities of the Islamist Militant group.
He said: “Whatever ideology Boko Haram claims to espouse, there is no explanation or justification for the murder, theft and defilement of children.”
“They are not appropriate, humane responses to, or indicators of, poverty, political leadership, development policies or social inequities. They are acts of hatred and terror, pure and simple, and should be regarded as such,” he wrote.
“Yet, the rest of the world has been slow in its outrage,” he bemoaned, wondering: “Is it because these children are poor? Black? Or is it because they are African, and the lives of African children seem fragile, ephemeral, predisposed to tragedy?”
He said it is important the world cared about the havoc being perpetrated by Boko Haram on innocent Nigerians because terrorism knows no borders.
“The international community must begin a conversation about the current scourge of terrorism on the African continent. Not just for the sake of Africa, but for the sake of everyplace else,” Mahama urged, observing that: “At no other time in the history of this world have our boundaries been as fluid. At no other time has technology been as sophisticated. The access we have feels almost limitless. Wherever you are right now may as well be next door to Nigeria—or any of the myriad other locations on this globe where terrorism is being plotted or taking place, even as I type.”
Mr. Mahama quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to buttress his point. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
“So let’s begin here, with this statement: the lives of African children matter. If we accept as fact that these children belong not only to Africa, but also to the world, then we would already be making progress. We would already be sharing in the pain of their loss, offering the know-how and resources needed to bring Boko Haram to its knees and to bring back our girls,” he urged.
“From child soldiers to child brides, African children have become prey for rebels, religious zealots, and human traffickers. That is because they know that Africa’s future is in the hands of our children. To steal our children is to steal our hope; to kill our children is to kill whatever possibilities of greatness they were destined to deliver,” the Ghanaian President bemoaned.
Boko Haram abducted the Chibok schoolgirls, all aged between 16 and 18, on April 15. The students had been recalled to school in the northern village to write their physics examination. “All of the schools in the area had been closed because of a recent spate of terrorist attacks in which students were the apparent targets.”
The girls’ abductors tricked them into believing they were being rescued from impending danger. They, however, became suspicious as they were being moved through the Sambisa forest which shares borders with neighbouring Cameroun.
About 50 of the girls managed to escape.
The group has killed about 10,000 people since its formation in 2002. It has killed about 1500 Nigerians since the beginning of 2014. Boko Haram in the Hausa language means “western education is a sin”.