Tolu Levi Odukoya shared on facebook
“After many weeks I am finally going to speak about the situation with the Missing Girls. I hope its not too long and you get my point. #BringBackOurGirls
I have contemplated doing this for a very long time. I woke up this morning with a heavy heart and the inability to sleep well.
These young girls have been missing for 3 weeks now and there have been protests, prayers, curses, demands, even a demand for the president’s resignation. I began to consider why I have not posted anything on Facebook concerning this in the last two weeks.
Is it shame, that I don’t want to be recognized with such a country, or is it an inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the problem or is it Fear. I realized my friends Americans, British, and other world citizens’, even Nigerians have spoken on this issue.
I realized my inability was borne out of a frustration, The same frustration I had when I was in Nigeria, the frustration that comes from knowing more could be done, better could be done, the frustration of knowing you have some of those ideas of how to change things and the frustration of knowing that those ideas would never be heard by the people who need to change things. Don’t get me wrong I am not a messiah or the holder of all the knowledge in the world but I can contribute something and other equally smart people can too and we can fix this problem.
I feel the problem is the presidents’ lack of good advisers and only when he gets himself some, will this problem go away. I had considered writing an open letter to offer my advice free of charge as long as he needs it (way before President Obasanjo) but as my friends said, he would take my offer but his bad advisers would find a way to threaten me out of the position.
What is Boko Haram – It is a bunch of cowards coming together to cause fear and intimidate a population of 150 million Nigerians and operates from the Northern region of Nigeria.
How did it get this bad – The day of the very first attack where Boko Haram was mentioned for the first time, I heard several stories of how they existed for years, or how they were created to get President Jonathan out of power. By the fifth attack when it was reported that men with guns walked on the street and shot people, it was reported that they started this insane action because of their hate for civilized education.
That day I told my friend Femi that the country should declare war against them, not by saying it at a speech but by creating legislation tagging them terrorist and issuing procedures to get rid of the problem. That we should call on our partner countries for help and advice. Instead my other friends said violence is not the cure, talking to them and providing them jobs is the key. The president took this opinion and was in talks for amnesty.
I remember telling Femi that the whole civilized education thing was a cover for more serious problems and how no matter the reasons they give it was inexcusable and we should not stand for it as a people. Skip to 3 years down the line. They have shifted reasons from civilized education, to religious intolerance, to hate for the government to meaningless killing of people and now they have graduated to kidnapping and causing mass fear in the population.
How did this happen? It happened because they kept getting away with it, because when they said it was a Christian thing, instead of declaring War on them several clergymen and Islamic leaders came out to defend their religion instead of seeing through the Bull s**t (excuse my language). It happened because like thieves who get bolder the longer they go uncaught, Boko Haram increased in courage and manpower because they kept getting away with it.
What could have been done – Nigeria is a 54 year old country in a 21st century world. We have the privilege that whatever we are currently going through, At least 2 other countries in the whole world has gone through it years ago and survived.
The US and the UK had their time of home grown terrorist a long time ago and they successfully dealt with the problem. Leaving that aside, we remember the 2001 attacks on the Twin towers. The deaths in that attack dwarf in comparison to the number of losses from Boko Haram. Not in the Value of lives but in the amount of causalities. It took the American congress 4 days to pass legislation declaring War on Al-Qaeda.
Nigeria could have spoken to these countries to get help, and received guidance to help fix the problem.
What could Other Countries and the World have done – The world could have offered its help. I am not talking about statements and meaningless show of solidarity; I am not talking about offering to help only if you get some Oil in return or for some undisclosed request. I am not talking about offering to help only if we give unfettered access to you and your military; to our country (we know the result of that).
I am talking of the fact that it is impossible for my mind to comprehend the idea that in 2014 there is no technology in the whole world that could find these cowardly men. I find it hard to believe that there is not one country who knows of a way or means that could help Nigeria.
I am talking of Countries offering help no strings attached, not because they want or can get anything, not because they want recognition from the UN or the international community but because we recognize that we live in this world as a whole not just in our own geographically mapped out country. I am considering the fact that we look as these as girls those who might have the cure to Cancer or Aids (a world problem) or the one woman who would finally accomplish world peace is amongst those girls, but woe be it that the answer for a world problem come from an African country or much more we are banking on the fact that God was smart enough to not invest that solution in just one person and then let her be placed in harm’s way.
We keep making these assumptions but I believe, one or two or twenty of the countries in this 2014 world have, either jointly or individually something that could single handedly scan the area find a heat source for 270+ people and tell us where that location is.
What should Nigeria have been doing and can be doing now – We have not put into legislation an authority to detain this people, try them, and declare war against them. I know the second we do that, the United States might consider putting us on the terrorist watch list like they threatened before but I am sure they can find a place in the heart (Legislation) to declare boko haram a terrorist fraction without impugning the whole country or our integrity.
This has been going on for 3 years. Has there been a rejuvenation of the Fire Service. In Abuja I don’t think I saw a fire truck in my 2 years of living there apart from the one that services the National Assembly. Have we created more fire stations and trained them for bombings and other attacks?
Have we had public service announcements teaching people how to help victims? Showing people the proper way to carry an injured person? Have you seen videos or pictures of how they are helping these victims? Some of those people died because the blast cracked their spine but the way the rescuers carried them broke it and they died.
Have we had any public service announcements and free training services for people in high threat areas showing them how to tie off a bleeding injury, how to provide Triage (which is marking a victim with information like they are allergic to certain medications or they are diabetic so that when paramedics arrive even if the person is then unconscious they could still be helped.)
Have the Police been trained for spotting suspicious behaviors, getting and cultivating confidential information relationships with people in these areas so they can alert the police to suspicious behavior, like someone buying food to feed 200 people after those attacks happen(if they are being fed) .
Have there been any public service announcements teaching people what to do when you see suspicious men hanging around, someone who looks like they are wearing too many shirt, what cab drivers should do when a car parks at the wrong place. What they should do when they see a vehicle they don’t know, have they been instructed to have overnight security at car parks so no one can plant overnight bombs.
Has Nigeria developed a working emergency number that someone could call if they notice suspicious activity, which is also attached to the police and other emergency services? Where the call triggers sending of at least two officers before the Calvary is called it they determine there is a threat.
Have there been public service announcements stating what should be done in a blast, so that people don’t crowd the place and prevent help from getting to those who need it.
Has Nigeria designated emergency hospitals. Have they invested in better medical infrastructure in high risk areas, has there been increased recruiting of emergency medical staff for those location. We can invest in new wings for trauma, new facilities for faster diagnosis.
This list is none exhaustive but I am trying to keep this as short as possible. We can start working on this now. The auditions for the announcements should now be about beauty or casting the right tribe but about passing the message, the government should not waste time on frivolities but put into use what it already has. For example, they could ask the GSM networks to dedicate some of the already existing infrastructure for the emergency number while they fund the building of government’s own infrastructure for this number.
News Outlets and TV stations – Unless you do not operate in Nigeria. Your news every day and every time is to chastise Boko Haram and cover situations when something terrible happens. Not to show TV series or talk shows and ignore the problem. Your job is to remind everyone every hour of everyday that 270+ girls are missing or a bomb blast has occurred and nothing has done about it. Your Job is to diligently report the fact and Help the government in getting rid of this problem.
Don’t Point Fingers – I know some intelligent persons are going to read this and say I am away and pointing fingers. Let me help you. I lived in Nigeria all my life with the same brain I have now, the same one writing this write up. In fact I worked in the National Assembly for a year, but when I would start to speak, they would just ignore me as a kid speaking to them. In fact I attended events so I could give comments like this but the bosses who are supposed to be there don’t come and the representative sent is so happy to be eating free food that the points made are never communicated to the boss.
However, I went to my very first meeting about Nigeria here and meet the same people that I knew in Nigerian and some new ones and all of a sudden, I am so smart and they are praising me and want my card because I am abroad.
My friend Femi, realizing my love and knowledge for criminal law tried to get me a meeting with the Commissioner of police and it never worked because I was considered not to know anything. There is exponential value and smarts in Nigeria but there is no forum for them to be heard.
The fact that a white person would get to see the President before me just because he is white and I would be disregarded because am black is not my fault, it is the faulty perception that has existed in Nigeria for years.
Conclusion- Sure there are things here that are impracticable or not fine-tuned but that’s the point I don’t have all the answers, no one does but I have given ideas on how things might change, the purpose is that other smart people, other experts in national security, military, police affairs come together and tease out the kinks, bring other ideas to the table and make things happen.
As you may have noticed I refrained from insulting the President, that’s because for now insults, a resignation will not help. I would ask one thing from the president though; stop ignoring this bug, ignoring it won’t help. Take a pledge not to rest, not to sleep. Keep other presidents awake, Take a stand, do something. This is not a tribe problem or a Northern problem, it’s a Nigerian Problem
Tolulope Olufunmi Odukoya Esq”