Headline June 30, 2014



CHIBOK -NIGERIA : The road to Chibok is eerily quiet, lines with checkpoints manned by civilians,  -many of them students-

Wielding rusty rifles and serving as added security for an area that has little.

In this northeast Nigerian village,  where more than 300 teenage schoolgirls were kidnapped by militant separatist group Boko Haram on April 14, their torn and stunned families are still waiting for them to come home.

Lawan Zanna is anxious about Aisha,  his 18-year old daughter. "How can I sleep?" he asked. 

"Anger is gripping my body." After the girls were abducted, Mr Zanna said, he and other parents searched the nearby  Sambisa forest for their children-

But came back empty-handed. As he spoke,  Aisha's sister Hawa, 19, stood in silence. The two girls shared a small bedroom and almost everything else.

More than  750   people have been killed this year alone in Boko Haram attacks; at least   29 boys/students   were killed in a February school raid. This time, the government's failure in rescuing the girls-

And in addressing the issue, has incensed Nigerians  and, increasingly, people in every nook and corner of the world.

In the midst of this horrible crisis and tragedy, the World Economic Forum on Africa hosted a three-day summit meeting., May 7-9:

 Bringing about a thousand delegates from around the world and Nigeria's elite to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to discuss economic growth and development.

As the   .001   percent  opined  in airconditioned suites far from the hot reality of Abuja's street and psyche,  the government  deployed  6000   security officers for the event    -an effort that many

Nigerians joked, half lamented would never be made to protect ordinary Nigerians, nor to retrieve the  Citibok schoolgirls. 

The city was at a standstill  Blue-uniformed security and police officers gathered around  boomboxes  perched on wooden benches and turned up to maximum volume, listening to voices  shouting curses  at the enigmatic Boko Haram.

''We just don't know who these people are or what exactly they want to do,'' said a call in guest on  95.1 FM   Nigerian Info. ''Yes! God Go punish them,'' to nods of agreement all around.

Nigerian citizens exist in this surreal world of great contrasts,  in a nation mired in corruption up to the eyeballs, under attacks by an insurgency and at the same time brimming with potential:

! And at the same time brimming with potential and acclaimed as an economic engine for the African continent !.

But that growth has only widened economic inequality.

With   170 million  people,  Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and the largest  oil  producer. It's economy has surpassed South Africa's, making it the largest on the continent.

But that growth has only widened  economic inequality. Economic activity has slowed to a trickle in regions where terrorising at the hands of  Boko Haram  has forced farmers to abandon their fields:

While young people and students without job prospects have left for the cities.

More Nigerians are poor today than at independence  in  1960, with over 60 percent  eeking  below the poverty line  and  poverting.  

'' Poverting ''  is the new word that  !WOW!  has coined. I will detail this word in a Headline Post, as soon as I can.

''The abductions are only the tip of of the iceberg," said Tayo Olufuwa, a bespectacled 23 year old entrepreneur from Mushin, one of Lagos's poorest neighbourhoods. Mr Olufuwa, has started an:

Online employment search company, Jobs in Nigeria, he sums up with a tragic sweep: "We are a country sleeping with one eye open".

This is an expression used often by Nigerians. who are frustrated yet unsurprised by conflicting actions and reports from a government they have come to distrust.

At least  16 Nigerians were killed in March in stampedes when nearly a half million people applied for fewer than  5,000  government jobs

In Lagos, the commercial capital of the country, a  41 year-old cab driver, Oyebajo Adekunle, sweated as he swerved through rush-hour traffic:

¬ He is a college graduate with a business degree? . He never could imagine for the world of him, that to survive, he'd be driving people around, struggling to make enough money for his family of six.

He pulls up to a cluster of people: one of the daily  Bring Back Our Girls protests that have taken place here and around the country for weeks:

"I would go out and stand with the women, but I have to hustle," he sighs wiping the sweat from his brow. "It's like the government makes the hustle so hard, so that we're too tired to do anything about things like this."

He rolls  down his windows to shake one of the female-protesters' hands, locking eyes for a mere second, and then speeds off to heaven knows, or, -what ever so,  just beckons.

With respectful dedication to the all the parents of these kidnapped girls; And to the understanding that  Boko Haram is not the only problem that the desperate Nigerian students are facing.             

!WOW!  shares the anguish, and the agony. We wish and pray for an earliest possible recovery and rehabilitation.

!WOW! will continue to ''voice the voiceless''  - till the criminal perpetrators are brought to speedy justice.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Nigeria. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' The Justice Flashpoint "'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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