We are too quick to forget about things in Nigeria. Unlike other countries, Nigeria doesn't have a nationally accepted history. History here is the most subjective as can be anywhere else on the face of the earth. Even current affairs isn't spared the misfortune of distortions, sometimes while it's unfolding right before our very eyes. The fact that social media has aided the storing of information, means that distortions are also stored, more so in these days of FAKE NEWS, leaving the job of discernment only to the interested reader of the news or information. Regardless, the role the internet plays in documenting the history of our times cannot be overemphasised. This is such that, when authorities fail to recognise an event or happening, as long as the same manages to get online, by reason of its emotive nature, so much that it continues to live in the minds of people; one or more of those people may eventually latch on the information available online to resuscitate that which may have been at one time a taboo or fearsome (because of the consequences) to broach. LEAH SHARIBU was one of the female secondary school students (including a boy), that were abducted one early morning of February this year, from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State by a faction of the Islamic Fundamentalist group, Boko Haram that's been active in Nigeria's northeast for the better part of a decade now, leaving destruction in their wake. After the federal government managed to secure (by paying a huge amount in ransom according to a recently released United Nations report, against government position that nothing was paid to facilitate their release) the release of the girls and the boy, she alone was held back by the group, because according to them, she refused to renounce her Christian faith. Weeks have dragged into months since the release of the lucky ones, with chances that Leah will be released dwindling with each passing day. As usual with events in Nigeria, her story is gradually been relegated to the doldrums, and will eventually be forgotten. Even if my post will make the few that'll read it remember her (enough to be filled with sadness) once again, we are wont to sooner than later retreat to our comfort zones and forget about her again. In joining Nigerians and others, adding their voices to keeping her name alive (even if just on social media, and on the internet), expressing their helplessness to the seeming lack of any interest on the part of the authorities concerned to go the extra mile that may be needed to procure her release, I seek to ensure, in my own little way and corner, that the internet which "NEVER FORGETS" remembers Leah Sharibu for all time. Yes, even beyond such a time she might be released, or even while in captivity if perchance she were to fall upon a means to surf the web; that she will see that she was indeed not entirely forgotten, including by those who never knew her personally. Leash Sharibu reminds us of some ugliness about religion, especially when it is taken to the extremes. Religious Extremists point to injunctions in their "holy books", with context set in primitivity most times, to justify their actions in our civilisation. Such that while during wars, abduction of females for sex slaves is rife, the faction involved in such would usually not publicise such, so as not to be viewed as beasts by the outside world, whose empathy they'd rely on when the time comes for discussions and negotiations, as to how to bring an amicable end to bloodshed by reason of war; in the case of Islamic Fundamentalist groups such as Boko Haram, such abductions are considered fair, even going as far as invoking sections of their religious code, elucidating what is permitted to be done with and to such "war booty". Leah Sharibu isn't the only victim of this madness, indeed there are still many girls from Chibok (popularised by the hash tag #BringBackOurGirls on social media in 2014) in Borno State for instance, as well as others from the northeast, abducted by Boko Haram under similar and/or not so similar circumstances, some of whom now display attitudes consistent with those suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, in captivity. Away from the Boko Haram narrative, are cases of Christian girls taken away without their parents' consent by people who have the backing of powerful traditional rulers and clerics in Northern Nigeria, claiming that the such girls willingly converted to Islam, and indicated their desire to marry some man, or even a traditional ruler, sheik or Muslim cleric, opting to run away from home because of the expected objection from the girls' parents to their choice. Parents of such girls have found that it's even easier to rescue girls abducted by groups such as Boko Haram, than it is those under the conditions I just spelt out above, because the perpetrators of these acts seem to have state backing, with the police always expressing their lack of cojones to move on behalf of distraught parents even when a minor is involved, because of the calibre of the powerful individuals who are sometimes involved or named in the fiasco. Where the parents succeed in having their daughters returned to them, these girls come back in states different from that at which they left, even for the shortest of periods. In essence, such societies up north where cases of this sort are rampant, seem to legitimise the same thing Boko Haram and other Islamic Fundamentalist groups are frequently vilified for. When I think about Leah Sharibu, all of the stories associated with abduction of girls in the North come flooding into my mind. And that's beside the many challenges girls face there, from very low enrolment into school, to malnutrition (responsible for the browning of the hair of most children you see in the north), to child-marriages (of which some girls have become quite popular for killing their paedophile husbands in recent times), to Vesico-Vaginal Fistula, VVF (due to immature birth canals of such female victims of child marriages), to divorces, and serial marriages, such that at forty, such women in the north look like sixty year old women in the south, and the cycle continues. Sadly, when Falz highlighted a few of the plights the Nigerian female child faces, especially abduction of females at the hands of terrorist groups like Boko Haram, in his "THIS IS NIGERIA" cover https://youtu.be/UW_xEqCWrm0 of Donald Glovers' "THIS IS AMERICA", all that the Muslim Advocacy Group, MURIC (Muslim Rights Concern) saw, was what they considered to be the wrong portrayal of the Hijab (worn by Muslim women the world over) in the video, a claim which Nigeria's music and video censorship board also latched upon in banning the very introspective and thought provoking video from Nigeria's airwaves. Thankfully, the democratisation of information via the internet, makes their effort futile as Nigerians don't need terrestrial radio or TV only, to make their information, music or video choices anymore. Like other distasteful occurrences that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time, this Boko Haram menacing the Northeast of Nigeria (whether politically, religiously or otherwise motivated) will pass. The culture that undermines females, and sees them as property to be used as deem fit by males in Nigeria's core North (and other places in Nigeria and elsewhere around the world) will also pass, but we will remember Leah Sharibu for her statement, and sacrifice, regardless of her fate. What she has birthed will surely outlast those who hold her captive, including the ideology that drives them. When her name comes up online, and elsewhere, we will remember the society in Northern Nigeria that failed her (as well as other girls, even as we speak), the Nigeria that forgot about her because they felt she was too little to lose any sleep over, a section of the Muslim North that sees their Christian and animist neighbours as second-class citizens, and their girls as prey to be hunted and used for the satiating of sexual and other depraved desires their minds may conjure. Leah Sharibu will not be forgotten. 'kovich PICTURE CREDIT: - https://www.dailypost.ng REMEMBER LEAH SHARIBU https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/leah-sharibu/

Published by m'khail madukovich