Commentary: It’s Time to Refocus on the Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

More than 220 girls remain abducted in Nigeria and the attention of the world needs to revisit that horrendous plight.

In the non-stop, ever-shifting focus on news events around the world, it is difficult for international attention to remain fixed on events of, say, a month or two ago. In the last month, for example, the world has been transfixed on the events in Israel and Gaza as well as the mounting heartbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
And so, the world seems to have forgotten about the kidnapping by a militant group of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls in April. The abduction of the girls drew international outrage with world leaders and important figures – including Michelle Obama – seeking to place pressure on the abductors. Social media was filled with discussion about the kidnapped girls.
But little of that attention and pressure seems to remain a short four months later. And it’s time for the world community to renew its cry for action. It’s also time for more information to become public on what actions have taken place in the last few months. For example, what has the presence of American surveillance and advisory assistance contributed in the last few months?
To hear from the leaders of Nigeria, it’s hard to tell. During the recent summit of African leaders in Washington, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan explained that there remain strong efforts to free the girls from their captors. However, he offered no details and seemed reluctant to provide more detailed information, saying it could affect the success of the effort to free them. In the last few months, roughly 60 of the girls have escaped their captors, leaving more than 200 in captivity.
The Nigerian president did say, however, that the prospect of a military operation in the matter would more than likely lead in a large number of casualties.
The problem here is the fact that, while the world’s attention has turned to other events around the globe, the militants of Boko Haram have remained busy not only in maintaining the kidnapped girls but also plotting new acts of terror.
The actions of Boko Haram are no longer contained to one section of Nigeria. They have moved from the exterior regions of the country to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. There is no telling where this group might strike next or what mischief it is currently plotting.
And so, it’s time for the international community, and certainly the government of Nigeria, to redouble their attention and efforts on the plight of these abducted school girls. They can’t afford to have the attention to their horror moved or undervalued.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan

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(Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP Photo)

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