Publishedduration6 hours in the past
picture captionThe faculty in north-west Nigeria was focused in December
In our collection of letters from African writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani criticises worldwide media protection of the kidnapping of schoolchildren in Nigeria – from that of the “Chibok girls” in 2014 to that of the “Kankara boys” final month.
The frenzied journalism that adopted the 2014 abduction by militant Islamist group Boko Haram of greater than 200 ladies from their faculty in Chibok, north-east Nigeria, could have been well-meaning but it surely led to some unlucky outcomes.
Prior to the Chibok incident, Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau was only a fringe determine that Nigerians noticed on TV on occasion.
When he stabbed on the digital camera together with his fingers and guffawed wildly whereas threatening everybody from Nigeria’s then-President Goodluck Jonathan to the US president on the time, Barack Obama, with demise and destruction, many people puzzled: Who did this unkempt man actually suppose he was?
But, within the aftermath of Chibok media organisations world wide broadcast and rebroadcast Shekau’s slightest comment.
And he stored them equipped with materials, similar to movies of the kidnapped schoolgirls whom he promised to promote.
picture captionSome of the Chibok victims met President Muhammadu Buhari after they have been freed in 2017
Those who have been kidnapped have subsequently described how the militants who held them captive revelled in any information in regards to the incident. The Chibok protection inflated Shekau’s worth as a media commodity, making it more and more rewarding to maintain him on the airwaves.
It additionally distorted the story itself.
Despite the way in which it was coated by the worldwide media, the Chibok kidnappings had nothing to do with “an attack on girls’ education”, slightly it was banditry gone unsuitable.
When they have been launched after greater than two years in Boko Haram captivity, a few of these held described how the militants who attacked their faculty have been merely on a mission to loot and steal.
‘Militants construct a world model’
After emptying out the varsity’s storeroom of meals, they have been then left with the issue of what to do with the scholars and commenced arguing.
One recommended that that they lock the ladies in a dormitory and set them on hearth. Another recommended that they use the ladies to achieve entry to their dad and mom’ houses close by after which steal some extra meals.
Eventually, one man got here up with the concept would result in infamy: “Let us take them to Shekau. He will know what to do.”
picture copyrightThe Office of First Lady
picture captionThe Chibok kidnapping sparked a world social media marketing campaign that included then-US First Lady Michelle Obama
This same account was recorded in a report by New York-based group Human Rights Watch primarily based on interviews with among the 57 college students who managed to flee on the night time of the kidnapping by leaping off the vans used to ferry them away.
Although printed a couple of months after the incident, little consideration was paid to that element.
Determined to make the Boko Haram assaults in regards to the irresistible theme of terrorists concentrating on feminine schooling, some media retailers ignored any thread that didn’t match this narrative.
Just a couple of weeks earlier than the Chibok incident, Boko Haram had attacked a faculty within the north-east city of Burni Yadi and allowed feminine college students to flee earlier than slaughtering 40 boys of their dormitory.