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Editors Note Detail

Volume 52 Issue 6 - June 2014

July 04, 2014

Girl child new weapon of war?

There seems to be an emerging trend whereby the girl child is used as a weapon of war. Until recently, we had been grappling with the problem of gender based violence particularly against the female.

However, the growing culture of terrorism appears to be precipitating yet other forms of rules of engagement in the fight for “supremacy”. We have seen suicide bombers, aeroplanes crashing on buildings, car bombs, including abductions for ransom but never before have we experienced a situation whereby more than 200 school girls were abducted as a form of weapon against another.

It’s now a month or so since more than 200 Nigerian girls were abducted and held hostage somewhere in the bush. I might be wrong but without unnecessarily sounding alarmist my fear for the girl child may rightly be genuine. It appears the abduction of the female species as a weapon of war is slowly but subtly developing into a trend.

This is because while the world was still aghast at the abduction of the 200 girls, another 20 women were abducted along with two men who tried to stop the culprits recently. What should one make of these two incidents?

It’s common knowledge that in times of war vulnerable groups such as women and children are soft targets for the warring factions. They are predisposed to atrocities such as rape, murder, and inhumane conditions of hunger and displacement living in squalid refugee camps. They are caught in the crossfire of wars they did not invite unto themselves.

The Nigerian incidents might seem small and isolated but they are a wakeup call of the growing plight of the girl child. Are we seeing a new form of rules of engagement in the modern “warfare” of multi-faceted acts of terror whereby one day we would wake up to find all our girls had disappeared without trace?

Such threats start small but if they remain unchecked or are not nipped in the bud they escalate into something of a global threat. Until 9/11, terrorism was never treated as a serious global threat. 9/11 changed everything, from aviation regulations to almost everything in the sphere of life hence the Nigerian incidents should be treated as threats to global peace that calls for immediate action.

Once it is left to fester then trade relations between countries as well as cultural exchange programmes between and among institutions in different countries will be seriously affected. I shudder to fathom a situation whereby our school girls are on a cultural exchange programme or educational trip in some country and the next morning we get a call to say the whole group has been abducted without trace?

This is not a problem for Nigeria alone, all nations, communities and individuals must stand up against this new form of terrorism for we live in a global community. Once again, terrorism is a global threat with an intricate web of groups or individuals collaborating to distabilise the world. Therefore, no country is immune. The one person who stands to lose the most is the girl child for whom much effort and resources continue to be expended to empower her. Families might resort to keeping the girl child at home out of fear.

The world must do something about this. United Nations, AU, governments and their intelligence agencies must come up with decisive measures to curb this seemingly isolated but subtly growing threat. ENDS

Polling

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccination against cervical cancer starts on February 23-27. Vaccination will be given to girls in standard 5,6 and 7 and out of school girls aged 9-13. Are you worried about how this could affect?

It can save my childís life.
OMG!!I am not comfortable with the vaccination. Is it safe?
Itís safe and effective
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