Sunday, October 27, 2019 12:25 am
By Nehru Odeh
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, journalist, writer and winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, has debunked the misconception that Book Haram kidnapped the Chibok girls because of their aversion to Western education.
According to her, the insurgents captured the girls accidentally, adding that they came into Government Secondary School Chibok in search of food to steal when they accidentally ran into the girls.
The award-winning writer disclosed this Friday, 25 October 2019 at a book chat in the ongoing Ake Arts and Book Festival taking place in Alliance Francaise/Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
“A misconception that people have is that Boko Haram intentionally went into the Chibok school to kidnap those girls because they don’t want western education. But it wasn’t true. They were actually just looking for food. They were looking around for food to steal and something they called engine block, whatever that means,” she said..
According to Nwaubani, on that ill-fated day – 14 April 2014 – there was some construction work going on and the school and the insurgents were going for food in the food store, the kitchen and the machine.
But when they got there the machine wasn’t there. It was when they had gathered all the food in a bag that they saw the girls.
‘They locked all the girls in a dormitory and an argument ensued. One of them said, what do we do with the girls? In fact the girls said one small boy suggested let us burn all of them. Let:s set them on fire. Somebody said no let’s take the girlls out to their parents home so that we can use them to access their parents and steal some more food. And they had another argument. Then somebody said let’s take them to Shekau. He will know what to do. And that was what led to the media frenzy that became Boko Haram,” she explained.
Nwaubani later said of all the options that the Boko Haram members had that night taking them into the forest was the most lenient. “They were going to set them on fire in that dormitory,” she revealed.
The book chat took place on Day Two of the ongoing Ake Arts and Book Festival. Writers drawn from across the globe who have arrived include, Helon Habila, Mona Ethahawy, Leila Aboulela, No Abudu, Tsiti Dangaremba (who headlined the fiesta) and Tope Folarin
Nwaubani, author of the award winning novel, I Do Not Come To You By Chance and Buried Beneath the Boabab Tree has done extensive research on the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, interviewing the insurgents and the kidnapped Chibok girls in the process.