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Nigerian Americans Say the #BringOurGirlsBack Campaign Hurts Africans

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Jumoke Balogun is a Nigerian-American who says the hashtag bring our girls back campaign may be hurting the 200 abductees. www.naturallymoi.com

Image of First Lady Michelle Obama joining the #BringBackOurGirls campaign

Reported by April Taylor

Jumoke Balogun is a Nigerian-American who recently wrote a blog for CompareAfrique.com that focuses on Americans’ response to the missing schoolgirls of Nigeria, and why the response may actually make the situation worse.  Nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from a school in a remote Nigerian village on April 14.  By April 29, parents had begun to protest the lack of response from the Nigerian government, and by May 4, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan requested assistance from the United States in finding the girls.

While Balogun shows appreciation for Americans who have shown their support for the girls and their families, she takes issue with people pressuring the American government to become involved in African affairs.  The biggest issue with American involvement is the fact that the United States providing military intervention only allows for the expansion of the military agenda meant to create undue influence on African governments and people.  In this sense, the use of the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls provides legitimacy to continue their encroachment and growing military expansion within Africa.

Balogun discusses how intensely the United States has expanded its military operations within Africa in recent years, including drone operations and other military activities.  To illustrate her point, she highlights that between June and December 2013, the U.S. carried out 128 separate military activities in 28 different African countries. Sending more military advisors and more drones under the guise of providing security personnel and assets meant to support the Nigerian military only serves to promote more militarism and undermine any existing oversight by the Nigerian government and people.

Teju Cole, another Nigerian-American writer, also points out that increased US military involvement in Nigeria and Africa as a whole only serves to undermine democracy.  As Balogun points out, the Nigerian people should be allowed to protest and lobby their own government to work for them the way it is supposed to instead of relying on outside countries’ militaries to help their country function.  Africa has long been subjected to the influence of other countries in ways that have rαped the land of its resources and rαped people of a sense of strength in their culture and ability to govern themselves.  It is time for the world to stop using the front of providing assistance to expand their own interests within countries whose people deserve the right to autonomy and governments that function beyond the control of foreign powers.

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