Two weeks ago, Islamic militants kidnapped 276 female students from a physics exam at a boarding school in Nigeria. Since then, there have been protests across Nigeria calling for the government to act. So what has the government done? On the very day that the leader of the militant group declared that he would sell the girls as slaves, they arrested the protest leaders:
Saratu Angus Ndirpaya and Naomi Mutah Nyadar were detained after attending a meeting with the president's wife, Patience, who, in a bizarre twist, suggested the mass abductions had never happened and were instead a conspiracy to derail her husband's presidential campaign for elections next year.
In a televised broadcast on Sunday, the first lady, who holds no official office, was seen alternately weeping and berating community members during a meeting to discuss the kidnappings. She warned against further protest marches: "You are playing games. Don't use schoolchildren and women for demonstration again. Keep it to Borno, let it end there," the official News Agency of Nigeria reported.
An official from the school who was at the meeting said: "She told us we were not patriotic; that we were members of Boko Haram ourselves and we wanted to disgrace the country."
The message is clear: to the Nigerian government the problem isn't that militants are kidnapping and enslaving girls; the problem is that people are complaining and expecting them to do something about it. And sadly, that's the sort of "problem" the Nigerian government is willing to do something about.
This is simply monstrous. And a government which turns a blind eye to injustice and instead punishes its victims for complaining deserves to fall.