Multiple award winning writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has flayed the intervention of western military experts in the search and rescue of over 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, saying Nigeria can solve its own problems.
She said while the terrorists’ actions had forced members of her own family to flee the area, a foreign attack on her homeland would be counterproductive.
“Now we have American drones helping us in this forest and even the French have sent in people – shouldn’t they be fixing their own economy?” she said, adding that “We can solve our own damn problems”.
Adichie, who spoke at the Hay Festival, however, welcomed the social media campaign that has drawn global attention to the fate of the kidnapped school girls.
She also weighed in on the controversy surrounding the origin of the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, saying it was started in Nigeria and not, as has been erroneously claimed, in America.
“It was very much a grassroots social media Nigerian campaign. The fact that westerners are sharing in something started locally is fine with me.
“I recognise that the campaign made a difference. People paid attention and then the [Nigerian] government had to sit up a little bit”, she said.
Ms Adichie argued that local knowledge would be more useful in finding the girls than US drones. “I’m sure that there are hunters in that area who know that forest very well. Why haven’t they been used? Why aren’t we depending on them?” she asked.
“What we need is a better equipped military, a better trained military: we don’t need Americans to send people in”, she said before refraining and jokingly added, “This is my Nigerian nationalist rant”.
The celebrated Nigerian writer was discussing her latest award winning novel, Americanah, which explores the experience of two Nigerian immigrants – one in America and one in Britain.