Regionalism and Local Colour in Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls


  • Sylvia N. Anazodo
  • John A. Egole


Boko Haram, Community, Local colour, Northern, Regionalism


This paper provides the lens to analyse regionalism and local colour as an important topic in African literature. Helon Habila’s exploration of regionalism and local colour in The Chibok Girls helps to achieve the aim of the story: to tell the world, from an eye-witness account, of the insurgency in the northern region of Nigeria. As a former local journalist, Habila understands that the narratives being presented by the nation’s media are distorted to preserve the country’s image, to the detriment of the locals who contend with the horror and displacement that Boko Haram fighters mete out on them on daily basis. While the text reflects the Boko Haram insurgency, the indifference and ineptitude of the central government in tackling religious fundamentalism in the Muslim majority North, Habila’s ultimate intention is to draw the world’s attention to the region by telling a story that reflects the environment, the customs, the language and the aspirations of the local inhabitants. Habila believes that when the attention of the international community is drawn to the region, some of the major problems that the North is facing – like bigotry, poverty, disease, political thuggery, ethnic crises, and lack of access to education, good roads, clean water, and decent shelter – will be solved. To achieve this in the story, Habila’s story details the environment, the experience of the victims of Boko Haram kidnappings and assassinations, as well as those things that make diverse communities in the region different from the other, like religion, mother tongues and local dialects. This paper examines some of these issues as characteristics of the region and tries to establish the argument that The Chibok Girls is a northern narrative instead of a national story of the country. This article shows that literature can offer a better perspective to reality than media reports, geographical map, or historical documents.

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How to Cite

Anazodo, S. N., & Egole, J. A. (2024). Regionalism and Local Colour in Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls. AWKA JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERARY STUDIES, 10(1), 187–208. Retrieved from