Nine years after Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped 276 students from a girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, 98 of them are still being held hostage by the Islamic sect, according to Amnesty International.
Objectv Media reports that the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted from their school on April 14, 2014.
The incident sparked local and international outrage with political leaders, activists, feminists and advocates, putting pressure on the Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the girls while offering intelligence and support.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International further noted that a slew of abductions had taken place since, “revealing the utter failure of the Nigerian authorities to learn from the heartbreak of Chibok and, ultimately, to protect children.”
It further stated that several schools had been targeted since Boko Haram kidnapped the Chibok schoolgirls, with students being kidnapped, raped, killed, or forced into “marriages.”
Isa Sanusi, the acting director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, claimed in a statement released on Friday in Abuja that no credible investigation had been conducted by the Nigerian government into the security lapses that left children vulnerable to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and gunmen.
Sanusi said, “Parents of the 98 Chibok schoolgirls who are still being held by Boko Haram— as well as other children abducted by gunmen— are living in anguish, knowing that their children are in the hands of ruthless individuals who subject their loved ones to chilling brutalities.
“It is beyond time that the Nigerian authorities took meaningful action to counter armed groups like Boko Haram and gunmen. Nigeria has an obligation to implement safeguards to protect all children, and the lack of accountability for these callous crimes is fueling impunity. The missing Chibok school girls should be returned home to their families, and all those responsible for committing grave violations must face justice.”
According to him, between December 2020 and March 2021, there were at least five reported cases of kidnappings in northern Nigeria, including ones from schools, in the communities of Kankara, Kagara, Jangebe, Damishi Kaduna, Tegina, and Yawuri. Additionally, over 600 schools in the region’s north had to close due to the threat of additional attacks.
Amnesty International said at the end of March that it had spoken with five Chibok schoolgirls who had fled from Boko Haram as well as their parents.
In the interview they said they had lost almost all hope that the other 98 girls would ever be rescued.
One of the returnees told Amnesty International, “The Nigerian government should not forget about the remaining 98 girls. They should be rescued. Every morning I wake up and recall the condition I left them in. I cry, I feel sorry for them. Nine years is too long to be in such a deplorable condition. The government must fulfill its promise of rescuing all the girls.”
One of the parents told the international human rights body that, “Our pain is endless because 14 of the girls came back with 24 children. We have with us grandchildren whose fathers are unknown to us. Our burden has now multiplied as we do not have the money to bear the additional burden of feeding, educating, and [providing] healthcare for our returnee children and grandchildren.
“This is in addition to the societal rejection and stigma that we are all facing. We are just hopeless!”