Remembering The #bringbackourgirls Campaign And The Abducted Chibok Girls Seven Years After
All was serene and calm absolutely on that fateful day. No one could fathom or imagine that Boko Haram Insurgents would on the 14th of April 2014, attack the Government Girls Secondary School, in Chibok, a sleepy Christian community in Borno State and cart away over two hundred female students who were preparing for the Senior School Certificate Examinations as prisoners of war and merchandise.
Gentle men of the press had reported that the abducted girls were in their teens and were in the last lap of their secondary educational pursuit. But sadly, the tragedy that struck on that day wouldn't allow them conclude the race to be awarded a high school certificate which was a prerequisite for admission into tertiary institutions.
At the initial stage, there were discrepancies in the number of children that were abducted. This was largely due to the absence of eye witness accounts to record in real time the events that culminated into the abduction.
On the last count and not minding the above, reputable international organizations such as the Amnesty International and the United Nation's International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had put the statistics of the abducted children at 276.
While it seems shady and roughshod the events culminating into the abduction even up till now, it is very plausible that the girls are been used as avenues for sexual gratification as reports have noted that some of the girls have been married off to high profile commanders of the terrorist group.
Various requests and petitions have emanated from well meaning individuals both local and foreign, civil society organizations, religious bodies on the urgency of the government to work assiduously and rescue the abducted girls. I wouldn't want to mo into detail about the #bringbackourgirls campaign led by Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of education mounting pressure on the government to rescue the girls from bondage.
The government in return has made promises to rescuethe girls and reunite them with their families and loved ones and also encourage them to further their education.
The current year 2021, specifically on the 14th of Aprilmarks the seventh year the innocent children have been held captive by the insurgents. Nigeria and the globe will be remembering another year of the girls still held asprisoners technically. By undisputable statistics, many ofthe girls who were between the ages of sixteen and eighteen will be clocking two decades of more.
For the populace, it has been seven years that has suddenly rolled over, but for the girls, it has been seven years of anguish, pain, sorrows, neglect and emotional turmoil. With all these becoming a reality, one still needs to ask? Is there any hope at all?
The crux of many arguments in the polity centres around knowing if the remnant of the girls are still held captive as widely circulated or had been killed and long forgotten. Not minding the fact that these questions and arguments cannot be judged accurately, the world and Nigeria specifically seeks fact and answers that will prove in totality that the abducted Chibok girls haven't been given as a prey to death.
The Internet hashtags #bringbackourgirls among others need to be reflected on once again. If all these had worked out as planned, many of the girls would have concluded their bachelor's degree and probably their national youth service. How sad is the fact that these hopes on the path of both the children and their parents have been dashed by individuals who gain delight in wreaking havoc.
And what about the government? Its prolonged refusal and failure to keep to promise reveals many issues which time and space wouldn't be enough to unearth. One is the lack of belief by the citizens in the government and the second being the fact that education isn't a priority.
The then administration of Good luck Jonathan had promised to secure the release of the girls. Sadly, all the efforts in form of advocacy and negotiations to achieve this ended in futility as he wasn't able to secure a victory in the polls which could have assisted him in fulfilling his promises.
To ease the mind of Nigerians and to justify the confidence reposed in him by the electorate, Muhammadu Buhari had promised to secure their freedom in a sort while. Nigerians in their multitude fell for this promise apparently because of his avalanche of experience in military warfare. Sadly, it has been six years that the promise was made. Has there been any worthwhile results? No
How do we define a successful government if not one that places premium on the lives of its citizens or one that fulfils it's promise as and when due?
Would we rather continue to wait for their release someday or forget about their existence and living?
The above are questions that require answers. But we need to ask again, who will give answers to the questions? The people or the government?