Thursday, 14 April 2016

Nigerians Doubt Possible Return of 2 years abducted Chibok Girls

 As today marks the second anniversary of the disappearance of 276 students at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, stakeholders in education sector are asking if the Chibok girls will ever return to their parents.
Boko Haram had released a new video on claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging they had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed.

A total of 276 girls were abducted on April 14 from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state, which has a sizeable Christian community. Some 223 are still missing.

You will recall that on the night of 14–15 April 2014, suspected Boko Haram terrorists, attacked the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, broke into the school, pretending to be guards and told the girls to get out and come with them.

They were taken away in trucks, into the Konduga area of the Sambisa Forest, where the terrorists were known to have fortified camps. Prior to the attack, the school had been closed for four weeks due to the deteriorating security situation, nevertheless, students from various schools had been asked to take their final exams in physics in the school.

Reports revealed that there were 530 students from different villages who registered for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, although it is unclear how many were in attendance at the time of the attack.

The students were aged 16 to 18 years and were in their final year. International outrage Parents and others took to social media to complain about government’s perceived slow and inadequate response.

The news caused international outrage against Boko Haram and the Nigerian government. On April 30 and May 1, protests demanding greater government action were held in several Nigerian cities. Most parents, however, were afraid to speak publicly for fear their daughters would be targeted for reprisal. Protests: On May 3 and 4, protests were held in major Western cities including Los Angeles and London.

A lawyer in the Abuja started the hash tag#BringBackOurGirls# campaign which began to trend globally on Twitter and the story spread rapidly internationally and became most tweeted hash tag such that by May 11, 2014, it had attracted 2.3 million tweets and by 2016, it had been retweeted 6.1 million times.

On May2, 2014, the Police had said that approximately 276 students were taken in the attack out of which 53 escaped. However, on October 17, 2014, hopes were raised that the 219 remaining girls might soon be released after the Nigerian Army announced a truce between Boko Haram and government forces.

The announcement coincided with the sixth month anniversary of the girls’ capture and followed a month of negotiations mediated in Saudi Arabia by Chadian president, Idriss Deby.

The announcement was met with doubt as this was not the first time the Nigerian government had claimed a breakthrough in negotiations with the Islamic militant group – it had to backtrack on a previous announcement in September after saying the girls had been released and were being held in military barracks.

Intimidating the civilian population Jonathan Hill of King’s College, London, disclosed that Boko Haram kidnapped those girls with the aim of using them as sexual objects and as a means of intimidating the civilian population into non-resistance.

It was also reported that Chibok girls have been forced into marriage with members of Boko Haram, with a “bride price” of N2,000 each ($12.50/£7.50) adding, that many of the students were taken to neighbouring countries of Chad and Cameroun, with sightings reported of the students crossing borders with the militants, and sightings of the students by villagers living in the Sambisa forest.

While parents were expecting their children back, on May 2, 2014, Police said they were still unclear as to the exact number of students kidnapped. They asked parents to provide documents so an official count could be made as school records had been damaged in the attack.

Twenty days after the kidnap, May, 4 precisely, President Goodluck Jonathan spoke publicly about the kidnapping for the first time, saying the government was doing everything it could to find the missing girls. At the same time, he blamed parents for not supplying enough information about their missing children to the Police.

On the other hand, the current administration headed by Muhammadu Buhari and his party, All Progressive Congress (APC) made the issue political, vowing to return the Chibok girls within a year in office as well as to finish the Boko haram menace.

In May 2015, it was reported that the Nigerian military had reclaimed most of the areas previously controlled by Boko Haram in Nigeria including many of the camps in the Sambisa forest where it was suspected the Chibok girls had been kept. In January 2016, the Nigerian military were reported to have freed 1,000 women held captive by Boko Haram but none of the Chibok girls was found. Innocent



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