April 29 - May 5, 2019
Five years after, Nigerians ask, ‘where’re 112 Chibok Girls?’ On the night of April 14, 2014, Nigeria witnessed one of the most scandalous abductions in its history when 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their hostels in Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. While the incident sparked local and international protest championed by the “Bring Back our Girls” Foundation, which pressured government to rescue a number of them, five years after, at least, 112 of the girls are still under the captivity of terrorists. In this issue, Williams ABAH and Elizabeth OFFIONG encountered Nigerians who have not lost hope of the return of the girls. Excerpts: CYNTHIA OBIAH: It is rather sad and unfortunate that there is little hope to rescue the 112 Chibok girls, including the brave Leah, who are still in the hands of Boko Haram. How do we even know most of them are still alive? We are only left to wonder their current living conditions, as well as their mental and physical state. As to whether there is any brink of hope for them, I believe that is all we have. Hope! We pray for their safe return every day. OROK EKPO: As long as they are alive, I believe there is great hope for their safe return. However, there are a number of things I am deeply bothered about. For instance, some of these girls have been married off to these bandits; what is the guarantee that they have not developed Stockholm syndrome? What is their current mental state, even their physical wellbeing, are they healthy or their lifespan keeps reducing due to their living conditions? Our Nigerian army is doing the best they can to dissolve these rebels who have existed for too long in our nation. We need our girls back! OLUMIDE ADEDEJI: Five years! That is too much time to be held captive. Surely, a lot of the ladies would have given up hope of returning to their various families. Some of them who had been married off to members of the Boko Haram must have had children by now. It must be traumatizing for the ladies and their families. Hope! That is all they have left. It is now in the hands of the government to use the best strategy to get the remaining ladies released. The Bring Back Our Girls campaign has been silent for a while now. We can only hope the girls return safely. I pray they do not give up. And I urge the Nigerian Government not to give up on our daughters, sisters, and friends that are still in the hands of the terrorists. It will be a massive achievement if Boko Haram is flushed out of this nation completely, with our ladies released to us safely.
INNOCENT OGWU: For me, the hope of their release is not in sight. If you recall, prior to the 2015 general elections, the present APC-led government used the Chibok Girls’ abduction as one of their campaign strategies to win the sympathy of Nigerians. But when they came into power, nothing much was done to rescue the innocent girls from their abductors. Nigerians and indeed the parents of those abducted girls were in high hopes that the girls would be released from the Boko haram captivity. Unfortunately, the reverse
is the case. Since after the release of the last batch in 2017, nobody has heard anything about the possibility of rescuing the remaining ones. If actually the government is putting measures in place for the release of the remaining 112 girls in captivity, then they should be able to tell Nigerians what they have done so far in order to strengthen the confidence of their parents. I think the relevant authorities need to remobilise and ensure that the girls are released from their abductors. IFEKO JUDE: Anytime I hear
about the Chibok girls’ abduction and the Killings by Boko haram in the North-East, I feel pains. If not because activities of Boko Haram in the North East are politicized, Boko haram would have been history by now. How can a government which has all the security apparatus, fail to flush out these dreaded monsters from our land? Who knows if the remaining Chibok girls in Boko haram den are still alive? In my opinion, government has lost the fight against insurgents in the North-East. Even when they deceived us that Boko haram has been technically defeated, Nigerians are yet to see the reality of this assertion as explosions continue to occur almost on daily basis in the North-East and other parts of the country. HARUNA AWODI: Well, I do not think the remaining 112 Chibok girls will still be released. Though I don’t know the strategies in place by the government towards their release, my brother this is making five years, that these children have been in captivity, yet there has been no persistent effort by the government to free them from their abductors. If you take a critical look at the activities of the insurgents in the North-East, and the lackadaisical attitude of our leaders towards the whole scenario, you will discover that something obvious is fishing underground. The Boko haram are not living in the moon, they are living within the affected communities across the states in the North-East. When the Chibok girls, were abducted in 2014, series of Videos, were out displaying the location of the abducted girls in the Sambisa forest. That would have been an opportunity for the security agencies to track them down and get the innocent girls from their abductors. But what we heard then was Boko haram are more sophisticated in arms than Nigeria Solders. I will advise that government partner external security outside the country to carry out thorough investigation that would lead to the release of the remaining Chibok girls from Boko haram.