Chibok Girls’ Nine-Year Captivity

Chibok Girls’ Nine-Year Captivity: Was there any failure by Nigerian authorities to carry out credible investigations into security failures that left children vulnerable to atrocities of Boko Haram, gunmen?

By: Lillian Okenwa

It all started like a nightmare when the news broke that 276 girls aged between 16 and 18 years had been kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in a remote part of Borno State, Nigeria on the night of 14 April 2014.

And although about 108 of those girls have returned over the years, many are still in captivity.

In a blink of an eye, the abduction of Chibok school girls has entered the ninth year and the hope of these remaining girls ever returning is waning. Since their abduction, other schools have been targeted, with girls being abducted, raped, killed, or forced into marriages.

Asserting that the Nigerian authorities have not carried out a single credible investigation into the security failures that left children vulnerable to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and gunmen, Amnesty International said the Nigerian authorities failed utterly to learn from the heartbreak of Chibok town in Borno State and, ultimately, to protect children.

As the world commemorates the anniversary of that dark night, the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG movement has made nine demands from the departing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group in a statement demands that the government brings back the captured girls before 29 May 2023, in a “push to finally defeat Boko Haram, ISWAP, and liberate all our citizens”.

Their other demands include “Accountability from the Borno State Government”, and “A full report and debriefing for the parents on the status, academic plans, and wishes of the rescued girls, women, and children in their custody”.

They also requested that government “Provide closure for parents on the fate of their daughters who they have reason to believe are dead”; “Psycho-social support for Chibok and other conflict-affected families of abducted students to address the trauma to families; equipping and completion of their education, shelter, and empowerment to earn a living”

Again the BBOG wants the government to “Equip and motivate the police and armed forces and see to their welfare and proper care for the families of officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice”: “Reinvest in the Victims Support Fund to care for the practical needs of all returned and rescued girls, siblings and family members of girls”; “Public statement on the Missing Persons Register and immediate reopening of a properly resourced and staffed Missing Persons Desk at the National Human Rights Commission NHRC”.

Finally, they demanded a “Report on the coordinated provision of security for schools – primary, secondary, and higher education at local, state and federal levels”; a “Status report on the Safe Schools Initiative and adequate financing to ensure its effectiveness”

Meanwhile, the case of Leah Sharibu who is still in captivity after 109 other girls who were abducted along with her by the terror group on February 19, 2018, had since been released remains unresolved.

Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome told Law & Society that the celebration “is a bittersweet day.”

“It is a bittersweet day. This 9th anniversary of our Chibok Girls’ abduction. The sweet aspect is that so many of our girls who escaped or were rescued are picking up pieces of their lives, albeit slowly. The sad part is that some have lost their lives. In addition, 96 girls are still in captivity, and 14 are in the custody of the Borno State government.

“My heart goes out to our girls, their parents, siblings, and loved ones, and to all of our children caught up in the violent maelstrom created by the diabolical and vicious insurgents. We must also not forget that thousands of our fellow citizens, particularly women, and girls, are also in Boko Haram captivity. These include Leah Sharibu and the humanitarian workers.

In commemoration of the 9th year of our Chibok Girls’ captivity, a book edited by Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode was published. We were planning to launch this book in which I have a chapter today, but the launch is delayed to a future date. In the meantime, here’s some information on the book: https://www.linkedIn


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