Seven Years After, Calls For Rescue Of Missing Chibok Schoolgirls Continue

Desks with name tags of the missing schoolgirls taken on April 14, 2019, in Abuja during the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Chibok abduction. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun

 

Seven years since Boko Haram gunmen seized 276 girls aged between 12 and 17 from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State calls have been reignited for the rescue of the missing schoolgirls.

Although most of the 276 girls escaped or were later released, more than 112 girls are still missing.

In a statement to mark the anniversary, Amnesty International blamed the Federal Government for failure to learn from the Chibok attack and protect school children from attacks.

“The Nigerian authorities’ failure to protect schoolchildren from recent attacks clearly shows that no lessons have been learned from the Chibok tragedy. The authorities’ only response to schoolchildren being targeted by insurgents and gunmen is to close schools, which is increasingly putting the right to education at risk,” Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho said, adding that, “Whatever authorities are doing to tame this tide, it is not working.”

Meanwhile, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group has vowed not to relent in their campaign for the release of the schoolgirls.

“Even as we observe that other atrocities against Nigerian children and students assault the sensibilities of Nigerians, and those of the children are returned to their families; the fate of our missing 112 Chibok girls and the continuing trauma of Chibok parents and their communities are slipping from the public consciousness and are no longer a priority for the Federal Government,” the group said in a statement announcing a renewed global campaign for the return of the missing girls.

Members of Chibok community attend the 7th anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls, in Abuja on April 14, 2021. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun

 

The BBOG group which is one of the largest campaign groups for the return of the girls also held a lecture with speakers at the event lamenting the silence of the Federal Government.

“Seven years today, 219 young women who trusted our country to protect them, were abducted from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State. One hundred and twelve -112 of our girls and Leah Sharibu are still unaccounted by @NGRPresident. No word. No closure,” Oby Ezekwesili one of the founders of the campaign group said.

Members of the Chibok community attend the 7th anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls, in Abuja on April 14, 2021. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun

 

A vocal critic of the Nigerian Government, Aisha Yesufu, also at the event said the campaigners calling for the release of the girls should not stop or relent their efforts despite the government’s silence.

“The #BringBackOurGirls chants are so powerful! The fight for the #ChibokGirls is the fight for the soul of #Nigeria! What do we want? “The truth, nothing but the truth!” What are we demanding? “#BringBackOurGirls NOW & ALIVE.”

Yusufu said the wave of insecurity in Nigeria, especially Northern states is “creating a generation of children whose education has been permanently dented.”

Rebecca Samuel, mother of Sarah, one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram, cries during the 7th anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls, in Abuja on April 14, 2021. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun

 

BBOG plans from April 14, 2021, to hold a series of events in Lagos, Abuja, New York, and Chibok to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the abduction.

 

– Hope, Optimism –

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State also commemorated the missing schoolgirls, seven years after. He is optimistic that the abducted Chibok schoolgirls will be rescued.

“As a father of all sons and daughters of Borno, I haven’t lost hope that our remaining Chibok schoolgirls and other abducted persons will be safely recovered,” the governor said, reigniting hopes that the students still in the kidnappers’ den will reunite with their parents.

While critics have lashed out at the Federal Government over its inability to rescue the schoolgirls, Governor Zulum says President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned as the parents of the Chibok girls about the development.

 

Release Of Chibok Girls Is My Priority – Buhari 

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 pledged that his government will not rest until the remaining Chibok girls are safely released.

The President, during a bilateral meeting with Swiss President, Alain Berset, on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP24 in Katowice, Poland assured that strategies are in place to ensure the safe return of the girls, building on the past successes of securing the release of some of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.

“We will continue to make the safe release of the remaining Chibok girls a priority and will welcome any kind of support from any quarters to make this happen,” Buhari said.

 

 – Mass Abductions Since Chibok –

Years after President Buhari’s assurance, many more abductions and kidnappings have taken place in schools in Northern Nigeria.

On Friday 11 December 2020, at about 9:30 pm, gunshots were heard within the premises of Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Kastina state, northwest Nigeria.

More than 300 students were kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State on February 26, 2021.
More than 300 students were kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State on February 26, 2021. Further mass kidnappings of schoolchildren in Nigeria have seen hundreds of children killed, raped, forced into “marriages” or forced to join Boko Haram.

 

The gunmen, dressed in military uniforms broke into dormitories and went away with students numbering over 300 students.

The students were held in captivity for six nights until their release on 17 December 2020.

The attack prompted state governments in Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Jigawa, and Katsina to order schools to close, contributing to the huge number of children that are out of school in Nigeria. The UN currently puts the figure at 10.5 million.

Just a month later, on 17 February 2021, 27 students from the Government Science Secondary School in Kagara, Niger State, were abducted by gunmen from their dormitory in the early hours of the morning. The students were released on 27 February.

In another raid on 26 February 2021, hundreds of schoolgirls were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara state. After four days in captivity, 279 of the students were released on 2 March.

In March 2021, two different schools were attacked in Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria, including the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization where 30 students were seized on 11 March.

We Are Used To A President Whose Words Mean Nothing – Aisha Yesufu

 

The co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Aisha Yesufu, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his handling of the increasing spate of abductions in the country.

When asked on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, what she thinks of the President’s assurance to Nigerians about efforts being made to rescue all those who have been abducted, Mrs Yesufu said: “what I make of the statement is absolutely nothing”.

“We are used to a president whose words mean nothing. He says one thing, and another thing happens,” she added.

Since one of the major abductions in the country happened in 2014 – (the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State), Yesufu has been at the forefront of the calls made to the Federal Government to ensure the release of all abductees as well as to curb the rate of insecurity in the country.

Speaking of the abduction of 317 female students at the Jangebe Government Girls Secondary School in Zamfara State on Friday, she said the President’s body language had been an enabler to the perpetrators.

Read Also: Seven Of 317 Female Students In Zamfara Escape Abductors

“The body language of President Muhammadu Buhari enables the terrorists. They know that we have an ineffective President and Commander-In-Chief, we have an incompetent one a clueless one, who does not even bother about what is happening in the country”, the BBOG Co-convener said.

“Yesterday we buried seven military officers, the best that we have, the nation was in mourning and the President was a few minutes away from where they were and the president didn’t even turn up, what does that signify? It Is high time we begin to make serious demands on the president”.

“This is such a sad moment especially with the fact that our government has not learnt anything in spite of almost seven years of advocacy that we’ve been calling on the government to do the right thing and to do the needful to ensure that the citizens are protected.

“Before the Chibok Girl’s abduction, there was actually the Guniyadi killings where 29 boys were slaughtered in their schools”.

Speaking about what steps should be taken, Yesufu said “It is not in our place to give the way forward. His (the President’s) salaries are being paid for it, his needs are being taken care of. He was voted to give the way forward.

Chibok Abduction: BBOG Marks 2,000 Days, Demands Release Of Remaining Girls

 

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group are marking 2,000 days since the abduction of over 200 girls by the Boko Haram terrorist group in the Chibok community, Borno State.

The group is demanding the release of the remaining girls still held in the captivity of the terrorist group and also asking the Federal Government to make schools in the northeast safe.

In a statement, the group questioned the Federal Government’s efforts in the fight against Boko Haram and the increased rate of Kidnappings in the country.

It urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government to live up to their responsibility in the protection of the lives and properties of its citizens.

Read Full Statement Below:

Today, Saturday, October 5th 2019 marks 2,000 days since 276 schoolgirls were abducted from Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria by terrorists on the night of April 14, 2014. 57 girls escaped within days of the abduction while 219 remained in captivity.

Five years on, an additional 107 girls have returned: 4 of them as a result of Nigerian military interventions, 21 released in October 2016 after negotiations with their captors and a further 82 set free by the terrorist group in May 2017. 2,000 days later, 112 of the #ChibokGirls abducted during an evil attack on humanity are yet to return.

READ ALSO: BBOG Marks 5th Anniversary Of Chibok Abduction, Demands Release Of Remaining Girls

Over the past 2,000 days, our #ChibokGirls have been denied their fundamental rights to freedom, for simply seeking an education on the path of growth and fulfillment they have been forced to suffer unimaginable horrors by enemies of humanity.

Their families and communities have also borne severe hardships within a war that continues to destroy lives and impede human progress. This nightmare continues to be the shame of a Nation and an open sore of the world that threatens to become ingrained within the darkest parts of our collective history.

Amidst these tragic circumstances, the reality is one in which the #ChibokGirls are supposedly represented by a government that repeatedly fails in its primary responsibility of the protection of lives.

Disturbingly, the government appears to be at ease amidst the troubles of the land, only concerned about protecting a fake-reputation that offers its citizens no value. To highlight this, we note with heartbreaking dismay, the incapacity, apathy and failed leadership displayed by the President and the Federal Government in the wake of the abduction of 6 students and 2 staff members of Engravers College in Kaduna on the 3rd of October 2019. This continues a distressing pattern of a failure to secure, preserve and dignify the lives of citizens.

To this end, the students and staff of Engravers College join a number of citizens who remain missing – including Leah Sharibu, Alice Ngaddah, Grace Taku and her colleagues as well as many others. How can we have continued this way?

Through this all, we stand, keep the faith and hold out the light for our #ChibokGirls and all others in captivity. Today and until they return, we demand #BringBackOurGirls

PHOTOS: BBOG Marks 2,000 Days Of Chibok Abduction

A photo combination of shoes bearing the names of abducted girls displayed in Abuja to mark the 2,000 days of the Chibok abduction in Borno State on October 5, 2019. Photos – Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

It is 2,000 days already since 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their hostel at the Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok, Borno State.

Fifty-seven girls, however, escaped within days of the abduction which took place on April 14, 2014, while 219 remained in captivity.

Five years later, an additional 107 girls returned – four of them as a result of Nigerian Military interventions, 21 released in October 2016 after negotiations with their captors, and a further 82 set free by the terrorist group in May 2017.

But 112 of the schoolgirls have yet to return.

READ ALSO: Chibok Abduction: BBOG Marks 2,000 Days, Demands Release Of Remaining Girls

To mark the day, members of the Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG) held another sit out in Abuja, demanding the intervention of the Federal Government for the girls’ release.

Shoes bearing names of the abducted girls were used to draw the attention of the government and the international community to the plight of the girls, as well as all other abducted persons, including Leah Sharibu who was abducted in February 2018 in Yobe State.

See photos below:

 

Shoes bearing the names of abducted girls displayed in Abuja to mark the 2,000 days of the Chibok abduction in Borno State on October 5, 2019. Photos – Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Why Twitter Temporarily Restricted Activist, Aisha Yesufu

Micro-blogging site, Twitter, ‘temporarily restricted’ the account of activist Aisha Yesufu for a couple of hours on Thursday.

Yesufu is a co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign.

The account was restored after several Nigerians with large following on Twitter reacted to the development, urging Twitter to restore Yesufu’s account.

A former minister of education and also BBOG co-founder, Oby Ezekwesili, tweeted in support of Yesufu.

“She does not deserve to be shut down,” Ezekwesili said.

 

  See more tweets with reactions to the restrictions below…

 

Twitter, however, in a mail sent to Yesufu explained that it restricted the account after its automated systems flagged a series of tweets from Yesufu’s account as spam.

“We apologise for the mixup, and hope to see back on Twitter,” the social media giant wrote to Yesufu.

Yesufu, a vocal critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, had been posting a series of tweets criticising the government.

“That I voted for the President in 2015 is not a reason I should not criticise the President,” she wrote. “It shouldn’t not be about personal inclination! It’s about justice!”

A photograph of Arabic scripts was attached to each of the tweets.

“I will continue to be a voice,” Yesufu tweeted after her account was unlocked. “My voice is not for myself alone but for so many others who unfortunately did not get that education that so many of us take for granted to have a voice,” she tweeted.

See Aisha’s tweet announcing that Twitter have removed the restriction…

 

BBOG Marks 5th Anniversary Of Chibok Abduction, Demands Release Of Remaining Girls

Sambisa Clearance: BBOG Demands Chibok Girls' Whereabouts

 

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group are marking the 5th anniversary of the abduction of over 100 girls by the Boko Haram terrorist group in the Chibok community, Borno State.

The group is demanding the release of the remaining girls still held in the captivity of the terrorist group and also asking the Federal Government to make schools in the northeast safe.

In a sit-out in Lagos to honour the Chibok schoolgirls, the faces and names have been posted at the Falomo roundabout in the Ikoyi area of the state as well as other parts of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement on Saturday renewed his vow to ensure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and  Leah Sharibu in Boko Haram’s enclave.

READ ALSO: Buhari Renews Vow To Secure Release Of Leah Sharibu, Chibok Girls

He disclosed this in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok girls.

He said he is aware that the promise to rescue the girls is the main reason the people of Chibok voted overwhelmingly for him in the February election.

The President had promised the parents of the kidnapped girls when he met them at the beginning of his first term as President, that he would ensure their daughters returned home.

He said his government had so far succeeded in securing the release of 107 of the girls, he will not rest until the remaining girls are reunited with their families.

However, 112 girls are still in captivity.

On April 14, 2014, over 200 students were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School.

The abduction of the schoolgirls triggered global condemnation including former President of the United State, Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle.

 

PHOTOS: Parents, Activists Mark Five Years Of Chibok Girls’ Abduction

Parents, Activists Mark Five Years Of Chibok Girls' Abduction
A combination of photos taken on April 14, 2019, in Abuja during the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Chibok abduction. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

April 14, 2019, marks the fifth year since Boko Haram terrorists invaded a secondary school in Chibok community in Borno State and abducted more than 200 girls.

Although 107 of the abducted schoolgirls have returned home, 112 girls and Leah Sharibu have yet to regain their freedom.

Leah is the schoolgirl abducted by the insurgents along with over 100 others in Dapchi, Yobe State in February 2018.


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Chibok: We Will Never Give Up On Our Missing Daughters – Buhari


The terrorists had returned the other Dapchi girls but left Leah behind for refusing to renounce Christianity.

In commemoration of five years in Boko Haram captivity of the Chibok girls, members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group set up chairs with the names of the remaining 112 girls and Leah as they hold their third annual lecture in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The chairs symbolise that the girls were kidnapped while in school and till this day, their chairs in school are empty.

Meanwhile, the parents of the Chibok girls held another commemoration event at the Government Secondary School, Chibok where their children were abducted in 2014.

Representatives of the community alleged that they were facing “genocide type elimination” by Boko Haram insurgents.

The President of Kibaku Area Development Association, Dauda Illiah, called for the Federal Government’s assistance in this regard and sought relief materials for victims of attacks.

He also urged the government to build a rehabilitation centre for parents and victims of kidnappings in Chibok.

He asked the government to complete the 40km Chibok-Damboa Road which said has not been completed for 40 years and has become a den of kidnappers.

See the photos of the event in Abuja below:

Killing Of Aid Worker: BBOG Protests In Abuja, Demands Release Of Others In Captivity

 

The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group is currently protesting in Abuja following the killing of another aid worker, Hauwa Liman, by Boko Haram insurgents on Monday.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Nifemi Onifade, issued on Monday, the group said it was deeply saddened by the news of her death, despite several appeals to the government to take action to secure the release of all those in captivity.

The statement read, “It is with deep sadness that we receive the regrettable news of Hauwa Liman, today on the 15th of October, 2018. Hauwa was a humanitarian aid worker, working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at the time of her abduction with her colleagues, Saifura Ahmed and Alice Ngadahh – whom we now collectively refer to as the #RannWomen.

“The news we have received suggests that she was killed in a similar manner as Saifura was, about a month ago, following a threat by the terrorists to do so.

“We had been monitoring the situation since their abduction 228 days ago. We have since made numerous demands to the government, asking for actions that will ensure their safe return during a number of marches and as contained in our letter to the President earlier today”.

 

 

The group, therefore, said it is embarking on the protest to make more demands to the Federal Government to ensure that the remaining captives including Leah Sharibu, (the only one out of the 110 girls abducted at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State), are released safely.

“For Alice Ngaddah, Leah Sharibu, our 112 #ChibokGirls and others in captivity, it is not too late.

“We will go ahead with a planned protest to the Presidency tomorrow to carry our increased demand to the Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We ask that members of the public join us (tomorrow October 16) as we set off from the Unity Fountain at 9:00 am.

“We also ask for prayers for Hauwa’s family, her colleagues and others in captivity,” the statement read.

BBOG Marches To Villa, Demands Release Of Leah Sharibu, Others

 

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls group on Wednesday marched to the Presidential Villa in Abuja to demand the release of the remaining Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu, who was abducted by Boko Haram terrorists over 200 days ago.

 

They also demanded the release of others who are in the custody of the terrorists including two of three aid workers who were abducted by the terrorists in March.

Their march comes days after one of the three aid workers was said to have been killed by the terrorists.

Read Also: Red Cross Condemns Killing Of Aid Worker In Borno

The group convened at the Unity Fountain where they began the march.

Members were, however, denied access into the villa by a team of anti-riot police officers.

Undeterred, they decided to hold the press conference on the road, where they demanded the release of those in captivity.

Killings: Ezekwesili Marches To Presidential Villa In Solo Protest

 

Former Minister of Education and Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, on Tuesday embarked on a solo protest to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Ezekwesili who was seen carrying a banner with the inscription, ‘End The Bloodshed’ was protesting against the incessant killings across the country with the most recent being that of Jos, the Plateau State capital.

She was, however, stopped by security personnel attached to the first screening point on the three arms zone, leading to the Villa.

Also, her banner was seized, and cameramen were chased away by armed police officers.

Read Also: Stop Showing Loyalty To ‘Incompetent Security Infrastructure’, Ezekwesili Tells Buhari

BBOG Group Calls For Sack Of IGP

BBOG Group Calls For Sack Of IGP
Dr Oby Ezekwesili addresses members of the BBOG group at the Unity Fountain in Abuja on April 24, 2018.

 

The members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign have called for the removal of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris.

A co-convener of BBOG, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, made the demand on behalf of the group on Tuesday during a protest in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Suspected Herdsmen Kill 11 Worshipers, Two Priests In Benue Church

She accused the police authorities of deploying armed police personnel in the area to disperse citizens who were calling for democratic accountability.

“Why is the Nigeria Police stationed at the Unity Fountain against the Bring Back Our Girls movement? We want answers, the IG of police must be sacked for this,” Ezekwesili said.

According to her, the police officials came with canisters of tear gas and other materials that can be harmful to the human body.

The BBOG co-convener alleged that police used the materials to disperse members of the group whom she insisted were carrying out their constitutional responsibility.

She noted the latest attack in Benue State where 11 worshippers and two priests were killed by suspected armed herdsmen in Gwer East Local Government Area of the state.

Ezekwesili decried that instead of the police to focus more on how to tackle the matter and other burning issues in the country, they were dispersing peaceful protesters.

The BBOG had claimed that its members were attacked by the police on Monday while holding a sit-out at the Unity Fountain in the nation’s capital.

The area was barricaded with tape on Tuesday, as the police surrounded the area to ensure the barricade was not broken.

In a show of defiance, members of the group, however, continued their sit-out outside the barricade.

Four Years Later: BBOG Demands Protection Of Girl-Child Education

Chairperson of BBOG, Mrs Naja’atu Mohammed

 

The Bring Back Our Girls group on Saturday called on the Federal Government to see to the protection of the rights of the girl-child.

Chairperson of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Lecture, Mrs Naja’atu Mohammed, said the girl-child education is a right for every female child in view of the threat they are being confronted with.

“This has promoted the preservation and mental illiteracy on the girl-child. This insecurity tends to preserve and sustain the tradition of transgender abject poverty and hopelessness from mother to children,” she said while regretting the insecurity threat to the education of female children.

The BBOG annual lecture is organised yearly to remember the over 200 female children of Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014 while writing their Senior School Certificate Examination.

Following the reported kidnap of the school children in the troubled North Eastern state, many prominent global figures condemned the action, especially former United States First Lady, Mrs Michelle Obama.

Mohammed also condemned a situation whereby some female children were forced into early marriages rather than be encouraged to embraced education.

She added, “The condemnation of early marriage, premature motherhood, lamentable condition further complicated by their health challenges in terms of rapid breeding of VVF, infections, maternal mortality coupled with abject poverty and illiteracy lead to catastrophe to their lives.”

The obviously angry Mohammed also accused the governments at all level for failing Nigerians in its statutory responsibility of protecting Nigerians.

She is of the opinion that the insecurity led to the death of some promising pupils in the restive northern state, bloodbath in some other parts of the country.

The speaker further called on all Nigerians to be proactive in ensuring that their immediate environments were properly secured.

“The primary responsibility of every government is to secure the territorial integrity of that nation and to provide security for lives and properties and to give us an enabling environment to live without fear of being kidnapped or killed.”