It is regrettable that five years after the unfortunate abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, by the Boko Haram sect, on April 14, 2014, over a hundred of them are yet to be rescued. While 107 of the young girls had been released, 112 are still held captive by the sect. At the 5th anniversary of the abduction incident, it is commendable that President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that his administration will ensure that the remaining Chibok schoolgirls are freed and reunited with their families.
We recall that the President had during his inauguration on May 29, 2015 made a similar promise. We urge the President to ensure that the promise is fulfilled this time around. Although, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari inherited the Chibok girls’ abduction saga from former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, he succeeded in ensuring the release of some of the girls since his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.
The government after some negotiations facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Government secured the release of 21 of the girls in 2016. This was followed by the release of another batch of 82 of the girls in 2017 in exchange of some commanders of the dreaded sect captured by Nigerian troops under a swap deal. Outside the four of the girls that escaped from the captivity of the sect, about 112 of the girls are still held by the insurgents.
Before the Chibok schoolgirls’ incident, the Boko Harm sect attacked Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, in February 2014 and killed 58 students. They also abducted 18 female students.
Also, on February 18, 2018, the sect abducted 110 female students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State.
While five of the abducted girls reportedly died in the tragic incident, all the remaining girls except Leah Sharibu were released by the insurgents after negotiation with the Federal Government about a month later.
We are worried that after five years, these young schoolgirls are still in Boko Haram’s captivity. Five years is a long time in any one’s life; more so, in the life of a female. We acknowledge the fact that negotiations for the release of the girls can be very costly and at times frustrating. All the same, we call on President Buhari to intensify efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls and many others still in Boko Haram’s captivity.
The President should spare no effort until all of them are released and reunited with their families. We commend the efforts of individuals, civil society groups and others that have kept alive the campaign to free the abducted schoolgirls.
As a result of the deadly activities of the Boko Haram sect, Nigeria was last year listed as one of the 15 countries in which children suffered extreme violence.
Other countries that made the unenviable list included Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Myanmar, Palestine, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
In the same vein, Nigeria was ranked the 16th least peaceful country in the world in the 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI).
We enjoin the government to change this ugly narrative and ensure adequate security for all Nigerians. Good enough, Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
Therefore, we implore the Federal Government to explore all avenues including negotiations with the sect to ensure the quick release of the remaining Chibok girls and other persons in the captivity of the Boko Haram sect.