The tragic occurrence of April 14, 2014, where 276 schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, were whisked away by Boko Haram insurgents, has made an indelible impact on the lives of the victims and their families – over 100 are still missing. What the remaining girls and their families have gone through and going through in eight years of captivity is beyond imagination.
The Chibok event also opened a floodgate to many others and etched itself in the minds of well-meaning Nigerians, many of whom have continued to pressure the government to bring back the remaining Chibok girls and other victims of school kidnappings across the country.
Days turned to weeks, then to months and years, and eight years later, it seems many Nigerians have forgotten about the remaining girls in captivity. More worrying is the fact that the government, despite claims of technically defeating the insurgents, still could not account for the remaining girls and appears unbothered. One could not but wonder if those at the echelons of power have also forgotten the remaining girls.
Worst still, typical of the Nigerian government’s handling of many critical issues with disturbing nonchalance, not only did the government fail to rescue all the girls but also appears to learn nothing from the recurrent school kidnappings in Chibok, Dapchi, Kankara and others. This is evident in the fact that neither the proposed Safe School Initiative nor a substitute intervention was ever considered.
Indeed, effort has been made to tackle insecurity but it is clearly not enough. It is worth repeating that the failure to protect citizens in every part of Nigeria without critical proactive moves to stamp out insecurity is irresponsible and disappointing, to say the least. It baffles the mind how a government that has been battling insurgency for years allowed insurgency like banditry to grow.
Although better late than never, it is already a big failure not to be able to return the girls to their families safe and sound as they were before being kidnapped. Hence, the families of all Chibok girls, particularly those that are still in captivity, deserve to be addressed, sincerely apologised to and have their wards returned to them.
More importantly, Nigerians need to avoid distraction from irrelevant issues and continue to demand the change they voted for, a plan to keep schools safe in every part of the country, and the return of the remaining Chibok girls and other victims of school kidnappings in Nigeria.