Nine years after Boko Haram abducted 276 students from a girls’ school in Chibok, 98 girls are still being held by Boko Haram and abductions have taken place since, revealing the utter failure of the Nigerian authorities to learn from the heartbreak of Chibok and, ultimately, to protect children, Amnesty International said today.
Since the Chibok school girls were abducted by Boko Haram, a plethora of schools have been targeted, with girls being abducted, raped, killed or forced into “marriages”. The Nigerian authorities, however, 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.
“Parents of the 98 Chibok school girls who are still being held by Boko Haram — as well as other children abducted by gunmen — are living in anguish, knowing that their children are in the hands of ruthless individuals who subject their loved ones to chilling brutalities,” said Isa Sanusi, Acting Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“It is beyond time that the Nigerian authorities took meaningful action to counter armed groups like Boko Haram and gunmen. Nigeria has an obligation to implement safeguards to protect all children, and the lack of accountability for these callous crimes is fueling impunity. The missing Chibok school girls should be returned home to their families, and all those responsible for committing grave violations must face justice.”
Between December 2020 and March 2021, there have been at least five reported cases of abductions in northern Nigeria, including from schools, at Kankara, Kagara, Jangebe, Damishi Kaduna, Tegina and Yawuri while the threat of further attacks has led to the closure of over 600 schools in the north of the country.At the end of March, Amnesty International interviewed five Chibok school girls who had escaped from Boko Haram and their parents. They said they had lost almost all hope that the other 98 girls would ever be rescued.
One of the returnees told Amnesty International: “The Nigerian government should not forget about the remaining 98 girls. They should be rescued. Every morning I wake up and recall the condition I left them in. I cry, I feel sorry for them. Nine years is too long to be in such a deplorable condition. The government must fulfill its promise of rescuing all the girls.”
Victims’ parents are concerned that the girls who refused to be “married” by Boko Haram are suffering brutal treatment every day.