Press Release: Chibok Abduction – One Year After
By: Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF)
Lagos, Nigeria, 14th April 2015 – Today makes it exactly one year that 200+ young female students from the Government Girl’s Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria were abducted by heavily armed men suspected to be Bokoharam Islamist terrorists in the dead of the night from their school during an examination period. This shocking incidence clearly demonstrated the vulnerability and susceptibility of women and girls to dangers of armed conflict; it further demonstrated the lack of preparedness and adequate measures by the Nigerian government to tackle issues of insecurities as it affects women and girls. It is also a clear violation of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which prohibits child marriage and violates Section 27 of the Child Rights Acts which provides that “No person shall remove or take a child out of the custody or protection of his father or mother, guardian or such other person having lawful care or in charge of the child against the will of the father, mother, guardian or other person.”
Despite widespread condemnation of this abduction; despite the tremendous support and assistance by international communities and governments to the Nigerian government; despite renewed and invigorated efforts by the Nigerian Army to root out Bokoharam from Nigeria, despite the relentless efforts by advocacy groups, media, concerned individuals and celebrities around the world; the Chibok Girls still remain in captivity. Their wellbeing uncertain, the hope for their safe return dimming with each passing day as we fear the worst for their safety, physical, psychological and mental and wellbeing. We are extremely worried by the troubling nightmarish account by few survivors who managed to escape from the terrorist group. We also fear that the girls may have been trafficked within and across Nigeria’s border and sold to fellow insurgents if the threat made by Bokoharam’s infamous leader Shekau in a Youtube video released on the 5th of May 2014 is to be believed.
While we keep hope alive and remain positive that the Chibok Girls will be brought back home alive and well, the NFF hereby reiterates its call on the Nigerian Government specifically the incoming newly elected government to;
(a) Expedite actions aimed at safely returning the abducted girls to their parents and ensure adequate security of life and property of every Nigerian citizen living within its bothers as contained in section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which stated that primary function of Government is to secure the lives and property of its citizens while Section 33 of the same constitution guarantees the right to life;
(b) To beef up security across its various borders to effectively control the movement of arms and people and ensure adequate security around educational facilities throughout the country;
(c) Employ every positive means to restore peace and ensure the end of the conflict in Northern Nigeria;
(d) To ensure that upon return that adequate rehabilitation and counselling services are made available for parents and daughters who will all be traumatized.
The NFF also calls on Media and CSO’s;
To sustain the momentum around the Chibok girl’s abduction by continually and relentlessly, publicizing, reporting, demanding and insisting on the safe release of Our Abducted Girls. Members of the media especially must keep the Chibok abduction in the front burner of news publications and reports to ensure that the required publicity necessary to move the Nigerian government to rapidly ACT on the safe retrieval of Our Girls from their captors.
The NFF would like to use this medium to commend the persistent and determined effort by the #BringBackOurGirls Advocacy Campaign Group, who has relentlessly and tirelessly ensured that the Chibok abduction is not forgotten. We stand united with you in solidarity, sisterhood and goodwill until Our Girls are brought back home safe and alive.