ABUJA – As the world marks International Day of the Girl on Friday, advocacy group Bring Back Our Girls in Nigeria is remembering the students who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents more than five years ago from the town of Chibok. The group is calling on authorities to fulfill promises made to secure the release of the girls who are still in captivity.
Some of the 276 kidnapped girls escaped and others were released through negotiations, but 112 girls are yet to be freed.
“We’re in pains, frustration,” said Gapani Yanga, whose niece is still being held by Boko Haram. “That is why many of the parents of Chibok girls are dying without any sickness, but because of frustration and trauma.”
Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement say the government is diverting its focus from the search and rescue of the captives.
At a demonstration to mark International Day of the Girl in Abuja, BBOG’s Maimaku Abubakar says they will not stop demanding the girls’ release.
“We want to remind the whole world that there are parents out there that will be celebrating the day without their wards. We call on the West, they have all the gadgets and wherewithal to locate these girls and rescue them,” Abubakar said.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has continually reassured Nigerians that his cabinet remains committed to winning the release of the remaining girls.
Political experts like Rotimi Olawale, however, have their doubts.
“We lost critical time at the very beginning when the girls were abducted,” Olawale said. “To the best of my knowledge, the first 72 hours in an abduction is the most important period to be able to trace and track where the girls were taken to. The government at the time did not take advantage of that crucial time to trace them. From all intelligence, the girls have been broken down into smaller teams and kept in different locations, which makes a rescue operation very delicate and cumbersome.”
Last month, a representative of the missing girls’ parents attended the U.N. General Assembly in New York, in an effort to remind the world of the Chibok girls.
Today, people worldwide will celebrate the achievements of girls, but for many in the BBOG movement, their faith is weakening.
Source: Voice of America