April 14, 2014. It was a normal day for you and me. Getting ready to reach our school, college or workplace. But for the girls of Chibok, their fate took an unexpected and dreadful turn when terror striked, resulting in shattering the lives of 276 school girls and their families.
The members of an Islamist group Boko Haram, attacked a girls’ school in Chibok in North Eastern Nigeria.
Boko Haram at a glance
Boko Haram was founded in 2002 and initially focused on opposing western education. ‘Boko Haram’ has the meaning ‘opposition of Western education’ in the Hausa language.
It launched its military operations in 2009.
Thousands were killed in North Eastern Nigeria, hundreds were abducted including atleast 200 school girls.
Joined the so called Islamic state, IS and calls itself as its ” West African Province ”.
They seized a large area of North East where it declared caliphate.
Regional force has retaken most of the territory last year.
In 2009, Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks on police stations and other government buildings in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
This led to shootouts on the streets and hundreds of Boko Haram supporters are killed. Many residents had to flee away from the city.
Eventually, the group’s headquarters was seized, members captivated and their leader was killed by the Nigerian forces.
Schools became their recruiting grounds
Many poor Muslim families from Nigeria and its neighbouring countries enrolled their children at the school.
Boko Haram was not only against the western education but it was also interested in forming the Muslim state. So it saw the schools as a bundle of opportunity. They attacked schools and started recruiting the students as their members.
Their attack on the Chibok girls’ school was one such attempt.
According to an international study Boko Haram had abducted an astounding number of 2000 children since 2014. Many of them are used as sex slaves, fighters and even suicide bombers.
To show their commitment to Boko Haram, the boys are made to attack their own families and the girls are used as suicide bombers.
This would eventually result in wiping out an entire generation from Africa.
The Chibok attack and is aftermath
What about those school girls who were abducted for no mistake of theirs?
They were aspiring school girls just like us whose future had been destroyed. Their families are shattered and the damage is beyond repairs.
These inspiring stories of girls are just the tip of the iceberg. Many girls like them have lost their bright future and family after that most terrible day of their life.
Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters are still waiting for their girls to return. It’s been two years and their prayers remain unanswered.
Some of them have succeeded in running away but two years later, 219 girls are still missing.
Those who have escaped have revealed the agony that they have been through. One of them admitted that she was forced into married but she was lucky enough to escape.
Is been two years and what has the government been doing?
This was one of the way used by many famous personalities like the first lady, Michelle Obama to show their support for the girls.
The people of the country became part of the many struggles and rallies conducted to put forward their grievances in front of the government.
Even the youngest noble laureate, Malala Yousafzai, came to the front and showed her support for the girls.
In the movies we usually see that the Americans swoop in and take care of things. But here, the Nigerian government was not ready to take the help from the Westerners.
It is also said that the girls were spotted in a local forest 80 days after the incident took place. They stayed at that place for about 4 weeks. Having known this fact, the government did not even show any sign of carrying a rescue operation.
This showcases the absence of concern towards its citizens by the government and even push us into believing that may be fearing the militants.
14th April 2016
Marking the second anniversary of the event, a footage revealing 100 girls was handed over to the Nigerian government before being broadcasted.
15 of the girls identifying themselves and pleading the government to cooperate with the militants on their release.
They said that they were being treated well but they wanted to be their family.
Is this how the government should treat their girls?
Just imagine the position of the girls who are not leading their lives in a way they wanted to and the grief their families are going through.
Tears rolled down the faces of the near and dear ones on seeing their girls in the black robes in the video.
But the video gives some hope to the families that their girls may return one day.
In my opinion, the treat that Boko Haram posses will disappear only if the Nigerian government manages to reduce the chronic poverty and build an education system which gains the support of the local Muslims.
All of us must come together in support of the Nigerian locals who are fighting for their lives every day in a hope that their lives will change one day.
They spent their whole lives in a hope that atleast their children will see the brighter side of life.