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21 released Chibok girls came with 34 children – Report

21 released Chibok girls came with 34 children - Report

 

As concerned stakeholders commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the abduction of 276 girls of Chibok Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, a damning report at the weekend revealed among others, that 21 released girls came with 34 children.

The revelation was contained in a report released by the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) over the weekend. The report also painted a picture of various inhuman treatments the abductees went through in captivity, which include sexual violence and coerced marriages.

The report also revealed that 91 out of the 276 schoolgirls remain unaccounted for. Also, the report hinted that 48 parents of the abductees have died since the girls were kidnapped, with widespread psychological trauma for survivors and their families, leading to health issues and barriers to work and education.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the MMF, Dr. Aisha Muhammad-Oyebode, in the virtual presentation of the report, stated that the foundation has set out 10 key recommendations that urged the Nigerian government and the international community to collaborate on the delivery of and beyond the following priority areas.

This includes enhanced security measures; community empowerment programmes; psychological support services in danger zones; education initiatives; legal reforms; transparent communication; humanitarian aid and development assistance; women’s empowerment programmes, and early warning systems for security threats.

Muhammed-Oyebode said: “In the 10 years since the Chibok kidnapping caused global outrage, very little has changed on the ground in Nigeria, where kidnapping is still as prevalent, if not worse than a decade ago.

“As Nigeria’s kidnapping epidemic shows no signs of slowing, we urge the Nigerian authorities and the international community to take concrete steps to address the underlying drivers of conflict, extremism, and violence against women and girls, which include widespread poverty, instability, and a lack of economic opportunities.

“The report found that 91 out of the 276 schoolgirls remain unaccounted for. The report also revealed that 21 of the Chibok girls, who were released returned with 34 children, serving as a confirmation of the sexual violence and coerced marriages they endured while in captivity.

“Other key findings included: In 2014, 57 schoolgirls escaped by jumping off the Boko Haram trucks. Between 2016 and 2023, 128 girls have since been rescued, exchanged in deals with Boko Haram or found in countries, including neighbouring Cameroon, after escaping. One of the girls to be released opted out of the negotiations at the last minute, choosing to remain with her captors.

“Forty-eight parents of the abducted victims have died since the girls were kidnapped, with widespread psychological trauma for survivors and their families, leading to health issues and barriers to work and education. Three of those parents were killed by Boko Haram in subsequent attacks in 2014, 2016, and 2017, respectively.

“In February 2018, Boko Haram abducted over 100 schoolgirls in a town called Dapchi in a shocking attack that was worryingly similar to the Chibok kidnapping. Several cases of kidnapping and instability persist, with girls among those most at risk. The MMF’s report shares recommendations in efforts to address the root causes of the kidnapping and urges for international cooperation to urgently act to deliver solutions that put an end to the crisis.”

The CEO went on to advocate for a zero tolerance policy and ensure that those who are responsible for the atrocities documented are brought to justice, no matter how powerful or well connected.

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