SOME of the remaining 112 Chibok Schoolgirls have reportedly escaped from the custody of Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has been responsible for several deaths in Nigeria.
According to a report by the CNN on Friday, January 29, one of the escaped schoolgirls, Halima Ali Maiyanga, called her father to say she and other captives have escaped the Boko Haram custody.
“She asked me. Is this my daddy? Is this my daddy, and she started crying. The crying was [so] much and I couldn’t hear her very well. I was crying too. I never expected to hear from her again,” Ali Maiyanga, Halima’s father reportedly said.
CNN added that Ali Maiyanga said he didn’t get a chance to speak to his daughter properly, as she was emotional and the call was short. But he said she and others are safe and being looked after by the Nigerian army.
The ICIR reached out to Sagir Musa, spokesperson to the Nigerian Army in a bid to confirm the development but he directed the reporter to the Nigerian Defence.
Several efforts to reach the Nigerian Defence has proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.
On 14, April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State by armed insurgent group, Boko Haram.
Since their abduction in 2014, the government has only been able to secure the release of 107 while 57 others reportedly escaped from their abductors, Boko Haram.
The whereabouts of the remaining 112 Chibok schoolgirls has remained a mystery the Nigerian government has failed to solve.
Rights groups, civil society organisations as well as personalities have accused the federal government of neglecting the remaining girls.
In 2020, a frontier group for the release of the abducted schoolgirls, Bring Back Our Girls Movement accused the Nigerian government of copying and pasting the press release from the previous year to commemorate six years disappearance of the Chibok schoolgirls.
“It is most sad and disheartening that the administration copied the statement from last year verbatim and pasted with minor updates like the date to deceive the public,” the group said in 2020.
Meanwhile in 2019, Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian President had promised that he would secure the release of the remaining 112 Chibok girls and others in Boko Haram captivity.
Buhari said this in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, his senior special assistant on media and publicity.
Buhari noted that his administration would ‘not rest’ until it secured the release of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls.
Other missing schoolgirls
While the abduction of the Chibok schoolchildren gained international attention, there are other schoolchildren missing whose parents’ hope of meeting them again seems bleak.
On February 19, 2018, more than 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Dapchi Town, Yobe State by suspected Boko haram insurgents.
A few days after, a substantial number of the schoolchildren reportedly re-appeared, however, the whereabouts of others are unknown and there has been no report about them.
Among the Dapchi Schoolgirls is Leah Sharibu, a 16-year-old Christian. There have been reports that Sharibu is still alive but securing her release has been an impossible task for the government.
Most recently is the abduction of seven orphans from Rachael’s Orphanage Home opposite UBE Junior Secondary School in Naharati, Abaji Area Council, Abuja.
The orphans were abducted on 24th, January 2020 at around 1 am by gunmen who have demanded 10 million naira ransom from the victim’s family.
About 44,000 persons most of which are children are currently missing in Africa according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
ICRC stated that out of the 44,000 missing persons, the Red Cross estimates that about 23,000 of these cases are from Nigeria.
According to the ICRC, due to several cases of conflicts, violence and insurgency, mostly in the Northern part of the country, Nigeria remains the epicentre of missing persons in Africa.