Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Can We Save the Missing Chibok School Girls After 365 Days?

This midnight in Chibok will be exactly one year since the Boko Haram terrorists attacked and kidnapped more than 276 female school girls at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State in north east of Nigeria. 57 of the girls have escaped, but 219 are still missing and there is no confirmation of their whereabouts.

Some of the kidnapped Chibok school girls in a Boko Haram video.

The failure of military intelligence caused the failure of military defence of the north eastern states of Nigeria, because many members of the Boko Haram terrorists have been identified by villagers as their neighbours! Moreover, the terrorists often use the banks and filling stations in town.

The Nigerian military was warned of the attack when the terrorists were advancing towards Chibok, but they failed to protect the school and failed to rescue the kidnapped girls when the terrorists forced them into trucks and drove away. Military helicopters would have been able to trail them and locate wherever they were taken to. But the Nigerian government of President Goodluck Jonathan ignored them until it was too late to trace their whereabouts within days of the incident. In fact, the First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan denied the incident. The Nigerian military also failed to use detectives and spies to search for them. And they also failed to use the information from those who escaped to find the missing 219 girls. Eleven of the parents of the missing school girls have died since April 14, 2014 to date.

First Lady of United States of America, Mrs. Michelle Obama.

It is unfortunate that such a tragedy happened to Nigerian school girls, because of an irresponsible government with an incompetent cabinet. The Nigerian government even ignored the worldwide campaign by leading personalities, including First Lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Michelle Obama, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, Holly Gordon of Girl Rising, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, British Prime Minister David Cameron and 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai who visited the President of Nigeria and celebrated her 17th birthday in 2014 with some of the parents and five of the 57 school girls who escaped from the Boko Haram. The Nigerian government even hounded Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili for championing the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign in Nigeria. 

The President-elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari who defeated the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential election has promised to use all his powers to search, find and rescue the missing Chibok school girls. And we hope it is not too late to save them after 365 days.

Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili leading the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, in May 2014. Getty Images.

UNICEF reported that more than 800,000 children have been displaced by the Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and announced the beginning of a new humanitarian emergency campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurChildhood

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online and Founder of Girls United Together for Success (GUTS).
Malala's letter to Nigeria's abducted schoolgirls: 'solidarity, love, and hope'

To my brave sisters, the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok, On this first anniversary of your captivity, I write to you with a message of solidarity, love and hope. My name is Malala. I am a Pakistani girl your age. I am one of the millions of people around the world who keep you and your families foremost in our thoughts and prayers. We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: We will never forget you. We will always stand with you. Today and every day, we call on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to do more to bring you home.
We will not rest until you have been reunited with your families. Like you, I was a target of militants who did not want girls to go to school. Gunmen shot me and two of my friends on a school bus. All three of us survived and are back in school. Now we speak out on behalf of all girls about the right to get a proper education. Our campaign will continue until you and all girls and boys around the world are able to access a free, safe and quality secondary education. Last July, I spent my 17th birthday in Nigeria with some of your parents and five of your classmates who escaped the kidnapping.
Your parents are grief-stricken. They love you, and they miss you. My father and I wept and prayed with your parents -- and they touched our hearts. The escapee schoolgirls my father and I met impressed us with their resolve to overcome their challenges and to complete their high school education. My father and I promised your parents and the girls who had escaped that we would do all we could to help them.
I met Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and urged him to work harder for your freedom. I also asked President Jonathan to meet your parents and the girls who escaped the kidnapping, which he did a few days later. Still, in my opinion, Nigerian leaders and the international community have not done enough to help you. They must do much more to help secure your release.
I am among many people pressuring them to make sure you are freed. There are reasons for hope and optimism. Nigerian forces are re-gaining territory and protecting more schools. Nigeria's newly-elected president, Muhammadu Buhari, has vowed to make securing your freedom a top priority and promised his government will not tolerate violence against women and girls. "You will have the opportunity to receive the education you want and deserve.
The Malala Fund and other organizations offered all your classmates who escaped the kidnapping full scholarships to complete their secondary education. Most of the escapee girls accepted this scholarship and are now continuing their studies at a safe boarding school and with the support they need. We hope to someday extend that same scholarship to all 219 of you, when you return home. Remember that one day your tragic ordeal will end, you will be reunited with your families and friends, and you will have the chance to finish the education you courageously sought. I look forward to the day I can hug each one of you, pray with you, and celebrate your freedom with your families. Until then, stay strong, and never lose hope. You are my heroes.
Your sister,

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