Barrister Hannatu Musawa
The recent release of 82 Chibok girls, who were abducted over 3-years ago, has transformed Nigeria into an elated clime. Their release has also sent the international community into an overjoyed state, as congratulatory messages has been pouring in from far and wide.
Every international and local news channel you tune to, one of the major headline news is on the release of the 82 Chibok girls. Most discourse on these channels also has the release of the girls as their subject matter. The social media hasn’t been left out as the internet has also gone agog with the news of the release of the girls.
As soon as I saw the breaking news about their release over the weekend, I instantly became thrilled. Though, I was also cautious and set about confirming if the release of the girls was indeed true and not a hoax. Having confirmed that their release was the real deal, I proceeded to say thankful prayers to our creator for their safe return.
Subsequently watching the girls as they met with Mr. President at the Villa, I suddenly felt an upsurge of emotion and tears of joy flowed freely. As I watched the girls teary-eyed, I couldn’t help but imagine what they must have been made to go through under the hands of the dastard insurgents.
It would be recalled that on the night of 14–15 April three years ago, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State. In October last year, the world awoke to the exhilarating news that 21 of the girls had been freed.
Thus far, out of the 276 Schoolgirls that were abducted, 57 escaped, 4 have been found/rescued while 103 (21 + 82) have been released. Alas, 113 of the girls are still missing. This is still a huge number of innocent teenage girls under the hands of ruthless, senseless, raving lunatics.
I can still recall the 13th of October last year when 21 of the girls were released. One particular image that was very touching and has stayed with me and a lot of Nigerians was when a parent of one of the girls carried his child piggyback style. Watching parents and their children in tight embrace, crying and making merry was indeed a glorious sight to behold.
With regards to the release of the 82 girls, there have been comments made by mischief makers, cynics and naysayers that the girls aren’t looking like they have been in captivity. Some have even said that the girls were never abducted and the present government just brought them out from where they hid them.
Some of these unfair comments/opinions are indeed absurd and baseless. Anyway, while these conspiracy theories are abound and everyone have a right to his/her opinions, their comments is not enough to dour the elatedness many discerning Nigerians are currently basking in.
Nevertheless, honour should be given to whom honour is due. With the advent of the present Buhari-led government, I was amongst the optimist who believed that the administration will record great strides in the fight against the insurgency and the recovery of the girls.
I’ve always believed that the government would do all in its power to ensure that the girls were reunited back to their families. Having made a mess of their abduction from the onset, the former administration allowed critical time to elapse in the search and rescue of the girls.
The freeing of the girls is also not unconnected to the fact that there is turmoil within the ranks of the insurgents. Apparently, the terrorist group has increasingly been decimated; thanks to the present administrations counter insurgency drive. The group has also been split into two factions and the infighting has created an opening which the present government is exploiting and cashing in on.
On behalf of fellow Nigerians, I would like to thank first, the efforts of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. His zeal and commitment to the release of the girls has brought us this far. Kudos must be given to him and the administration for steadfastly sticking to his campaign promise of doing everything he can to see the Chibok girls are brought back and reunited with their families.
Kudos must also be given to our gallant armed forces. For without them, the recent gains we’ve achieved in almost incapacitating the insurgents and reducing their attacks to the barest minimum couldn’t have been foreseeable. Many of them have been killed and injured in the fight against the insurgents. I would like to believe that their sacrifice isn’t in vain and hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Importantly, kudos must also be given to the #Bringbackourgirls movement, and other groups/individuals for sustaining and keeping alive the cry and agitation for the rescue of the girls. Our prayers and cries have not been in vain and we shall continue our agitations until all captives under the brutal clutches of the insurgents are rescued or released.
I would also like to thank the truly concerned international community on the plight of the girls, in the role they have been playing in seeing to the release of the girls. With them, the abduction of the girls became an international issue as well as a national one. Their assistance and efforts is very commendable and haven’t gone unrecognized.
As I rejoice in the return of the girls, I would like to particularly reach out to the parents of some of the girls yet to be released. As a mother, I can only claim of a vague understanding of what you have been going through for the past three years, and especially now that other girls have returned and reunited with their parents.
To them. I say, “Take heart and wait a little longer, you will soon be reunited with your children also. You have waited for more than three-years, God willing, their release wouldn’t take that much time anymore. So many Nigerians understand your plight and share your pains. We are all praying with you and doing all we can in making sure the government hears our cries and does all they can in bringing your children back home.”
To the present administration, “keep up the good work. I also humbly request that you shouldn’t relent in your efforts in ensuring that the remaining girls and all others under the clutches of the dastard sect are rescued or released. The war against the insurgents is not going to be won without the safe return of all the abducted Chibok girls and all other captives.