After seven years in forceful, dehumanizing and unlawful captivity, two abducted students of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state have been found. Recall that the school was invaded on April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram terrorists and 276 girls were taken away. Some escaped, some died and about 100 are still missing.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSWN), expresses its joy on this promising good news that holds the prospect of more girls getting their freedom. First, it was Ruth Ngladar Pogu and the man erroneously referred to as her ‘husband’ who presented themselves to the security on July 28, 2021, in Bama, then on Saturday, July 14, 2021, Hassana Adamu was also found with two children in Gwoza. Both girls were found with children from their abductors.
However, our concern stems from the fundamental human rights of these girls that were willfully violated. They were forcefully abducted from their school when they were preparing to write an exam. After being taken away from their families, friends and society, they were forcefully and unlawfully given off to terrorists who were part of those who denied them their right to an education in the first place.
While CSWN is happy that the two girls were reunited with their parents. It has, however, become a great concern to us on the careless use of the terminology – ‘husband’, in describing those that forced themselves on these girls and eventually sired children with them. It is disheartening and insensitive to the victims to describe the terrorists as their husbands. These characters have committed terrorism, rape, murder, abduction, forced marriage, gender violence and destruction of properties among other crimes against the Nigerian state, including a violation of the fundamental human rights of these girls and others.
They have suffered unimaginable violations of their rights for seven years with debilitating impact on their future. Their parents have gone through excruciating pains, with some even dying from the trauma of having their children abducted, and these infractions stand in stark contrast to the ideals of freedom that the Nigerian constitution guarantees them.
The Nigerian government may continue with its re-radicalisation programme that birthed the worrying terminology of ‘repentant terrorists, but we in CSWN, in view of the fact that Nigeria is governed by laws, call for the full application of all relevant laws on those who violated these girls. This would show the supremacy of law over lawlessness and impunity, and a consolation to the victims of insurgency trying to rebuild their lives or still wallowing in IDP camps.
CSWN also calls on the Federal Government to take the full responsibility of rehabilitating the freed girls as a measure of its commitment to the enthronement of a decent society that Nigeria aspires to.
-Reuben Buhari, Research and Press Officer