April 14, 2018 marks four years since the kidnapping of 200 Chibok school girls in Borno state, North-Eastern Nigeria by Boko Haram.
Civil Society groups, Rights activists, members of the diplomatic community and some parents of the kidnapped girls marked the occasion in Borno state.
A similar event happened on February 19, 2018 when some 105 girls were kidnapped in Dapchi ,75 kilometers South of the border with the Republic of Niger. Though the Nigerian government recovered the Dapchi girls recently, the insecurity of lives in the country especially that of the girl-child was the focus of discussion.
There is something undeniable wrong when the girl child repeatedly becomes a bargaining instrument in negotiation deals between the government and terrorists.
‘‘It has been four years now I have not seen my daughter. I thought they will bring them back last year, but they did not. It is very traumatic, I am hoping again that may be before next year I will see her’‘, said a parent of a kidnapped Chibok girl, Saratu Dauda.
Speakers said terrorism in Nigeria is a product of the West African nation’s political class. For some, the political elite in Nigeria must be held accountable for insecurity and corruption in the country.
Florence Ozor is spokesperson of Bring Back Our Girls campaign.
‘‘Since their abduction and epilepsy of government action, a total of 107 of our girls are back 112 remain in captivity and we now know that it does seem in Nigeria to get an education is a risk the girl child is being encouraged not to take. Our country does not protect its future’‘, said Ozor.
Naj’ Atu Bala Muhammed, a former member of the Nigerian senate noted that the government has failed its people.
‘‘The political elite in this country have done nothing but to cash in on this poverty, on this ill education of the bulk majority of Nigerians.They use them, they have use you and turned your psyche into slaves, slaves of religious and ethnic manipulation. No one has ever seen the son of a governor going out to campaign. No one has ever seen the son or daughter of the president going out to campaign’‘, Bala-Muhammed said.
“Those who seek to do policies of exclusion in this country are often not excluded when they come together on the altar of corruption. They become one language and that language is called bad leadership and poor governance”, said Oby Ezekwesili , said former Vice President of the World Bank.
For this advocate, the girl child is an endangered species in Nigeria now, one that is either exploited by the society, kidnapped by terrorists or raped by uncultured men.
‘‘There is something wrong when a nation is twice beaten yet never shy with respect to safety and security of the girl child. There is something undeniable wrong when the girl child repeatedly becomes a bargaining instrument in negotiation deals between the government and terrorists’‘, former presidential candidate Tunde Bakare lamented.
The Mahamadu Buhari led government has promised to address all security threats ahead of the 2019 general elections.