Chibok: 1000 days down, a heart-wrenching timeline and what this means
Today, 8th of January 2017 makes it exactly 1000 days since the night of 14 April 2014, when 276 female students (writing their SSCE) were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram.
And although over the last 1000 days, there have been moments where we held our heart in our palms and wept, where we asked questions and didn’t get sufficient answers, there have also been moments where our souls leaped in excitement at a flicker of hope.
These moments although bitter pills to swallow, although revisiting our memory with visions of mothers weeping for their lost daughters, 276 terrified girls mumbling arabic words few days after their abduction, still cannot entirely be forgotten. And so today, 1000 days further from that night that changed Nigerian history forever, we bring you a timeline of 10 notable events in light of the abduction that have occurred in the last 1000 days.
1. Boko Haram in a video threatens to sell the abducted girls. A later released video portrays the previously christian girls mumbling words in Arabic. Pogo Bitrus, a Chibok community leader when interviewed by the BBC says locals had received information that some of the girls had been sold as brides to Islamist fighters for 2000 naira each.
2. Global campaign for the release of the girls. Nigerian teachers, celebrities worldwide, the #BringBackOurGirls trends from the world of social media to marker made banners hanging over our the gates of our primary and secondary schools. On the president’s weekly radio address to the nation, first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama who had earlier posted a picture carrying a BBOG sign says “In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”
3. Solemn Children’s day celebration in honour of the girls. Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, says Children’s Day activities would be replaced by prayers. Nigeria defence chief asserts that the military is aware of where the girls are but rescue is too risky.
5. Lami and Maria, two girls who escaped by jumping from a moving truck tell their story- which is later made into an animated film – to the BBC 100 women series. Boko Haram debunks rumours of truce with the Government. Chibok residents whine about the standstill of educational activities since the incident. In another raid near Chibok, Boko Haram kidnaps 100 children and women.
6. 20 Chibok girls given scholarship to study in American University of Nigeria by Godiya, a lady whose sister was kidnapped as well. One of the girls told CNN: “I want to be a teacher” and in an essay, another girl, Margaret when asked to describe what education means to her wrote “Education gives me the wings I need to fly.”
7. Reports swamp the mainstream media on the manipulation of kidnapped girls to become suicide bombers. Chibok marks first year anniversary of kidnap. Nigerian army rescues 200 women and children initially believed to be Chibok girls until the assertion is debunked.
8. Chibok two years on. Schools remains unopened.
9. Missing Chibok schoolgirl found on May 18th 2016. Reunited with parents. A second is found a few days later and by October, 21 more girls are found and reunited with their families. One of the girls Amina Ali Nkeki escaped with her baby and was found in Sambisa forest.
10. Rakiya Abubakar, another girl who was a senior student when she was abducted is found on January 6th 2017. She is the 24th out of 219 girls.
There are currently 195 schoolgirls still missing.
I was amazed as people must be who are seized and kidnapped, and who realize that in the strange world of their captors they have a value absolutely unconnected with anything they know about themselves― Alice Munro