Rebecca Samuel, mother of Sarah, one of the 112 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 and still missing.


‘I’m Chibok girl Dad. Bring Back Our Girls Now’ read the white letters on the man’s red T-shirt.

The same morning – April 15, seven years ago – he woke to hear his daughter had been abducted from her school dormitory at night.

He’s not seen her since, and has no idea if she is alive or dead. But amidst his anguish he pleads: “Our people are being killed on weekly basis.”

This came on the seventh anniversary of the kidnap of 276 girls, even as global news headlined an attack on a humanitarian hub in the same state from which the schoolgirls disappeared into the Sambisa Forest on the night of April 14, 2014. 112 of them remain un-accounted for.

Attendees heard that 20 parents have now died before seeing their daughters – most of them from high blood pressure or other stress-related medical conditions.

Seven years ago, a report showed how the Chibok girls’ kidnap appeared to be part of the Islamist group’s strategic approach to destroy the Christian community in Northern Nigeria where, in some states, Christians still form a significant minority.

Keynote speaker, Cardinal John Onaiyekan – who retired a year ago from his role as Catholic Archbishop of the capital Abuja – said that the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfil his promise to defeat Boko Haram “by December 2015” showed “graduating incompetence”.

He pointed out that the Nigerian army has claimed to have killed the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau at least four times. He also said that Chibok had led to kidnapping becoming an industry in Nigeria. Onaiyekan also compared the fact that 42 people – teachers and boys – kidnapped in Niger state had been found and freed after ten days, on 27 February this year, while one lone Christian girl – Leah Sharibu – remains in captivity more than three years after abduction (together with UNICEF nurse Alice Loksha, who was kidnapped in October 2018).

Aid groups estimate that more than eight million people in Nigeria’s north-east are in urgent of humanitarian assistance as a result of the ten-year Islamist insurgency.

World Watch Monitor. Republished with permission.