April 16, 2024

US lawmakers pass resolution on Chibok girls, Boko Haram

US lawmakers pass resolution on Chibok girls, Boko Haram

Chibok girls

The United States House of Representatives has called upon the Nigerian and the American governments to ensure that recovery and reunion of remaining Chibok girls abducted a decade ago with their families.

The House made this known in a document issued on 12 April following its 118th congress.

Recounting the tragic incident event of 14 April 2014 when Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, the congress urged the Nigerian government to “redouble efforts to bring an end” to spiralling armed conflicts ravaging northern Nigeria.

It further advised the government to provide assistance to the victims of the conflicts.

A few days after the insurgents abducted the girls from their dormitories, 57 of them brazenly jumped off the trucks conveying them into the terrorists’ enclave in Sambisa forest.

Amina Ali Nkeki who now studies journalism in a university in Adamawa State was the first to return home [with a girl child] in 2016. 

That same year, 22 others regained their freedom. Although one of them, Maryam Ali-Maiyanga, was found wandering around the forest, the other 21 were negotiated for.

Between 2017 and 2023, additional 104 have either escaped captivity or been rescued by the military, bringing the total of the girls that have made it home to 184, according to a compilation by Murtala Muhammed Foundation.

Concerted efforts by parents of the girls and Nigerians later birthed mass awareness — #BringBackOurGirls, a social movement that reached more than 440,000,000 people around the world, according to US House of Representative estimates.

Despite these efforts, more than 90 girls are still missing, although some of them have been reported dead by their colleagues who narrated their experiences after regaining freedom.

However, Nigerians, local and and international non-governmental organisations including foreign governments are demanding their safe return.

As it marked 10 years without more than 90 Chibok girls, the congress lamented the spate of abductions targeting students, especially girls, and made six demands to the Nigerian and U.S. governments.

First, it called for the “immediate release of all Boko Haram captives, especially the remaining Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu.”

Miss Sharibu was one of more than 100 girls kidnapped from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State, in 2018. While the terrorists released other captives, they continued to hold Miss Sharibu because of her refusal to deny her Christian faith.

While extolling the survivors of violence in northern Nigeria for mustering courage to tell their stories “at great personal risk”, the enjoined the Nigerian government to cooperate with “regional partners and the international community” to defeat Boko Haram and other terror groups.

In its third demand, the congress also urged the Nigeria government to:

“Prioritise the recovery of women and girls who have been abducted and enslaved by Boko Haram.”

“Work to determine the whereabouts of the thousands of missing people in Nigeria and provide a full accounting of the number of missing girls;

“Undertake concrete efforts to reduce the stigmatisation and marginalisation of those abducted by Boko Haram and provide counselling and support.

“To allow women and girls to be reunited with their families whenever appropriate and

accept international assistance in a timely manner when offered.”

In addition, the U.S. House said it encourages “continued efforts by the U.S. Government to defeat Boko Haram and related terrorist groups through development and security partnerships with Nigeria and other regional partners.”

The Congress also called on the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Defence to “rapidly implement the 5-year regional strategy required under Public Law 114–266 to address the grievous threat posed by Boko Haram and other violent extremist organisations.”

Lastly, it requests that the U.S. Department of State “track and report the number of missing persons kidnapped by Boko Haram and include such information in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report.”