May 2, 2024

Two freed Chibok schoolgirls share harrowing experience 10 years after abduction

Two freed Chibok schoolgirls share harrowing experience 10 years after abduction

By Fortune Eromosele, Abuja 

Two Chibok schoolgirls, Dinah Lawan and Grace Dauda, who fortunately, regained their freedom, recount their experiences and challenges since their release.

Recall that in April 2014, over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by terrorists from their dormitory at the Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno state. 

The incident sparked global outrage and calls for urgent action. While some girls have been released, others remain in captivity, and their families continue to seek justice and support.

Narrating her ordeal at a program hosted by a civil society organisation, Enough is Enough Nigeria, EiE, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction, Grace Dauda, said she suffered severe thigh injuries during the abduction.

She also shared her struggles with accessing education due to visa issues. Dauda said she felt abandoned by the government and used for others’ interests. 

‘Many people just using us’

She urged urged the government to support those who are no longer interested in education with business opportunities.

According to her, “I spent three horrible years in captivity and after gaining my freedom, I was still struggling with my leg. I had three surgeries in Nigeria before I got an opportunity to have a fourth surgery abroad.

“I also got an opportunity to study abroad but my visa got expired and I couldn’t renew. The story changed when I returned to Nigeria.

“I feel like many people are just using us for their own interest because we suffered a lot and we didn’t get what we wanted.

“I want the government to help those who are no longer interested in education with some businesses. I feel the government don’t care because they abandoned those who are not in school.”

Dauda was among the 82 schoolgirls released in May 2017.

Dinah Lawan, now a second-year PhD student in political science at the University of California, recounted how she initially felt discouraged from pursuing education after her release.

Lawan, who graduated from Notre Dame University in the US, explained that she eventually returned to school, realizing that giving up would empower her captors. 

‘I gave up on education’

She expressed concern over the government’s failure to establish a trauma management program for the freed girls.

According to her, “After the kidnapping, honestly, I completely gave up on education because what happened to me and my classmates that night was very difficult in so many ways.

“I know we were kidnapped in school while getting an education. But education is not the only thing that was taken away from us that night. So many things. 

“Happy children were taken away from their families and loved ones. Our childhood was taken away from us. Really, I hated education at a time.

“After a while, I came to the realisation that if I allow myself to be discouraged by what happened, then I will give those Boko Haram the power they sought, right? So I decided to go back to school.

“I want all my classmates to keep fighting and never give up. One of the lessons I have learned from my journey is that when unpleasant circumstances occur, things can never be the same but life has to go on.”

The event aimed to highlight the measures taken to improve the girls’ lives and hold the government accountable for their welfare. 

The event also saw the launch of a booklet detailing the girls’ journey and challenges since their release. 

The EiE, through its Executive Director, Yemi Adamolekun, said the organization will continue to advocate for the girls’ welfare and hold the government accountable for their support and protection.

Vanguard News

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