It was in the early hours of April 14th, 2014 that the country was struck with a new dimension of terrorism by the dreaded Boko Haram sect, which drew global attention to their activities. The unfortunate incident witnessed the abduction of about 300 girls from a senior secondary school in the remote town of Chibok, Borno state. The circumstances surrounding their abduction was such that one could not easily rule out conspiracy in the whole saga, as the girls were left to their fate, and their abductors faced little or no resistance in the perpetuation of their heinous act. The most unfortunate thing was the fact that the Government and some key individuals in Government initially denied the incident of the abduction, and set up panels of inquiry (legal and illegal) as to whether it actually took place. Thus, by the time it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that some girls from the school had actually been abducted, the possibility of an early rescue was lost. Worthy of note is also the fact that our girls were transported on the highway before the diversion into the forest, and the highway was manned by soldiers since Borno state was under emergency rule. Some girls were lucky to escape at the time of abduction, and others, immediately after they reached their abductors den.

After their abduction, they were widely believed to have been camped at the dreaded Sambisa forest, together with other women and ladies who were unfortunate victims of Boko Haram’s abduction. Ordinarily, one would have been right to conclude that women abducted and caged by terrorists in a forest wouldn’t be used for exhibition purpose, but we declined to give in to those awry thoughts. However, those women who escaped from the deadly den recounted their experiences of how they were used as sex slaves for the satisfaction of the animalistic sexual urge of the terrorists. Some ladies that also found their way out of the forest were discovered not only to be traumatized, but to have taken in for the terrorists. Our fears were heightened!

To aggravate our fears, Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, told us that he sold our girls after Islamizing them. Indeed, we saw them recite quaranic verses in the video he released. What surprised us all was the fact that they looked older than their ages. Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, and a man we strongly believe to have some medium of communication with the terrorists, dropped a bombshell when he told us that not all the girls will come back alive and intact, as some must have either died or taken in for the terrorists; but we booed him down.

While we were waiting for our government to rescue our girls, they told us that because the safety of our girls is of immense importance, they won’t invade Sambisa forest even after our girls’ parents consented to the Sambisa invasion. This is not also to forget the fact that some of the parents of our girls have died of trauma and frustration. Subsequently, there was underground negotiation for the release of the girls, which had the Chadian President, Idriss Deby, as the chief facilitator. Alas! It was a sham, as the terrorists made a mockery of the Nigerian Government. This goes to show that both the use of force and subtlety was explored by the Nigerian government, but both were futile. To worsen the matter, the exact whereabout of our girls is unknown, as the American drones which flew over the Nigerian space couldn’t report a trace of our abducted chibok girls.

The world marked one year since their abduction yesterday, and the predicament they are in, is only best imagined. Let’s be positive and assume that they are faring well, the singular fact that they have been in an isolated environment for one full year is enough trauma to their souls. It is in the light of this that the remembrance observed globally yesterday was not a celebration, but a solidarity move towards sharing in their sorrows, pains, and agony, while pressing for intensified action for their return.

After all has been said and done, one will be right to assert that the government of Goodluck Jonathan has tried its best at rescuing the Chibok girls, even though we cannot precisely say how close they ever got to the rescue of those girls. The curtain of his government is gradually folding out, as the government of General Muhammadu Buhari, the president-elect, is set to commence on the 29th of May 2015. As a matter of fact, one reason why Jonathan couldn’t succeed in his re-election bid was because of his inability to rescue our girls. It is hoped that Gen. Buhari with his wealth of military experience and exposure will bring back our girls soonest. Of course, he has given us his word on that, but for them to be rescued, they have to be alive. But if providence were to be kind to Jonathan, and he rescued the girls before May 29th, we would still celebrate him. All that we want is that our girls be brought home. #BringBackOurGirls!!!

About the Author:
 Author Photo Bandawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. You can follow on twitter @NBandawa

E-mail: ntayibandawa@gmail.com