‘Bring Back Our Girls’ protest group holds sit-in to mark anniversary of girls’ abduction

‘Bring Back Our Girls’ protest group holds sit-in to mark the first anniversary of Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 girls from their secondary school in northeast Nigeria.

ABUJA, NIGERIA (APRIL 14, 2015) (REUTERS) – Nigeria’s Chibok community on Tuesday (April 14) marked the first anniversary of Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 girls from their secondary school in northeast Nigeria by staging sit-in protest in the country’s capital.

The group gathered at the Unity Fountain in Abuja for the protest which was attended by parents of some of the abducted girls and representatives of the community.

A news conference was also organized by the Kibaku Area Development Association, the parent body of the Chibok community.

Kibaku Area Development Association National Secretary, Battah Ndirpaya, said the community had yet to recover from the incident. He said the Chibok region was also facing famine.

“The People of Chibok are today haunted, displaced, traumatised and living in agony as refugees and or internally displaced persons all over Nigeria and beyond. There is also looming famine in the Chibok (Kibaki) community and environs as a result of the terrorism which has virtually crippled farming activities. Wanton destruction of food stuff, granaries and livestock were perpetrated by the insurgents. There is also poisoning and or destruction of water wells, the primary source of water for the community,” Ndirpaya said.

Parents of the abducted girls remain unaware what the Nigerian government is doing to secure the release of their children.

Ndirpaya said the community still hoped the girls would soon be able to return to their homes.

“Despite the agony picture of what is happening in the community, we are still hopeful that our girls will come back alive. We are hoping that Mr. President will keep his word by bringing the girls alive before leaving office on 29th of May 2015. Even if he fails to achieve it we are hopeful that the president-elect will bring back our girls alive,” he said.

Nigeria’s President-elect Muhammadu Buhari vowed earlier on Tuesday to make every effort to free the schoolgirls but admitted it was not clear whether they would ever be found.

Kibaku Area Development Association national publicity secretary, Allen Manasseh said the community has suffered terribly since the girls were kidnapped.

“At 365 days down, it’s all about pain, it’s all about agony, it’s all about hope getting lost because having a missing daughter for 365 days knowing the antecedent of Boko Haram members and having your daughter with them for 365 days is not a thing that you can wish for the worst of your enemy,” he said.

The abduction drew international attention to the humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram’s attempt to establish a caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, and worldwide condemnation.