Buhari to Chibok parents: Your daughters won't be abandoned, forgotten

Operatives of NSCDC

Operatives of NSCDC

"The four-year anniversary of the Chibok abduction reminds us that children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale", said UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Mohamed Malick Fall.

In October 2016, Nigerian officials announce the release of 21 of the girls following talks between the government and Boko Haram, brokered by Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Fifty-seven escaped in the immediate aftermath and four years on, 112 are still being held - a global symbol of the Islamist insurgency that has devastated the region.

Boko Haram has freed all the girls abducted from the school in Dapchi, except one, Leah Sharibu, who remains captive because she reportedly refused to renounce her belief in Christianity.

"Don't give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again".

Yet four years on, thousands more women and girls have been taken from their homes and forced to live in captivity, in events largely unnoticed and unreported by media.

Hannatu Daudu, whose daughter Saratu, is among the captives told the crowd: "Our only prayer is for our girls to be released and returned to us".

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In a statement released on the eve of the April 14, fourth anniversary of the kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, the United Nations agency also said more than 1,000 children had been abducted and 1,400 schools destroyed by the terrorists in the region since 2013.

"What happened in Chibok should have served as a wake-up call to the Nigerian government".

The girls are part of the over 270 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorists in 2014.

In February, fighters loyal to a Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi seized 112 schoolgirls and one boy from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state. We invited everybody including the state governor, whom we learnt is out of the country at the moment. "But when it comes to not knowing the faith that befell your missing child can be very tough", he said.

The Federal Government has however, ensured the release of no fewer than 150 of the girls in two batches, while others are still in captivity.

The president, in a series of tweets posted on his Twitter page, urged the parents to keep their hopes alive on the return of their daughters, noting that the recovery of more than a 100 of the girls that were kidnapped through the federal government's determined effort should give confidence that all "hope is not lost".

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